If you have been practicing yoga for several years and are interested in becoming a Certified Yoga Instructor or yoga teacher, you will need to complete a formal yoga instructor certification program. Yoga teacher certification programs are designed to deepen your knowledge and understanding of yoga and the yogic philosophy, and also help you develop the necessary skills for teaching yoga to others. Students who successfully complete a yoga teacher certification program can register with the Yoga Alliance to become a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) or take a certification program to become a fitness instructor and specialize in a certain type of yoga.

Types of Yoga Instructor Certification

Yoga instructor certification programs are available through the Yoga Alliance and organizations such as the American Fitness Professionals & Associates (AFPA). AFPA Yoga Fitness Instructor Certification courses are designed to teach students at various fitness levels, and cover all elements of yogic theory, breathing techniques, class formats and yoga positions. Certification programs available through the Yoga Alliance vary depending on the yoga style the teacher wants to focus on, and the type of class schedule the student can accommodate for. Students who need more flexibility in their schedules may take advantage of online yoga instructor certification programs.

Examples of yoga instructor certification courses include:

  • Yoga Fitness Instructor Certification for Beginner and Intermediate Students
  • Yoga Teacher Certification for Intermediate to Advanced Students
  • Yoga Instructor Certification in a particular style or specialty, such as:
    • Gentle Yoga
    • Fitness Yoga
    • Therapeutic Yoga
    • Power Yoga
    • Yoga Flows
    • Yoga for Seniors
    • Yoga for Children
    • Spiritual Yoga

Certification programs vary in length depending on the level and type of study the student wants to focus on. If you choose to obtain certification through the Yoga Alliance, you can complete either a 200-Hour or a 500-Hour training program. Completing any of these programs successfully gives you the RYT designation. Yoga teaching certification programs can also be completed online.

Costs of Yoga Teaching Certification Programs

The cost of a yoga instructor certification program varies by school and the level of instruction. As of 2011, most students pay between $750 to $3,000+. Advanced courses and full-day workshops may cost more, depending on the school or training center. Many yoga studios and training schools offer their own basic yoga courses for teachers or aspiring teachers. These are usually multi-day intensive courses where students must dedicate the entire day to their training. Certifying organizations may also provide DVDs, CD-ROMs and other training materials as part of the program.

Salary Ranges with Yoga Teacher Certification

Certified yoga teachers may be hired by a yoga studio or fitness center, but the majority work as independent contractors and are self-employed fitness instructors. If you want to teach yoga for a living, you could also take courses in business and entrepreneurship. Business skills can help you manage and operate your own yoga studio or market your services to fitness centers and individuals in their area. The median annual wages of fitness trainers in May 2008 were $29,120, but the annual wages of self-employed fitness workers may be much higher.