What Are The Best Personal Training Certifications?
Does hiring a trainer with the best personal training certification guarantee that you’ll reach all of your fitness goals? Nope. But it can’t hurt.
In fact, one of the most important strategies for finding a great trainer is to consider the quality of their personal training certification (s).
But most people don’t know the best personal training certifications.
Here are the most respected personal training certifications:
– NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine)
– ISSA (International Sports Sciences Association)
– ACE (American Council on Exercise)
– ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine)
– NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association)
If you’re an athlete looking for a specialist trainer, consider working with a trainer who also holds the following certain certifications:
If you’re a runner, I suggest USA Track and Field.
And if you’re looking for weightlifting, go with USA Weightlifting.
But despite all of the certifications above, there’s one that is the absolute gold standard in training certifications. And that is:
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)
Why? I rank the CSCS certification as #1 because it is the hardest exam to pass. Sure, you must know the science of health and human performance. But unlike with other certifications, it also requires that you fully understand how to apply the science to your clients training. And I know because I’ve passed it. And I’ve also earned certifications with USA, USATF, NCSF, and many more.
Again, you want to check your trainer’s certifications to make sure you are working with the best you can find. If you settle for less than your best in this stage of the training process, you’ve set yourself up to fail.
Can You Personal Train Without A Certification?
Most successful gyms (like Equinox and Lifetime) require their personal trainers to have nationally accredited personal training certifications.
But that’s not always the case. There are gyms that struggle financially so they lower their standards. And as a result, they hire personal trainers without certifications.
And some gyms put their staff through their in-house training system.
You want to make sure your gym requires personal training certifications. Ideally, your gym also requires in-house training.
As I mentioned above, the best certification in the personal training industry is Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).
Think about it this way:
If your personal trainer has a CSCS certification, you’re probably training (at least somewhat) intelligently.
Do You Have To Be Fit To Be A Personal Trainer?
Personal trainers often serve as mentors and role models. For many clients, motivation comes from trying to emulate their trainers.
The reality is this:
You do not have to be fit to get certified in personal training.
That’s not to say that personal trainers should not be fit. It’s perfectly fine to consider the lifestyle of a personal trainer before working with them…
…or to look at their athletic background.
But in my experience, some of the personal trainers with the best bodies and greatest athletic backgrounds are the worst at actually helping clients achieve their goals.
In my opinion, certifications and client success rate are the most important factors to consider when hiring a personal trainer.
How Long Does It Take To Become A Certified Personal Trainer?
You can become a certified personal trainer in as little as two months. So depending on how much time you have to devote to studying, you can do it quickly. There are many apps and self-study options that speed up the process. Going to college for a degree is a long-term process and doesn’t typically result in a personal training certification. If becoming a certified personal trainer is your focus, start studying.
How Hard Is It To Become A Personal Trainer?
Becoming a personal trainer is not a big task and everyone can do it. If you are changing your career, and turning your passion into a career in fitness, here are some simple steps to follow:
1. Select a certification
2. Sign up for the test
3. Study for it
4. Pass the test
5. Contact gyms
Is It Worth It To Become A Personal Trainer?
If you dedicate yourself to becoming a personal trainer, it’s worth it. Helping others achieve their health and fitness goals is truly inspiring. By transforming your passion into your career, lots of people feel reinvigorated and empowered.
True success is following your heart and doing something you love. A job doesn’t have to chain you to a cubicle and make you miserable.