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Last Updated: April 07, 2021

Personal Trainer Certification

Personal training has taken a new turn with the necessity of trainers increasing with the boom in fitness-related content in social media. Professionals in every field of work are keen on building a fitness routine that can fit into their busy schedules. The fitness fab has increased the need for fitness trainers who are not only passionate but also certified in their fields. Fitness trainers nowadays are expected to not only have knowledge about fitness equipment but they should also be able to recommend lifestyle changes and follow up with their clients providing each of them customized training methods.

Getting Certified as a Personal Trainer

Every field of work provides better opportunities and better clients when one has the required certification in the field. It is the same for being a personal trainer. If one is keen on starting a fitness-related start-up or join a gym, they should have the required certification to stand out from the crowd and also to instill confidence in the clients.

The first step to getting certified as a personal trainer is to choose the right certification program that focuses on the interests and strengths of the candidate. There are a few courses offered by different institutions that are accredited by the NCCA. The exams offered by the different institutions vary in their examination format and content which allows the candidate to have the freedom to play to their strengths. They can also choose to take courses that are accepted in the fitness centers they aspire to join.

The next step is to understand the curriculum of the course and the various study packages they offer which can suit the candidate’s skills. Each study package may be different and will be offered at different prices from which the candidate can choose what suits them the most.

After clearing the exam candidates will have to choose the field they want to work in. This can be working in health and fitness clubs, specialty studios, medical facilities that require fitness aid for their patients and candidates can even choose to begin their own business online.

Basic Eligibility Requirements

Certification courses do not generally have a long list of eligibility requirements. They are focused on people who have completed school and have moved on to work rather than higher education and hence have a requirement of having a high school diploma or anything equivalent.

Personal Trainer Certification Courses

Due to the unregulated nature of the fitness industry, the accreditation requirements of certificates received by students are subject to scrutiny only by employers. There are a few organizations that provide accreditation to courses and these are NCCA (National Commission for Certifying Agencies), DEAC (Distance Education Accrediting Commission, and NBFE (National Board of Fitness Examiners). Out of all of them the NCCA accreditation is the one most sought after by employers.
Accredited by NCCAAccredited by NBFEAccredited by DEAC
ISSAFitness Mentors
Fitness MentorsNCCPT

It is imperative that even before looking at the courses and exam structure of each of these certifications one should enquire at the places they want to work in about their preference. Most health and fitness centers and gyms have a preferred certification which can narrow down the list of courses one has to go through to find the best one for them.

Exam Content for Personal Trainer Certification

The subjects included in the certification programs change from institution to institution but have a general pattern that can be identified. The NCCA and other accreditation organizations ensure that the syllabus used by different institutions does not vary too much so that they have a particular set standard to them despite whichever exam the candidate decides to take. The general syllabus includes-

Cost and Duration for being a Personal Trainer

The cost and duration of the different packages offered by institutions vary from time to time. A few of these have been listed below. The certification courses are offered on a monthly basis or as a package that is cost-efficient and covers most of the expenses surrounding the exam and its preparation. Institutions also offer candidates the choice to apply for the exam and not take the course thereby having to pay only for the exam and not have additional expenses. The books required for the study of these exams can also be purchased from the same institution since their exam formats vary including the content and very structure of the exam.

The certification is valid only for a few years depending on the place the candidate has taken the certification from. NESTA is the only place providing a validity of a total of 4 years. The validity is generally only 2 years and have to be renewed after the said time period to be valid. This renewal will cost an additional expense depending on the institution.

ProgramCost RangeDurationValidity
ACE$424-$7496 months2 years
NFPT$199-$3491 year2 years
NASM$519-$17546 months2 years
Fitness Mentors$199-$6992 months2 years
NSCA$355-$9501 year3 years
NESTA$124- $4773 months4 years
NCCPT$5991 year2 years

Career after Getting Certified

Developing one’s career after receiving the certification is dependent on a lot of factors like the location they are in, their marketing technique, approach to clientele, sales techniques, etc. The salary range for professional personal trainers ranges from $39,000 to $49,000 on average. But there are also professionals in this field who earn as much as $200,000 in a year.

People can get jobs in commercial gyms, become independent personal trainers or 1099 personal trainers the salary structures of which are different from each other. Here the 1099 personal trainer is a model where the personal trainer is not employed by the gym but is taken on a contract basis. The trainer gets half of the amount the client gives to the gym generally and though is not a stable profession, it provides the trainer with a certain flexibility in working conditions.

Taking the certificate course is the beginning step for creating faith in the clients regarding the ability of the candidate and then to build from that to the six-figure salaries people aspire for.

Benefits of Getting Certified

Getting certified in the fitness industry is one way of getting a better line of clientele who is keen on receiving the best fitness regimes for the amount they are willing to pay. Due to the unregulated nature of the fitness industry and since social media provides fake and problematic fitness regimes that claim to make people lose weight faster than ever, it has become necessary that gyms and other fitness industries require certified professionals in order to increase their credibility.

Having a certification while beginning a career in the fitness industry guarantees a level of knowledge in all the areas required like anatomy and physiology which might not be available in other self-trained personal trainers who might be well-versed only in client-coaching techniques and the practical side of exercising. It is this factor that increases the credibility of the trainer and eventually gives them leeway to be self-employed.

Choosing the Right Certification

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