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“The best way to pick a personal trainer certification is to pay attention to what other personal trainers are saying about it. Check out the discussions on each of our certification pages for an inside look. ” (about me)

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Cooper Personal Trainer Certification

Although not one of the major certs, the Cooper personal trainer certification (CI-PTr) manages to attract a loyal following to its program. And NCCA accreditation is only growing the program as more people become aware of the accreditation of certification programs.


So let's start with the requirements to begin the Cooper personal trainer certification program. First, like many other certs, you must be at least 18 years old. This must be verified by acceptable documentation such as a valid driver’s license or government issued ID.

You must have proof of CPR training with a top provider such as the Red Cross or the American Heart Association. It has to be an actual class where you learned to perform CPR on either a real person or a dummy used for this purpose. They do not accept on-line course certifications.

The Cooper Institute recommends that you have had at least 2 years of weight resistance training. However just the fact that you work out on a regular basis will qualify you for this requirement. I think this is a silly recommendation because sometimes it is harder to undo 2 years of bad habits than it is to teach the proper exercise techniques.


Getting Cooper Certified

There are many workshops and education courses available to prepare you for the Cooper exam. But students commonly take one of the Cooper approved and administered education programs available at their Dallas, Texas headquarters.

Cooper offers a 2 day applied learning workshop that supplements the self-study coursework. The Cooper workshop reviews all aspects of being a personal trainer and is a good way to solidify your knowledge before taking the test. Among the topics being reviewed are:

1) Fitness
2) Anatomy
3) Body Composition
4) Strength training
5) Flexibility training
6) Cardiovascular training
7) Goal setting

Keep in mind that the workshop should only supplement your certification exam preparation. Students should thoroughly study the Cooper Institute personal training manual before attending the workshop. The manual has a wealth of information about preparing for the certification test. You may also purchase their personal training instruction DVD if you are a visual learner.

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Program Costs

The Cooper personal trainer certification exam costs $200 and the workshop will set you back another $215. If you want to home study using DVD materials, it will cost you $400.

Overview of the Cooper Exam

The Cooper exam has a strong emphasis on applying your knowledge to work related, real life circumstances, so make sure you know the practical side of the material before attempting this certification test. This 3 hour, 150 multiple choice question test covers the following areas:

Core Scientific – 30%
Assessment and Evaluation – 15%
Goal Setting and Adherence - 10%
Exercise Prescription - 35%
Business Principles and Professionalism – 10%

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You must get at least 105 questions correct (70%) to earn the Cooper certification and has a pass rate of 78%. The exam is given several times a year so if you don’t pass it the first time you can retake it at a later date by paying an additional $145.

Given that you may not want to wait a few months before retaking the exam or pay the hefty retest fee, it pays to pass on the first attempt. You may want to check out our Exam Review Course to ensure you pass the Cooper exam on the first try.

You must register for the exam at least 24 hours in advance. They do not accept walk-ins. Either register online with a major credit card, print out a registration form online, or call their toll free number with your registration and credit card information.

When taking the exam you must be there at the time stated. Late arrivals will not be accepted. Have your ID and CPR certification with you. Morning tests are given at 9:00 a.m. promptly and afternoon tests at 1:00 p.m. Check-in begins about 45 minutes prior to the test time.

Cooper Recertification Requirements and Costs

When you pass your Cooper personal training certification you are certified for 3 years. After the 3 years is up you will have to recertify by paying a fee and proving that you have continued your education, keeping up to date on all aspects of personal training.

For the convenience of their students and graduates there is a 6 month extension for getting re-certified. If within that 6 months you renew your certification it will be valid for another three years from the time you first were certified. A $50 extension fee will be added at the end of the 6 months.

Renewing your Cooper personal trainer certification will cost you $65. But the real cost comes from satisfying the continuing education requirements. If you attend classes that are not affiliated with Cooper personal training make sure you get a signed statement saying that you did indeed take that particular class.

Vital Statistics: Cooper Personal Trainer Certification

Cooper Certification Cooper cooper exam
Certification CPT - Certified Personal Trainer
Workshop length 2 days or 4 days
Workshop Availability Dallas, TX only
Program Cost $215 for 2 day, $525 for 4 days
Materials cost $400 for home study DVDs
Industry recognition Med-Low
NCCA accredited Yes
Prerequisites High School Diploma, 18 years old, CPR
Exam Questions 150
Exam Time 3 hours
Exam Cost $200
Retest Cost $145
Exam deadline  
Exam locations Dallas, TX only
Time to Complete (Approx.) 2 months
Recertification every 3 years
Recertification Cost (Approx.) $500


What do you think about Cooper certification?

Here's your chance to have your say about the Cooper personal trainer certification. Ask a question, submit a comment, or even rant or rave about the Cooper Institute.

Cooper Certification Tips

Getting feedback about the Cooper personal trainer certification from people who have gone through the program is valuable. Click on each tip to read and rate the comments submitted by our readers.

Coopers Test Failed twice 
I have taken the Coopers test twice now. I attended the four-day workshop last August, '10. Studied the manual for six months (on and off). Took the test …

No mention of The Cooper Institute Certification programs 
I live in the Dallas Fort Worth area of Texas. Regarding other Certifying bodies which are worthy of note. As you may or may not know, Dr. Cooper, personal …

Cooper Institute needs to expand 
Until the Cooper personal trainer certification is available outside of Dallas, I don't think it is ever going to be a big player. Even with the NCCA …

Cooper Certification Exam Not rated yet
I took the exam in December and passed with a high score. To prepare for the exam I attended a day and a half applied course at the Cooper Institute, …

Cooper Certification Reviews Not rated yet
I am from Dallas and just got certified as a personal trainer by Cooper in July. In Dallas it is considered quite an accomplishment to be Cooper certified. …

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