How to Choose the Right Personal Training Certification Program

How to be a Personal Trainer

Female PT
* Don’t miss part 1: How to Get a Degree in Exercise Science

* Don’t miss part 2: How to Get a Degree in Physiology

* Don’t miss part 3: How to Get a Degree in Kinesiology

If you enjoy trying all different kinds of physical fitness and you like to keep your own body in peak condition, then perhaps you’re interested in finding a career that allows you to engage in physical activity and impart your knowledge of fitness to others.

Getting Certified in PT

As a certified personal trainer you can not only meet these professional goals, but you can also put your outgoing personality, communication skills, and motivational strategies to good use by helping others to realize their true potential and meet their fitness goals through targeted training programs.

But before you can get started transforming your clients one physique at a time, you need to obtain the proper certification to practice. If you want to find the one that best suits your personal and professional goals, there are a few things you should consider before you choose.

Which Certification Should You Choose?

Male PT
For starters you might be interested to know what types of certifications exist for personal trainers, and there are actually quite a few.

For example, did you know that you can attend any number of fitness-related programs at colleges and universities in order to get a bachelor’s degree? Of course, many certification exams don’t require you to attend four years of college to become a personal trainer – this would be more appropriate for those looking to move into a sports-medicine type of field like physical therapy, but you should know that it’s one option.

You can read some of the previous entries in this series, explaining

On the other hand, you might be more interested in helping healthy people to get fit, which doesn’t necessarily require an advanced degree. In this case you should look into some of the most widely accepted certifications. Organizations like the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), and the American Fitness Professionals and Associates (AFPA) are a few of the most respected entities when it comes to personal training certification.

Some of them offer their own training programs while others merely provide examinations (you’ll have to find programs that will prepare you for testing). Many require you to retest regularly (every few years, as mandated by the organization) for continued certification.

How Specific Should You Be?

As for getting what you want out of a program, aside from a particular certificate, you need to consider just what it is you want to do.

  • If you prefer to work in a gym setting rather than going to the homes of your clients it could make a difference in the type of certification you seek.
  • If you want to train athletes or body builders, as opposed to your average fitness seeker, you might need specific training or certifications.
  • If you’d like to offer assistance in rehabilitation, recovery, or living with disabilities through your personal training practice, you’ll almost certainly need additional schooling, testing, and licensure.

You don’t really have to find the most epic certification program on the planet and shell out a huge sum of money to become a personal trainer. But you do need to take the time to do your research and select a program that’s going to give you the knowledge and skills needed to receive certification and do your job well. That should mean thinking about exactly what it is you want to offer.

Whatever program you choose, you need to make sure that it offers preparation for the exams you need to take, and it couldn’t hurt to have a strong network of job opportunities attached.

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