I get the question all the time...what is a good national personal trainer certification?
But I always answer with a question...what country are we talking about?
It may sound simple but there are very few national personal trainer certification requirements or licensing restrictions around the world. Some countries like the UK and Australia have more requirements than unregulated countries like the United States. But even in these countries there is rarely a single national personal trainer certification.
But even in the absence of licensing laws, choosing a nationally recognized certification has advantages if you plan to move around the country. It is also beneficial if you plan to offer online personal training services. Having a certification that potential clients recognize is a strong marketing factor.
The Insurance Factor
You should also keep in mind that your ability to get liability insurance for your business is dependent on the insurer recognizing your certification. Insurance is often obtained at a discount through your certification provider but also can be bought individually if necessary. In these cases having a nationally recognized personal trainer certification is a must.
The Regional Advantage
While there is a strong case to be made for having a national personal trainer certification, sometimes regionally factors are more important. For example, if you are in Canada, it is hard to ignore the stranglehold that Can-Fit-Pro has on the certification market. If you are in Dallas, a Cooper certification carries a lot of weight. And in Colorado, NPTI is highly regarded.
While these are all good certification programs, they haven't truly crossed over into the category of being a national personal trainer certification. This is due mostly to availability and marketing factors and not quality issues. But it is something to consider when choosing your certification.
If you plan to practice in Texas for your whole career, Cooper makes a lot of sense. But if you are likely to be mobile or offer online training, choosing a more national personal trainer certification makes sense.
While accreditation is not the same thing as licensing, it is a big factor when choosing a reputable personal trainer cert. In the United States, the closest thing we have to a national personal trainer certification are the programs accredited by the NCCA. You can view these programs using our certification comparison table. While NCCA accreditation is not necessarily everything, it is a strong factor. If you are choosing a non-NCCA accredited cert, make sure the reason for choosing it is important and not just price. While many organizations will try to sell you a "national personal trainer certification" for $49 or $99, you get what you pay for with these unaccredited programs.