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NCSF Certification

ncsf certification The National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF) provides the well known CPT certification for personal trainers. The NCSF certification is recognized by most national fitness facility chains, is accredited by the NCCA and is considered to be a reputable certification throughout the industry.

The NCSF exam is often taken at the completion of many of the programs offered through personal trainer schools. In addition, NCSF education classes can be taken for college credit through the American Council on Education in Washington, D.C.

Prerequisites to Completing the Program

There are no prerequisites for completing the NCSF certification program.  However, you must study the course materials for certain modules and lessons prior to beginning your training course.  If you use the program in conjunction with other programs, such as physical therapist, you will have some prerequisites in order to finish that program. 

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If you have no experience in kinesiology or biology, you will find the NCSF certification course to be very challenging. NCSF recommends that you take some courses in these areas so that you are familiar with the way the human body moves, the different muscle groups and the chemical processes that occur in the body.  All of these things will make it easier for you to follow and complete the program, which is generally pretty fast paced.

Ways to complete program

You have three ways to complete the NCSF certification program. You can take a weekend workshop, attend a training school, or self study. Both the workshop and self study require extensive work. There are no shortcuts for earning this certification. So here is the rundown of each of your options.


This two day long course offers hands on learning for candidates who want a learning encounter that is enhanced and progressive.  Once registered, you will receive a package containing your course materials.  This package includes the text book, study guide manual, workshop reference guide, a step-by-step lesson plan and a CD-ROM of the concepts of training.  You will also receive the NCSF Personal Training Technique and Assessment DVD. 

ncsf examThe workshop is taught by a NCSF certified instructor.  It is intended to review existing knowledge and reinforce specific concepts.  It helps students to take theories and instruction out of the textbooks and into real life practice.  Students will have the opportunity to review and assess client profiles and make recommendations on activity based on those profiles. To get the most out of the workshop, it is recommended that it be used as a review for the material you have already learned using the course materials.

Training School

The NCSF Training School offers a 32 hour hands on training program.  This learning structure offers maximum supervision and more of a school setting with each class addressing specific, pertinent topics.  There are class rooms lessons with lectures are combined with interactive labs.

personal trainer certification ncsf This is a more relaxed classroom experience than the workshop, which is more intense.  It teaches students at a slower pace and allows more in depth exploration of the various facets of the program.

Self Study

Home study and self paced learning are becoming quite popular.  The NCSF self study course for personal training addresses the same subject matter as the workshop course as well as the training school.  Once you register for the NCSF Personal Training Home Study Course, you will receive the same course materials package.

The obvious difference in the home study course is that the real life application of exercise theory is not possible.  Instead, students are shown how to perform various training techniques and exercise assessments using videos. 

Program Costs

The cost of each program includes the materials. You will note that the workshop course is the same price as the self study so be sure to take advantage of the workshop if it is available in your area.

national council on strength and fitnessWorkshop Course

     Registration Fee $299 plus Shipping and Handling

     *  Textbook for course
     *  Study Guide
     *  Workshop Reference Guide, Lesson Plans
     *  Training and Assessment DVD and CD
     *  Workshop instruction - 2 days (16 hours)
     *  Membership to NCSF (1 year)

Training School

     Registration Fee: Varies, check with school

     *  32 Contact Hour Class
     *  Course Textbook
     *  Study Guide
     *  Lab Manual
     *  Class Syllabus
     *  Concepts of Training CD
     *  Technique & Assessment DVD
     * 1-Year NCSF Membership
     * Certification Exam

Self Study

    Registration Fee $299 plus Shipping and Handling

     *  Textbook for course
     *  Study Guide
     *  Practical Lab Manual
     *  Training and Assessment DVD and CD
     *  Membership to NCSF (1 year)


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Next Page: NCSF Review and Exam Details (continued)

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