How to become a certified personal trainer?
If becoming a personal trainer aligns with your career goals, you will want to earn a certification from an accredited organization as your first step toward this profession. Being qualified involves getting proper education, which is vital for learning how to accurately assess clients through safe and effective workouts. By exploring National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accredited certification programs—like the NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Exam Prep—you will have a good starting point when reviewing the right certification program for you.
In addition to earning a certification, higher education such as completing an associate, bachelor's, or even a master's degree may further enhance your marketability, experience, and knowledge regarding health and fitness.
There are currently no government regulations requiring fitness professionals to earn a certification or college degree—but most gyms and health clubs prefer to hire someone with a personal trainer certification. Unaccredited certifications are becoming much less in demand, and the fitness community is requiring more education from today's fitness professionals.
What is a personal trainer salary?
According to Salary.com, the technology leader in providing employee compensation data, software, and services, the average personal trainer salary in the U.S. is $63,961 as of April 26, 2022. The salary range for this profession typically falls between $46,146 and $78,568.
Salary can also vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, and years you have spent in your profession.
How to get certified as a personal trainer?
When it comes to being a certified personal trainer, we recommend you do your research and see what program (NASM, ACE, etc.) makes the most sense for you.
For example, the NASM Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) exam involves possessing the following qualifications: a high school degree or your GED, being cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certified, and holding an automated external defibrillator (AED) certification, with the latter two criteria only being needed before your certification exam.
Once you understand your career goals, you can align to a certified personal trainer program that works best for you. There are many options, but NCCA accredited programs are the most reputable.
Finally, your last step should involve registering for your certification exam upon successfully completing your training program. After passing your exam, you will be ready to launch your new career as a certified personal trainer.
How long does it take to become a personal trainer?
Investing in yourself to gain new skills and knowledge can involve a time commitment. The time that it takes to become a personal trainer can depend on what path you take.
If you were to opt to obtain a bachelor's degree, this would typically take around four years, which is why most select personal trainer certification programs due to flexibility and expediated timelines.
The length of personal trainer certification courses can vary based on which courses you choose to complete and at what pace you work. Many people take between a few months and a year to learn all the material that will be on their certification exam in self-paced courses. At ed2go, you can prepare for the NASM CPT exam with our NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Exam Preparation course and become certified in less than six months!
Does this course prepare for a certification?
Yes, this course prepares you for the NCCA accredited NASM CPT Personal Trainer Exam. The exam is taken at a local testing center (PSI), and you can schedule your exam date after completion of the course.
Can I register for a course if I am an international student?
Yes, ed2go courses are completely online. However, keep in mind that not all certifying bodies or industry-specific certifications are recognized internationally. Please review your country's regulations prior to enrolling in courses that prepare for certification.
When can I start the course?
This course is open enrollment, so you can register and start the course as soon as you are ready. Access to your course can take 24-48 business hours.
How long does it take to complete this course?
This course is self-paced and open enrollment, so you can start when you want and finish at your own pace. When you register, you'll receive six (6) months to complete the course.
What if I don't have enough time to complete my course within the time frame provided?
The time allotted for course completion has been calculated based on the number of course hours. However, if you are unable to complete the course, contact the student advising team to see what options you may have available to work out a suitable completion date. Please note that an extension fee may be charged.
What kind of support will I receive?
The course instructor will be available by email to answer any questions and provide feedback on your performance. Occasionally, your course may be supported by a team of industry experts. You will also receive support from the student advising team.
What happens when I complete the course?
Upon successful completion of the course, you will be awarded a certificate of completion. You will also be able to sit for the NCCA accredited NASM CPT Personal Trainer Exam that is taken at a local testing center (PSI) and you can schedule your exam date after completion of the course.
Am I guaranteed a job?
This course will provide you with the skills you need to obtain an entry-level position in most cases. Potential students should always do research on the job market in their area before registering.
Can I get financial assistance?
This course is non-credit, so it does not qualify for federal aid, FAFSA and Pell Grant. In some states, vocational rehab or workforce development boards will pay for qualified students to take our courses. Additionally, some students may qualify for financial assistance when they enroll, if they meet certain requirements. Financing is available from select schools. Learn more about financial assistance.
How can I get more information about this course?
If you have questions that are not answered on our website, representatives are available via LIVE chat. You can also call us at 1-877-221-5151 during regular business hours to have your questions promptly answered. If you are visiting us during non-business hours, please send us a question using the "Contact Us" form.
What is the best personal trainer certification?
The best personal trainer certification is the NASM Certified Personal Trainer credential, especially if you want to work with people of all fitness levels and varying physical abilities. This certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine is the easiest way to ensure that you have all the fundamentals you need to be a knowledgeable trainer, because it has very few prerequisites. NASM is a rewarding option whether you're coaching elite athletes or clients who lead moderately active lifestyles. NASM also focuses on injury prevention and rehabilitation with an ear to current discoveries and studies in the field. You'll be able to instruct your clients in safety techniques as well as keep them from aggravating existing injuries or musculoskeletal issues.
NASM-certified personal trainers are among the most desirable fitness professionals. This credential is one of the top certifications available in the United States, because it's such a versatile springboard for careers in fitness and athletic training, clinical fitness training, and sports medicine. Depending on your career focus, you may want to supplement this training with other certifications. With this as your foundation, you can mix and match other credentials from NASM and other reputable training organizations, like ACSM and NCSF. The Senior Personal Trainer Certification or the NCSF Certified Strength Coach (CSC) program may be good specializations to pursue in addition to the NASM certification.
What are the different personal trainer certifications?
There are several different personal trainer certifications and their specialization opportunities and requirements depend on their accrediting organization. The five best personal trainer certifications are awarded by the American Council on Exercise (ACE), American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA), National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), and National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). Each of these organizations offers personal trainer certifications, as well as specialized endorsements to help you bring focus to your career.
Personal trainer certifications are often combined with specialized training qualifications, including corrective exercise, performance enhancement, strength coaching, advanced personal fitness training, personal training and group exercise training for older adults, and much more. Many personal trainers start out with a fundamental certification, like the NASM Certified Personal Trainer credential, and they further their education and their career over time. However, some preparation courses and tests combine the CPT exam with a supplemental endorsement in one of the specialized tracks, which is a great choice if you have a particular focus in mind.
What are the top personal training certifications?
The top five personal training certifications are also the most popular among today's trainers and employers. These are awarded by the American Council on Exercise (ACE), American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA), National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), and National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).
Before completing any of these top personal training certifications, you'll need to start by earning your CPR and AED certificate. That's all that's required before you pursue Certified Personal Trainer credentials from NASM or ACE, but the others—ACSM, ISSA, and NSCA—do require you to have a high school diploma or GED. If you have all the prerequisites, and you still can't decide, consider the particular approaches to training that each organization takes.
ACE is a great choice for prospective trainers who want to work with a variety of clients and ability levels. ACSM is a good choice if you plan to work in medical centers and with seniors. ISSA is an academic institution, and its curriculum is implemented by the U.S. Department of Education. NASM is very well-rounded with some extra attention to injury prevention and rehab. Lastly, NSCA is another well-rounded certification and focuses on training for more active lifestyles.