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“Figure out what your goals are and pick the program that helps you reach them.”
(about me)

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Best Personal Trainer Certifications

Updated: January 2022

What is the Best Certification?

A lot of times people will ask me to recommend the best personal trainer certifications.  This is something that I try not to do because we are all different.  My suggestion is that you do the research and determine which program seems to have the things that you need.

How Do You Decide Which is the Best Personal Trainer Certification?

How do you decide? Just follow the basics of what you already know.

Find answers to the following questions and go from there:

  • Are you new to all of this or are you already a trainer?
  • Are you looking for a job or a career?
  • Do you want to work at the health club for someone else or do you want to start your own business and work for yourself?
  • Will you pursue a specific niche like specializing people who have special needs?
  • Do you want to learn in a traditional classroom setting or are you open to online training programs?

If you are not sure about the answers to these questions, then there are two important steps that you need to take.  First, determine if personal training is really right for you (Step 1 on our site).  Second, take a look at what it will take to obtain certification and accreditation (Step 2).  These are the things that you will need to do in order to start your own business.  Are you up to doing what it takes?


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Locating the Best Personal
Trainer Certifications

If you are looking for a long term career, the NCCA accredited programs will be the best personal trainer certifications for you.

best personal trainer certification If you are just trying to get your first job, don't want to spend a lot of time or money, or are unsure if personal training is going to be your career, the Non-NCAA accredited programs will likely be the best personal trainer certifications for you.

The non-accredited certifications are also fine if you intend to work for yourself. But if you want to work in a gym as an employee, you will have an easier time getting the job with an accredited certification.

Who Cares what I think?

I added this page to the site because I wanted to give trainers the chance to express their views on the best personal trainer certifications. So if you are certified, tell us what you think.

Even if you are not certified, share what you have learned by researching the best personal trainer certifications. Which one do you think is best?

by Katie Donnelly


What Certification Do You Think is Best?

I am sure we can all get together and agree on what is the best personal trainer certification, right?

Maybe not, but we all can have our say and rate and discuss what everybody else thinks is the best personal trainer certification.

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click on the links below to see what other people say is the best personal trainer certification...Rate and discuss their comments.

The best cert, is the one gyms in your area want. 
I would investigate gyms in your city / town to see if there is a particular certification they are looking for. I am in the Southeast ( Charlotte, …

NASM is the best CERT  
For all of the people that are hating on NASM is because they either cant pass the test or are upset about something. IT is expensive and very hard for …

ACSM vs. ACE. Need advice, thank you! 
I have a degree in Adult Fitness & Exercise Science, most of the material in that program was through ACSM. I originally bought the study materials for …

How helpful is a college degree ?? 
I am planning on getting my PT certification, soon followed by a Bachelors degree in either Exercise Science or Sports Medicine. How helpful is a degree …

Practical certification application 
I recently graduated as Senior Elite in dietetics which has given me a solid background on evidence based practice, and I feel that personal training may …

College Degree in Fitness.Period 
Certifications are over rated. I have one, big deal. I also have 2 college degrees in fitness, have taught in public schools in fitness, and taught personal …

Best certification to go on to nutrition/wellness coach? 
I am overwhelmed looking for the best platform to give me an extensive personal training background and to also prepare me for the next steps of becoming …

Best cert for cyclists 
I am a cyclist and someone who has always been interested in fitness, health, etc. I have ridden for years and years, riding (road) on average 3000 miles …

NSCA CPT and CSCS Reviews 
I've taken and acquired both the ACSM and NSCA certs over the past 10 years as a job requirement. Although ACSM is the source of the vast majority of standards …

All certs are overrated 
Please people relax.I have been a trainer for 16 years.I train a pro hockey player.I give seminars to various school districts sports coaches.I am a successful …

I am looking to obtain my first CPT. I am comparing what is considered the two best certifications, but I notice a huge cost difference on the programs. …

Bachelors Degree in Kinesiology or Exercise Science? 
I am in the process of a career change to personal training. My long term goal is to train endurance athletes, specifically triathletes. My plan is to …

Questions About the Field  
Hi, I'm only 19 years old, but have a passion for fitness. I have tried the ACE PT exam and failed the first time. I am re-taking it in November. I am …

Cert for functional fitness? 
What cert would be the best foundation for functional fitness training? I am interested in whole body, dynamic training, not muscle isolating machines, …

Benefits of Getting a Degree 
I have been in the fitness business for 30 years and I will tell you, flat out, that a degree from a university, followed with instructional licensing …

How to start? NSCA or ACSM; no fitness degree; Please help! 
I have a bachelors degree in psychology and have decided to get my personal trainer certification to work part time, full time if I can make enough money. …

I have narrowed it down between these two companies. I am a Firefighter/Paramedic and I am looking for a side job. Can anyone recommend one of these …

NSCA or ACSM Clinical Certifications 
I would like some feedback as to whether it is better to get a NSCA, or one or more of the ACSM Clinical Certifications, such as ACSM Certified Clinical …

Deciding between ACE or AFAA... or a better option... 
I was wondering if anyone could give me advice on which certification is better. The ACE or AFAA? Or if you would recommend something else? I am all …

Does it matter which personal training certification you get? 
I'm currently studying for my personal training certification with NCSF (National Council on Strength and Fitness). It is accredited and has testing centers …

I am going to obtain my personal trainer certification and I have narrowed it down to ACE and ACSM. I will be doing the self study method. ACE seems …

ACE vs. NASM? 
Wondering which certification is best for a first time accreditation? Both ACE and NASM seem widely-recognized and accepted. I am undecided whether to …

NASM or Cooper's Certification 
I have narrowed it down to NASM or Cooper's and thought you could tell me which direction you would go if you were me. I know Cooper's is more hands-on …

YMCA Certification? 
Hey guys, Did anybody here take the YMCA Personal training course and get your certificaiton? If you did, what did you think of the whole course and is …

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What Certifications are valid in Australia? 
Hi I am an Indian,33 yrs, have a vast experience as a personal fitness trainer and have worked as a fitness manager for 8 yrs. I am immigrating to Australia …

All Certs are the Same 
It amazes me how everyone thinks this certification is better than that one and the rest! What people fail to realize when getting into the PT business, …

PROPTA / The Private Trainers Association 
I like your site, it is very informative, but I noticed something that is missing. You talk about certifications and you give your opinion and you have …

IFPA Certification Reviews 
I just came across this site and its really well done- a lot of good info. But the best certification to me is IFPA. They have the best customer service, …

ACE or NASM certification? 
I am trying to decide which PTcert would be better for a newbie. I'd like to pass the exam and get to work ASAP. I live on the east coast and I've narrowed …

AFPA personal trainer certification 
I live in Spain where I own my personal training business. I was thinking to take an online course in personal training or nutrition, for putting another …

AFPA or ISSA certification? 
I am undecided which of this two, ISSA or AFPA online personal trainer certifications should I be signing up for. I would really appreciate some feedback. …

PFTA hands on learning vs. ISSA certification 
I have an opportunity to take the ISSA (on line) or a local company PFTA with (hands on). I'm 45 years old and want this very bad. It seem personal trainer …

Crossfit Level 1 vs. Everything Else 
I used this site to pick my personal training cert. I chose NASM. I was extremely pleased with what I learned, the information on this site, and the organizations …

WITS Certification 
Just taking a test for personal training is not enough – You have to apply personal training. WITS Certification taught me that certification is a lifestyle …

I am certified by NCCPT and I think it is one of the best and easiest certifications to obtain. They come to most U.S. cities a few times a year and you …

What Courses have the best Visual Learning Materials. Not rated yet
I have read multiple learning materials especially baking books and have acknowledge some of the strength and weaknesses in explaining the ideas, the thoughts …

Certification Not rated yet
I was wondering which certification to get. I asked three gyms and they gave me three different answers. I was searching online for a solid answer and …

Active IQ or CYQ - IT doesn't matter Not rated yet
Every country has different regulations on certificates and standardization. I am based in the UK and there are two dominant brands - Active IQ and CYQ. …

ACE recommendation Not rated yet
Unless you hold more than one personal trainer certification, it is almost a certainty that you think the certification you have is the best one. Even …

ACTION Certification is great for anyone Not rated yet
I think ACTION Certification is the best way to start. Before starting ACTION , I took the ACE exam preview course and paid $200 plus gas, tolls & parking. …

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