Best Personal Trainer Certification?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 17, 2012 6:25 AM GMT
    So I am looking to start studying to become a certified personal trainer!
    I am just wondering if you all could recommend which certification you think is best...and WHY.

    Right now I am leaning more towards NASM CPT and also want to get certified as a Fitness Nutrition Specialist.

    It is a lot of money with whatever certification I decide on so I want to make sure I make the right choice...please help...in return...I will give free training sessions ;) maybe haha...
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    Apr 17, 2012 1:54 PM GMT
    For a trainer in the USA, the most respected is ASCM. Good exam, quality information and furthermore they require 60 credits for renewal every cycle.

    NASM is fine, but you asked for the best.
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    Apr 17, 2012 2:03 PM GMT
    NSCA CPT or CSCS are also very well respected certifications. If I had the money and the time, I'd work on one of those (probably cpt for my needs). Good luck. Oh and I think Pinny meant ACSM?
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    Apr 17, 2012 2:39 PM GMT
    From what I've heard, you can't even sit for the CSCS exam without having completed a 4-year college degree in an area like Kinesiology, Exercise Physiology, etc., so that may impact your choice. It's one of the reasons CSCS is well respected.

    NASM is more of an entry level certification. It will get your foot in the door and allow you to work in the industry. It's certainly a valid credential, but I've seen many trainers go well beyond NASM once they get experience in the field and decide where they wish to focus. Still, this may be the quickest way to get working and generating income.

    Regardless of the cert you choose, I imagine you will likely get many certifications if you remain in the industry for any amount of time. Practically every piece of gym equipment comes with certification options these days (like Bosu, kettlebells, ViPR, PowerPlate). Same can be said for training programs (Crossfit comes to mind).

    One program that has always intrigued me is the approach of Charles Poliquin. You can check out his stuff at www.charlespoliquin.com. Be forewarned -- quite pricey!

    Ultimately, the vast majority of potential clients won't care who or what you studied or how many letters you can post behind your name on a business card. They will judge your competence on the results they see others achieving through you and the success they themselves experience with you. Plan on continually updating & expanding your knowledge base if you want to make this a career.
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    Apr 17, 2012 2:43 PM GMT
    You generally get what you pay for. Kind the bottom line with certifications.

    I have ISSA and it's a well known cert for the personal training. Beyond training I couldn't really say what its utility is since, while it covers in the coursework kinesiology and sports medicine, you don't need a BS in that to acquire the cert.
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    Apr 17, 2012 2:44 PM GMT
    The top 3 certifications:

    1) ACSM - With this certification you can walk into any gym and get hired. Best to have if you don't have a degree in related field.
    2) NASM
    3) NSCA

    ACE is also well known.

    Currently i have ACSM which is excellent but I want to go for NASM because I find their approach and material a bit more practical for everyday use.

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    Apr 17, 2012 3:09 PM GMT
    Just to prepare you, certifications don't teach you shit. But to work you'll have to get one. So in my opinion, go for a "respected" one for work purposes then do your own research and possibly get a degree if you plan a career in that field. The science of weight loss/gain has complex roots in neurochemistry and endocrinology, and if you understand that, you can design programs that create faster weight loss than just 1-2 lbs fat per week.
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    Apr 17, 2012 3:16 PM GMT
    CSCS is more obviously for personal training, and ACSM is more rehab and has many different levels and areas to get certified in.

    And both require you to have a bachelors degree in some area of Exercise and Sports Sciences
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    Apr 18, 2012 2:56 AM GMT
    Okay so from what you guys posted...I am now deciding between NSCA and ACSM certifications.
    Which do you think would be better for my career goals
    - Should be finishing my bachelors in Kinesiology in about 2 years or less
    - Plan on making a career out of personal training
    - Will get my masters in Kinesiology and additional Athletic Training degree or certification to become an athletic trainer
    - OR get into a nutrition program to become a registered dietician

    I really appreciate the input. I would just hate to pay all that money on a certification that would not be the best for me!
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    Apr 18, 2012 3:51 AM GMT
    I can't speak to your other questions right now, but one word of advice: when going into the field, try to have in mind specific areas you think you can specialize in. Is there a certain aspect or a certain issue that you feel really motivates you?

    For instance, I focus on my own fitness and how I feel I may interact with seriously obese or low-motivation clients because of how I used to be so obese. Cert aside, my main selling point is the before/after pics of me huge and me now. Like any business, always have in mind how you think you're adding value.
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    Apr 18, 2012 9:08 AM GMT
    Larkin saidI can't speak to your other questions right now, but one word of advice: when going into the field, try to have in mind specific areas you think you can specialize in. Is there a certain aspect or a certain issue that you feel really motivates you?

    For instance, I focus on my own fitness and how I feel I may interact with seriously obese or low-motivation clients because of how I used to be so obese. Cert aside, my main selling point is the before/after pics of me huge and me now. Like any business, always have in mind how you think you're adding value.


    Great advice! I would love to do massive weight loss just to see a client make a massive transformation...but I have been thin all my life so I know I wouldn't be as convincing as someone who has been bigger, such as yourself. Another specialty I would consider would be like depressed individuals looking to use exercise and proper nutrition to put their depression behind them. That is what I used to get out of my depression...I would love to share that with someone else. It will do wonders no antidepressant can ever do!
    Thanks for the advice
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    Apr 22, 2012 6:23 PM GMT
    Sportzdog saidCSCS is more obviously for personal training, and ACSM is more rehab and has many different levels and areas to get certified in.

    And both require you to have a bachelors degree in some area of Exercise and Sports Sciences


    Are you saying in order to become ACSM certified personal trainer that a bachelor degree is needed? If so that is incorrect.
  • HndsmKansan

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    Apr 22, 2012 6:25 PM GMT
    Well this is interesting. I have been thinking about getting my certification on the side (not planning on leaving my profession as a financial advisor anytime soon). I had heard that ACE was the one to focus on.
    Apparently not so much?
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    Apr 23, 2012 6:23 AM GMT
    HndsmKansan saidWell this is interesting. I have been thinking about getting my certification on the side (not planning on leaving my profession as a financial advisor anytime soon). I had heard that ACE was the one to focus on.
    Apparently not so much?


    ACE is okay, but it's more generic.

    ACSM, NASM and NSCA are like Mercedes Benz, Audi and BMW, while ACE is a Honda Accord. It's good but doesn't carry the cache of the other 3.

    You won't go wrong with it but in my experience, I get quite positive feedback when I indicate that I'm ACSM certified.