In this guide, you will learn how to become a meditation teacher.
Want to know how to become a meditation teacher? Training to be the next Thich Nhat Hanh or Jon Kabat Zinn? Want to know if you need to be certified to teach meditation? I’ll cover all that and more in this guide. And I’ll share my own insights from when I launched my own meditation lessons.
Here’s what we’ll be looking at:
- About Meditation Teacher Training Certifications
- Do You Need A Meditation Teacher Training Certification?
- Who Will You Teach?
- What type?
- Learning before you teach
- Contacting other teachers
- Setting Up Your Space
- Materials You Will Need To Teach
- Starting To Teach
Do you need meditation teacher certification?
Certification can help you along the way if you want to take an instructor training course, but honestly, although they are very helpful, they are not strictly necessary. And some are expensive. The cost varies on the institution and the types of meditation you teach.
Speaking of money. Yes, you can make money teaching meditation. More importantly, you can make a difference in your students’ lives.
But let me warn you: When it comes to training to be a meditation teacher, you need to dodge the sharks. Because while a good meditation certification course will help significantly, there are also some dodgy ones.
You might wonder “How much do meditation teachers make?” The average take-home salary of a meditation teacher is $55,000-$65,000 a year. This is variable though. According to Indeed.com, meditation teachers make $17.38 an hour. According to Zip-Recruiters, they make an average salary of $68,412, and Paysa says salaries range from $55,000 to $65,000. Either way, it’s a nice income for a job you love! But to make that happen, you have to know how.
Let me show you how to become a meditation teacher for real.
How to become a meditation teacher in 11 steps
1: Deciding Whether To Take A Meditation Teacher Training Course For Certification
Today, mindfulness is a lucrative industry. And although there definitely are some amazing courses, there are also some predatory websites charging lofty fees.
Take a look at a few online meditation teacher training courses and you will find a real mix, everything from life-changing courses to fraudulent ones. The good ones, like the ones I talk about on this site, will not only show you how to teach, but they will also help you to get your career set up too.
Then there are the dodgy ones, which tell you that you can become a meditation teacher, and all you have to do is pay them a few thousand dollars to learn.
Shockingly, lots of these meditation teacher-training courses don’t even have the qualification to be training you at all.
So-called “meditation teacher training sites” are sometimes run by unqualified people who simply compile a bunch of information from various books and reorganise it into an online course.
Of course, there are some good courses too:
- The Mindfulness Center
- Chopra Meditation Instructor Certification
- McLean Institute.
- Sounds True Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program: Taught by Tara Brach and Jon Kabat Zinn (but it does cost $6700).
Most of these courses include a variety of tuition, including guided online learning, one on one time with teachers, email lessons, Q&A sessions, downloadable books and worksheets, audio meditation lessons, community forums and Facebook groups.
Lengths vary. Some are 300 hours, some eight weeks… a course shouldn’t be too short, otherwise, it won’t cover enough ground. Some courses also offer continued education, where others finish when you complete the course.
Before you sign-up, make sure you will graduate with a certification that is recognised.
One way to validate the authenticity of these meditation teacher training courses is to look at their affiliations.
There are various institutes like IMMA (International Mindfulness and Meditation Alliance), the IAMI (International Association of Meditation Instructors), and CPD (Certified Professional Development) that authenticate teacher training courses. Definitely, a good course is an excellent way how to become a meditation teacher.
Do you need to be certified to teach meditation?
A lot of people have asked me: Do you need to be certified to teach meditation?
The laws about this vary by country.
In Canada, you do not need to have any kind of official certification.
The main reason to become a certified meditation teacher is that it legitimises your business. Plus, it makes it much easier to work with insurance companies (which is important). This is different for Transcendental Meditation. Because this practice is trademarked, you are required to take a specific course.
However, for most practices and most countries, you don’t need certification.
That said, you will most definitely benefit from taking a good meditation teacher training course, and it will help you to legitimise yourself as a teacher.
Therefore, you may want to become a certified meditation teacher if there is a good course available in your country and you can afford it.
For instance, in Australia, there is the Meditation Teachers Association, which is a highly reputable organisation. There is no official association in America that I am aware of. Try to find a meditation teacher training certification course near you and one that has a particularly good background (do your research before investing your money).
2: Who Will You Teach Meditation To?
What does a meditation teacher do? They teach meditation, of course. But who do they teach to?
When you’re looking at how to become a meditation teacher, you need to be aware of your target demographic.
If you want to teach meditation, training should be based on your eventual audience. In other words, if you want to teach children, focus on that.
Teaching is a business. Like any other business, it has different markets which in turn have different demands.
Teaching children, for instance, is radically different to teaching the elderly, which is radically different to teaching for health reasons, such as in cognitive behavioural therapy.
The first question you must ask yourself, then, is this: Who do you want to teach?
Are you interested in teaching beginners?
If you want to learn to teach meditation to beginners, you will need a certain set of skills. You will need to be able to express yourself clearly so that your students can fully understand your teaching.
If you want to teach intermediates you will need to know practically every aspect of the topic.
Intermediates are looking for people to take them to the next level, to advance their skills. As such, they already know the basics, and they need someone who is advanced.
Teaching children requires a lot of patience, a friendly attitude, and very good communication skills, because, let’s face it, children often do not listen. Your ability to teach children meditation will depend on your ability to communicate with them.
Speaking from a purely business perspective, your target audience is also going to affect your marketing. You will need different business cards, different advertising, and different sources of students depending on your target audience.
So, decide precisely whom you wish to teach. It’s hard to know how to become a meditation teacher until you’ve made this fundamental decision.
Teaching a class
Teaching a class, as opposed to one-on-one tuition, has its own unique challenges. You will probably have some problem students in the group (people who don’t follow your lead, don’t listen, and talk over you). This can ruin the class for all.
One of the keys to successfully teaching a meditation class is knowing how to control each member of the group, and especially the more challenging members. Tara Brach has a good guide to running a group.
Teaching in school classrooms
Classrooms can present a unique challenge to a teacher. After all, a lot of kids in school do not behave themselves and are not particularly good at sitting still and focusing on their breathing.
One of the keys to teaching meditation in school classrooms is to know how to make it interesting and engaging so students listen to you instead of messing with their phones.
If you are already a school educator, you will have the skills necessary for success here. If not, you will definitely want to learn how to control a classroom before you even contemplate teaching meditation in school classrooms.
3: What Type of Meditation Should You Teach?
If you want to take meditation teacher training, you need to know what type of practices you will teach. This decision will be based on your target audience.
Decide who you want to teach. Then decide what type of practices will be best for them.
There are more than thirty types of meditation, and if you include all Buddhist techniques, that number goes to more than seven hundred. That’s a lot of techniques!
If you are already particularly knowledgeable about a certain type of practice, go with that one. If you are currently undecided, take a look at the different types of practices and pick one (see our main menu).
Teaching mindfulness is fun. It offers you more options than many other techniques because there are lots of different ways to teach mindfulness (such as mindful eating, mindful writing, mindful breathing and so on).
Teaching Guided Meditation:
In my experience, this is one of the most popular types to teach. And there are some courses that specialise in how to teach guided meditation, such as the Guided Meditation Framework course.
Many students don’t want to actually learn, they just want to relax. By becoming a guided meditation teacher, you give them the opportunity to relax without actually putting in that much work.
It is far easier to teach the guided style than any other technique. You don’t need much qualification.
The reason it’s so easy is that that you yourself are in complete control of the session. You’re not relying on the student to focus (if you remember, focusing the mind is not very easy when you are new to the practice). Teaching guided meditation is a straightforward choice.
Teaching Buddhist Meditation
This is a more technical type of teaching. There are lots of different Buddhist meditation teacher training courses, and there are courses that specialise in specific types of Buddhism, such as Zen.
Teaching Buddhist meditation requires knowledge. You will need to know the philosophy, the history, technical aspects like mantras and mudras, and much more. The sheer popularity of these methods also means that there is a lot of competition.
You can also decide to teach just one or two methods, like Vipassana and Loving Kindness.
Osho / Dynamic:
Osho and dynamic practices use physical activity, which ranges from dancing to walking. You will probably want to take Osho meditation facilitator training for this because it requires precise guidance. Plus, because it is physical it requires more expensive insurance.
Because it is possible for someone to injure themselves while practising dynamic methods, you will need insurance to cover potential injuries. Otherwise, you could end up on the receiving end of a hefty lawsuit, which will completely obliterate your business.
The above are just a few of the possible options. Pick one type and focus on that. Or, if you’re like me and you legitimately know a lot about different methods, you could teach a variety of styles. But I am not joking when I say that you will need to know a lot.
4: Learning the Art of Teaching Meditation
To become a meditation teacher, you must have once been a student. You have to learn before you can teach.
You wouldn’t want to learn piano from someone who hasn’t learned to play the piano; students want to know that their teacher is informed.
Even if you intend to teach just one type of practice, I recommend that you study a variety of techniques. After all, it is only natural that a student learning one type will have some interest in other techniques.
If you are unable to discuss other techniques with your students, they are unlikely to take you seriously and they probably won’t return for another lesson. Finding a student can be hard work, so do everything to ensure that any student you find returns for more lessons. Knowing your subject thoroughly is a huge part of this.
Have you learnt the various techniques? Do you know the history of the practice? Have you been to seminars or taken lessons with masters? Have you studied under spiritual gurus? What qualifies you to teach?
Students will ask what makes you qualified to teach meditation. Certification is one possible answer. Years of personal practice is another. Just be sure that you yourself know why you are the right person for the job.
Your past experience will become your resume.
Your experience gives you credibility as a teacher. It helps to create a positive perception of your teaching, equating to your students’ desire to continue to learn from you. The only way to ensure repeat visits from a student, and thereby to steadily increase your business, is to make sure that you know your stuff.
5: Connect with other meditation teachers nearby
There will be other teachers in your area. The vast majority of them (if they have been following their own teachings) will be nice, friendly, and helpful. Get to know them.
Ask other teachers these questions:
- General advice
- What type of practices do they teach?
- Can they share any secrets about teaching?
- What meditation teacher certifications do they have, if any?
- Whether they are interested in working together or cross-promoting
Take one of their lessons. You will learn a ton. And they will appreciate it. It shows interest. It gives them a return. They receive a bit of cash. And you receive a lot of learning. It’s a fair trade.
By reaching out to other teachers in your area you also get to learn about your local scene.
This is also a great way to find some students. Perhaps there is a Zen teacher who has a student who is interested in learning about Transcendental Meditation. They could refer their student to you, if you have TM teacher training (which is required). In exchange, you could refer your students who are interested in Zen to them. Mutual benefit and everyone is happy.
6: Meditation Instructor Insurance
One of the good things about taking a course, even if it’s an online meditation teacher training course, is that it will help you to find coverage.
You are going to need to find coverage before beginning to teach. If you do not, you could end up in trouble.
The good news about coverage for meditation teachers is that it is easy to get, and it is cheap.
When I called up the company to work out my own meditation teacher coverage, I was simply asked to document the type of tuition and experiences I have (e.g.. had I gone to seminars, taken courses, had experience in teaching, read books, etc.).
Compared to many other holistic teaching jobs, finding coverage for meditation teachers is easy.
7: Where To Teach Meditation
To become a meditation teacher, you will have to find or create a studio.
Students want to learn in a space that is relaxing and therapeutic. You need to make sure that the space you provide for your students is relaxing and looks the part. Get statues, paintings, maybe a water feature, etc. Make sure the space looks great.
Remember, students will only return for a second lesson if they enjoy the first. And a huge part of enjoying the lesson is being in the right space.
So, remember while you’re paying for that online meditation teacher training course: You need to save money for your space, too.
Your spatial requirements will vary based on the group size that you want to teach.
If you’re teaching more than ten people at a time, you’re probably going to need a hall. If you’re teaching to individuals, you can probably do it at home.
You can also offer to teach at the student’s home, but there are setbacks to this. Many people aren’t comfortable with the idea of having a stranger come over to teach them; many don’t have the right space; and, of course, if you need to travel it’ll take time and money. It’s a lot easier if you have a meditation studio at home.
8: What You Need To Start Teaching Meditation
You are going to need to have all the most important tools.
The exact tools may vary depending on the type of practice you’re teaching. If you’re giving guided visualisations, for instance, you are going to need a way of playing music. Yes, your iPhone and speakers will do the trick, but does that look professional? Probably not. And you might also need some amazing music.
If you’re going to be teaching Osho or Zen, you will need mats for both yourself and your students to use. Not only is it more comfortable, but should a student get injured, and you need your insurance company to cover the legal fees, the insurer is going to want to know that you had everything set up properly. Let’s be honest, insurers will do anything in their power to avoid paying out; don’t give them an excuse not to honour their agreement.
Regardless of which techniques you teach, you will definitely want a cushion. Some of your students will want to sit down from time to time (do not expect them to sit on the floor or stand up. And besides, you want to look great. Take pride in your branding by making your space look amazing).
Other materials that you may need include a mala (selling these can net you extra profit), Tibetan singing bowls, Buddha statues and so on. You might not end up actually using these materials in your lesson, but simply having them there for the student to see provides the right sort of image. It helps to validate your business in the eyes of your clients.
Also, make sure you have proper lighting. Meditative exercises should always be practised in proper lighting. Too much light can create headaches and distract the mind. Too dim lighting could cause fatigue.
9: Marketing for Meditation Teachers
- As a professional online marketer, I am happy to help you with this. Read my guide to online marketing for yoga and meditation.
If you’re a creative person, you’ll love marketing.
You’re going to need business cards, perhaps flyers or brochures, and other marketing materials.
The design of these materials is important and will be determined by your target audience and by the type of practice you want to teach.
Always keep in mind the audience and their needs.
If, for instance, you are teaching purely for health, your marketing materials should show an individual who is clearly healthy (hopefully yourself) or convey health in other ways, such as through iconography and symbolism.
Your marketing materials should clearly show your target audience. Marketing to Zoomers? Make sure your marketing reflects that.
Your marketing materials should reflect:
- the type of practice you teach
- your target audience
- what the student is going to get out of your tuition.
Are you teaching elderly people to do breathing techniques? Then show that in your marketing materials.
Obviously, it should go without saying, that you need to put your details on the card: your phone number, address, your name, and the name of your business.
Pro tip: Order marketing materials in bulk. It’s cheaper and saves you time in the long run.
While you’re working out how to become a meditation teacher, make sure you leave a budget for marketing.
10: Advertising for Meditation Teachers
There are two key types of advertising that you should make use of.
1: Word of mouth
Word of mouth
Tell your friends, your family, your colleagues, and everyone else that you are teaching meditation.
Give them your marketing materials.
People who are close to you will want to help you.
You may find that a friend or family member either wants to learn to meditate themselves or knows someone who does; that’s your first and most important client right there. Give that one client the best lesson ever and they’ll talk about it, word will spread, and, with a little bit of luck, you’ll have a successful business on your hands.
The second type of advertising is via the media.
Grab your local newspapers, call their advertising department, and find out how much it costs for an ad.
It may or may not be worth it depending on price and readership.
There is an alternative to this.
If you, like myself, happen to be a writer, find some way of making your business a news story. You could put on a local event, or you could just share an interesting story. Write it up, send it to the editor, and if you’re a good writer and a little lucky you could end up with some excellent free advertising.
Websites offer advertising opportunities too (this site included. We offer advertising in the precise niche you want to work in, so trust me you definitely want to take a look at our advertising opportunities).
11: Start Teaching Meditation To Friends And Family
You want to be the best meditation teacher ever, right? You want your students to rave about you. The best way to do that is to make sure that you only start with a few students, or with a number you can easily manage.
Build your audience gradually. That way you can be certain to always provide quality tuition.
Start with just a few students. Pour your love and passion into every lesson. Leave your students thinking “Damn! That was amaze-balls.” That way, you will be proud of yourself. And your students will love you (and talk about you, which will get you referrals).
I hope you have enjoyed this guide to how to become a meditation teacher. I’d love to hear your thoughts. You might also like to read my article on how to be a yoga instructor.