Personal Trainer Certification Comparison

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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, we 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 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 Much Does Personal Trainer Certification Cost?

NCCA Accredited Certification Programs Cost of Certification Packages Total Annual Cost Estimate Discounts Financing Available? Renewal Frequency Renewal Cost
(per cycle)
CEC Cost Estimate
(per renewal cycle)
NFPT
National Federation of Professional Trainers
$199 – $449 $85 Military, Civil Servants, Health Club Staff YES 1 year
*2 year cycle pending. (summer 2018)
$85 $0
ACE
American Council on Exercise
$549 – $899 $398 Military YES 2 years $329 $367 – $569
ACSM
American College of Sports Medicine
$319 – $1039 $312 NO NO 3 years $250 $450 – $924
CI
Coopers Institute
$595 – $899 $179 NO NO 3 years $49 $39 – $899
NASM
National Academy of Sports Medicine
$629 – $1999 $661 NO YES 2 Years $474 $699 – $999
NCSF
National Council on Strength and Fitness
$485 – $535 $116 Military YES 2 years $50 $15 – $349
NESTA
National Exercise and Sports Trainer Association
$449 $157 Military NO 4 years $149 $199 – $749
NSCA
National Strength and Conditioning Association
$355 – $950 $100 NO NO 3 years $50 – $75 $10 – $445
NFPT
National Federation of Professional Trainers
$199 – $449 $85 Military, Civil Servants, Health Club Staff YES 1 year
*2 year cycle pending. (summer 2018)
$85 $0

If there’s anything that you would like to learn more about, or a piece of data that you think we should 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.

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

See Certification Package Options