A career as a meditation instructor is spiritually and often financially rewarding, so how do you become one?
In this article we will look at:
- Certifications and whether you need one
- Who Will You Teach?
- What type of meditation teacher will you be?
- Learning before you teach
- Contacting other coaches
- Setting Up Your Space
- Materials You Will Need To Teach
- Starting To Teach
Life As A Meditation Teacher
As a professional meditation teacher myself, I can honestly say that I love what I do. And if you are passionate about meditation, you will love it too.
Life as a meditation teacher revolves around a few essential points. Firstly, marketing. It is 100% up to you to create your own client list (I’ll teach you how later on). Secondly, educating yourself about meditation so you are a legitimate expert because only then will you truly be in a position to teach. Next, learning the art of teaching meditation. And finally, building relationships (with your customers and other teachers).
Unlike a lot of other teacher trainers online, I am not going to lie. To be successful in this field takes work. But if you are willing to work on it, you can one-hundred percent succeed.
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 coaches make $17.38 an hour (although I personally think this is a huge underestimate). According to Zip-Recruiters, they make an average salary of $68,412, and Paysa says salaries range from $55,000 to $65,000.
Due to popular demand, I have decided to start coaching meditation teachers. I have made this decision some 5 years after writing this free guide. Why? Because every week I receive requests to help coach meditation teachers. I coach on a one-to-one basis and will only teach people who are serious about becoming a meditation teacher (because, as everyone knows, I am very passionate about this field).
If you would like to work with me, simply complete the form below to get in contact.
11 Steps To Being A Meditation Teacher
The quality of meditation teacher courses varies massively, ranging from life-changing courses to fraudulent ones. The good ones 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 easily, and all you have to do is pay them a few thousand dollars to learn.
Sadly, lots of these courses don’t even have the qualification to be training you at all.
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.
Make sure you will graduate with a certification that is recognised. Consider the course’s 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.
Do you need to be certified to teach meditation?
The laws about this vary by country. Usually, you do not need to have any kind of official certification. This is different for Transcendental Meditation. Because this practice is trademarked, you are required to take a specific course.
2: Who Will You Teach?
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?
If you want to learn to teach meditation to beginners, you will need to be able to express yourself clearly so that your students can fully understand you.
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.
So, decide precisely whom you wish to teach.
Teaching a class, as opposed to one-on-one tuition, has its own unique challenges. You must know how to control each member of the group, and especially the more challenging members. Tara Brach has a good guide to running a group.
Probably the most competitive field is corporate meditation classes. There’s decent money in this, but it is very hard to break into.
Corporate classes are generally in large groups, so you will need to be good at public speaking. And your audience will be a mixed bunch from all different cultures, so you will need to keep it secular.
3: What Type of Meditation will you teach?
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).
Guided meditations are easiest and there are some courses that specialise in how to teach guided meditation, such as the Guided Meditation Framework course.
Teaching Buddhist meditation requires knowledge. You will need to know the philosophy, the history, technical aspects like mantras and mudras, and much more.
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.
4: Art of Teaching
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.
5: Connect with others
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 certifications do they have, if any?
- Whether they are interested in working together or cross-promoting
- And yes, I am one private meditation teacher you can connect with
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.
You will need coverage before beginning to teach. If you do not, you could end up in trouble.
The good news about coverage for meditation coaches 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 insurance for meditation teachers is easy.
7: Where To Teach Meditation
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.
8: What You Need
The items you need will 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.
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, so make it.comfortable for them.
Other helpful items include a mala, Tibetan singing bowls, Buddha statues and so on.
Also, make sure you have proper lighting.
You’re going to need business cards, perhaps flyers or brochures, a website, 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.
There are two key types of advertising that you should make use of.
1: Word of mouth
Tell your friends, your family, your colleagues, and everyone else that you are teaching meditation. Give them your marketing materials. Ask them to help you spread the word.
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.
And of course also considee the online space.
11: 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 instructor. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Giving Is Caring
Paul Harrison BSc is a qualified meditation teacher who believes in genuine, authentic meditation. He has more than 15 years experience in teaching meditation and mindfulness both to individuals and to corporations and is the author of four books on meditation. He has been featured in Psychology Today, Breathe Magazine, Healthline, Psych Central and Lion’s Roar.
Paul studied meditation in beautiful Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University.
Paul’s biggest inspirations include Thich Nhat Hanh, Jon Kabat Zinn, and Jack Kornfield.
“My goal is to provide the most authentic meditation sessions so you can harness the power of your own mind for personal transformation” – Paul Harrison