How Much Does It Cost to Become a Certified Personal Trainer? | Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

How Much Does It Cost to Become a Certified Personal Trainer?

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. 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. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Jun 30, 2021

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  • Becoming a personal trainer isn’t hard, but serious work and study are required.
  • The cost to become a certified personal trainer depends on the program you choose.
  • One of the most important things to look for when choosing a personal training program is an NCCA accredited program.

The actual cost of the test to become a certified personal trainer should be no more than $300. There are some places that, if you fail the test the first time, will allow you to retake the test for $99 or more. You may find that this cost fluctuates a bit, depending on where you live and who in your area is offering the exam, but in most cases, it shouldn’t be much more than $300.

Of course, this cost does not include the cost of the education that it takes to successfully pass the certification exam. With materials, you can expect to pay $400 to $700. The CPT exam is a series of 150 multiple choice questions and many of the questions focus on muscle groups, anatomy, health concerns and more, so study materials are usually required in order to pass the exam.

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How Much Will It Cost to Get Personal Training Education?

This is a very difficult question to answer. The reason for this is that the cost will vary depending on what kind of education you are going for, where you are educated, and whether or not you are going to pursue multiple certifications or just the basic CPT.

One of the most important things to look for when choosing a personal training program is an NCCA accredited program. While the cost of these programs is more expensive than non accredited schools, if you are looking for a job at a gym, they will look for the NCCA program. The exception here is if you have an associates or bachelors degree in a personal or physical fitness field.

Here is a list of the NCCA accredited schools and how much they charge for their programs:

As you can see, the cost of these courses range widely and some are far more expensive than others. All of these programs are nationally recognized and are reputable organizations and accepted by most gyms and organizations that utilize personal trainers.

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How Long Will It Take for Me to Complete My Personal Training Program?

Again, this depends on what program you choose. If you go to college for a degree, it will take you 2 to 4 years. Here is a breakdown of the time it takes for the above-listed schools:

  • American College of Sports Medicine – 9 months max
  • American Council on Exercise – 6 months max
  • International Fitness Professionals Association – 6 months max
  • National Academy of Sports Medicine – 1-year max
  • National Council of Strength and Fitness – 6 months max
  • National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association – 6 weeks max
  • National Strength and Conditioning Association – 9 months max

The length of time varies depending on the depth of the program taken. In addition, most of these programs only include a couple of days of class time with an instructor, the rest is independent study. That is what it means when you see the “max” at the end of the time frame.

Although you can’t complete a 9-month course in a couple of weeks, it can take 6 to 9 months to complete; however, it shouldn’t take you more than 9 months. Most schools require you to complete the program in the allotted max time.

Which Personal Trainer School Is the Best Choice for Me?

The bottom line is that this is for you to decide. There is a greater preference for people who have taken courses at the National Academy of Sports Medicine. That is because men and women who graduate from this course are more likely to pass their certification and their recertification exams.

However, any of these schools are excellent choices, and most offer classes in every major city, with the exception of the National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association, which currently has limited availability.

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