Have you been completely confused by all the companies offering a Personal Training Certification? What’s an NCSF Certification or an ACE exam? Are they any good? Why is this so difficult to figure out?
When I started learning about becoming a Personal Trainer, I couldn’t believe how unregulated and distributed the Personal Training Industry had become in the last few years. All I wanted to know was…what types of certifications were available in the United States that are recognized by clients and quality fitness professionals? Why should that be so hard?
Turns out that the fitness industry is one of the least regulated professions. The most important thing for aspiring trainers to learn before they start their career is how the industry is self-organized to highlight reputable certification organizations.
NCCA – The Only “Gold” Standard
Here’s the key to it all… The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA at [http://www.noca.org]) is the main accrediting body for Personal Training Certification programs in the United States.
Personal Trainer Certifications from an accredited NCCA certifying body are the top-tier certifications personal trainers can earn. Furthermore, most gyms, clients, and people in the business expect a competent personal trainer to have their certification from one of the NCCA certified bodies.
These eight endorsed organizations offer a variety of fitness and personal training educational workshops, materials, and degrees. All of them are recognized as valid training certifications and can be a crucial first step on your way to becoming a personal trainer.
General Certification Similarities
Each certification organization is administered a little differently, but all require their ‘graduates’ to take one or more competency exams. Many times these exams include an in-person practical. (I believe they ALL should, but unfortunately they do not.)
The eight NCCA accredited organizations offer , along with their certifications, their own test preparation materials to study and prepare for their exams.
If you pass these exams, you will receive a certification that will last for a predetermined time frame, usually 1-3 years.
After you’re certified, each organization has different rules about how many “Continuing Education Credits” (aka CEC’s or CEU’s) their trainers must take during the year to stay current. They also require trainers to recertify when their certificates expire…for an additional fee, of course!
Let’s take an example…American College of Exercise (ACE) has a “Personal Trainer” certification that you can take for about $300. The certification is good for two years. After the two years is up, you have to pay approximately $400 to re-certify with ACE for another two mua bang toeic years. That includes a re-examination and registration fees. The $400 is an average of the renewal fee ($69) and the 20 hours of CEC’s you must take (and pay for)
Although many certification programs insist that you do not need to purchase anything to be eligible for their exams, new trainers need to be very familiar with the type of material on each particular exam. Each group tests a central core of skills and knowledge (say, anatomy and exercise science), but most have some different aspects included (like nutrition or sports trainers) that you may not even be aware of if you study from a different set of materials.