So you’ve decided to become a yoga teacher. With nearly every yoga studio offering their own yoga teacher training course (YTTC), how do you know which one is right for you?

Choosing a program is no small deal. Training is not only a huge financial investment, but it shapes who you are as a yoga teacher. If you don’t do your research you might end up in a program that falls short and leaves you feeling unprepared to teach.

Avoid this dilemma and pick the perfect course by following these ten steps:

1. Decide which style of yoga you’d like to teach.

This is one of the most important factors when choosing a yoga teacher training course. Whatever style you learn in your course will likely be what you teach in the future.

If you’re already a dedicated student of a specific yoga style like Ashtanga, Iyengar, or CorePower, then the decision is a no-brainer. Otherwise, take classes in lots of different styles including hatha, vinyasa, kundalini, and restorative until you find something that resonates with you. You’ll be happiest teaching a style that you also love to practice.

2. Use your own teachers as a resource.

Your teachers are one of the most valuable resources when it comes to choosing a YTTC. Ask your favorite teachers where they completed their certification. Did they like it? Would they recommend the program? If not, do they know of other programs worth considering?

3. Decide on international versus domestic.

Will you stay local or go abroad? Although you might have your pick of yoga teacher training courses within a few miles’ radius, it’s worth considering international programs, which definitely have their benefits.

Most courses abroad are one-month intensives, meaning you’ll complete the course quickly. Plus, with no work or family distractions, you can give your full attention to your training. The icing on the cake is that you get to travel and practice yoga in a beautiful place. You’ll have your pick of continents and countries; programs in Central America, Southeast Asia, Europe and India are abundant.

International programs are not necessarily more expensive; in fact, many are nearly half price. You’ll have to factor in a flight, but the overall cost may still be less than a domestic YTTC.

4. See if the course schedule will work with your schedule.

If you don’t have much flexibility with work and other commitments, schedule can be a pivotal factor when choosing a YTTC.

Most US programs are spread out over the course of several months with all-day classes on weekends. Others are once a month, week long intensives, and fewer are month long intensives. Scheduling might determine which program is possible for you, but remember too that where there’s a will, there’s a way! Your work might be more flexible than you expect, and most obligations can be moved around to accommodate your education.

5. Shop around and know the going rate.

YTTC is a big business and one that’s quite lucrative for any yoga studio. While most courses are between $3,000 and $4,000, some studios charge even more. It behooves you to find out the going rate in your area so that you don’t fall prey to yoga studio greed. And if price is a make-it-or-break-it factor, inquire about scholarships and payment plans, which many studios happily offer.

6. Ask schools if they’re registered with Yoga Alliance.

Teaching yoga is NOT a licensed profession, but some studios will like to see that you’re registered with Yoga Alliance. This is an organization that attempts to standardize yoga school curriculum (but there is NO official yoga police). If you attend a school that’s registered with Yoga Alliance, you’ll be able to register with YA yourself upon graduation. While this isn’t a true gauge of your teaching skills and capability, it can help you to get a teaching job.

7. Compare curriculum between a few different schools.

YTTC curriculum varies greatly. Don’t assume that you’ll get a well-rounded yoga education everywhere. Instead, compare the curriculum between at least 3 schools. Inquire about teaching skills, creating sequences, business, yogic philosophy, yogic cleansing, ayurveda, spirituality, pregnancy and children’s yoga, and meditation. You might not even know what you want to learn until you start comparing what’s offered.

8. Research your potential teachers.

Your teachers will have a huge impact on your education, so find out their backstory before committing to a program. Does the studio bring in specialists to teach certain aspects of yoga? How long have they been teaching? Have they ever trained future yoga teachers? What’s their philosophy as a yoga teacher?

Yoga means many different things to many different people, so make sure that their philosophy aligns with yours.

9. Open the lines of communication with a few different schools.

Good communication is a sign of professionalism and it’s especially important if you’re considering an international yoga teacher training course. Reach out to several schools to gauge their responsiveness. Do they seem organized and professional? Do you feel confident handing them thousands of dollars? Ask them the questions that they most likely won’t advertise on their websites: how many YTTC programs have they conducted in the past? What are their graduates doing now?

10. Get the low down from past graduates.

Ask your top 3 YTTC picks to put you in touch with a few of their graduates. If they’re professional and offering solid courses, they won’t hesitate to connect you with old students. If they do hesitate, mark this as a red flag.

Email these students and ask them about their experiences. Would they recommend the program? What did they like best? Where did the program fall short? Who were their teachers (and will yours be the same?) Did the school help them to find a job after the course? There’s perhaps no better way to know what you’re getting into than speaking to those who have walked the path before you.

Once you’ve gone through these ten steps, you’ll feel confident that you’ve made a wise investment by choosing the perfect yoga teacher training course! Congrats, future yoga teacher!