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 searched the web, made the calls and asked the questions that we, as a certifying agency, get every day. We’ve put together this comparison of personal trainer certifications to help make your search a little easier.

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.

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.

How Much Does Personal Trainer Certification Cost?

NCCA Accredited Certification ProgramsCost of Certification PackagesTotal Annual CostDiscounts ForFinancing Available?Renewal FrequencyRenewal Cost
(per cycle)
Continuing Education
Credits (CECs) Required
(per renewal cycle)
CEC Cost Estimate
(per renewal cycle)
Who's This For?
NFPT
National Federation of Professional Trainers
$199 – $399$85Military, Police,
Fire, Club Staff
YES1 year$852.0 CECs$0Entry Level Trainers:
Club/Private Training
ACE
American Council on Exercise
$399 – $699$256MilitaryYES2 years$1292.0 CECs$267 - $499Advanced Specialty Trainers:
Clinical Curriculum
NASM
National Academy of Sports Medicine
$699 – $1999$474Military, Police,
Fire, Club Staff
YES2 years$992.0 CECs$309 - $999Specialty Trainers:
Athletics/Sports Medicine
ACSM
American College of Sports Medicine
$219 – $1019$230N/ANO3 years$3045 CECs$400 - $924Exercise Science:
Degree Graduates
NETA
National Exercise Trainer Association
$338 – $671$147N/ANO2 years$4520 CECs$199 - $299Entry Level Trainers:
Club/Private Training

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NCCA Accredited Certification ProgramsCost of Certification PackagesTotal Annual CostDiscounts ForFinancing Available?Renewal FrequencyRenewal Cost
(per cycle)
Continuing Education
Credits (CECs) Required
(per renewal cycle)
CEC Cost Estimate
(per renewal cycle)
Who’s This For?
CI
Coopers Institute
$595 – $899$173N/ANO3 years$493.0 CECs$39 – $899Advanced Specialty Trainers:
Clinical Curriculum
NCCPT
National Council for Certified Personal Trainers
$399 – $675$122N/ANO2 years$752.0 CECs$20 – $319Entry Level Trainers:
Club/Private Training
NCSF
National Council on Strength and Fitness
$485 – $535$101MilitaryYES2 years$5010 CECs$15 – $349Entry Level Trainers:
Club/Private Training
NESTA
National Exercise and Sports Trainer Association
$449$156MilitaryNO4 years$1494.0 CECs$199 – $749Entry Level Trainers:
Athletics/Sports
NSCA
National Strength and Conditioning Association
$355 – $950$98N/ANO3 years$50 – $756.0 CECs$10 – $445Advanced Specialty Trainers:
Strength & Conditioning

*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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