The easiest personal training certification to get is the American Council on Exercise certification known as the ACE Certification. In most states, this type of certification can be obtained in 3 to 6 months depending on how fast you work.
Then, you must study for an exam, and pass the exam. The cost is typically about $400 with the test costing $250. You must be 18 years old and have some hours of practical experience in order to enroll in this certification program.
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Even though it is the easiest certification to get, it is still highly recognized in the fitness industry as a valid certification. ACE Certification can be general or you can include an added specialized certification that allows you to work specifically with children, senior citizens, or disabled individuals. If you are planning on going the specialized route, it will probably take the whole 6 months.
The most difficult personal trainer certification to get is the NCSA certification. The National Strength and Conditioning Association is the certifying agency.
NCSA is regarded as the most difficult certification to obtain according to recent fitness industry statistics for many reasons; however, the main reason is do to the fact that it covers much more than personal fitness. It includes categories ranging from nutrition to anatomy.
The difficulty of the exam and course training has evolved over the past few years as the fitness industry has exploded. The point of making the exam and course work more difficult is to flush out those who are looking for a quick fix certification.
The number of personal training professionals has tripled in the last five years making the field very competitive. You have to be serious about studying and learning in order to pass this certification. The course takes 4-9 months and cost approximately $400 plus the exam.
The appealing aspect of having NSCA training is that you can work with special needs clients. These types of clients would include diabetics, pregnant women, the obese, those with eating disorders, the elderly, and those involved in post heart attack rehab.
NSCA certification also allows you to receive a Certified Strength and Conditional Specialist Certification which cannot be obtained without a bachelor’s degree. Because of these stricter guidelines and additional course work, NSCA certification is considered the top shelf of personal trainer certification.
The NASM Personal Trainer Certification is the certification offered by the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Established in1987, there are now over 100,000 NASM members and the certification is accepted in the fitness industry in every state.
Like ACE, this certification requires a 3-6 month course, studying for an exam, and passing the exam. The cost is about $700 with the test cost included.
One of the top personal training certification is the ACSM Certification given by the American College of Sports Medicine. Established in 1954, it is the personal training certification program that has been in existence the longest. This certification requires about 4-9 months to complete, studying for an exam, and passing an exam. The cost is about $800 with an exam cost of $200.
The most recently added certification is NESTA Certification. NESTA is the National Exercise and Strength Trainers Association certification. The level of acceptance of this certification is moderate at best, but is still accepted by some in the fitness industry. The lower acceptance level is based on the fact that this certification focuses mostly on how to use technology as a personal trainer instead of the personal training aspect of things.
The course only takes about 90 days and the cost is approximately $600. At the completion of this course, you are not a Certified Personal Trainer but instead are certified as a Personal Fitness Trainer. Though this difference might not mean a lot to those outside the industry, those in the industry recognize the significant difference in the two certifications. This includes employers, who pay on the average $10,000 less a year to a Personal Fitness Trainer than they do to a Certified Personal Trainer.
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