Growth Trends for Related Jobs
For Love, Not Money: Creating a Space for Healing
You'll never get to be a member of the 1 percent by being a yoga teacher, since hourly pay is under $30. But for a mother who wants to stay home during the day with young children, or for a parent who doesn't want the stress of a corporate job, teaching yoga may be a dream job. Yoga has grown from a relatively unknown spiritual activity with origins in Hinduism to a cultural phenomenon for health and healing in the U.S. It's become possible to make a living teaching it.
A yoga teacher is a fitness instructor who has been trained in various forms of yoga. Yoga teachers lead classes that teach techniques to improve physical flexibility and movement. They also teach meditative techniques that quiet the mind and heal the body. Yoga teachers can work with small classes, but many also offer private instruction in a one-on-one setting.
To work as a yoga teacher, no college education is required. You have to be fit and have studied yoga long enough to have acquired the necessary experience and skills. Professional fitness centers often require industry certification, which you can get at some community colleges and vocational schools. While some yoga teachers may have advanced degrees, this usually does not translate into higher wages.
Yoga teachers can work regular business hours, but many work only in the evenings in a fitness center or studio environment. Some focus on personal instruction, offering house calls.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for fitness instructors is $18.34 per hour, which comes to about $38,160 per year. PayScale puts the median hourly wage at $29.73.
The largest employers of yoga instructors are in the amusement and recreation industries or in civic and social organizations. Many yoga teachers work at spas, YMCAs, fitness clubs or wellness centers, where they lead classes throughout the day. They can also work at resort hotels or for other types of organizations that offer yoga classes. Local governments and hospitals also employ yoga instructors.
Years of Experience
According to PayScale, a yoga teacher's salary can range from $14.67 to $55.00 an hour, with the median just under $30 per hour. Entry-level teachers should expect 10 percent less than this, while mid-career teachers may get 19 percent more. PayScale notes that people in this job usually don't have more than 20 years' experience.
Job Growth Trend
Employment of fitness trainers like yoga instructors is projected to grow 10 percent over the next decade, faster than the average for all occupations. The more that businesses, government and insurance organizations recognize the benefits of these programs for their workers, yoga and other fitness classes will see increased popularity, creating a need for additional instructors.
Teo Spengler has worked as a trial lawyer, a teacher and a writer at various times in her life, which is one of the reasons she likes to write about career paths. Spengler has published thousands of articles in the past decade including articles providing tips for starting a job or changing careers. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, and Working Mother websites. She holds a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley, an M.A. in English and an M.F.A. in fiction.