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Our review of the NCSF personal trainer certification continues with a look at the NCSF exam and an overview of the certification. Remember to see what other readers are saying about NCSF.

Overview of the NCSF Exam

To pass the 150 question exam you must demonstrate your knowledge of basic anatomy, exercise physiology, health screening and evaluation, nutrition and weight management, exercise prescription, and special populations. The exact proportions of each topic is listed below.

Functional Anatomy 12.9%
Exercise Physiology 8.9%
Health and Physical Fitness 10.5%
Screening and Evaluation 12.1%
Nutrition 10.5%
Weight Management 8.1%
Exercise Prescription and Programming Considerations 14.5%
Training Instruction 17.7%
Considerations for Special Populations 4.8%


Preparing for the NCSF Certification Test

The NCSF exam costs $199 and carries a hefty $135 retake fee. So be sure to come prepared to the exam.

There are lots of study materials available from NCSF and from independent sources. The official NCSF materials are good but you should plan on taking our Exam Prep Course. With over 750 practice questions for only $32.95, it is a great insurance policy against having to retake the NCSF exam.

Recertification requirements

Your NCSF certification is valid for two years from the date that you pass the NCSF-CPT certification exam.  From there, you must maintain your certification by accumulating ten continuing education credits over the course of the two years.  This ensures that trainers certified through NCSF maintain the high standards and code of ethics that is associated with the National Council on Strength and Fitness.  These credits can be earned through fitness classes, workshops, seminars and other NCSF approved courses and classes.

NCSF Vital Statistics

NCSF Certification NCSF
Certification Certified Personal Trainer (cPT)
Workshop length 2 days or extended training school option
Workshop Availability US major cities
Program Cost $309
Materials cost Included
Industry recognition High
Accreditations NCCA
Prerequisites None
Exam Questions 150
Exam Time 3 hours
Exam Cost $199
Retest Cost $135
Exam deadline
Exam locations 400 testing locations in North America
Time to Complete (Approx.) 4-6 months
Recertification every 2 years
Recertification Cost (Approx.) $400-800

What did you think about NCSF?

The section below gives our readers the chance to talk about their experience with the NCSF personal trainer certification and the NCSF test. After you take your exam, remember to come back and tell us how you did and what worked for you!

NCSF Insider Tips

Our readers submit some great tips about passing the NCSF personal trainer certification exam. Read the tips and add your comments and ratings to each tip.

This Test is Great 
I just passed the NCSF exam with a 77%. I went in thinking I would probably not pass due to all the talk of it's difficult nature, but it turns out all …

NCSF Exam Difficulty Reviews 
Today I passed the NCSF exam and man was it hard. Don't take it lightly! The most helpful advice I can give you is make sure I mean make sure you know …

NCSF Exam Study Tips 
I passed the NCSF-CPT exam this afternoon! I'm really excited, and quite glad to have it behind me. I recently earned a Bachelor's Degree in Kinesiology …

NCSF Exam Study Plan 
I just passed the NCSF exam, so I thought I'd pass on some advice. It is a tough test and anyone would need to study to pass it. I studied the entire …

NCSF Certification Journey - Part 1 
I have been a publicist in the film industry for almost 6 years. I started in college running around ragged promoting films, pitching interviews and working …

NCSF Certification Journey Parts 2-4 Not rated yet
Reflections on Personal Trainer Training: Part 1 It's been over a month since I've written. Wow, that went fast. I'm finding it harder and harder …

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