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NFPT Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) Certification Review (2024)

NFPT Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) Certification Review (2024)

Posted by Tyler Spraul, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®) on February 9, 2024 — Updated on February 17, 2024

Read this NFPT Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) Certification Review to decide if the NFPT Personal Trainer Certification is worth it and what the best personal training certification is for you.

NFPT Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) Certification Review

The NFPT Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) Certification is a recognized and respected credential within the fitness industry. This article aims to provide you with a comprehensive review of the certification, covering everything from its requirements and exam preparation to the benefits and maintenance of the certification. Whether you are considering becoming an NFPT Certified Personal Trainer or simply want to learn more about this certification, this article will serve as an informative guide.

Discover the comprehensive review of the NFPT Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) Certification. And then whether you want to learn how to become a personal trainer, or learn how to become a fitness influencer, or learn how to open a gym, or learn how to start a fitness business, or anything in between, use the Exercise.com platform to accomplish your fitness business goals.

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NFPT Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) Certification

The NFPT Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) Certification is a comprehensive program that goes beyond the basics of personal training. It is designed to equip fitness professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively train individuals of varying fitness levels, helping them achieve their health and fitness goals.

  • NFPT is an NCCA-Accredited agency that certifies personal trainers.
  • NFPT requires yearly recertification but offers free continuing education credits to all of its trainers.
  • There are many specializations available to enhance a trainer’s knowledge, skillset, and value.
  • NFPT’s target audience is individuals with little to no fitness experience.

Congratulations on your decision to become a personal trainer! You’ve picked a gratifying career with many different personal training career options that can change lives. 

However, this exciting decision can quickly become overshadowed by the daunting task of wading through the different options to choose for your certification.

With a strong emphasis on exercise science, the NFPT CPT Certification ensures that trainers have a solid understanding of the physiological and biomechanical principles that underpin effective exercise programming. This knowledge allows trainers to design customized workout plans that take into account an individual’s unique needs, goals, and limitations.

Client assessment is another crucial component of the NFPT CPT Certification. Trainers learn how to conduct thorough assessments to gather important information about a client’s current fitness level, medical history, and any existing injuries or conditions. This information helps trainers create safe and effective training programs that address the specific needs and goals of each client.

Program design is a key skill that sets NFPT Certified Personal Trainers apart. Trainers learn how to create well-rounded workout routines that incorporate a variety of exercises and training modalities. They learn how to progress and regress exercises to challenge clients appropriately and ensure continuous progress. Additionally, trainers are taught how to design programs that promote overall health and well-being, including cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and functional movement.

One of the core principles of the NFPT CPT Certification is safety. Trainers are educated on proper form and technique for various exercises, as well as how to identify and correct common movement flaws. They learn how to create a safe training environment, including proper equipment setup and maintenance, and how to implement appropriate warm-up and cool-down protocols. This emphasis on safety ensures that clients are not only getting results but also minimizing the risk of injury.

By obtaining the NFPT CPT Certification, fitness enthusiasts can demonstrate their expertise and commitment to providing quality training to their clients. This certification is recognized and respected in the fitness industry, giving trainers a competitive edge in the job market. It also provides ongoing professional development opportunities, such as continuing education courses and workshops, to ensure that trainers stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in the field.

You’ve come to the right place! Below you’ll find a complete review for one of the top CPT certifying agencies: the National Federation of Professional Trainers.

About NFPT

What Is the NFPT?

In 1978, U.S. Marine Staff Sargeant Ron Clark was shot in the arm and wrist during a tragic training accident. He was sent back to his Indiana hometown for rigorous therapy and rehab recovery. It was during this time that Clark found his passion for the dedication of physical training, launched his career as a personal trainer, won multiple bodybuilding titles, and opened his own fitness clinic. 

But Clark wanted to do more to help others. He began the National Federation for Professional Trainers (NFPT) in 1988 to provide foundational, comprehensive, and applicable education for individuals seeking a personal training certification. 

NFPT’s mission is “to lead the personal training certification industry, through quality education and credentialing, into a future of public and government respect, trust, and confidence.”

That’s an admirable goal worth embracing!

NFPT Accreditation

Personal trainers didn’t always need to be formally educated. Before 2005, trainers could simply be exercise enthusiasts who worked at a gym and charged for consultations, private sessions, and services. But this disorganized system endangered the safety of the public, as trainer education was varied and unregulated. 

In 2005, the International Health, Racquet, and Sports Club Association strongly encouraged gyms and health clubs to require their trainers to be formally educated and certified so clients would receive safe and regulated instruction. The recommendation was widely accepted and over fifteen accrediting bodies were formed, each supervising multiple certifying agencies.

But what exactly is accreditation, and why is NCCA accreditation important? Watch this video to learn more:

Accreditation is an external audit that ensures the education provided by institutes and programs meets satisfactory quality standards. Regarding fitness certifications, this means the educational requirements protect the health, welfare, and safety of the public.

There are several accrediting bodies, but one of the most prestigious is the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). NFPT has been reviewed and accredited by the NCCA since 2005.

Because most gyms and health centers prefer personal trainers certified under the gold standard of the NCCA, most personal trainers seek certification through an NCCA-accredited program as it almost guarantees employment. 

NFPT Certifications

Before we examine the CPT program more closely, let’s look at the benefits of choosing the NFPT certification and the basic requirements for application. 

Benefits of NFPT

Every certification program has its perks, and NFPT is no exception.

Since NFPT was founded by a U.S. Marine, the military and civil servants are deeply intertwined with the organization’s passion. Military, civil servants, and club staff receive regular discounts on their certification costs.

NFPT also offers free Continuing Education Courses for as long as you recertify with NFPT! We will discuss this in more detail below. 

As a family-owned-and-operated organization, NFPT prides themselves on taking care of their trainers like family. The smaller staff assists their trainers personally with questions or concerns about certification, continuing education, renewing your credentials, and more!

NFPT also offers its CPTs a business plan template, communications and marketing recommendations, and affiliated discounts on insurance, events, courses, and more!

Pre-Requisite Requirements

Like many other certification programs, NFPT has basic eligibility requirements before applying for the personal trainer exam. The basic requirements are:

  • The applicant must be at least 18 years of age.
  • The applicant must have a high school diploma or GED.
  • The applicant must adhere to NFPT’s Code of Conduct.

Although it’s not required, NFPT strongly recommends at least two years of fitness-related experience, as this will make the study material come alive to candidates with their personal real-life examples.

Unlike most certifying agencies, AED/CPR training is not required to apply. NFPT reasons that every CPT needs an AED/CPR certification upon hire and lack thereof shouldn’t be a barrier to CPT certification. While it’s not a requirement for an NFPT application, AED/CPR certification before applying is to your educational benefit. You will need to get an AED/CPR certification to be employed. 

NFPT offers a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) certification but offers many other Specialist Certifications as Continuing Education courses to enhance your knowledge and value as a trainer. 

Certified Personal Trainer (NFPT-CPT)

CPT is the baseline certification for personal training. CPTs have a working knowledge of human anatomy, fundamental principles of functional exercise, and basic nutrition. They tailor, design, and administer individual and small group exercise programs to fit the needs and goals of their clients. They also motivate clients to achieve their goals and modify exercise programs as needed.

A CPT can work with a range of individuals, such as fitness enthusiasts, competitors, athletes, the elderly, children, and more!

CPTs aren’t limited to a gym or fitness center and can work in a variety of settings. NFPT suggests these work environments for their CPTs:

  • Apartment Complexes
  • Community Centers
  • Online Training
  • Outdoor Boot Camps
  • Corporate Wellness
  • Resorts and Cruise Ships
  • Athletic Performance Centers
  • Client’s Home
  • CPT’s Own Home Gym

Between the variety of clientele and work settings, employment opportunities are endless for CPTs! The options make personal training an exciting and rewarding career that helps both trainers and clients lead more fulfilling lives.

NFPT-CPT is a credible certification due to its NCCA accreditation. The education provided by NFPT is geared towards foundation-building exercise science concepts. This is ideal for a start-up trainer who may not have as much experience in fitness, exercise science, or kinesiology and is not ready for the details and difficulty of a more in-depth certification.

Preparation for Certification Exams

NFPT offers a few study options that allow flexibility and personalization for everyone. If you are currently a CPT and choose to utilize non-NFPT study materials, there’s also an Exam Only option!

There are two study packages for CPT: Standard and Premier.

Table from NFPT 

Standard Package

The Standard Package covers the bare minimum knowledge needed to pass the NFPT exam. The study materials included in the Standard Package are the Trainer Manual, study guide, and review quizzes, as well as an exam outline to use as a subject checklist. The Trainer Manual course objectives include:

  • Familiarization with Human Anatomy
  • Understanding Principles of Human Physiology
  • Applying the 5 Fitness Components
  • Ability to Develop, Implement and Modify Exercise Training Programs
  • Recognizing Professional and Communication Skills”

After purchasing the package for $239, students have one year to study and pass the exam. Otherwise, the student must re-enroll by purchasing the package again to take the exam.

Study materials are available online and take about 60-90 days to complete. There’s no additional fee to take the exam, as the exam fee is embedded in the package price. Upon successful completion of the exam, you will be given a certificate and NFPT member card.

This package gives minimum resources for studying, which could be a challenge for students with no fitness experience. NFPT seeks to have its trainers learn (and keep learning) from many sources, so NFPT warns that their exam questions are not derived from a specific book or resource. Again, this is a reason to have at least two years of fitness-related experience before studying and taking this exam. 

Premier Package

The process, objectives, and study materials for the Premier Package are identical to the Standard Package with the addition of these study materials:

  • Assessment videos
  • Two practice tests
  • Exercise videos
  • Expert support

Considering the minimalism of the Standard Package, the Premier Package may be the difference in you passing or failing the exam. 

Workshops

Learn everything you need to know and more from a fitness expert in a hands-on workshop! The workshop takes place over two days; 16 hours total with eight hours each day. Half of the teaching is done in a classroom setting, and the other half transforms your new knowledge into skills as you perform hands-on activities and exercise training. Watch this video to learn more:

After the workshop, you can sit for the exam and get certified! The workshop is also offered for CPTs to earn all their CECs for their recertification period. 

There are four workshop options to fit your needs and schedule:

  • Workshop only: Only the classroom and hands-on education.
  • Workshop only + CPR/AED: A great way to get CPT education and CPR/AED certified!
  • Workshop + Certification: Participate in the workshop and sit for your certification exam at your convenience.
  • Workshop + Certification + CPR/AED: Do everything at once and be fully certified for employment as a personal trainer!

Workshops include all Premier Package study materials, plus the workshop study guide and presentation slides, client assessment reference guide, online quizzes, and a CPT toolkit with a tape measure, skin-fold caliper, organizational folder. All these additional materials make the workshop the most comprehensive study option.

Workshop prices vary from $329-$778 depending on which workshop you select. Check out NFPT’s workshop location schedule for more information!

Exam-Only (Test Out)

Perhaps your co-worker has the NFPT Trainer Manual, you have a degree in kinesiology, or you’re already a CPT and want to add to your professional value by getting certified through another agency. There could be many other reasons to skip out on purchasing a package, so NFPT offers an exam-only option to become certified. 

Even though it may be tempting to attempt the exam without studying, the exam should still be taken seriously. Only those with extensive experience or access to an NFPT Trainer Manual should consider opting out of a study package for the exam-only option.

The certification exam voucher costs $199. 

The Certification Exam

Once you’ve chosen a study option, completed the package or workshop, and feel competent in the material, it’s time to take your certification exam! Watch this video for tips on overcoming any anxiety with taking the exam:

Exam Registration

You can register to take your exam any time you feel proficient in the material. You can also take the exam without purchasing a study package, but this is recommended only for individuals with a degree in kinesiology or who are currently a CPT through another agency.

In comparison to most certifying agencies that require examination within six months of purchasing the voucher, NFPT allows 12 months. Even though NFPT allows a longer stretch of time between voucher purchase and examination, committing to intentional study is the best way to thoroughly comprehend the material instead of studying sporadically. Most candidates find 60-90 days is adequate preparation.

Register for your exam at a computer-based test (CBT) location that is convenient for you. There are even locations available in Canada and worldwide! If there’s not a registered CBT site in your area, online testing is now available. 

If after registering you decide not to take the exam, you can request a refund within the first two weeks of your original application and before the exam date. NFPT will provide a full refund minus a $50 application processing fee. The refund amount will decrease by 25% every two weeks, with no refund provided after 8 weeks.

Exam Day: What to Expect

Arrive at your testing center at least fifteen minutes early to sign in and verify your identity with a valid I.D. such as a driver’s license or passport. Personal and other outside items like purses or handbags, cell phones, notes, or textbooks are not allowed in the testing area. Secure storage areas are provided for personal items. 

The exam consists of 120 multiple-choice questions with a time limit of two hours. 20 of these questions are written strictly for statistical purposes and won’t count towards your final score. 750 out of 1000 points are needed to pass the exam. The exam has a pass rate of 72%.

The exam is broken down into these sections:

You will receive your scores instantly after completing the exam and a printed copy of your score. Detailed test results will arrive in the mail two or three weeks after the exam. If you submitted a paper copy of the exam, your pass/fail result and a detailed summary will arrive within two or three weeks.

If you passed, congratulations! You will be mailed a certificate of completion and a wallet-sized membership card. You can begin seeking employment as a CPT!

If you didn’t pass, you’re allowed to reschedule one re-test within the one-year test eligibility period. An exam re-test is $119. If you don’t pass the exam on the second attempt, you must wait one year from your first exam attempt before re-applying to the program.

Maintaining Your Certification

Congratulations on passing the exam and earning your NFPT-CPT certification! After ensuring you have a current AED/CPR certification, you can begin your career as a CPT. 

Establishing your career can be overwhelming, but Exercise.com’s gym management software takes the brunt of managerial duties so you can stay engaged with your clients.   

Our comprehensive software platform allows you to design workout programs, track progress, moderate paperwork, billing, and scheduling, and communicate with your client through the web and app

It’s an easy and fun way to stay connected with your clients! 

Like many health professions, you must recertify and complete a designated number of continuing education hours to maintain your certification. 

The Basics

To maintain their practicing credentials, NFPT-CPTs are required to recertify with NFPT every year. Recertification ensures that practicing professionals are in compliance with current NFPT practice standards, ethics, and code of conduct, and are growing in their field by keeping up with trends and new data. 

To be eligible for recertification, you must submit proof of earning 2.0 Continuing Education Credits (CEC) and pay an $85 fee. Recertification through NFPT is one of the easiest to complete. As this video describes, NFPT’s goal is for its CPTs to have an open, always-learning mindset, so they accept almost any educational format towards CECs. 

The Specifics

NFPT doesn’t require CECs for the first recertification period, as you’re still getting your feet wet in the personal training profession. If you’re recertifying for the first time, you don’t need to complete any CECs and simply need to pay the $85 renewal fee! You should begin keeping track of your CECs after your first recertification, as you’ll need proof of completing 2.0 CECs from then on. 

NFPT has the most frequent recertification period on the market, which can be inconvenient to keep track of. However, NFPT is one of the only agencies that doesn’t seek to make a profit off their CECs. That’s right: NFPT-CPTs get free CECs for as long as they renew their certification! All you pay is the yearly $85 renewal fee. Some of these free CECs include:

  • Fitness Flop or Fact?: A monthly mini-quiz where participants identify if a fitness scenario is performed or instructed incorrectly.
  • Self-Tests: Bi-annual tests that quiz participants’ knowledge from NFPT CE articles.
  • Trainer Refresher: An online self-assessment test that covers each of the 19 chapters of the Trainer Manual
  • Article Contribution: Members of the NFPT blog are awarded CECs and a waived membership fee.

But CEC options are not limited to the selection above. As stated earlier, NFPT’s goal is to have its trainers seize every educational opportunity to contribute to their knowledge and skill set. Some of the most popular ways NFPT-CPTs earn CECs are:

  • Courses / Classes
  • Workshops
  • Seminars
  • CPR/AED Certification
  • Proof of Insurance
  • Content Contribution
  • NFPT Self Tests & other FREE CE sources

Proof of completion is easy: submit documentation (such as a certificate of completion, transcript, or confirmation letter) through your online NFPT account, snail mail, or even take a picture with your smartphone and send it through email! NFPT doesn’t want to overcomplicate the system; as long as you provide proof of completion, NFPT will award the credit! 

If you want to increase your competency, knowledge, or skillsets, NFPT has courses for a steal of a price:

Specializations

While it’s commendable that NFPT offers free CECs (especially since they require recertification every year, saving you hundreds of dollars a year), they also offer several specializations that count towards your CECs and your paycheck.

Earning a specialization is an excellent way to increase your knowledge, expertise, and value as a personal trainer while getting the CECs you need to stay certified. Check out the specializations NFPT offers:

  • Fitness Nutrition Specialist: Learn the basic synergy that ties eating and fitness together through this in-depth course on digestion, internal chemical processes, energy provision and conversion, and nutrient requirements. 2.0 CECs for $155.
  • Cancer Recovery Specialist: Learn appropriate exercises and precautions that help recovering cancer patients return to a life of wellness. 2.0 CECs for $159.
  • Breast Cancer Recovery BOSU Specialist: A BOSU® balance trainer allows a greater ability to work with breast cancer patients during and after cancer surgery and treatment. 2.0 CECs for $195.
  • MS Fitness Trainer Specialist: Aid individuals with MS discover enjoyable and effective ways to stay active! 2.0 CECs for $179.
  • Functional Training Specialist: Learn the foundation and science behind functional training, the importance of testing core strength, and how to incorporate dynamic core training for every client. 2.0 CECs for $109. 
  • Master Fitness Trainer:  Three advanced knowledge courses (Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Resistance Training, and Endurance Training) that take your expertise and paycheck to the next level. Earn 6.0 CECs (that’s three years of recertification!) for $305.

Have more questions? Learn more about recertification and earning continuing education credits here

NFPT Pros and Cons

We’ve explored just about every aspect of the NFPT, covering the certification process from beginning to end, and the specific requirements for recertification. Let’s recap the pros and cons before coming to our conclusion.

Pros

1. NCCA Accreditation

Possibly the most important factor in choosing your certifying agency is if it’s accredited and by whom. NFPT is at the top of the pack with its NCCA accreditation. While not as popular as other big certifying agencies like NASM or ACE, NFPT is accredited by NCCA just like NASM and ACE.

2. Educational Foundation

The NFPT exam forces you to apply their material beyond rote memorization. This method of studying makes you a better CPT in the long run, as you will be able to apply your knowledge in real-life client situations.

3. Affordable Certification

Depending on which study package or workshop you choose to prepare for the exam, NFPT is one of the cheapest certifications on the market. This makes NFPT-CPT a great option for individuals wanting to gain experience in the personal training field while making a little extra than a gym assistant.

4. Free or Affordable CECs and Specializations

It doesn’t get much better than free CECs! This factor alone puts NFPT over the top of being the most affordable CPT certification on the market. If you want to pay for other CECs or specializations, NFPT’s courses are extremely affordable compared to other certifications. You get to keep more of your paycheck, gain knowledge that increases your value, and makes you more eligible for a higher salary!

5. Quick Certification

Most candidates feel prepared to take the exam after a 60-90 days period of intentional study. This is exceptionally quick compared to the average of six months preparing for other certification programs. If you attend a workshop, you can take the exam as early as your testing center’s schedule allows, and you can be an NFPT-certified CPT in a matter of days!

Cons

1. Recertification Every Year

Although NFPT sends an automated reminder to renew your certification, it’s one extra thing to do. Like most of us, many trainers like to have extended time between renewals and not feel like they have a perpetual “to-do” list for their certification.

2. Educational Foundation

Wait, isn’t this on the list of pros? Yes, it is, but NFPT’s educational foundation can also be its downfall. 

Because NFPT wants its trainers to consult multiple sources and not base all of their knowledge off of the Trainer Manual, the Trainer Manual only offers a minimum foundational education. This means you may need to spend unexpected time, money, and stress searching out answers in other books. 

This is especially problematic if you’re new to personal training and purchase the Standard Package where the primary educational tool is the Trainer Manual (if you’re already a CPT, the Standard Package is a suitable review). There may not be enough material to prepare you to pass the application-style exam.

If you’re new to personal training, you should consider purchasing the Premier Package or attending a workshop. However, these are more expensive. So while the claim that NFPT is the cheapest certification is true, this is really only the cheapest if you’re already a CPT and purchase the Standard Package to review materials before taking the exam.

3. Not as Popular

While prospective employers may appreciate your hard-earned NFPT certification, your clients might not. The NFPT-CPT exam is attempted 2,684 times a year, compared to NASM at over 22,000 attempts per year. 

When a client is selecting their personal trainer, they may pass over you simply because they didn’t recognize the acronym. This phenomenon is similar to buying the most popular phone because everyone has it, not necessarily because it’s the best.

4. Not as Advanced

NFPT-CPT is geared towards individuals with little to no fitness background. While this is great for the beginner CPT, it might be an employer’s second choice for more educationally advanced certification. However, NFPT-CPTs can quickly add to their value by completing the specializations NFPT provides. 

The National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT) Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) Certification is a popular choice for those looking to kickstart their career in the fitness industry, known for its practical focus and accessible entry requirements.

The NFPT Certification offers a solid foundation in personal training essentials, from exercise science to program design, aimed at ensuring trainers can provide safe and effective fitness guidance.

NFPT-CPT General Information

Designed with the beginner in mind, the NFPT CPT Certification is an excellent starting point for those new to fitness training, providing all the necessary tools to begin a successful career as a personal trainer.

NFPT Credibility and Reputation

With decades of experience in certifying fitness professionals, NFPT is recognized for its commitment to quality education and support for its trainers throughout their careers.

Is NFPT Worth It?

For aspiring personal trainers seeking a straightforward and cost-effective path to certification, NFPT offers a compelling package that combines quality education with industry recognition.

NFPT CPT vs Other Top Personal Trainer Certifications

Compared to other certifications, NFPT is particularly noted for its focus on foundational training principles and its supportive community, making it an appealing choice for those at the start of their fitness journey.

Exclusive PTP NFPT Offers

Integrating NFPT certification with the best personal training software allows trainers to enhance their service offerings, from personalized workout plans to progress tracking, all within a comprehensive software solution.

Who is the NFPT Certification Meant For?

Ideal for those entering the fitness industry, NFPT certification is tailored for individuals who wish to build a solid base in personal training fundamentals.

NFPT Cost

NFPT offers several certification packages, from basic study materials to more inclusive bundles that feature additional resources and hands-on workshop opportunities.

Self-Study

The self-study package provides essential resources for those who prefer to learn at their own pace, making it a flexible and affordable option.

Standard Package

Offering a balanced combination of study materials, including digital textbooks, practice exams, and online support, the standard package is designed for a comprehensive study experience.

NFPT Certification Content

NFPT’s curriculum covers crucial topics such as anatomy, physiology, and exercise programming, ensuring trainers are well-equipped to meet a wide range of client needs.

Section 1 – Fundamental Fitness Concepts

  • Comprehensive overview of fitness principles, including anatomy and physiology.

Section 2 – Nutrition Basics

  • Introduction to nutrition and its role in fitness and overall health.

NFPT Exam Prep and Study Materials

NFPT provides a variety of study aids, from online courses to interactive tools, ensuring candidates are thoroughly prepared for the certification exam.

NFPT Certification Requirements

To earn their NFPT certification, candidates must successfully complete the educational components, pass the certification exam, and fulfill any practical experience requirements.

NFPT Personal Trainer Salary

NFPT-certified personal trainers can expect competitive entry-level salaries, with the potential for growth as they gain experience and expand their client base.

Taking the Final NFPT Exam

The NFPT certification exam assesses candidates’ understanding and application of fitness training principles, ensuring they are ready to embark on their professional journey.

NFPT Continuing Education and Recertification

NFPT emphasizes lifelong learning, offering a range of continuing education opportunities to keep trainers up-to-date with the latest in fitness trends and research.

Other NFPT Offerings

In addition to its CPT certification, NFPT provides specialty certifications, allowing trainers to diversify their skills and expertise in areas such as nutrition and strength training.

NFPT Personal Trainer Overall Rating

Pros

  • Accessible entry requirements and flexible study options
  • Strong focus on foundational training principles
  • Supportive community and ongoing professional development

Cons

  • Less emphasis on advanced training techniques compared to some other certifications
  • Limited global recognition compared to larger certifying bodies

The NFPT Certified Personal Trainer Certification is an excellent choice for those new to the fitness industry, offering a solid foundation in personal training principles and practices. By leveraging the best personal training software and the best gym software, NFPT-certified trainers can further enhance their professional offerings, streamline their business operations, and provide personalized, effective training programs, setting them apart in a competitive fitness market.

The good news is there’s no right or wrong answer to choosing which certification agency suits you best (as long as it’s accredited!). Many factors must be taken into consideration, such as your budget, test-taking skills, learning style, recertification requirements, and more. Only you can order these according to what you value most, and what’s right for you may not be right for another CPT. 

NFPT has about as many pros as cons. NFPT-CPT is a less popular certification, which may result in fewer employment opportunities or less income. It’s also an application-style exam that may be difficult to pass without spending a bit more. 

However, NFPT is one of the quickest ways to be certified and the cheapest certification to maintain. Always-free CECs are a huge advantage to an NFPT certification! Despite it being a less popular certification, NFPT has earned the NCCA accreditation which will always get a nod of approval from employers. 

Our final word: NFPT is a good choice for an individual who wants to start a career in personal training without being overwhelmed by details and dedication of more advanced certification, or for an already-certified CPT who wants to add on an extra credential. It may not be your lifelong or leading certification, but with its free CECs and minimal upkeep cost, NFPT-CPT is a great place to start or add to your CPT value!

We hope this review has been helpful in deciding where to receive your CPT certification!

NFPT Certification Requirements and Process

To become an NFPT Certified Personal Trainer, candidates must fulfill certain requirements. These include having a high school diploma or equivalent, being at least 18 years old, and holding current adult CPR certification. Additionally, candidates must complete the NFPT CPT Certification course, which covers essential topics such as anatomy, exercise physiology, nutrition, and program design.

When it comes to anatomy, the course delves into the intricate details of the human body. Candidates learn about the different systems, organs, and structures that make up our anatomy. From the skeletal system that provides support and protection to the muscular system that allows movement, each component is thoroughly explored. Understanding how the body functions and how different exercises affect specific muscles is essential for a successful personal trainer.

Exercise physiology is another crucial aspect covered in the certification course. Candidates gain knowledge about how the body responds and adapts to physical activity. They learn about the cardiovascular system, respiratory system, and energy systems that play a vital role in exercise. Understanding the physiological changes that occur during exercise helps trainers design effective workout programs tailored to their clients’ needs and goals.

Nutrition is an integral part of any fitness journey, and the NFPT CPT Certification course ensures candidates are well-versed in this area. They learn about macronutrients, micronutrients, and the importance of a balanced diet. Trainers are equipped with knowledge on how to guide their clients in making healthy food choices that support their fitness goals. From calculating calorie needs to understanding the role of different nutrients, candidates gain a comprehensive understanding of nutrition’s impact on overall well-being.

Program design is the final piece of the puzzle covered in the certification course. Candidates learn how to create personalized workout programs that consider individual goals, fitness levels, and any specific limitations or conditions. They explore different training methods, exercise progressions, and periodization techniques. By understanding program design principles, trainers can develop safe and effective routines that help clients reach their desired outcomes.

Once the course is completed, candidates can register for the NFPT CPT Exam. This exam serves as a comprehensive assessment of a candidate’s knowledge and skills in various areas of personal training. It tests their understanding of anatomy, exercise physiology, nutrition, and program design, ensuring they are well-prepared to work with clients.

The NFPT CPT Exam consists of multiple-choice questions that challenge candidates to apply their knowledge to real-life scenarios. This format allows candidates to demonstrate their understanding of the concepts they have learned throughout the course. In addition to the written portion, the exam also includes practical skill demonstrations. Candidates showcase their ability to execute proper exercise techniques, assess clients’ form, and provide appropriate modifications or adjustments.

To become certified, candidates must achieve a minimum passing score on the NFPT CPT Exam. This ensures that certified trainers have the necessary knowledge and skills to provide safe and effective training to their clients. Once certified, trainers can confidently pursue careers in various fitness settings, such as gyms, health clubs, or even as independent contractors.

NFPT CPT Exam Preparation

Preparing for the NFPT CPT Exam requires dedication and focused study. It is recommended that candidates allocate sufficient time to review the course material and reinforce their understanding of key concepts. NFPT provides study resources, including textbooks, practice exams, and online tools, to assist candidates in their exam preparation. These resources are designed to cater to different learning styles and provide a comprehensive understanding of the material.

One effective strategy for exam preparation is to create a study schedule. By breaking down the material into manageable chunks and assigning specific study times, candidates can ensure that they cover all the necessary topics. This approach helps to prevent cramming and promotes a deeper understanding of the material.

Additionally, candidates can consider enrolling in preparatory courses or seeking guidance from experienced NFPT Certified Personal Trainers. These courses often offer structured lessons, interactive discussions, and practical exercises that can further enhance a candidate’s knowledge and skills. Working with experienced trainers can provide valuable insights and real-world scenarios that help bridge the gap between theory and practice.

It is important to approach exam preparation holistically, focusing not only on theoretical knowledge but also on practical application. Hands-on experience plays a crucial role in mastering the concepts covered in the NFPT CPT Exam. Candidates can benefit from shadowing experienced trainers or volunteering at fitness facilities to gain practical exposure. This allows them to observe different training techniques, interact with clients, and apply their knowledge in real-life situations.

Furthermore, staying updated with the latest industry trends and research can give candidates an edge in the exam. The field of fitness and personal training is constantly evolving, with new studies and advancements being published regularly. By staying informed, candidates can demonstrate their commitment to professional growth and showcase their ability to adapt to changing circumstances.

In conclusion, preparing for the NFPT CPT Exam requires a comprehensive and well-rounded approach. By utilizing study resources, enrolling in preparatory courses, gaining hands-on experience, and staying updated with industry trends, candidates can enhance their chances of success. Dedication, discipline, and a genuine passion for fitness are key ingredients for a successful exam preparation journey.

NFPT CPT Exam Content

The NFPT CPT Exam is a comprehensive assessment that evaluates candidates on a wide array of topics related to personal training. It aims to ensure that individuals possess the necessary knowledge and skills to excel in this field. Let’s delve deeper into the various areas covered by this exam.

Exercise Science Principles

One of the fundamental aspects of personal training is understanding the science behind exercise. The NFPT CPT Exam thoroughly examines candidates’ knowledge of exercise science principles. This includes topics such as anatomy and physiology, biomechanics, energy systems, and the physiological responses to exercise. Candidates must demonstrate a solid understanding of how the body functions and adapts to different types of physical activity.

Client Assessment and Screening

Assessing and screening clients is crucial for designing effective and safe training programs. The NFPT CPT Exam tests candidates on their ability to conduct thorough client assessments, including health history analysis, fitness evaluations, and postural assessments. Candidates must also be proficient in conducting various fitness tests and measurements to gather baseline data and track progress accurately.

Program Design and Implementation

Developing tailored training programs is a key responsibility of personal trainers. The NFPT CPT Exam assesses candidates’ knowledge and skills in program design and implementation. This includes understanding the principles of program design, setting appropriate goals, selecting appropriate exercises and training modalities, and creating progressive and periodized training plans. Candidates must demonstrate their ability to create safe, effective, and individualized programs that meet their clients’ specific needs and goals.

Exercise Modifications for Special Populations

Working with special populations, such as older adults, pregnant women, or individuals with chronic conditions, requires specialized knowledge and skills. The NFPT CPT Exam evaluates candidates’ understanding of exercise modifications for these populations. Candidates must be familiar with the unique considerations and adaptations required to ensure the safety and effectiveness of exercise programs for individuals with specific conditions or limitations.

Safety and Injury Prevention

Maintaining a safe training environment and preventing injuries is of utmost importance for personal trainers. The NFPT CPT Exam tests candidates on their knowledge of safety guidelines, proper exercise technique, spotting techniques, and emergency procedures. Candidates must demonstrate an understanding of how to minimize the risk of injuries and create a safe and supportive training environment for their clients.

Professional and Ethical Responsibilities

Being a personal trainer involves more than just providing exercise guidance. The NFPT CPT Exam evaluates candidates’ understanding of the professional and ethical responsibilities associated with this role. This includes topics such as client confidentiality, professional boundaries, scope of practice, and maintaining professional relationships. Candidates must demonstrate a commitment to upholding ethical standards and providing quality care to their clients.

Practical Skill Demonstrations

The NFPT CPT Exam goes beyond theoretical knowledge and includes practical skill demonstrations. Candidates must showcase their ability to apply their knowledge in real-world scenarios. This may involve demonstrating proper exercise technique, conducting fitness assessments, or designing and implementing a training program for a hypothetical client. Practical skill demonstrations allow candidates to showcase their ability to make informed decisions and apply best practices in a hands-on setting.

By covering such a wide range of topics and incorporating practical skill demonstrations, the NFPT CPT Exam ensures that certified personal trainers possess the necessary knowledge and skills to excel in their profession. It sets a high standard for competence and professionalism, ultimately benefiting both trainers and their clients.

NFPT CPT Exam Experience

The NFPT CPT Exam is an essential step in the journey to becoming a competent and knowledgeable personal trainer. This exam is designed to thoroughly evaluate candidates’ theoretical knowledge and practical skills, ensuring that they are well-prepared to guide and support their future clients.

Embarking on the NFPT CPT Exam can be both exciting and nerve-wracking for candidates. It is a moment where they have the opportunity to showcase their capabilities and prove their dedication to the field of personal training. The exam serves as a significant milestone, marking the transition from a student to a professional in the fitness industry.

During the NFPT CPT Exam, candidates are put to the test in various aspects of their potential career. One of the key areas evaluated is their ability to communicate effectively. Personal trainers must possess excellent communication skills to establish rapport with clients, understand their goals, and provide clear instructions. The exam assesses candidates’ verbal and non-verbal communication abilities, ensuring that they can effectively convey information to their future clients.

In addition to communication skills, the NFPT CPT Exam also focuses on candidates’ practical abilities. Demonstrating proper exercise techniques is a crucial aspect of being a personal trainer. During the exam, candidates are evaluated on their proficiency in executing exercises correctly and efficiently. This includes demonstrating proper form, range of motion, and control. The examiners assess candidates’ ability to perform exercises accurately, ensuring that they can effectively guide their clients towards achieving their fitness goals.

Furthermore, the NFPT CPT Exam emphasizes the importance of modifying exercises for clients with special considerations. Personal trainers encounter clients with various needs, such as individuals with injuries, medical conditions, or physical limitations. It is vital for trainers to be able to adapt exercises to suit their clients’ specific needs and ensure their safety. The exam evaluates candidates’ ability to modify exercises, demonstrating their understanding of exercise modifications and their application in real-life scenarios.

Ultimately, successful completion of the NFPT CPT Exam signifies that candidates have met the rigorous standards set by the National Federation of Professional Trainers. It confirms that candidates possess the necessary knowledge and skills to embark on their personal training career confidently. Moreover, the exam provides candidates with valuable feedback from industry professionals, allowing them to further refine their skills and knowledge.

The NFPT CPT Exam is not just an assessment; it is an opportunity for candidates to prove their dedication, passion, and commitment to the field of personal training. It is a stepping stone towards a rewarding and fulfilling career, where they can make a positive impact on the lives of their future clients.

Benefits of NFPT CPT Certification

Achieving NFPT CPT Certification offers numerous benefits to personal trainers. Firstly, it provides professional credibility and recognition within the fitness industry. Being an NFPT Certified Personal Trainer demonstrates to potential clients and employers that trainers possess the necessary expertise and adhere to high standards of professionalism.

Furthermore, the NFPT CPT Certification opens doors to various career opportunities. Certified trainers can work in diverse settings, including fitness centers, private studios, corporate wellness programs, and even online platforms. With the fitness industry continuously growing, the demand for qualified personal trainers is on the rise.

Additionally, NFPT offers ongoing educational resources and opportunities for professional development to its certified trainers. This allows trainers to stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends and expand their knowledge and skillset.

Maintaining NFPT CPT Certification

Once certified, NFPT trainers need to maintain their CPT Certification by meeting certain requirements. Trainers must complete continuing education credits every two years to stay current and ensure their knowledge remains relevant. NFPT offers a variety of approved courses, workshops, and conferences that enable trainers to accumulate these credits. Continuing education not only helps trainers enhance their expertise but also provides opportunities for networking and staying connected with fellow fitness professionals.

In addition to continuing education, certified trainers are required to maintain their CPR/AED certification. This ensures that trainers are equipped with the necessary skills to respond effectively to emergencies in their training environment.

NFPT CPT Certification Comparison

When considering certification options, it is essential to evaluate the various organizations available and compare their offerings. Some factors to consider include the reputation and recognition of the certifying organization, the scope of the certification, and the support and resources provided to certified trainers.

While there are several reputable certifying organizations in the fitness industry, the NFPT CPT Certification stands out for its commitment to practical application, relevance, and ongoing support. The NFPT curriculum emphasizes hands-on experience, ensuring trainers are equipped with the skills necessary to excel in their careers.

Additionally, NFPT provides a comprehensive range of resources, including textbooks, study guides, and access to a dedicated support team, which contributes to the success and growth of its certified trainers.

The NFPT Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) Certification is a valuable credential for fitness professionals seeking to establish themselves in the industry. By meeting the certification requirements and successfully completing the NFPT CPT Exam, trainers can demonstrate their knowledge, commitment, and competence in guiding individuals towards their fitness goals.

With the ongoing support and educational resources provided by NFPT, certified trainers can enhance their expertise, remain current within the industry, and enjoy a fulfilling and successful personal training career. Whether you are a seasoned fitness professional or just beginning your journey, the NFPT CPT Certification offers an excellent pathway to professional growth and success.

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Is NFPT nationally accredited?

Yes! NFPT is accredited by the NCCA, the top accrediting agency in the country.

What specializations does NFPT offer?

NFPT has a huge variety of specializations: Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Cancer Recovery Specialist, Breast Cancer Recovery BOSU Specialist, MS Fitness Trainer Specialist, Functional Training Specialist, and Master Fitness Trainer. 

Are personal trainers in demand?

Yes! Personal trainers are in high demand and the CPT job market is expected to grow 10% by 2026! 

How often do NFPT personal trainers have to recertify?

NFPT-CPTs must recertify every year. They must pay an $85 renewal fee and show proof of 2.0 CECs (equivalent to 10 participation hours).

Is the NFPT Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) Certification worth it?

The NFPT (National Federation of Professional Trainers) Certified Personal Trainer Certification is considered valuable for those starting their career in personal training or looking to formalize their expertise with a certification. It is recognized for its focus on fundamental training principles and practical application, making it a good choice for aspiring personal trainers seeking a solid foundation in fitness training. The NFPT is accredited by the NCCA (National Commission for Certifying Agencies), adding to its credibility in the fitness industry.

How difficult is the NFPT CPT Certification exam?

The difficulty of the NFPT CPT Certification exam can vary based on an individual’s background knowledge and experience in fitness. The exam covers a range of topics essential to personal training, including anatomy, physiology, training principles, and program design. While challenging, the NFPT provides comprehensive study materials and resources to aid candidates in their preparation, making the exam manageable with adequate study.

How credible is NFPT’s CPT Certification?

NFPT’s CPT Certification is credible within the fitness industry, particularly among entry-level personal trainers. The NFPT has been certifying personal trainers for over 30 years and is accredited by the NCCA, ensuring that its certification meets high standards for the certification of health and fitness professionals.

How many people pass the NFPT CPT Certification exam on the first try?

NFPT does not publicly disclose specific pass rates for the CPT Certification exam on the first attempt. However, the organization offers extensive educational resources and exam preparation tools to support candidates, which can contribute to a higher likelihood of passing the exam on the first try.

What is the pass rate of the NFPT CPT Certification?

The exact pass rate for the NFPT CPT Certification exam is not published by the NFPT. The exam is designed to assess a comprehensive understanding of personal training fundamentals, and candidates are encouraged to thoroughly prepare to enhance their chances of success.

How does NFPT’s CPT Certification compare to other certifications?

NFPT’s CPT Certification is known for its straightforward approach to personal training and emphasis on practical skills. Compared to other certifications like NASM, ACE, or ACSM, the NFPT certification may be more accessible for those new to the industry or looking for a certification that focuses on the essentials of personal training without an overwhelming amount of additional content.

Is the NFPT CPT Certification test open book?

The NFPT CPT Certification exam is not open book. It is a proctored exam that requires candidates to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of personal training principles without the use of textbooks, notes, or other aids.

How many times can you fail the NFPT CPT Certification exam?

The NFPT allows candidates to retake the CPT Certification exam if they do not pass, but a retake fee applies. The specific policy regarding the number of retakes and any waiting periods between attempts should be confirmed directly with the NFPT, as policies may be subject to change.

What can I do with an NFPT CPT Certification?

With an NFPT CPT Certification, you can work as a personal trainer in gyms, fitness centers, wellness centers, or in private practice. The certification equips you to design and implement personalized fitness programs, conduct fitness assessments, and help clients achieve their health and fitness goals.

How expensive is the NFPT CPT Certification?

The cost of the NFPT CPT Certification varies depending on the study package and materials chosen. Prices typically range from approximately $300 to $600, including study guides, practice exams, and access to the certification exam. It’s advisable to check the NFPT’s official website for the most current pricing and available packages.

What happens if you don’t pay NFPT for the CPT Certification?

Non-payment for the NFPT CPT Certification could result in the loss of access to the course materials, inability to take the certification exam, and non-issuance of the certification. It’s important to complete all payments as agreed to maintain access to the certification process and resources.

How long is the NFPT CPT Certification good for?

The NFPT CPT Certification is valid for one year. To maintain the certification, certified professionals must complete continuing education credits (CECs) and pay a recertification fee annually to stay current with industry standards and practices.

What are the best personal training certifications?

The best personal training certifications are those widely recognized and respected within the fitness industry, including NASM, ACE, ACSM, NSCA, and NFPT. Each certification has its unique focus and benefits, so the best one for you will depend on your career goals, training philosophy, and the type of clients you wish to work with.

Read More: Best Personal Training Certifications

How can I learn more about personal training?

To learn more about personal training, consider pursuing a certification from a reputable organization like NFPT, participating in workshops and seminars, engaging in continuing education courses, and staying informed about the latest research and trends in fitness and wellness.

Read More: How to Become a Personal Trainer

How can I start a personal training business?

Starting a personal training business involves obtaining a credible certification, defining your niche and target market, creating a business plan, developing marketing strategies, and establishing an online presence. Providing high-quality, personalized services and continually expanding your knowledge and skills are crucial for growing your business.

Read More: How to Start an Online Personal Training Business

How can Exercise.com help me run a successful personal training business?

Exercise.com can help you run a successful personal training business by providing an all-in-one fitness business management software platform. This platform offers features for creating personalized workout plans, managing client schedules, conducting online training sessions, tracking client progress, and automating various business tasks, enabling you to efficiently manage your personal training business and deliver high-quality services to your clients.

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Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®). He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life.
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