If you’re searching for a personal trainer course to meet the requirements to work as a personal trainer, you have a number of choices. The first thing you need to consider is if the course has accreditation from the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

The medical and physical therapy professions only acknowledge certifications from personal training courses accredited by the NCCA. Plus, NCCA accredited courses are recognized by The International Health, Racquet and Sports Club Association. You may save yourself some money on less expensive, non-accredited personal trainer courses, but it is not a wise decision. Here are three NCCA accredited and highly respected personal trainer courses to enroll in.

The Best Personal Training Courses

3. American Council on Exercise (ACE)

a woman training a man in the gym

The ACE personal trainer program was established in 1985. ACE is one of the oldest and most recognized personal training courses available. ACE offers three primary packages; the least costly Standard option is $599.

Each successive package, Premium and Premium Plus, offers a more difficult level of certification. The cost goes up to $50 at each level. The Premium Plus package also has an online option that teaches you how to help clients with optimal nutritional balance.

ACE requires that all aspiring personal trainers take an on-site exam. You can take the exams in most major U.S. cities, but be certain to check what cities are available. Again, the exam is mandatory to receive a certification.

One important consideration when thinking about the ACE personal training course is that it is reportedly very challenging. The mandatory exam has 150 questions and takes about an hour to complete. There is only a 65% pass rate for the ACE exam, so you should anticipate at least six months of dedicated study to effectively pass the test.

Additional Info

When choosing a personal training course, also consider what type client you’d enjoy working with. An ACE personal trainer course matches perfectly trainers who prefer working with senior clients or more non-athletic people.

ACE allows prospective personal trainers to purchase individual items that are part of the program. You may buy their 5th Edition ACE personal trainer manual, the study guide, flashcards, an exam review, or the exam itself.

2. National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)

a personal trainer guiding a client

The National Academy of Sports Medicine offers the most diverse collection of personal trainer courses. Similar to the ACSM structure, the base package is for an entry-level Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) qualification and costs about the same as the Standard ACE package.

If you pick the NASM personal trainer course, you will earn a discount should you elect to add advanced qualifications in the future. The NASM offers two of the industry’s most coveted advanced certifications. Once you pass the CPT exam, you can choose either their Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES) or the Performance Enhancement Specialist (PES) certifications.

Either of these advanced qualifications can open lucrative doors in the personal training industry. The CES is a mandatory requirement at most physical therapy clinics. Moreover, the PES allows you to specialize in high-end training athletes.

Additional Info

NASM also has an ultimate package that no one else offers in a personal trainer course. The NASM ultimate package costs about 2,000 dollars. Also, it is a well-known fact that it is one of the most meticulously outlined personal trainer courses on the market.

The course is so complex that the NASM will guarantee you a job as a personal trainer if you pass the exam. The NASM courses do not require you to pay an additional fee to retake any of the exams.

1. American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)

two women smiling at the gym

The American College of Sports Medicine was the first agency with a certified personal trainer course. The ACSM has a two-tier course structure. The first level is a general certification goes by the name of the Certified Personal Trainer (CPT).

Although they have expanded some of the base curriculum, this is basically the original personal trainer certification course. Because the ACSM was the first agency to offer a personal trainer course it has an outstanding reputation.

This two-tier option also gives those individuals who would like to immediately begin a career as a personal trainer the opportunity to work in an entry-level position. They can do that while continuing to study advanced levels.

The ACSM certified personal trainer (CPT) test is known to be more difficult to pass, similar to the ACE exam. The diversity of the ACSM course syllabus will also give trainers a wider area of knowledge that is excellent if you want to focus on a specific area of training, such as group personal fitness.

Additional Info

Once you earn your CPT certificate, you can begin working as a personal trainer. You can do this while you study for a degree in the field of exercise science. Trainers who complete the CPT course will receive a reduced fee to take the Health Fitness Instructor (HFI) personal trainer course. Most of the larger health club franchises require the HFI certification from the ACSM. Otherwise, they cannot hire someone as an instructor for group fitness classes.

The ACSM exam costs $279 on top of the course fee. Furthermore, you will have to pay $150 to take the exam additional times if you fail to pass it on the first try. The pass rate for those who attempt the ACSM exam is slightly higher than that of the ACE test, with a 71% pass rate. You can also save money on the courses, the exam, and study materials if you elect to become a member of the ACSM before you sign up for their personal trainer course.

Why Choose From These Personal Trainer Courses?

Earning your certification from personal trainer course does not automatically mean you are qualified. All you have to do is to fulfill the requirements of any of these three highly acclaimed courses. This way, you will be able to start on the right foot. Many of the most successful personal trainers hold multiple certifications so you might even consider completing all three.

All three of these personal trainer courses are accredited and offer an assortment of certification level. They have a similar set of core prerequisites and basic requirements. Moreover, they adhere to industry guidelines that will get your career as a personal trainer off to a great start, or reinforce your knowledge if you’re looking for advanced credentials.

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