Every year thousands of people sign up for teacher trainings. The price for the tuition alone can run from $2500 to $4500 and with that much of an investment involved you will want to take the time to find the right one…or at least the right one for you.
So what are some of the elements that you need to take into consideration as you are thinking about making this next-level investment in yourself?
You might want to know your range of options, associated pricing and formats so that you can consider the merits of each. This will put you in a more informed position from which to compare prospective programs.
As you go through this, it’s also helpful to do some self-inquiry so that you can establish your personal baseline.
- How much time and money do you have to invest in this endeavor?
- Do you want to improve your public teaching and offer more to your private clients or are you looking for more personal growth experience? Or both?
- Essentially, what do you want to walk away with?
Once you’ve gotten clarity about what you want you can begin to narrow the playing field by reviewing the following program elements:
What’s the Emphasis of the Program?
What do you actually study, read and practice? Click here to see our reading list…
Some are better at teaching the skills of teaching, while others have a more meditative, anatomical or philosophical slant. This is not to say a certain program is not teaching a complete program, only that they may have something underscoring and connecting all of the elements that comprise the program that may or may not resonate with your desires.
Be sure to ask to what texts and resources they use and require.
Having an Experience vs. Getting an Education
If your only criteria is to “have an experience”, then any teacher training program anywhere will likely do the trick because each will offer an experience.
Of course, walking your dog is also an experience.
Some people want to do more self-exploration or go to an exotic locale interspersed with yoga classes or meet like-minded people and form a connection. These are very worthwhile pursuits (and not a bad way to get out of your routine AND get a write off on your taxes! But it likely won’t be cheap or necessarily translate into better teaching skills).
Remember that teaching is a skill. It can be learned and that starts with getting a quality education. The educational aspect of teacher training should focus on the skills of teaching. And if you are looking at an advanced teacher training, you know by now that there is a lot more to it than simply standing in front of a class and delivering a monologue.
Format? Long or Short? Length of the Program?
It’s up to each yoga school as to how they divvy up the program. Again, if you are in it solely for the experience, the length of time will be the one that works best for your schedule. However if a program is more educationally minded, it will tend to subscribe to one of three formats:
This is the “full-time” job route. You are likely to get a 1-month or multiple month formats where you marinate in yoga for an extended period of time. This is the all–yoga, all the time so if you go this route, plan on taking good care of yourself.
Make sure you don’t have any other outside engagements because this is a lot, physically, mentally and emotionally. The pace of learning can also feel like drinking water…from a fire hose.
This takes the same equation as above, but instead of doing all of the hours in one long shot, it spreads them out over a longer period of time—up to a year or more. You come together for 3 to 10 days, and then go home for a month or two then come back together.
This gives you the advantage of being very focused when you are doing the work and also gives you time to digest the material.
This is the most popular option for programs because it’s the only one that doesn’t require a lot of time off from your day job (this is the one we chose…click here to see the breakdown).
Again, there are different ways schools can group the weekends together. And while it can be tempting to try get your requisite hours done as quickly as possible, having time to process what you’ve learned is incredibly valuable and will help it stick.
Local or Out-of-Town
If you decide to go out-of-town, do so because of the strength of the program and teacher. Studying with a teacher such as Dharma Mittra or Noah Maze will send you to New York City or LA respectively.
However, you just added a big chunk of time and money. Out-of-town training expenses are more like a vacation— you have to factor in air travel, local transport, food, and lodging—repeatedly for several weeks or months.
Local has the advantage of being close to home. It can be a smart move, particularly if you are looking to deepen your community connections or for ongoing support, mentorship and teaching opportunities.
Either way, look at the depth and quality of the program and see where it aligns with your personal baseline.
Oh, and a word about out-of-country trainings. If you want to go to a beautiful place like Bali, go to Bali. However, if you decide to take a rigorous teacher training, don’t do it in Bali because you’ll never get to see it. If you want to practice yoga in a beautiful place, go on a yoga retreat instead of teacher training.
The Yoga Alliance is akin to a trade group for the yoga industry. Schools and teachers can be registered with the Yoga Alliance, but there is no such thing as “yoga license”. And a school does not have to associate itself with the Yoga Alliance to offer teacher trainings.
Consider this, though, The “2016 Yoga in America Study” found that 91% of yoga studio owners believe it is important for their teachers to have Yoga Alliance’s credential to teach at their studios. It’s a minimum standard and it is well recognized.
Certificate of Completion
In the better programs, receiving a certificate is not a guarantee. To do so, you have to complete 100% of the training hours, including the homework, and pass an evaluation and/or test of some sort.
If you are simply doing a teacher training to enhance your personal practice than a certificate may not matter as much to you.
Does the program take anyone who can pay or are there standards?
A common requirement is the length of time you have been practicing and/or teaching – for the 200hr level the requirement is often a year…for more advance trainings, it might be as much 3 or 5. There is a practical reason for this, it’s hard to learn to teach something if you have never done it.
There is also a safety concern. You practice a lot of yoga in teacher trainings and it’s important that you have explored some of your physical limits and know how and when to modify. It’s also a good sign when a teacher training asks you to fill out a formal application.
There is no such thing as a perfect teacher training program. What exists is a series of choices. Your decision regarding each will help you find a program that best suits you. This begins with your reasons for taking a teaching training in the first place. Once you are clear on those, do your due diligence.
Research programs and their content, go to information sessions, read everything they offer on their websites and speak with program graduates. Then limit your choices and take several classes with the lead teachers. Do you resonate with them? Are they people you would welcome as an influence?
No one teaches teachers how to teach teacher trainings. However, there are many thoughtful, well-organized programs that are focused on giving you a quality education. With this list in hand you are well on your way to finding one (read about ours here).
You will find unending options to complete your training. Just remember that teaching is more like being a musician – you have to know the chords and the scales. Arranging them is your unique and creative act. Let your heart sing your particular song your way!
If you would like to know more about our 300hr program click here and read on! We’d love to have you join us on the journey.