Developing a personal training business comes with a lot of work. You can invest in the studio, in the staff, in making sure you reach as many people as possible, and so on. One of the most important things you should remember as a personal trainer is that people are more likely to choose you over the competition if you have a personal training certification.

Luckily for you, there are many types of certifications you can get. Because we want to help you choose the best one for your business, we’ve decided to present you with the main ones. We’ll talk a bit about them, so that you can get an idea of what your options are.

What Is the Best Personal Training Certification You Could Get?

1. American College of Sports Medicine (ASCM)

One of the most popular personal training certifications you can get is the one offered by the ASCM. They offer more than one type of certification, depending on the field you want to specialize in. Personal training is one of them. To become an ASCM certified personal trainer, you have to take an exam. The good news is that it’s up to you to choose from the multiple study options they provide. Each of these is going to help you prepare for the exam.

The main study options are designed according to the needs of the person taking the exam. So, if you have a complicated schedule or can’t learn in a traditional way, you shouldn’t worry. You’ll find an option that works for you. They have an exam content outline, a prepU, some textbooks, plus workshops and webinars.

  • The exam content outline is like a blueprint of the exam you’re going to get.
  • PrepU is a quiz platform personalized according to one’s proficiency level.
  • The textbooks are self-explanatory: packed full of everything you’ll need to pass.
  • Workshops and webinars are held both in person and via the internet, in case you’re interested in a personal trainer certification online.

Taking the exam costs $279 for ACSM member candidates and $349 for ACSM non-member candidates, while a re-test is $175. The certification will allow you to work in many types of facilities, from gyms, to health clubs, community centers, universities, and so on. As such, it’s an extremely valuable personal training certification.

2. National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)

Do you want to learn how to be a personal trainer from the very best? Then you should definitely consider enrolling in the personal training certification program offered by NASM. It’s founded on the Optimum Performance Training model and it’s science-based. After you get certified, you’ll be ready to start a career as a personal trainer.

Moreover, the ways through which they teach you everything about personal training are really interactive and entertaining. You get to learn via case studies, video lectures, and even application-based modules. The support that comes with this certification is also amazing. They offer one-on-one mentors and coaches who can help you get through the program easier.

You also get practice quizzes and exams, just to make sure you’re ready for the actual accreditation exam. Plus, they offer sample workouts and group activities, all designed to help you get certified as a personal trainer.

There are 4 types of packages you can sign up for:

  • The self-study package – $524.25;
  • Premium self-study – $749.25;
  • Guided study – $974.25;
  • All inclusive – $1499.25.

3. International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)

The third personal training certification comes from ISSA, and it’s nationally accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission. How long does it take to become a personal trainer? With ISSA, you don’t have to worry about that. You’re free to study at your own pace. So, if you want to get the certification fast, you can always study faster. Moreover, the test you need to take is available online, so it won’t be a hassle for you.

They provide you with course materials, and with additional support in case there’s something you want to know and can’t find in the materials. Their customer support is available to you both before and after you get the certificate, which is not something a lot of personal training certifications offer.

Moreover, they pride themselves with having accredited people working in numerous partner gyms. These include Curves, Equinox, Powerhouse Gym, Urban Active Fitness, Crunch, and others. Getting accredited only costs $499. For that price, you get all the materials you need, including the main course text, the study guide and workbook, the marketing and business guide, the quizzes, and many more.

4. American Fitness Professionals & Associates (AFPA)

One of the greatest things about the personal training certification offered by AFPA is that it’s recognized both nationally and internationally. Furthermore, it’s also a self-study, self-paced training, at the end of which you get to choose when to take the certification test. If you pass the test, you will surely have the knowledge it takes to be a fitness trainer.

There are no personal trainer certification requirements you should worry about, except for the fact that you have to be at least 18 years of age. This certification is quite versatile. For instance, you get study manuals, as well as video lessons, a mail-in option, and the option to take the exam online. You also get to practice what you’ve learned by taking quizzes before actual exam. If you’re interested in this personal training certification, the price is $449.

5. American Sports & Fitness Association (ASFA) Youth Fitness Training Certification

The last certification we’re highlighting today is specifically designed for people who want to get a youth fitness certification and train children and teenagers. So if you enjoy working with kids and young adults, let’s see what the certification from ASFA has to offer.

woman training a child

The first thing that drew our attention is that the main aim of this certification is to help personal trainers appeal to younger people by understanding their different way of relating to exercise. Since young people have distinct and unique needs, a youth fitness trainer should be aware of them. Two of the main issues this certification touches upon are low activity levels and an improper diet. There’s also an accent placed on fun, which is always necessary when training young people. To get this certification, you have to pay $99 for one year, but only if you pass the exam.

What Should You Be Aware of Before Applying to a Personal Training School?

The last part of today’s guide deals with the main things you should know before deciding to study in a personal training school and getting certified as a personal trainer. As long as you’re aware of them, you’ll learn how to be a personal trainer in no time.

#You Should Get Certified

If you have your own business as a personal trainer and you want to grow it, you don’t necessarily need a certification. However, you should definitely consider getting one. Customers are always on the lookout for professional, certified trainers. At the same time, if you want to get hired as a personal trainer somewhere else, you’ll most definitely need a certification. That being said, regardless of your career choices in this field, you should get a personal training certification at the end of your studies.

#You Should Practice

Knowing everything there is to know about personal training theory is not enough. In order to be a great personal trainer, you need to practice. We advise you to do so before interacting with actual clients, since it will ensure you’re completely prepared.

trainer helping a woman train

#You Should Find Something Within Your Budget

Personal training schools can be expensive. Still, some of them offer different kinds of discounts. You should research all of them before deciding on the best and most affordable one for you.

Bottom Line

When it comes to getting a personal training certification, you should take your time. Choosing a program that can give you everything you’re looking for is difficult. For instance, if you’re trying to decide between the options we’ve presented above, you have many things to consider. The most important ones are:

  • Skills you’re going to acquire after getting certified;
  • The affordability of the certifications;
  • The amount of flexibility they offer;
  • Hiring opportunities after you obtain the certification.

Since a certified personal trainer salary is quite attractive, we understand the desire to become certified yourself. Going through this process will definitely help you grow your business. We hope today’s guide to some of the best certification programs out there is a good start to answering most of your questions regarding how to become a certified personal trainer.

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