Selecting a Personal Trainer Certification

Given the extensive number of Personal Fitness Certification courses and programs available, it can be difficult and frustrating to determine which one is the “best.” We often hear certification companies talk about being “accredited” but that term can be confusing and misleading. We hope the following information helps you to better understand the different options available so that you can make informed choices as you pursue this new and rewarding career.

There are many different options available for learning what you need to know to become a Personal Trainer. Many of the certification companies offer preparatory classes, online courses, self-study correspondence classes, weekend workshops, and traditional classroom-based courses. A few things you can look for when choosing an education program:

Approval/Review by the American Council on Education. This organization reviews courses and assigns a college credit recommendation for that course. Classes that are reviewed by the American Council on Education have undergone an extensive review of the curriculum, the exams, the course development process, and the faculty providing instruction. If you select a course that has an American Council on Education credit recommendation, you are assured that this is a high quality educational program that is college level and awards credit towards a degree. To find a list of highly professional organizations and courses that are approved through this organization, visit ACE. W.I.T.S. is the only certification in the fitness industry that offers programs that carry college credit recommendations from ACE.

In some occupations, it is sufficient to learn theory and foundational knowledge. However, Personal Trainers need more than theoretical knowledge; they need hands on practical training so they can actually apply the information learned. It’s not enough to learn about the muscle groups, but you must practice the exercises and even more importantly, demonstrate and coach a client to correctly and safely perform those exercises. Exercise creates certain stresses on the body as it adapts and improves. It is important to know how to adjust and apply those practical skills with the client. When selecting the best certification for you, confirm that there is a practical component so that you can get that hands-on training. W.I.T.S. offers the only NCCA accredited practical certification exam in the industry.

Once you have the education and hands-on training, you still can expand those hands on skills with clients in real life practice! Training clients in a “real world” setting is enhanced with role-playing and practicing on fellow students in class. Ask why any other health occupation requires an internship. EMT’s, Nurses, Doctors, Physical Therapists are just a few health care professions that have internships. Internships provide the opportunity for you to work with experienced professionals in a fitness club setting; observing and getting practice with real clients who are being trained. In addition, chances are you are hoping to work as a Personal Trainer. An internship experience allows you to network with employers. If you perform well during your internship, you just may find a job waiting for you at the end! When selecting the best certification for you, look for one that has an internship experience to make sure you get that invaluable next step up the ladder.

No one really enjoys taking a “test,” but it is important to make sure you learned the information and mastered the skills required to be a Certified Personal Trainer. Make sure they are NCCA Accredited too. When comparing and choosing the best certification, make sure that there is an examination so that you can feel confident that you are ready to work with clients. There should be a written exam that tests your level of core knowledge as well as a practical exam to make sure you can actually perform the professional competency skills properly. This practical examination is so important for a hands-on job like Personal Training. After all, would you want your doctor, dentist, surgeon, or other health care professional to only have taken a written exam to show they know how to practice medicine?

The term “accreditation” can be confusing and misleading. Accreditation is the process by which a credentialing or educational program is evaluated against defined standards, and when in compliance with these standards, is awarded recognition by a third party. The fitness industry is currently self-regulated. There is no specific certification, licensure, or credential requirement but some key standards should be sought after to make sure you are the best professional you can be. , there is no one recognized “accreditation” for Personal Trainer programs.

One such organization is the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA.) It does have a sub unit called ICE. This accreditation does not provide any review of the education or training that will actually teach you how to be a successful Certified Personal Trainer. That must come from a recognized organization from the higher learning institutions like the American Council on Education. [ACE]

W.I.T.S. History:

W.I.T.S. has been educating, training, and certifying Personal Trainers since 1993. W.I.T.S. is the only Personal Trainer Certification that requires a classroom or online education, practical hands-on training, written and practical exams, and an internship. W.I.T.S,’ graduates are in high demand at fitness facilities as employers are confident that these professionals received a comprehensive, in-depth education and training, demonstrated knowledge and competence by passing a written and practical skills exam, and already receive bonus job experience through an internship. W.I.T.S. is NCCA Accredited and our certification program was reviewed and received a 3-college credit recommendation by the American Council on Education. Check out your area.


NCCA Accredited Program - Seal of Accreditation