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AFAA Certification Personal Trainer

Updated: October 2021

AFAA has been a round for over 30 years and enjoys a moderate level of name recognition for its many certifications including personal training and various group exercise specialties.

afaa certificationBut AFAA has struggled to become a major player in the industry because they are not NCCA Accredited. They will argue that DETC Accreditation is superior, but in the personal training industry the NCCA is the dominant accreditation.

If you are looking for an NCCA Accredited certification, you should look elsewhere.


Choice of Certification Programs

AFAA provides flexibility in its choice of two certification programs. You can attend a three day workshop or pursue an online certification. But don't be fooled, both courses will require extensive self study.

We will address both programs in this review.


The AFAA Certification Workshop

The three day workshops are held often in major cities and in some more remote locations. You will need to plan ahead to attend the workshop and may need to factor in travel costs if overnight hotels are required.

afaa certification reviewsThe AFAA workshop is very intense. You will get a lot of training in a very short period. You need to study extensively in advance. We have heard of many people who attended the workshop unprepared and did not come close to passing the exam. That would be a very expensive mistake.

You really do have to be good with self-study or else you will find it difficult to learn the material in the program.

The On-site Workshop cost $499 and includes the exam fees, a study guide and your AFAA membership. It does NOT include the textbook or practice exams which will add another $89 to your total.

The course can also be taken to earn 15 CEUs (no certification) for $255.

Finishing a 120 question multiple choice exam leads to AFAA certification.

Please be aware, in order to receive the certificate, additional certification in CPR/AED is required. Once the workshop is completed successfully, a AFAA Certified Personal Trainer certificate and I.D. Card will both be issued. You must complete the course within one year to avoid a $40 fee.


The AFAA Certification Online Course

The online version of the AFAA program revolves around 14 recorded video lectures along with a study guide and sample multiple choice questions.

afaa online certificationAlso included is one 50 minute group session with instructors. The online training platform allows students to work with instructors in an interactive manner through video web conferencing. Additional individual sessions can be purchased for $40 if more assistance is required.

The exam consists of 120 multiple choice exams plus a practical component that is also done online with an AFAA instructor.

The online program also requires both CPR/AED certification. You will also need a computer with a webcam and microphone.

The online certification program costs $499. But AFAA sometimes offers specials as low as $299. Remember that the cost of the textbook and practice exams are extra.


The AFAA Textbook

afaa personal trainingThe AFAA Certification recommended textbook is Personal Fitness Training: Theory & Practice Textbook by Mary M. Yoke. The 2nd Edition of the book is 468 pages and is available for $69 plus shipping.

The textbook covers exercise science, fitness testing procedures, obesity, nutrition & weight control, special populations & special medical considerations, behavior modification techniques and listening, leadership and motivational skills.


Continuing Education and Recertification

AFAA requires 15 CEUs to extend your personal trainer certification after the initial 2 year period. They offer a wide range of courses that can be completed online or through workshops including aqua fitness, training seniors and more.


Final Thoughts

afaaAFAA is a good fit for people who don't need NCCA Accreditation and want the convenience of an online course. Check out what our readers are saying about AFAA Certification below.

by Katie Donnelly


Vital Statistics: AFAA Certification Personal Trainer

AFAA Certification Personal Trainer AFAA
Certification Personal Trainer
Established 1983
Workshop length 3 days
Workshop Availability  
Program Cost $499
Materials cost $69
Industry recognition Medium
NCCA accredited No
Prerequisites CPR/AED

Exam Questions 120
Exam Time  
Exam Cost Included or $199 (without program)
Retest Cost  
Exam deadline 1 year
Exam locations during workshop or online
Time to Complete (Approx.)  
Recertification yes
Recertification Cost (Approx.) $400


What do you think about the AFAA certification?

While we don't love AFAA because of its choice to not get NCCA Accreditation, what do you think about the program?

AFAA Certification User Reviews

The first hand experience of our readers is very valuable. Check out what they have to say about AFAA.

Has anyone been certified through AFAA? 
Hello. I am currently studying online for personal training but I decided I need to see more of the physical aspect in person. I have herd of AFAA and …

I would NOT use AFAA for a personal training certification 
I spent the almost $500 for the 3 day workshop and passed the written exam on the first try but not the practical. The workshop instructor said she could …

I took the workshop in the beginning of November! They failed me at practical. God knows why! When i asked they could not give me a reasonable explanation. …

AFAA Certification with classroom portion 
I took the AFAA 3 day class last year. The instructor was very qualified. The class was intense and difficult - 3 long days with the test at the end. …

Just passed the AFAA Online (written portion) Personal Trainer Exam 
I could not have done this without Katie's Exam Prep Course. It really made everything come together for me. The AFAA exam mostly covers Joint Actions, …

AFAA Harder than expected 
I have received my cert last week. I wasn't sure I passed so it was a nice surprise. The test was hard mostly due to the fatigue after 2.5 grueling days. …

AFAA Online Certification in three months 
I took the personal training certification online from AFAA and is was a reasonable experience. I have my four year degree so reading the textbook wasn't …

AFAA Personal Trainer Certification is Good 
AFAA is one of the top industry certification programs that is accredited and still includes a practical examination. Even with a 4 year degree in Exercise …

NBFE Accreditation versus NCCA Accreditation 
What is the difference between the NBFE (National Board of Fitness Examiners) that AFAA is affiliated with, and NCCA? Is one preferable to the other? …

AFAA Online Course vs. 3-day Workshop 
I am researching the AFAA Certified Personal Trainer exam and would like to hear some opinions from current AFAA certified trainers. Would you recommend …

Nutrition Coach Not rated yet
Has anyone taken the certification for Nutrition Coach with AFAA ? I am very interested in nutrition but would like to see the course content before hand …

Not Satisfied with AFAA/NASM Not rated yet
I purchased the AFAA group fitness certification last year and tried to sign up to take the test through (their chosen exam proctoring service) …

Second Time getting AFAA Certified Not rated yet
I have been in the business for more than 20 years. I have attained several certifications including AFAA. I let my certs expire because I felt that part …

Click here to write your own.

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