Yoga Teaching Certificates Explained

Yoga is unregulated. This means that the quality of training courses varies greatly. Sadly, most courses presented as teacher training programs are actually just immersive practice experiences where you do lots of yoga, sing songs, and get a piece of paper at the end. While it may be fun, it’s misleading and does a disservice to career-minded trainees.

The Yoga Teachers College® takes a different approach. Since we often hire our own graduates to teach in our studios, our courses have always been 100% focused on professional-level skills. We are not a yoga retreat or personal development organization. We train mind-body fitness professionals and our graduates’ successes speak to the quality and standards of our programs.

  • What is the Yoga Alliance?

  • Yoga Alliance organizations are private, not-for-profit companies that register yoga courses. Registration is not accreditation. It’s simply an approved listing in a directory. A course that is registered with Yoga Alliance has submitted the required paperwork and paid the required fees. Unfortunately, registration doesn’t tell you much about the quality of the course.

  • What is the American Council On Education (ACE)?

  • American Council on Education is a highly-respected third-party accreditation organization that formally reviews undergraduate level courses. The review includes all course materials, exam procedures, ethics policies, and teaching faculty. The process takes many months and includes a formal review by a board of university-level professors. There are only a handful of yoga courses in the world that have undergone this review because most courses would never pass. The Yoga Teachers College is proudly endorsed for university-level credits that could be recognized at 4,000+ universities internationally.

  • What is American Council on Exercise (ACE)?

  • American Council on Exercise is a health and fitness accreditation organization that reviews yoga and fitness courses and approves them for professional-level training. This third-party certification has more rigorous standards than the Yoga Alliance organizations.

  • What is the International Coach Federation (ICF)?

  • The ICF is a global organization for coaches and coaching. ICF is dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high standards, providing independent certification and building a worldwide network of trained coaching professionals. ICF continues to offer the only globally recognized, independent credentialing program for coach practitioners. ICF Credentials are awarded to professional coaches who have met stringent education and experience requirements and have demonstrated a thorough understanding of the coaching competencies that set the standard in the profession. Achieving credentials through ICF signifies a coach’s commitment to integrity, understanding and mastery of coaching skills, and dedication to clients.

  • What is NASM/AFAA?

  • The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and Athletics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) Continuing Education Provider Program is designed to provide reputable continuing education opportunities for NASM & AFAA certified professionals, through a variety of sources that support and uphold our high standards. NASM & AFAA are dedicated to enriching the continuing education path for fitness, group fitness, sports performance and sports medicine professionals worldwide.

  • 200hr, 300hr, 500hr... What does it all mean?

  • Yoga Alliance organizations have different hourly levels for courses ranging from one hour all the way up to 1,000 hours in some cases. Most courses fall into the 200-hour range, and that has become the standard level of training for most teachers worldwide.

  • Why do I see 200-hour course offered in five days? How is that possible?

  • It’s not possible. You cannot do a 200-hour course in five days or a 300-hour course in 10 days, but you’ll see these offered all the time, even by very prominent teachers. These schools are basically selling certifications that are not worth the paper they are printed on. Yoga cannot rush training and experience. It has to be learned progressively over time.

  • Does certification REALLY matter?

  • If you attend a highly respected and qualified school, your certification is a quality stamp of approval that will open doors. Getting a quality certification helps you get insurance, secure travel and work visas, and obtain employment in specific sectors. The biggest reason certification matters is due to the skills, knowledge, and network obtained. If you choose a great school, it can impact your learning and career for life.

Yoga Alliance Organization At-a-Glance

Top Organizations
Est.
Best For
Annual Fees (For Teacher)
Continuing Education Required?
YogaAlliance (USA)
Est
1994
Best For
Most-common certification worldwide
Annual Fees (For Teacher)
Application $50 (1st time) Annual Membership $65
Continuing Education Required?
Yes, 30 hrs/ 3 years
Yoga Alliance Professionals (UK+Europe)
Est
2006
Best For
UK or Europe-Based Teacher
Annual Fees (For Teacher)
€99 per annum
Continuing Education Required?
No
Yoga Alliance Int. (Australia/NZ & Italy)
Est
2013
Best For
Australia & New Zealand Teacher
Annual Fees (For Teacher)
$350 Membership Valid three (3) years.
Continuing Education Required?
No, As of March 2019, we no longer enforce mandatory continuing education activities for yoga teacher to keep their certification current with Yoga Alliance