Personal Trainer Certification Comparison

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 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 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.

How Much Does Personal Trainer Certification Cost?

NCCA Accredited Certification Programs Cost of Certification Packages Total Annual Cost *estimate average Discounts For Financing Available? Renewal Frequency Renewal 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
$249 – $449 $85 Military, Civil Servants, Health Club Staff YES 1 year

*2 year cycle pending. Available as option, summer 2018.

$85 2.0 CECs $0 Entry Level to Advanced Trainers:
Club/Private Training
CI
Coopers Institute
$595 – $899 $173 N/A NO 3 years $49 3.0 CECs $39 – $899 Advanced Specialty Trainers:
Clinical Curriculum
ACE
American Council on Exercise
$549 – $899 $159 Military YES 2 years $329 2.0 CECs $367 – $569 Advanced Level Trainers:
Clinical Curriculum
NASM
National Academy of Sports Medicine
$629 – $1999 $99 N/A YES 2 Years $474 2.0 CECs $699 – $999 Advanced Level Trainers:
Athletics/Sports
ACSM
American College of Sports Medicine
$319 – $1039 $30 N/A NO 3 years $250 45.0 CECs $450 – $924 Advanced Exercise Sciences:
Athletics/Sports/Degreed Graduates
NCSF
National Council on Strength and Fitness
$485 – $535 $151 Military YES 2 years $50 10 CECs $15 – $349 Entry Level Trainers:
Club/Private Training
NESTA
National Exercise and Sports Trainer Association
$449 $156 Military NO 4 years $149 4.0 CECs $199 – $749 Entry Level Trainers:
Athletics/Sports
NSCA
National Strength and Conditioning Association
$355 – $950 $98 N/A NO 3 years $50 – $75 6.0 CECs $10 – $445 Advanced 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!

Review NFPT-only CEC information here >>

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

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