Fitness
Moderators: melkor


Best personal trainer certification??


Quote  |  Reply
I have been considering becoming certified in personal training for awhile, and have found myself in a position to really consider doing it sooner than I thought I would. I have been doing some research myself, but was wondering if anyone knew what the best certification program was.

Right now I am in living in Michigan, but in 6 months I plan on moving to Chicago, I want a certification that is accepted in all states. As far as I can tell the NSCA (the certification program I am leaning towards) is nationally accredited. I was also looking into AFPA, I thought that was also nationally accredited but I am beginning to confuse myself, oh and I know ACE is also nationally accredited..so I have a few options.

If anyone knows any information on certifications and which is the "best" one out there I'd appreciate anything you might know. I am going to be getting my bachelors in psychology in December, and don't have any experience in the fitness field, so the certification has to accomodate that.

Thanks.
Edited Jun 04 2007 23:22 by united2gether
Reason: moved to Fitness forum
15 Replies (last)
#1  
Quote  |  Reply
There are a lot out there, but you want an accredited one that is widely recognized.  Here's a pretty thorough website on all:  http://www.starting-a-personal-training-busin ess.com/personal-training-accredidation.html
It was between ASCM and ACE for me, so I chose ACE because of the cost and location of the testing (it is now available to take in more locations on more dates).  ASCM and ACE are more widely recognized and it is better to show prospective clients/employers those credentials.  You will have to keep up with additional training re-certification exams, CPR certifications, dues, etc. when you go for those better ones.  Want more information?  I thought "Becoming a Personal Trainer for Dummies by Melyssa St. Michael and Linda Formichelli" had some really good tips and information.
Thank you!
I know someone that did their certification through ACE, I just couldn't find too much information on their credentials - but you say they are good to show employers and clients?? I'll look into them more closely. I know they are cheaper and I definitely don't have to travel to take a test - but just to make sure, if I get certified with ACE in Michigan I'll still be certified in Illinois?
I am certified with ISSA.  Most certs. are national. So don't worry about it. Do what you can afford, and good luck!
#4  
Quote  |  Reply
The website I sent has a comparison of all the programs and which are NCCA accredited.  Check out the comparison shart on the site Here and you can filter by accredited ones which are only ACE, ACSM, NASM, NSCA, and NCSE.  It gives lots of info on the programs inlcuding costs, timing, industry recognition, and much more.  If you select an accredited program, there's nothing to say you can't switch when re-certification time comes up and you have to shell out some more buckazoid.  It's all goo, pick one of those 5 and practice on some friends before heading to the exam.  Application and experience counts for a lot.
Good Luck!

the truth is that all of these companies do not guarantee any work, also just because you are certified, does not mean you are qualified. you must seek the professionals at that game and learn from them. the best think to do is start going to the gym and start training, if you learn from a book, and that is what these certification agencies teach you, you will never make it with practical. do some research and learn practical, anyone can pass written exams.  also take into consideration that when you get your certification, you should work for yourself, if you dont, you will never make it working for a gym, they pay nothing, and they got you under their thumbs. be smart and start you own business,

make sure you are qualified instead of certified, some certification agencies are actually recognized and they have tremendous learning tools and support. again no one guarantees work or success.  Accreditation does mean qualification. be smart.

I talked to several people who hire/employ trainers and they all said they look for ACE or NASM certification.

This is just from a personal point of view but I've been in a few industries where their were industry certifications without educational prerequisites and I have rarely been impressed by industry certs. The only personal trainers I've ever dealt with are ones who have degrees in Kinesiology, exercise physiology, exercise science or similar. After seeing the poor quality of many certified individuals in other fields I just don't trust a person with certs only. This doesn't mean that their aren't those who aren't great personal trainers without it, but if the cert doesn't indicate quality than I can't use it as a guide.

Note: my sister is ACE certified and is a perfect example of why I don't trust the certs.

Hi I was looking to get certified with AFPA to be a kick boxing   do u think that is a good and is it national accredited .  Please let me now.  Thank you Deana. 

I am NASM certified. To make a long story short, I work front desk at a gym. People were constantly asking me for advice. I love helping people, but after awhile I started to feel that I was being taken advantage of. So I went to the owner and asked how I could be a trainer for the gym. I was told that I needed a cert for insurance purposes. After doing some research, I discovered that NASM and ACE were the two most popular and sought after certs. Unfortunately things didn't work out as planned at the gym I work and I put in my two week notice today. For the last six weeks, the owner has been constantly blowing me off saying that we will talk "next week". I even put a letter in her box asking her if we would get the ball rolling. Two weeks goes by, no mention of the letter at all. So finally, the one trainer we do have went to the owner on my behalf and the owner said she had no plans to make me a trainer. Not only did the owner tell me to get certified and then not make me a trainer, but for the last six weeks she has been lying right to my face leading me on.

How I studied :

I have read many times that it is one of the most difficult to get because the test is considered to be nearly "un-passable". I have read reviews from people saying they had to take it 3-4 times before passing. I personally didn't find the test all that challenging. I passed it in 35 minutes. Although I have been involved in health/fitness/nutrition since I was 16 years old. I was always fascinated with it, so I learned a lot of stuff on my own over the years. All the previous knowledge I had definitely helped. So it might be considered more difficult for a person who doesn't know much going in. Another thing that helped me is that I have always had a good memory.

I read through the book from cover to cover one time to familiarize myself with NASM in general. Then I purchased the test, which comes with the practice test. I kept taking the practice test over and over (there are four different versions of it). I would use the various versions of the practice exam as a way to help narrow down what I should study. When I would see a question on one subject, I would make sure to study all aspects of it. It really helped to cut down my study time. Now I did feel that the test was slightly misleading because I came across stuff on the test that was never mentioned in the book nor on the practice exam. The only reason why I knew the answers to these "tricky questions" was because of knowledge I had obtained over the years on my own.

Original Post by muscledealer:

the truth is that all of these companies do not guarantee any work, also just because you are certified, does not mean you are qualified. you must seek the professionals at that game and learn from them. the best think to do is start going to the gym and start training, if you learn from a book, and that is what these certification agencies teach you, you will never make it with practical. do some research and learn practical, anyone can pass written exams.  also take into consideration that when you get your certification, you should work for yourself, if you dont, you will never make it working for a gym, they pay nothing, and they got you under their thumbs. be smart and start you own business,

make sure you are qualified instead of certified, some certification agencies are actually recognized and they have tremendous learning tools and support. again no one guarantees work or success.  Accreditation does mean qualification. be smart.

 

+1. Too many people see certification as an entry-level activity. Certification is supposed to be a documentation and verification to a potential client that you have the requisite training, skills and experience to be a qualified service provider. Unfortunately that is true in only a small percentage of personal "trainers". 

When I managed the personal trainers for a large hospital wellness center, I would only consider NSCA, ACSM, ACE, or NASM certifications when making hiring decisions--and the ACE and NASM people still had to undergo additional scrutiny. Any others were pretty much rejected outright. 

Oh, and they needed to have degrees in exercise phys, kinesiology, etc in addition to the certification. 

Original Post by dabrock:

This is just from a personal point of view but I've been in a few industries where their were industry certifications without educational prerequisites and I have rarely been impressed by industry certs. The only personal trainers I've ever dealt with are ones who have degrees in Kinesiology, exercise physiology, exercise science or similar. After seeing the poor quality of many certified individuals in other fields I just don't trust a person with certs only. This doesn't mean that their aren't those who aren't great personal trainers without it, but if the cert doesn't indicate quality than I can't use it as a guide.

Note: my sister is ACE certified and is a perfect example of why I don't trust the certs.

+1 . Another good comment.

Your argument seems sound, but it's flawed. The problem is this: One would have to be crazy to train anyone without liability insurance, and I've have not come across a company that will sell a policy to a non-credentialed person. So the cert only ensures that the recipient is educated at most. Often we train our friends first in non-fiduciary situations and do not advertise ourselves as personal trainers to avoid lawsuits.

As for testing, the NSCA-CPT test is very widely known as the most difficult test. The pass rate is only 54.9%; while's NASM's, for instance, is 70%. The NSCA  will really test your critical thinking skills and exercise knowledge...  "Why do men have slower heart rates than women?" The answer's not in the book, but information about stroke volume is. (Men have larger hearts and lungs and therefore their hearts push more blood through the left ventricle with each heart beat, which means they have higher stroke volumes.) You must understand how to plan programs for special populations... And NSCA understands that aerobic exercises are resistance exercises--muscular endurance exercises that by definition use the aerobic pathway.

Studies have been done. There is little correlation between years of experience and being a good trainer or even knowing what you are doing. (That is true in just about every field. People often do not continue to educate themselves anymore than they are forced to.) Many trainers have a limited skill set and hand each of their clients the same program. They've got it down to a science.  I've come across trainers who keep their clients in the "fat burning zone." A few things are associated with being a good, competent trainer: (1) at least an associate's degree in the field of exercise science, (2) NSCA, or (3) NASM certifications. Realize some certifications can be earned while you're testing with the book open and on your lap. ACE is widely considered the easiest NCCA accredited test and because of that, it is losing its luster.

It's true that certifications, even from one of the top organizations, doesn't automatically qualify someone as a "good" trainer. I've found the best CPTs to be analytical and methodical by nature. A cert just minimally qualifies you. While a degree in exercise science creates an ideal foundation of knowledge for trainers - again it doesn't necessarily translate into being a great trainer. Certifying organizations like NASM are now offering packages that guarantee its cert holders a job. There's an in-depth rundown of the top 5 personal trainer certifications at www.healthchill.com that compares study materials, accreditation, pricing, etc. It's also important you make sure to get a cert that's in line with the type of training you want emphasize. For example, if you want to work in a clinical setting then ACSM is usually the best way to go, but if your goal is to work with athletes then NASM or NSCA might be your best option. Always research and ask questions (contact these organization directly) as part of your due diligence.

Original Post by exphysgrad:

It's true that certifications, even from one of the top organizations, doesn't automatically qualify someone as a "good" trainer. I've found the best CPTs to be analytical and methodical by nature. A cert just minimally qualifies you. While a degree in exercise science creates an ideal foundation of knowledge for trainers - again it doesn't necessarily translate into being a great trainer. Certifying organizations like NASM are now offering packages that guarantee its cert holders a job. There's an in-depth rundown of the top 5 personal trainer certifications at www.healthchill.com that compares study materials, accreditation, pricing, etc. It's also important you make sure to get a cert that's in line with the type of training you want emphasize. For example, if you want to work in a clinical setting then ACSM is usually the best way to go, but if your goal is to work with athletes then NASM or NSCA might be your best option. Always research and ask questions (contact these organization directly) as part of your due diligence.

Strong 1rd post pushing your website on a seven year old thread. Mods?

Thanks Diana, but I'm in no way affiliated with that site. If you want go ahead and remove it, just saw this page at the top when researching pt certs and thought it's still relevant.

15 Replies
Recent Blog Post
Holidays, traditions, and food often set up delicious high calorie stumbling blocks as we travel down the road of greater health. What is the best way for you to eat healthy and still enjoy the time with family? First you need to

Continue reading...