Which personal training certification is best ? top 10

Which personal training certification is best

Are you considering ways to develop your career or find a new job? Then it is time for you to consider seeking a certification. But remember, certifications aren’t just about finding that job or building your career. Certifications also come with prestige. And when it comes to the highly competitive personal trainer field, you can’t ignore getting one if you want to enjoy the benefits available to those who are experts in the field.

Thus, when making a decision on which certification provider to choose, there are a number of factors to consider. Not all providers are known or accepted by employers. It is also important to consider the qualifications that ensure that competitive advantage. Then there is the aspect of accreditation. You don’t want to waste your time and finances on something that could later turn into a disappointment.

When you consider all of this, getting certified can seem stressful. But that is not the case. Yes, it is challenging, but you are going to enjoy the process, especially when you know that what you are pursuing will pay off in your own way.

In this post, we’ll walk you through the factors to consider before deciding on the best online personal trainer certification to earn  . You will also learn how to acquire them, as well as their cost. And to help you avoid the many false certifications related to this field that exist, you should pay attention to the details in this post.

Before we cover certifications, let’s first find out why you need to get certified in your area of ​​interest.

Why You Need a Personal Training Certification

Following are the reasons for obtaining a certification:

  1. A certification is a demonstration of your hard work and commitment to acquiring skills and knowledge.
  2. Obtain a valid certification that you already have the knowledge to effectively perform the indicated tasks
  3. Through certifications, the public will have the security of being attended by qualified personnel in any service they seek.
  4. Certifications demonstrate to employers that the certification holder is competent enough to help them achieve their organizational goals.
  5. A certification is a way of telling potential employers how prepared you are for work, increasing your chances of finding employment
  6. Having a certification increases your chances of earning a better salary in the job position you are in
  7. Certifications are generally considered during promotions and when considering a salary increase for an employee
  8. With a certification, you will stand out among your peers in your area of ​​expertise, and this means that you will be ahead of them in terms of employment, receiving a great pay package, and promotions.

In other words, when you are certified, you become the most sought after professional and that is how you will always be ahead of the pack in your industry.

The credentials that we are considering in this article have been accredited by two recognized accrediting agencies. This makes CPT certifications credible and legitimate. Here are the two accrediting agencies:

  • National Commission of Certification Agencies (NCCA)
  • Distance Education Accreditation Commission (DEAC)

Although this is the case, it is also important that you consider where you would like to use your certification. Yes, where you would like to work should also be one of the things you should use to determine which online personal trainer credential you will be looking for.

Now, let’s get straight to the best personal trainer certifications online.

personal training certification
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(Top 5) Best Onine Personal Trainer Certifications to Enter 2021

  • National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
  • International Sports Science Association (ISSA)
  • American Fitness Professionals and Associates (AFPA)
  • American Council on Exercise (AS)
  • National Council of Certified Personal Trainers (NCCPT)
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Below are the best online personal trainer certifications you can choose from. We will help you understand the cost, accreditation, relevant study materials, as well as the details of the exams. While most of these certifications are completely online, some of them are not.

1. National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)

National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)

This NCAA accredited personal certification program offered by NASM began in 1987. Its focus is on remedial exercises. The certifying agency has a reputation that continues to grow due to its unique model known as Optimum Performance Training.

The NASM CPT is a popular program that has been especially accepted by employers in the US. Over 1.3 million certified trainers have successfully passed it, and this is because of how prestigious and effective it is.


There are four study programs to consider, each of which is priced differently. And it doesn’t matter which program you choose. You get value for what you pay. The exam can be taken through the PSI NSAM Testing Center . And if you buy any of the packages now, you will receive 25% off the original cost.

Here are the various study programs with their cost:

  • Self-study option currently available $ 524 down from $ 699
  • Premium self-study option currently available $ 824 down from $ 1,099
  • Guided study option currently available $ 1,124 down from $ 1,499
  • All-inclusive option currently available $ 1,649 down from $ 2,199

Study materials

The study pack you will receive will contain resources based on the study option you choose. Generally, they include:

  • A digital study textbook with 20 chapters as well as 720 pages
  • Comprehensive video conferencing
  • Varied exercises, as well as a library of instructions that all your clients may need.
  • Practice tests and exams to help you practice with your knowledge and ensure your retention.
  • A study guide to help you check your progress while studying with the textbook
  • Memorization of anatomy and learning activities to help you easily understand the anatomy part of the textbook and other sections.
  • Access to webinars to help you prepare for exams and explain difficult concepts.
  • Access to a mentor and a coach to guide you.
  • You will receive the study textbook on paper, which is a useful resource if you prefer to read hard copies
  • The CPT program has a practical time that involves working with real clients and lasts for 80 hours
  • You will gain access to the business side of this personal trainer program through the NASM Business Accelerator Program.
Job guarantee after training
The NASM training module is rich
Top-notch customer service
The exam is not available online

2. International Sports Science Association (ISSA)

International Sports Science Association (ISSA)

The ISSA credential established in 1988 is internationally recognized. And as now, more than 200,000 trainers around the world have received this certification. Also, the certification has been accredited by DEAC.

The training program is completely online. It focuses on providing you with comprehensive content that will help you become a general fitness instructor, as well as enjoy the benefits that come with being one. And of course, it ensures you earn a personal trainer credential.

The intent of this program is to ensure that participants gain practical knowledge based on the type of skills required to successfully perform their role as fitness coaches. With a flexible curriculum, it is possible to tailor your lifestyle and schedule. Students in the program can also take the exam whenever they want because everything is online.


The ISSA Certification Course for Personal Trainers is affordable. This is its cost:

  • Courses directed through study guides cost $ 799 and include a free nutrition certification training course, and has a free CPR course as a bonus
  • There is a monthly option without interest of $ 66.58, where the payment goes 12 months, or $ 133.17 paid per month for 6 months
  • In case you prefer your 10 week instructor 100% face-to-face online training program, you will have to pay $ 1,199

Flexible exam schedule, where candidates can take their exam from anywhere and anytime they want
The certification is recognized and acceptable worldwide
A high approval rate guaranteed
The training course covers broad topics and areas related to personal training.
Detailed how-to videos
Payment plans are flexible
The training program is not certified by the NCAA

The ISSA personal training certification receives high recommendation from coaches who have gone through the program. Through its in-depth study materials, the course is known to have an impact on the practical skills that differentiate it. from the other trainers ..

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The ISSA personal training certification is also considered one of the best, as it offers you a website that is absolutely free for you to promote your personal training services .. And that is why we recommend it!

3. American Associates and Fitness Professionals (AFPA)

American Associates and Fitness Professionals (AFPA)

The American Fitness Professionals and Associate (AFPA) has been around since 1994. It is a member of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence. It also happens to belong to about 18 other accreditation organizations. And the 18th are all third party organizations.

AFPA offers two certification exam options. You can choose to take the exam online or by mail. As a globally recognized certification in the fitness and wellness industries, it has become one of the most sought after by those in need of an online certification program for trainers.

With over 100,000 certified personal trainer experts, this 100% online program is adaptable and accessible. It will take you up to 100 hours of intensive learning.


  • The course is affordable and can start from $ 549 as high as $ 699
  • A flexible payment plan that allows you to pay from as low as $ 44 per month as long as you meet established criteria

Study materials

The study materials you will access from AFPA will depend on the payment option you choose. Here are the study materials for this best personal trainer certification program:

  • A full module study guide or textbook available in print or e-book format
  • Online video course to help improve understanding and assimilation of content
  • More than 150 exercises, as well as exercise programs that are fully demonstrated and illustrated
  • Practice quizzes and study assignments to help gauge how effective you have covered
  • Access to various business resources that ensure you develop a great career
  • Regular support from educational advisers
It is convenient as it is 100% online
You can access a loan to pay for the course if you meet the conditions
Access to different payment options
Has not been certified by DEAC and NCAA

Although this AFPA personal certification program has not been certified by any of the accrediting organizations, it is well recognized and accepted throughout the world. In fact, it has a great reputation based on the flexible schedule online for the exam.

4. American Council on Exercise (AS)

American Council on Exercise (AS)

This online personal training certification program is certified by the NCAA. It is intended to help you gain the skills necessary to work with people struggling with weight problems. Remember, this program allows you to earn a certification in general fitness. And with its integrated training model, ACE ensures that the certification you receive will pay off.

So far, the program has guaranteed more than 85,000 qualified fitness, as well as healthcare professionals have received their certifications.

Those who study with this program have three personal trainer study options. The first is the basic 100% Online Training Package. This option is intended to ensure that you get the basics necessary to pass the appropriate certification exam.

The second is the Studio Plus option with enhanced content that you can also access offline. The third option is the Advantage study option with more content, additional practice tests, an exam retake, and a dedicated team to help you through the program.

Any of the three study packages is currently available at 50% off.


  • The Advantage Study Package includes $ 649.50 down from $ 1,299. You can also choose a monthly package starting at $ 55
  • The Study Plus package goes for $ 399.50 down from $ 799. You also have the option to pay from as low as $ 34 per month
  • The basic study package will cost you $ 299.50 down from $ 599. In case you want to pay monthly, the fee starts from $ 25

You can check the details of the costs of this program here .

Study materials

The study materials you receive will depend on the option you choose. But generally, these are the course materials you can expect:

  • The elite academy of the American Council on Exercise includes video lessons, resources from the course experts, articles, and quizzes that will ensure you gain the knowledge you need as you study.
  • An ACE manual for personal trainers, as well as the essential elements of the ACE exercise, accessible in both e-book and paper.
  • A study guide that delves into concepts found in textbooks. The guide is also available in electronic copy format.
  • Students can access live webinars, Facebook Groups, Q&A as well as other support materials
  • Practice tests are available online to help you check how prepared you are for the certification exam.
  • ACE Science Workshop for Applied Exercises Available for Plus Package
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It allows students to enter the details of the program through the study materials available.
Flexible hours so you can choose the plan you prefer
You have to take the exam by computer at a physical testing center

The ACE certification program is well recognized and accepted due to its easy pace that allows coaches to understand it with ease. And in addition to its discount offers, the program keeps all of its certified trainers regularly updated with the latest information through of her monthly digital fitness blog.

5. National Council of Certified Personal Trainers (NCCPT)

National Council of Certified Personal Trainers (NCCPT)

This best online personal trainer certification program is certified by the NCAA and started more than 20 years ago. Its goal is to certify professionals in the health and fitness industry.

The NCCPT is online-based and accessible at a fairly low cost. The program’s primary goal is to ensure that all of its clients experience change as they acquire the necessary skills and knowledge. Its focus is on stabilization, proprioception, and muscle imbalances. All of this will be acquired using science as you gain guidance from the NCCPT.

The NCCPT exam must be done at a physical testing center. There is no online test available.


Training for this personal trainer certification program has several options. These options include the following:

  • CPT exam only option at a cost of $ 249
  • Online study materials option at $ 479
  • Premium Study Materials Options Online at $ 499
  • Deluxe Package at $ 549

Study materials

Depending on the package you choose, here are the study materials available for this CPT program:

  • All packages include access to assistance from professional advisors who will help address gray areas., If any
  • A single exam attempt
  • Instructional materials accessible through online videos
  • A manual for personal trainers, a sample test, as well as a study guide available in PDF format
  • The Deluxe package gives you access to the paper manual. You will also access the preparation questionnaire, which becomes final
The program that comes in different packages is affordable.
It is accredited by the NCAA
You will receive most study materials in electronic copy format
Not that popular
No online final exam

The NCCPT is a recognized certifying organization for personal trainers. It is recognized by organizations such as NASM, AFAA, and the ISSA. It is also well accepted for continuing education from these organizations pointing to various certifications.

Why do you need a certificate to be a personal trainer?

With the growing popularity of the training industry and the fact that personal training is an unregulated niche, anyone can call themselves a personal trainer – even if they don’t have a certification, training, or even experience.

Earning a certification increases your credibility as a personal trainer, which places you above the rest and shows potential clients that you trust your skills and abilities to help them on their path to a healthy life.
Also, most gyms won’t hire you without a personal training certification, and if you run your own business, many insurance companies won’t cover you without a certification.

What about return on investment?

If you are also concerned about the return on your investment from spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on a personal trainer certification, take a look at this:
The average annual salary for a personal trainer in the US is currently $ 58,875 (and some salaries are as low as $ 58.875). as high as $ 81,690).

Getting certified as a personal trainer will give you the credentials to quickly build a client list, which means you’ll see a return on your financial investment in no time.

What exactly are those certificates and how much do they cost?

There are specialized certifications for training, learning and development professionals looking for ways to improve business performance through innovative training methods.
These certifications not only provide the skills and tools necessary to improve performance management, but also establish a credential that is recognizable in the training industry.

The cost of personal trainer certification can vary based on general level. While an entry-level personal trainer certification can cost between $ 400 and $ 600, a Master’s certification can cost more than $ 2,000 for materials and the exam.
Specialized certifications for strength training, senior or youth fitness generally cost between $ 400 and $ 500.
If you are concerned about course and exam fees, payment plans and financing are often available to those who qualify.


Each of these best online personal trainer certifications has characteristics that make it unique. The program you opt for will depend on your career goals, including how much you would like to earn and how much you are willing to part with in terms of the certification study fee. We recommend that you check out the ISSA, NASM, AS, and NCCPT certifications, and settle. with which you think will best suit your training needs. Remember, you will also make a decision based on the accreditation body, including third party accreditation bodies.

You may want to go for the ISSA certification program because it is purely online. However, both the NASM and ACE programs are equally amazing, although they are partially available online. It is up to you to choose what you think will work best for you!