What Are the Best Personal Training Certifications?
If you’re considering becoming a fitness trainer and want to review a comparison of online personal training certifications, ISTA can help. As an aspiring fitness professional, you have a wide range of high-quality options. Explore our personal training certification comparisons, and make the choice that’s right for you.
National Academy of Sports Medicine
NASM is a well-respected, for-profit professional organization that develops evidence-based fitness and training techniques to optimize individual performance. To earn NASM certification, you’ll need to master human movement science, anatomy, and kinesiology and physiology. You’ll also need time and money — NASM certification takes several months and sometimes longer to complete, and study materials and testing fees can cost thousands of dollars.
American Council on Exercise
ACE is a fully accredited, nonprofit health and fitness organization that has certified tens of thousands of trainers. You’ll need CPR and AED training, in addition to your high school diploma or GED equivalent, to become an ACE trainer. The 3-hour fitness exam is the longest test in the field. Like NASM certification, you’ll also need plenty of time and money, since the study materials cost up to $799.
American College of Sports Medicine
The American College of Sports Medicine is an excellent choice if you’re interested in teaching a group exercise class such as spin, strength and conditioning, or kickboxing. This nonprofit program is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. ACSM trainers and group exercise instructors must participate in frequent continuing education courses to retain certification. Self-study and webinars are the only course formats offered, and study materials can cost up to $800.
International Strength Training Association
ISTA is certified by the National Board of Fitness Examiners and provides aspiring personal trainers with the practical skills they need to apply scientific principles to exercise and health. ISTA’s personal training certification program teaches essential client interaction skills in group and one-on-one settings, safety best practices, and fitness program design and launch. Instruction and testing is web-based and convenient, and more affordable than NASM, ACE and ACSM.
Tips to Remember
When performing a comparison of personal trainer tests, remember:
- Earning a top personal trainer certification such as NASM may make you book-smart, but not necessarily people-smart or as focused on safety as you need to be to achieve success.
- Your clients probably won’t care what certification you earn.
- Nothing is more important than walking the talk — if you’re not fit yourself, you won’t inspire others.
- Nutrition matters. The best technique in the world won’t make a difference if your nutrition is poor, so make nutrition an important part of your training.
For more information on the best personal training certifications, contact ISTA today.