Free Personal Trainer Certification
Note: I wrote this page before the free ACT Personal Training Certification came along which has disproved the rule that "you get what you pay for" (read our review here).
Rather than alter this page, I have left it in its original form because there are some important principles discussed.
I know its tempting... You see the ads splashed up all over the Internet offering everything from $99, $49 and even free personal trainer certification. But what is the real cost?
After hearing countless rip off stories from readers on this site, I decided to fight back. But how do we tell the difference between the rip offs and the real thing?
I started off by writing reviews of the legitimate personal training certs, and not a single free personal trainer certification among them... But my review is just my opinion. I soon realized that the best way to choose a personal trainer certification is through word of mouth.
So we added a bunch of dynamic web pages where users can comment and ask questions about certifications. You can see our directory of these pages on our discussion forum page.
If you are trying to check out if a particular certification is legitimate, check out our page on avoiding the scam artists. There are lots of questions and answer about some of the fringe personal training certs.
And if you are really looking for free things, check out our free personal trainer starter kit, free practice exam, and free exam tips. Unfortunately, we don't offer free personal trainer certification...but then nobody offers a free cert that you would actually want.
The Value of your New Career
If you are thinking of becoming a personal trainer, you need to understand that pursuing a bargain or even free personal trainer certification won't prepare you for the demands of your new career. If money is an issue for you, it is better to beg and borrow to get yourself a legitimate certification rather than buying a cert that doesn't prepare you. Your clients will suffer, if you can even get any, and you won't be happy with the shortcut you took.
A lot of trainers make this mistake and find that they have to go back and get another certification because they either can't bet a job at a gym or they are honest enough to acknowledge that they don't know what they are doing...and might even hurt somebody.
Going back and getting a second certification is such a huge waste of time and money that it pays to get it right the first time, so don't be suckered by the web sites touting free personal trainer certification. You get what you pay for.
The Difference between Education and Certification
A lot of people get the concepts of education and certification confused. People often believe that they must get educated by the same company that offers certification. But now there are many more accredited personal training schools available that will help you become an educated personal trainer in about six months. Most of these programs don't have their own certification tests but instead prepare you to take the well known NCCA accredited exams.
It doesn't take a genius to understand that you will be a much better personal trainer with six months of education and hands on experience compared to a weekend workshop or online self-study certification course. And while personal training school takes a commitment of your time and money, it is really just an investment in yourself.
I have seen countless new personal trainers flounder for months and quit because they didn't know what they were doing. It was obvious to their clients, obvious to the other trainers, and eventually obvious to themselves. Most of them quit at this stage thinking that personal training is too hard. But the reality is that they were unprepared for their new career.
We are fortunate that you can start a career in personal training with just six months of school. With so many other occupations requiring college degrees and graduate school, personal training is an easy investment. In fact, new personal trainers make about the same amount of money as new teachers. But new teachers require a bachelor's degree and at least a year of additional education before they can get their teaching credential.
And while everybody else is arguing over which certification is the best, you can go get educated and then take all the exams. By grounding yourself with a good education, you are not locked into any one "certification philosophy". You can think for yourself and for your clients.
Education Providers: List of Accredited Personal Training Schools
School Index by State: AZ - CA - CO - CT - FL - GA - IL - MA - MI - MN - MO - NJ - NY - OH - OR - PA - TX - UT - VA - WA
Certification Reviews: ACE - ACTION - AFAA - ACSM - NSCA - NASM - NPTI - NCSF - NESTA - IFPA - ISSA - CanFitPro - NFPT - Cooper - NATA
Exam Preparation: Take our Certification Exam Prep Course
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