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“NCCA Accreditation lends some credibility to the IFPA certification. But you will have to supplement it with a lot of self study and practical education.”
(about me)

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IFPA Personal Trainer Certification

The International Fitness Professionals Association (IFPA) was established in 1994 and offers more than 60 certifications as well as more than 100 continuing education courses in the areas of health, fitness, sports conditioning, nutrition and medical professionals.

They also have several personal trainer certification programs. And with its NCCA accreditation, IFPA certification does carry a good deal of industry recognition. Individuals who become a certified personal trainer (CPT) can also go on to pursue several advanced certifications including the Advanced Master Personal Fitness, Advanced Master Personal Trainer DL, Advanced Personal Fitness Trainer and Elite Personal Fitness Trainer Education specializations.

The IFPA Course

The IFPA certification is primarily a self study program but if you are lucky you may be able to attend a complimentary workshop offered in major cities (held a few times per year). Prior to the workshop, students should have a strong grasp on the IFPA study guide and materials. Attending the workshop is not sufficient preparation for the exam. Many students have shown up to the workshops unprepared and have failed the IFPA exam.

If you are not a good book learner or struggle staying motivated, you may want to consider some hands on education instead. The study materials and workshop focus on the following main elements: Exercise Testing, Safety Guidelines, Professional Development, Aerobic Training, Sports Training, Strength Training, and Understanding Muscle Physiology.

The course also includes a 3 DVD workshop which supplements the IFPA study guide and course materials.


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As with most other specialized educational programs, the IFPA certification does have some prerequisites. Those who are interested in the course and obtaining the certification must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma.

Additionally, they must carry a current certification in CPR/AED and have some fitness training related experience. These prerequisites will help students better understand and absorb the material more readily.

The IFPA Exam

Passing the IFPA certification exam is dependent upon the student's understanding of certain fitness and anatomy principles. IFPA claims that students must also have the ability to apply those principles in real world situations and that the IFPA certification workshop and exam are constructed to guard against certifying people who are incompetent or are unable to fulfill their duties and a CPT. While this is a laudable goal, it is unclear how a DVD workshop is going to adequately prepare for the hands on elements of being a personal trainer.

The IFPA certified personal trainer exam consists of 100 multiple choice questions and that must be completed in 2.5 hours. The exam topics mirror the course materials and workshop topics listed above. There is no cost for the exam; it is included in the price of the workshop. Students must get at least 80% in order to pass. In the event that a participant does not pass the test the first time, they have the opportunity to retake the certification exam for a $79 retest fee.

The materials included in the program package will help prepare you to pass the IFPA exam, but it does require serious study and effort. You may also consider taking our Exam Review Course to ensure that you pass the IFPA exam on your first try. With over 750 practice exam questions, it is a good way to avoid the hefty exam retake fee.


Program Costs

All of the training materials, the DVD workshop and the exam are included for $419. If you are fortunate enough to have a weekend workshop scheduled near you, you can attend for no additional charge. Alternatively, you can skip the DVD workshop and pay only $399.


Recertification Requirements and Costs

The IFPA certification must be renewed every two years. The cost is $20 plus the cost of completing the continuing education courses. Students must have 12 continuing education credits in order to renew (about $319). There are several options for satisfying this requirement. Each IFPA certification course is equal to 1 continuing education credit but it must be completed within the renewal period which is 1 year prior to the certification expiration, up to the expiration date. There are also continuing education courses that are awarded for college courses, first aid and CPR courses as well as other courses that are taken from other companies. Each of these opportunities for continuing education credits is subject to certain rules and restrictions.

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Obtaining an IFPA personal trainer certification is an easy way to start your career in personal training. The NCCA accredited IFPA certification, although not exactly a household word, it is well known within the fitness industry.

However, many newly IFPA certified trainers struggle at first on the job due to the lack of hands on practical experience. To be fair, several other well known certs lack in this area also. If you choose to get certified by attending a weekend workshop, please pay special attention to supplementing your education by taking an extended course or shadowing a personal trainer for a few weeks. You will find that practical experience key to your long term success.


Vital Statistics: IFPA Personal Trainer Certification

IFPA Certification IFPA nfpt exam
Certification CPT - Certified Personal Trainer
Established 1994
Workshop length 2 days
Workshop Availability Major U.S. Cities
Program Cost $399-$459
Materials cost included
Industry recognition Med
Accreditations NCCA, ACET
Prerequisites High School Diploma, 18 years old, CPR
Exam Questions 100
Exam Time 2.5 hours
Exam Cost included
Retest Cost $79
Exam deadline 6 months
Exam locations Major Cities worldwide
Time to Complete (Approx.) 2 to 6 months
Recertification every 2 years
Recertification Cost (Approx.) $20 + $319 CEU costs


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What do you think about IFPA certification?

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

IFPA Certification Discussion

Getting feedback about the IFPA 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.

IFPA is a Waste of time 
I have been with IFPA as it was through my company. As I began to look to renew, I realized how difficult IFPA makes the process. I took several "outside …

Excellent for Practical Knowledge!!! 
I chose IFPA because of the hands on experience from their field leaders and teachers. Everyone knows that hands on experience will tell you much more …

IFPA Certified 
Thank you so much for this review, as it came at just the right time for me. I am currently being trained by an IFPA-certified trainer, and it's been …

What about IFPA Certification? 
I noticed you did not include the personal trainer certification by IFPA. There web site says they are accreditted by NCAA. Waht do you think of this certification …

IFPA Certification Reviews 
I took IFPA through the mail and even took the little test in my kitchen back in 1999. If it is anything like it was 10 years ago it is a joke! I currently …

IFPA Certification Suggested Changes Not rated yet
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