Getting certified is the necessary first step towards a successful career in the fitness industry. Deciding which certification is best for you can be overwhelming. We’ve put together this comparison of personal trainer certifications to help make your search a little easier.

We searched the web, made the calls and asked the questions that we, as a certifying agency, get every day. If there’s anything that you would like to learn more about, or a piece of data that you would like us to add to this chart, contact us. We’re happy to help answer any questions and we’ll include your suggestions during our next regular review.

Certifying companies included in this comparison are from the ICE (Institute for Credentialing Excellence) website. These organizations have programs accredited by the NCCA (National Commission for Certifying Agencies). NCCA is the accrediting body of ICE and is the “gold standard” for fitness industry certification.

How Does NFPT’s Certification Compare?

NCCA Accredited Certification Programs NFPT
National Federation of
Professional Trainers
ACE
American Council
on Exercise
NASM
National Academy of
Sports Medicine
ACSM
American College of
Sports Medicine
NETA
National Exercise
Trainer Association
Who's This For? Entry Level Trainers:
Club/Private Training
Advanced Specialty Trainers:
Clinical Curriculum
Specialty Trainers:
Athletics/Sports Medicine
Exercise Science:
Degree Graduates
Entry Level Trainers:
Club/Private Training
Cost of Certification Packages $199 – $399 $399 – $699 $699 – $1999 $219 – $1019 $338 – $671
Discounts For Military, Police,
Fire, Club Staff
Military Military, Police,
Fire, Club Staff
not available not available
Financing Available? financing available financing available financing available not available not available
Renewal Frequency frequency
1 year
frequencyfrequency
2 years
frequencyfrequency
2 years
frequencyfrequencyfrequency
3 years
frequencyfrequency
2 years
Renewal Cost
(per cycle)
$85 $129 $99 $30 $45
Continuing Education
Credits (CECs) Required
(per renewal cycle)
2.0 CECs 2.0 CECs 2.0 CECs 45 CECs 20 CECs
CEC Cost Estimate
(per renewal cycle)
$0 $267 - $499 $309 - $999 $400 - $924 $199 - $299
Total Annual Cost $85 $256 $474 $230 $147

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NCCA Accredited Certification Programs CI
Coopers Institute
NCCPT
National Council for Certified Personal Trainers
NCSF
National Council on Strength and Fitness
NESTA
National Exercise and Sports Trainer Association
NSCA
National Strength and Conditioning Association
Who’s This For? Advanced Specialty Trainers:
Clinical Curriculum
Entry Level Trainers:
Club/Private Training
Entry Level Trainers:
Club/Private Training
Entry Level Trainers:
Athletics/Sports
Advanced Specialty Trainers:
Strength & Conditioning
Cost of Certification Packages $595 – $899 $399 – $675 $485 – $535 $449 $355 – $950
Discounts For not available not available Military Military not available
Financing Available? not available not available financing available not available not available
Renewal Frequency/Cycle frequencyfrequencyfrequency
3 years
frequencyfrequency
2 years
frequencyfrequency
2 years
frequencyfrequencyfrequencyfrequency
4 years
frequencyfrequencyfrequency
3 years
Renewal Cost
(per cycle)
$49 $75 $50 $149 $50 – $75
Continuing Education
Credits (CECs) Required
3.0 CECs 2.0 CECs 10 CECs 4.0 CECs 6.0 CECs
CEC Cost Estimate
(per renewal cycle)
$39 – $899 $20 – $319 $15 – $349 $199 – $749 $10 – $445
Total Annual Cost $173 $122 $101 $156 $98

*non-NFPT CE Activities are also encouraged and are awarded credits. However NFPT has no control over the cost of non-NFPT CE activities, these will vary. NFPT offers FREE CE Provisions, but there are many options for trainer growth & development, which means many ways to get CECs!

Want More?

Review NFPT-only CEC information here >>

Compare detailed CEC information between these same certification companies here >>

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