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NESTA PFT 2.0 Review

The next generation of personal trainer certification coming from NESTA is a departure from traditional cert programs. With the focus on integrating technology into training, the NESTA PFT 2.0 cert is attracting a lot of attention in the industry.

After being largely seen as a smaller player in the industry, NESTA is trying to change all that with a two pronged attack. The first part is gaining NCCA accreditation for their Personal Fitness Trainer (PFT) program. The NCCA accreditation is a positive sign that NESTA is moving in the right direction. And it won't be so easy to dismiss this innovative program.

Leveraging Technology

polar f11The NESTA PFT is also changing the way the industry is looking at technology. Rather than just teaching the physiology of personal training, NESTA are incorporating real-time heart rate monitoring into their program. Through a partnership with Polar, the trainer can monitor the client's heart rate while exercise is in progress. This gives important feedback to the trainer to help them make micro adjustments while training.

The NESTA PFT certification combines this feedback into its overall training program to encourage client progression. The technology gives the trainer solid data to evaluate as well as a reliable measurement of improvement for the client. The theory is that with better information, the trainer can improve the program continually and the client will be able to see measurable results (other than just standing on the scale).

With this new focus on technology, the NESTA PFT program has been completely changed from earlier versions. So while PFT 2.0 is a catchy marketing slogan, the program is actually a lot different from NESTA 1.0. NESTA states that the Polar watch is not a requirement (it adds $100 to the cost of the program), but the PFT is so geared for the use of the Polar watch that it loses a lot of its uniqueness without it.

Other NESTA PFT Changes

While NESTA does provide limited 2-day workshops in various cities, most candidates will complete the program through self study. There are a couple of options for doing this including various levels of DVD, CD and audio CD training materials as well as an exam only option. We had the opportunity to view the NESTA manual and were impressed with the emphasis on high quality graphics to aid the learning process. While CD and DVD learning is not our preferred method, the new NESTA PFT manual is not like reading a dry textbook. But make sure you budget an extra $50 to have the manual printed in color and bound.

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The NESTA PFT also adds more emphasis on the business side of personal training with nearly 25% of the exam covering business related issues. While we believe this is important education for every personal trainer, it seems to be overemphasized on the NESTA exam. The true test of business issues is your performance in the marketplace. We would have preferred more emphasis on nutrition, safety and client assessment which combine for less than 20% of the NESTA PFT exam content.

Program Costs

The exam only option will cost you $199 or you can pay $325 for the Basic training materials or $389 for the Complete package. Remember to budget an extra $100 for the Polar watch (which is being offered at a competitive rate given NESTA's partnership with Polar) which brings the Complete package to $489.

The exam is included in the costs above but a retake will cost an additional $95. You also must take the exam within 90 days of purchasing the NESTA PFT 2.0 program. So make sure that you hold off on purchasing the program until you are ready to start your studies. You can purchase a 90 day exam extension for an additional $95.


Another feature of the NESTA PFT program that is sure to prove popular is the four year term before recertifying. NESTA requires a $75 recertification fee plus 4.0 CEUs (can not be compared with other providers CEUs) which amounts to about 40 hours of workshop or distance learning courses. Spread over four years, that is not a difficult thing to achieve. In fact, continuing education is a requirement for survival for all trainers, especially those who haven't had the benefit of attending a personal training school. So plan on doing a lot more than the minimum requirement.


personal trainer certification course NESTA gives you two hours to complete 100 exam questions. This is a bit shorter than most other programs. You must get a minimum of 70% correct to pass the NESTA PFT exam.

The proctored exam is offered at Prometric testing centers which are widely available in North America. International students are eligible to complete the program but must arrange for a NESTA approved proctor to administer the exam. The exam covers the following topics:

1) Exercise Application - 23%
2) Program Design - 23%
3) Business Applications - 23%
4) Assessments and Injury Prevention - 16%
5) Exercise Sciences - 15%


NESTA PFT 2.0 Vital Statistics

NESTA Personal Trainer Certification NESTA PFT 2.0
Certification Personal Fitness Trainer (PFT)
Workshop length 2 days
Workshop Availability very limited
Program Cost $489 or $389 without Polar watch
Materials cost included
Industry recognition Med
Accreditations NCCA
Prerequisites 18 years old, high school diploma or equivalent
Exam Questions 100
Exam Time 2 hours
Exam Cost $199
Retest Cost $95
Exam deadline 90 days
Exam locations Major US Cities
Time to Complete (Approx.) 4-6 weeks
Recertification every 4 years
Recertification Cost (Approx.) $600


What do you think about the NESTA PFT certification?

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

NESTA PFT Certification Discussion

Getting feedback about NESTA PFT 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.

Nesta Exam 
Just passed the Nesta exam yesterday. You have to study to pass it. I spent three weeks and about 25 hours reviewing their practice tests and buying the …

NESTA Exam Experience 
Just got back from taking my NESTA exam for the PFT2.0 certification. The exam I took (remember that there are different versions) was broken into 5 sections: …

NESTA exam help 
I just took the test... literally a few hours ago and I passed the exam. I will give you all taking the test a few tips for the test. Exam alerts: …

NESTA Exam Time Limit 
I purchased the NESTA material, being unaware of the 90 day limit to take it, I'm a month overdue to take it and am still not through the material. What …

NESTA PFT Certification Reviews 
Flooding the market with "personal trainers" whose only qualification is watching TV and taking a test is weighing down the whole industry. Without real …

passed NESTA- Oct 2104 Not rated yet
I think its a match book cover certification. I paid for it during the 30% off special because I needed a third cert quickly. I got my materials and …

Hi, I am looking into the NESTA cert. and I saw and spoke to Trisha from NESTA and the Master Cert is $599 You get the PT but no Polar, she said all the …

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