Certification for Personal Trainers
Become a Personal Trainer
Personal Trainer Resources…
As a personal trainer, you will probably not need to apply to your state or jurisdiction for licensing. Certification, though voluntary, indicates competency and can enhance your career options. There are a number of organizations that certify personal trainers — far more than there are in most health fields. You will want to make sure that the certifying body has been accredited by an outside agency and that it is respected. Among the better known organizations, one finds the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the American Council on Sports Medicine (ACSM), the National Federation of Personal Trainers (NFPT), and the National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF).
Policies vary from organization to organization, but there are commonalities. Staying current on your CPR/ AED certification is typically among the requirements. You will take an exam to earn your personal trainer certification, and you will often need to take continuing education units to maintain it. Requirements are usually modest. The NFPT requires 2.0 CECs, or 20 clock hours, each year while ACE requires 2.0 CECs only every two years.
Be aware that the value of continuing education goes far beyond just maintaining your certification. Some personal trainers choose to pursue specialty credentials. The ACSM offers the Certified Inclusive Fitness Trainer credential. If you become an inclusive trainer, you will still be working with people who have medical clearance or are basically healthy, but your clients may have physical, sensory, or mental disabilities that impact their ability to engage in fitness activities. The NFPT, meanwhile, offers specialty certifications in endurance training, resistance training, and sports nutrition; you can also get a master personal trainer certificate covering all three. Look at local job postings to get a sense of what certifications are valued in your area.