Took ACTION exam and passed
(Bay Area, CA, USA)
First off, let me say clearly that this test is no joke. I certified with two other certifications, ACE and NCSF, and the ACTION exam was in my opinion the most "practical" test out of any them, and frankly a better test.
The exam covers the practical aspects of personal training, things such as functional anatomy, nutrition, and exercise that you NEED to know to design proper programs for your clients. While your client will certainly never ask you if they are performing horizontal scapular abduction, you do need to know that performing rows will strengthen weak rhomboids, or that heart rate needs to be monitored if they are a senior, or that isometric exercise wont increase maximal strength but will improve endurance (having them do endless planks wont = six pack).
This is a legitimate test, and is certainly equal in quality to any of the national level certifications.
The Exam book is also an excellent book on its own, and I am currently using it right now to study for the NSCA exam.
Considering its only $65 dollars, and the website is such a great resource as well in offering liability insurance, I would recommend getting the certification for anyone that is planning on working as an independent contractor or working for a private gym.
A corporate gym is unlikely to accept the certification, and dont count on it boosting your pay if you do apply at a corporate gym.
I do however have no doubt that the organization will become NCAA accredited, so earning it now would still be a solid long term decision, especially if the price goes up in the future. When they do become NCAA accredited, it will be a very cost effective way for any trainer working at a corporate gym to add a certification to their paygrade and credentials