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Lots of Improvement to Become Credible

by Aron Rightious
(Thousand Oaks, CA)

*** Editor's Note: This thread is about the original exam which has been replaced. ACTION earned full NCCA Accreditation in January 2014. We are leaving this thread here because it still provides some valid criticism of the program even if the comments about the exam no longer apply ***

I just took the exam...and passed.

I am responding in regard to the credibility of this cert and the likely hood of NCCA accredited.

First, the test was very basic. Very, very basic. The manual seemed to be well put together, but I didn't spend more than 5 minutes looking at it.

I admittedly did not study the manual. Which by the way is part of the NCCA rules. You cannot require any previous education. In other words, you cant require that a person has to buy your textbook to pass the test, so I didn't study.

Second, its FAR TOO EASY to cheat. You can have the manual open, and reference the answers. You can search for answers online, have a buddy there to help you...OR...have someone else take the test for you!

This is probably enough to guarantee they will never get accredited.

I say this from first hand experience working with another cert organization.

That being said there were some things I liked:

-The online classes are a good idea. Cant vouch for the quality of the education.

-The supplemental study materials seem like a good idea too. I used the free account so I couldn't access them to give an honest review.

-Unlimited practice exams is cool. Would-be trainers are usually very nervous about testing and this could be a good tool.

Some things I didn't like:

-Things like giving an insurance quote is silly fluff to me. You can get PT insurance quickly and painlessly, you don't need ACT to be the middlemen.

-Im sure the business plan, DBA, LLC, forms etc. is all generic stuff. I can't say I would form an LLC with forms I got as part of a $65 deal.

-Reference Letter - This is bogus. It's a generic letter that says things that aren't true, such as "We have been fortunate enough to interact with Aron extensively during our course including lectures and one-on-one time with our instructors."

I signed up yesterday and tested today...not extensive interaction at I didn't do any one-on-one interaction with instructors.

Also, what if I passed with a 70%, or I get the same letter?

- Unsubstantiated claims - how can you claim to be "international internationally recognized"? Does that mean 2 people in other countries have your cert? What does that mean? Tell me one gym in the US that accepts this cert. Tell me who recognizes you internationally.

Im not condemning ACT. They may have good intentions and may work out the short comings and prove to be a reasonable option in the future...But as it stands, they are no different than other unknown certification mills.

If I was a fitness manager I could only see myself accepting this as an "intro" to personal training. You could shadow a trainer with his cert, then go get another cert from an established organization.

Katie, you know that I have forwarded information to you about other cert companies...Nowhere in this review have I tried to promote them. I have written articles for this site, and really think its a great site and a great resource. I respect this industry, and strive to have integrity.

Comments for Lots of Improvement to Become Credible

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I prefer online tests
by: Karen

I passed too... although not with the cushion I was expecting... I thought the exam was comparable to my other certs.

I actually prefer the open book approach to testing. I think it is much more realistic to allow a personal trainer to look at their notes, open the textbook, use a calculator, and use the web.

When I need to calculate target heart rate, I don't write the formula down from memory and calculate the math in my head. I open my iphone and punch in some numbers and have the result in 30 seconds. Why should the exam test us on memorization and calculations we will never perform?

And this is not "cheating" since it is expressly allowed by ACT. The downside is that they don't give you much time to complete the exam so you are only going to be able to use outside resources for a few questions max.

I totally agree that the NCAA isn't going to accred this exam in the present format. I wrote to ACT and they responded that they will likely move to the proctored testing centers when the NCCA application is approved. But they are keeping the online exam as long as possible to save people money on testing center fees.

I don't think NCCA will go for any online exam for the reasons you mentioned. I would guess the main reason ISSA hasn't gone for NCCA accreditation is that they don't want to give up their online exam.

I work for myself so the whole NCCA thing doesn't matter to me anyway. I have never had a client ask about my certs let alone their accreditation.

my .02,


who cares
by: Anonymous

Who cares if is NCCA accredited or not, or ether ACE or ACSM or any other certification out there. The clients wants a good personal trainer. They dont care about what is the best certification.

I see the CPT in my gym all with the t-shirts from ACE, ACSM and others very proud of spending thousands of dollars. First they dont have half of the clients that i have... and some of them they are just some nerds that dont even ever exercise themselves. They just buy the study material and do the exam and then come to me asking how do this how to do that.

I am a full time PT for over 15 years i had over 1000 clients. Never a complaint or an injury. i have the cheap online certificate just to hang it on the wall for the people to see from American Sports Fitness Association that i took a few months ago, and i paid $99 because i only found this one afterwards. The book from ACT is very good.. why pay 40 or $50 dollars when you can have it for free.

I am not saying to not be certified, i think is the best thing you can do if you wanna work in the industry. What dont pay thousands of dollars to become one.

Question to Aron
by: Carl

You say that the test was too easy. I was wondering what your knowledge was prior to taking the test. For example, if you are already in the fitness field or have had a large amount of personal training, the test would seem easy to you. How would the test be for someone with just a desire to teach/help someone learn the things they love, with no true prior instruction from a course online or in class?

by: Anonymous

I've just taken the ACT exam and passed with flying colors and time to spare. I've been preparing for my ACE exam now(which I will be taking in 2 days) and thought this couldn't hurt. After all its free and if I were to fail it was still a nice practice exam.

I spent about 30 minutes going over the review questions and took the exam immediately afterwards. Very easy. Most questions were really obvious. Granted I've been preparing for the ACE exam for months now. I'm hoping this is an indicator of my preparedness for the ACE exam.

Test is now proctored
by: Anonymous

I haven't taken the exam yet, but they are switching to the proctored exams in two days. Accreditation is very likely at this time, because they are meeting the requirements.

I am studying this to prepare me. I will take the exam at a proctored center when I feel ready. If they are accredited at that time I might just keep this cert. If not, I will go after ACE when I have the money for the study materials... and the things I learned from ACT will just make the ACE test that much easier to pass.

Able to bring calc and materials to exam site?
by: Anonymous

I understand that you now need to go to a testing site rather than take the exam at home. My question, are you able to bring a calculator and any study materials still or did that go away? Thanks!

scratch paper only
by: Anonymous

They will give you a pencil and scratch paper if you ask for it. But no calculators. They also collect the paper at the end of the exam so you can't take anything home with you.

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