Tips for Choosing a Personal Trainer Certification Provider

Personal Trainer Certification

If you are looking to become a personal trainer, its important to get certified. While theres no legal requirement for personal trainers to get certified, earning a certification will unlock more doors in your career, compared to operating without one.

Also, certified personal trainers earn higher rates, compared to their uncertified counterparts. Furthermore, most insurance companies wont give you liability insurance, if you are not a certified personal trainer. As you can see, earning a certification comes with numerous benefits.

However, with so many certification providers out there, choosing the right one for you can be a bit overwhelming. But, we are here to help you out. In this article, weve compiled a list of the key factors to consider, to help make your selection process much easier.

NCCA Accreditation

NCCA accreditation is undoubtedly one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a certification program. And, there are two main reasons why you should ensure the certification that you choose is NCAA accredited.

First, as the governing body for the fitness industry, the NCCA has set a gold standard as the requirements a properly constructed certification program should meet. So, when you choose an NCCA-accredited program, you can be assured you will get high-quality training and learning.

Second, most organizations will only hire a personal trainer whose certification is NCCA-accredited. So, regardless of where you will apply for work, they will check whether your certification is NCCA-accredited. And if its not, the chances of being hired will be slim.

Some of the NCCA-accredited certification programs to consider include NCCPT, ISSA, ACE, NFPT, NSCA, NASM, and NESTA. You can check out any of these eight programs individually and then choose one that aligns best with your needs.

Certification Cost

As you may expect, the costs for the certification programs will vary from one provider to the next. On average, you can expect to pay approximately $400 to $600 for entry-level certification.

Some certification providers offer packages just for the exam. And this package can range from around $200 to $600. Some offer a combination of study guides, learning resources and the exam, which can cost as much as $2,000 or even higher.

As for the cost, it will depend on how much you are willing to spend. However, if you are on a tight budget, you can simply go for the ACTION-CPT, with the basic package going for around $200. Its currently the cheapest certification on the market.

Mode of Learning

Different certification programs offer different modes of learning and the testing process. For instance, some programs are offered entirely online. However, others may require you to take your exam in a designated physical location. As you can see, such a program can be highly inconvenient.

First, if you are working full-time or part-time, such a program may not be ideal for you. Besides, traveling costs can add up quite fast, especially if you live far from the designated physical location.

To this end, you should consider choosing an online certification program. Some of the certification programs that are offered online include NSCA, NASM, ACE, ISSA and NCSF.

Ease of Passing

Some certification programs tend to be harder than others. And as you may expect, the harder a program is, the longer it will take you to become a personal trainer. With that in mind, it will be highly advisable to choose a program that wont be too hard to pass the exam. This way, you will be able to get a return on your investment as soon as possible.

The ease of passing these courses is usually measured by their pass rate. Currently, the certification programs with the highest pass rates are ISSA, NCCPT, NESTA, ACTION, and ACE. All these programs have a pass rate of 65% and above for first-time test takers. ISSA is considered the easiest one to complete and get certified, with a pass rate of approximately 89.9% at the time of writing.

Recertification Process

After youve earned your certification, you will be required to keep recertifying or renew it, to ensure it remains valid. And, different programs have different recertification requirements. Some programs may require you to renew your certification every year, every two years, every three years or every four years.

For every recertification, you will pay a certain fee. And as you can see, yearly recertification can be quite costly. With this in mind, you should go for a certification that remains valid for at least two years or more, so that you wont be spending too much of your money on recertification.


We hope that the tips weve shared here will help you to choose the best personal trainer certification for you.