How to Become a Spin Instructor: The Best Certifications


How to Become a Spin Instructor: The Best Certifications

Between 2019 and 2029, the industry of fitness trainers, including spin instructors, is expected to grow by 15%. That’s faster than many other industries, making it the perfect time to learn how to become a spin instructor.

As a spin instructor, you get to help others better their lives through exercise. Since 1 in 4 adults don’t meet the global exercise levels they should, becoming a spin instructor is a beautiful opportunity to do something you’re passionate about while helping others.

To become a spin instructor, you’ll need to take a class and take a test to get a certification. We’ll discuss the best certification programs around, how they’ll compare, and which one you should take to get started on your journey to be a spin instructor.

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ISSA Certified Indoor Cycling Instructor Certification

The International Sports Sciences Association has been around for over 30 years. Its mission is to bring exercise and healthy living to everyone through education and community. They want to help 100 million people start their journey to a healthy lifestyle by 2030. 

ISSA is committed to serving others and providing a gold standard for their credited spin instructors. Their online spinning certification goes as follows:

  • Prerequisites: None
  • Type of Course: Online only
  • Price: $468 in either a lump sum, 6 monthly payments of $78, or 12 monthly payments of $39
  • Program Length: Self-paced study
  • Recertification: Every 2 years, requires 20 hours of continued education, $99 renewal fee unless you complete all 20 hours of continued education through ISSA, then the fee is waived

With this program, you’ll also get unlimited educational support, e-books, 30 bonus videos for more in-depth learning, and a free NCCPT accredited exam. The free exam does not include the proctoring fee. ISSA shows you how to lead and teach classes of varying sizes, cycling safety, a greater understanding of how cycling works on the body, and cycling nutrition.

Spinning Instructor Certification

Spinning is a registered trademark of Mad Dogg Athletics, which has certified more than 250,000 instructors in the art of spinning. Their spin instructor certification has been around since 1995. They have four different spinning certifications to choose from, each building off of the other until you’re a rockstar in your field.

Here are the details to become a certified spin instructor:

  • Prerequisites: Must be 18 years and older or have a waiver from your parents
  • Type of Course: In-person, live virtual, or online
  • Price: $355 for any of their certifications
  • Program Length: Online is self-study, Live is 9 hours, and you have to take the assessment within 30 days. Live Virtual is a 4-hour Zoom meeting with online resources covering the rest of the material
  • Recertification: Every 2 years, requires 14 continued education hours, has a Recertification Course should you not meet the criteria, costs $75 to recertify with the 14 credit hours

With this spin instructor certification, you’ll learn all about bike safety, proper riding positions, understand how to use heart rate, cadence, and power to get the most from a spin class, motivate, and coach classes, so they finish strong, and more!

NETA’s Indoor Group Cycling Certification

The National Trainers Exercise Association, or NETA, has been certifying health and fitness professionals for over 40 years, so they know what they’re doing when it comes to teaching the right way. They are a non-profit organization committed to in-depth, interactive, inclusive training programs.

Here are the details for their indoor cycling instructor certification:

  • Prerequisites: None
  • Type of Course: Online or in-person
  • Price: $199 for in-person, $189 for online, $29 supplemental study course
  • Program Length: In-person is 7 hours, online is self-study
  • Recertification: Every 2 years, needs 10 continued education hours with 6 of them being through NETA workshops or home study, costs $30 if done before certification expiration

With NETA’s indoor cycling instructor certification, you’ll learn how to set a bike up correctly, set up a room for a cycling class, what you should do with broken equipment, exercise physiology and anatomy, terminology and skills, and motivational tips, class formatting, and more! 

AFAA Certified Indoor Cycling Instructor Certification

The Athletics and Fitness Association of America has been certifying personal trainers for over 35 years. They’ve been inspiring people through movement and were the first to release nationally standardized guidelines for personal trainers and fitness professionals.

Here’s what you need to know about their cycling instructor certification:

  • Prerequisites: None, this program is here to benefit everyone
  • Type of Course: Online
  • Price: $314 with the option of 11 monthly payments
  • Program Length: Self-study
  • Recertification: Every 2 years with 15 continued education units no matter what, and two options for payments plan – $99 every two years or a one-time fee of $399

Learn the G.E.A.R. approach, Goals, Energy, Accountability, Results. Learn how to design and deliver an outstanding program from music to motivation and coaching. Also, with the AFAA indoor cycling certification, learn about cycling physiology and put everything you learn together into one smooth package.

ASFA’s Online Cycling Instructor Certification

American Sports and Fitness Association’s motto is the online resource for fitness professionals. Their goal is to provide quality testing as well as help trainers with their continued education needs. The details of their Cycling Instructor Certification are:

  • Prerequisites: You do have to agree to their terms and conditions
  • Type of Course:  Online
  • Price: $149 for 1-year certification, $179 for 1-year certification and pocket certification card, $499 for lifetime certification and pocket certification card
  • Program Length: Self-study
  • Recertification: Has to be done every year unless you bought the lifetime certification – both have to have at least one continued education class that must be pre-approved by ASFA

ASFA has all the resources you need available online, and when you’re ready, they also have a guarantee that you’ll only pay for the test when you pass. You’ll learn about group exercises, cycling fitness, cycling anatomy, and cycling science. Each of these categories is available for purchase.

Become a Spin Instructor FAQs

Here are some basics to cover before you dive into those certifications.

How Do I Become a Certified Spin Instructor?

It’s pretty easy to become a certified spin instructor. All you need to do is keep in shape, pass the certification test, and get insurance to find work as a cycling instructor.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Certified Spin Instructor?

Many certifications out there are through self-study, so it depends on how much time you put in. Getting your spinning certification should take a minimum of 7 hours.

How Much Do Spin Instructors Make?

Entry-level positions start around $45,000 a year with the potential to earn up to $93,600 a year.

What is the Best Spin Certification?

You’ve learned how to become a spin instructor, and now it’s time to decide on a certification. Which one is the best out there?

It depends on how much time you can put in, your budget, and in what way you’d like to learn. Decide what you’d like to accomplish and what you want out of a spin certification and find the one that’s right for you. If you have a place in mind where you’d like to do class as an instructor, talk to them and see which one they’d prefer you get.

Have questions or need help deciding the best path for you? Contact us at Fitness Mentors today!

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Pilates Teacher Training: 5 Best Certifications for 2021


Pilates Teacher Training: 5 Best Certifications for 2021

With a projected 15% job growth rate over the next five years, Pilates instructors have an estimated average of $69,000 gross annual salary. Pilates certification is on the rise, to no surprise. 

If you’re passionate about mind and body wellness and hope to spread the message to those unfamiliar with the concept, check out the five best Pilates instructor certifications below. We’ll give you a rundown of the prerequisites, pricing and program lengths of each to help you determine which is right for you.

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Balanced Body Pilates Instructor Training

Combining traditional and contemporary Pilates practices, Balanced Body provides a comprehensive curriculum about how the body works and how Pilates can improve it. 

The courses offered cover a broad scope of Pilates methods to thoroughly understand the practice. However, the studies also help you gain a greater sense of mind and body connections too.   

Balanced Body’s Pilates teacher training program is set up in four modules: mat, reformer, mat and reformer, and comprehensive. You must meet the prerequisite requirements for the modules before attending.

  • Prerequisites
    • Mat Instructor Training: 10 Pilates Mat sessions, six months of work experience in related field (recommended), Anatomy (recommended).
    • Reformer Instructor Training: 20 Reformer sessions, one year of work experience in related field (recommended), Anatomy required.
    • Mat & Reformer Instructor Training: 20 Reformer sessions, one year of work experience in related field (recommended), Anatomy required.
    • Comprehensive Instructor Training: 20 Pilates studio sessions, one year of work experience in a related field (recommended), Anatomy required.
  • Price: Course prices range depending on the advanced level and additional materials required. Typically, the courses cost between $400 and $500, manually cost $50, and other videos cost $10. If you would like to bundle the course prices, you can contact Balanced Body directly for queries. 
  • Program Lengths
    • Mat Instructor Training: 134 hours.
    • Reformer Instructor Training: 214 hours (not including anatomy).
    • Mat & Reformer Instructor Training: 332 hours (not including anatomy).
    • Comprehensive Instructor Training: 520 hours (not including anatomy).

Upon completion, you will receive recognition on the Balanced Body website and Pilates instructor certification.

Basi Pilates Comprehensive Program

Split into two six-module programs; the Basi Pilates Comprehensive Program gives you the knowledge and physical ability to teach up to advanced-level Pilates students. You will get a thorough understanding of the anatomical and biomechanical principles behind Pilates practices alongside knowledge of advanced Pilates equipment. 

The initial Basi Pilates Comprehensive Program module is the Foundation Program, which provides you with the fundamentals of intermediate Pilates methods. Upon completion, you can move onto the Graduate Program for the full-rounded comprehensive Pilates certification.

  • Prerequisites: must complete both the Foundation and Graduate Program; a minimum of 100 observation hours, 200 self-practice hours, 200 student teaching hours; pass the final practical exam and final teaching evaluation, and receive a passing grade on the student term paper. 
  • Price: The cost of both programs combined is $4,198, including deposits and admission fees. You must pay an extra $250 for each program’s Comprehensive Program practical exam and teaching evaluation. If you purchase both programs simultaneously, you will receive a $200 discount off of the Graduate Program cost. 
  • Program Length: You have to complete all program requirements within three years to qualify for the final assessments.   

Power Pilates Comprehensive Pilates Certification

Covering everything you need to know about Pilates from a beginner to advanced level, including full coverage of Pilates apparatuses, the Power Pilates Comprehensive Certification program is extensive and well-rounded.

You may take the course altogether or split it into the three differing advancement levels depending on your schedule flexibility. Either way, Power Pilates gives you the tools you need to achieve your Pilates instructor certification.

  • Prerequisites: A minimum of 25 apparatus sessions (classically trained instructor preferred), Power Pilates Core Mat I and Core Mat II training completion, basic anatomy knowledge (explicitly about movement).
  • Price: The US program totals $4,995, including manuals, weekend training, apprentice meetings, and exams.
  • Program Length: six to 12 months (or 600 hours), including weekend intensives and apprenticeship requirements.

Core Pilates NYC Comprehensive Course

Core Pilates NYC focuses heavily on classical Pilates teachings over a 600-hour, immersive study. Here, you’ll engage in physical classes and learn from videos, manuals, quizzes, and interactive discussions with your instructors and classmates. 

You will begin with beginner-level methods and anatomy overviews and end up learning advanced skills, apparatus use, and apprentice as a Pilates professional. 

  • Prerequisites: Core Pilates requires 10 private, 10 semi-private, and 10 apparatus classes not included in the program tuition. However, you can opt to purchase the Career Starter Kit, which bundles the 30 courses together. 
  • Price: The entire program tuition costs $5,495, including an apprenticeship, Anatomy in Clay Fundamentals, Small Equipment & Special Cases courses, and access for life to the online learning platform. You can also buy the Career Starter Kit for an additional $1,536.
  • Program Length: The comprehensive program encompasses five weekends and a total six-month commitment for completion. 

Peak Pilates Comprehensive Certification

Take part in Peak Pilates’ Comprehensive Certification Program for a professional Pilates education with coverage of mat, reformer, apparatus, and auxiliary equipment alongside an in-depth curriculum centered around Pilates as a mind and body integration system.

Peak Pilates splits the program into three levels with individual modules for each, growing in advancement as you progress. 

  • Prerequisites: For entry into Level 1, Peak Pilates recommends having a basic understanding of anatomy and kinesiology, 20 hours of Pilates training, and CPR/AED and first aid certifications. For course completion, you must complete all levels, all logged hours, and pass all assessments.
  • Price: The program totals $4,579 (included individual course materials).
  • Program Length: Totals 500 hours (including course contact and logged). 


Here’s the run-down of some basic information to get you started. 


What is the Best Pilates Certification?

There is no definitive answer because different courses offer varying teaching techniques, instructors, and course materials for other costs and durations. Ultimately, we can narrow down the choices to the top five mentioned above, but the determination of what you think is best for you and what you want to do with your training is up to you. 


How Do You Get Certified in Pilates?

You must participate in a certification program for the required training, education, experience, and assessments. Once completed, you must then take final comprehension assessments for training, teaching, and theory.


Can You Make a Living as a Pilates Instructor?

Yes. As a certified Pilates instructor, you can open your own Pilates studio, teach for a local gym, offer individual or group sessions on your time, and plenty of other Pilates teaching opportunities. On average, Pilates instructors make a gross annual salary of around $69,000. However, you can earn up to 27% more yearly for those that gain more professional certification.  


How Long Does it Take to Become Pilates Certified?

The duration to earn your Pilates certification depends on the program and the amount of time you’re willing to put into the program. If you don’t plan to become instructor certified, it might not take you as long. However, for a fully comprehensive Pilates certification, it takes, on average, 500 hours

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How to Become a Weight Loss Specialist in 2021


How to Become a Weight Loss Specialist in 2021

More than 2/3 of American adults are overweight or obese.

Now more than ever, Americans need help losing weight. 

If you’re interested in helping people lose weight and keep it off for good, you can become a certified weight loss specialist.

With an average salary in the U.S. of $60,911, it makes more sense than ever to get your weight management certification; and the growing problem with obesity in American strengthens the need for the weight loss industry. Even with recent economic issues, the job outlook for the industry can see an increase of at least 0.08% in the coming years. 

To become a weight loss specialist, you’ll first need to take courses and get a certification. Here, we’ll discuss our top choices for weight loss certifications based on some objective analysis. Read on.

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NASM Weight Loss Specialist

The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) offers a weight loss coach bundle which includes three of NASM’s essential course for your success:

You can also get the Weight Loss Specialization (WLS) certification separately if you’ve already been certified as a personal trainer. Course topics include the Obesity Epidemic, the science of weight loss, metabolism, nutrition, psychology, and more.

The details for the NASM Weight Loss Specialist certification are:

  • Prerequisite: Your CPT, since the program is a CEU specialization. 
  • Price: $629
  • Program Length: You have one year to complete your course by taking your final exam.
  • Recertification Requirements: The WLS itself does not require recertification, as it is considered a CEU for the CPT.

NASM’s certification is completely online and all of the resources for the course are digital.

ISSA Weight Management Specialist Certification

The International Sports Science Association (ISSA) upholds a gold standard of exercise and nutrition credentials. The organization is working to remove the stigma of vanity in weight loss and instead focuses on the health aspects of weight management. The ISSA Weight Management Specialist certification details are:

  • Prerequisite: Must be over 18 and have a CPR certification
  • Price: One payment of $399, 6 monthly payments of $66.50, or 12 monthly payments of $33.25
  • Program Length: From the point in which you purchase, you’ll need to complete the course and the exam within 8 months. You will still have access to the course indefinitely.
  • Recertification Requirements: After 2 years, you’ll need 20 hours of continued education to be recertified. There is a $99 renewal fee.

The course gives you the materials that you need to pass the exam, including digital textbooks, video lectures, and downloadable study materials. Once you complete the course, you will have access to a professional website and comprehensive student support.

ACE Fitness Weight Management Program

The American Council on Exercise (ACE) Fitness Weight Management Program helps certified weight loss trainers add professional credentials to their resumes and boost their business. The course is taught by experts in the weight loss industry. Topics include the science behind obesity, behavior changing, nutritional guidelines, pediatric obesity, bariatric surgery, and more.

  • Prerequisite: For an official ACE Specialist designation, you’ll need to hold a current professional certification in health education, fitness, or wellness, or be a licensed healthcare professional.
  • Price: One payment of $341.40, 6 monthly payments of $56.90, or 12 monthly payments of $28.45
  • Program Length: Once you purchase the course, you’ll have as much time as you need to complete it.
  • Recertification Requirements: Since this course is considered a CEU, there is no recertification necessary.

The program includes:

  • Recorded videos
  • Printable PDFs
  • Podcasts
  • Online quizzes

The program consists of 9 modules followed by an online quiz in which you must receive a score of 70% or higher. 

NESTA Lifestyle and Weight Management Certification

The National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association (NESTA) Lifestyle and Weight Management certification offers comprehensive training. The training comes from a reputable institution that can help you to learn the fundamental science and psychology behind nutrition and weight loss. Some of the course topics include healthy eating, tackling triggers, cooking a healthy diet, dietary supplements, fad diets and more.

The certification is available online and via online resources. 

  • Prerequisite: Since this course is considered a CPT CEU, you’ll first need a personal trainer certification.
  • Price: One single payment of $127
  • Program Length: Once you purchase the course, you’ll have unlimited access to the course. However, you’ll need to complete the course within one year of purchase.
  • Recertification Requirements: NESTA does not require recertification for this program.

You’ll need to pass a 100 question non-proctored online exam. If you do not get a 70% or higher after exam attempts, a $95 fee applies to retest.

NCCPT Weight Management Specialist Certification

The National Council for Certified Personal Trainers (NCCPT) offers a Weight Management Specialist Program certification. The program has a focus on the nutritional aspects of weight loss. It uses the psychology behind eating to help clients lose weight and keep it off. You can expect to learn the principles of weight gain and weight loss, energy balance, how to conduct nutrition interviews, the energy content of food, and more.

  • Prerequisite: Since this course is considered a CPT CEU, you’ll first need a personal trainer certification and a valid CPR card.
  • Price: $199 for the exam only, $239 with study materials, and $279 for premium study materials like sample tests and study guides. There may also be an additional proctoring fee for the exam.
  • Program Length: From the date of purchase, you will have 6 months to take your exam. After 6 months, a late fee will be incurred.
  • Recertification Requirements: NESTA does not require recertification for this program.

The program’s exam is done through a live proctor (online or in-person depending on your location). You will be given 120 minutes to pass a 74 question exam with at least a 75% or higher.

AFPA Weight Management Specialist Certification

The American Fitness Professionals and Associates (AFPA) offers a more holistic weight loss approach with their Weight Management Specialist certificate. Topics covered include obesity concepts, metabolic rate, body composition, lifestyle balancing, and more.

  • Prerequisite: You must hold a Nutrition & Wellness Consultant certification, Holistic Nutritionist Certification, or similar certification. You also must be 18 years of age and have a solid understanding of the English language.
  • Price: One payment of $649, or multiple payments over 3, 6, or 12 months using Affirm or PayPal Credit..
  • Program Length: From the date of purchase, you will have 6 months to take your exam. 
  • Recertification Requirements: You are required to earn 16 CEUs during each 2 year certification period. In addition, an $85 fee applies.

The exam requires an 85% or better to pass, and a $75 retest fee applies.

Benefits of a Weight Loss Certification

As a weight loss trainer, you will be able to reach your clients with empathy while using results-oriented science to help them meet their weight loss goals. 

The industry is growing as Americans continue to struggle with obesity – getting the certification means that you are creating a solution to a national problem. The above programs offer world-class knowledge allowing you to help others without resorting to another fad diet. 

With any of these programs, you will be recognized as an accredited weight loss specialist. The programs provided by these agencies are known for training top-rated weight loss specialists to help you achieve success in your career. 

Steps to Become a Weight Loss Specialist

The best online weight loss coach program for you depends on your budget and what you expect to get from the program. Once you’re certified, the steps to become a weight loss specialist are fairly straightforward. 

  1. You’ll need to get professional and general liability coverage to cover your business in the case of any client injuries or other dissatisfactions. This insurance coverage will protect you from any mishaps where clients may choose to sue your business.
  2. Start your business! A helpful course, such as this one from Fitness Mentors, will guide you through starting your new weight loss coaching endeavor. We’ll teach you how to optimize your brand, attract clientele, engage your prospects and close the sale to be on your way to financial freedom.

By getting started today, you are forging a path of success. Choose one of the above top-rated courses to get your weight loss specialist credentials in the near future. Contact Fitness Mentors today for a consultation that will help you determine the path best for you.

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NCCA Certifications for the Fitness Industry


NCCA Certifications for the Fitness Industry

Do you aspire to be a personal trainer but have no clue about NCCA certifications or which one is suitable for your goals?

Do you want to explore the various NCCA certified personal trainer (CPT) options and their prerequisites?

Getting yourself accredited before entering the fitness industry can work in your favor and helps you build a better clientele. Before selecting the appropriate certification for yourself, it is essential to learn about NCCA and the types of certification bodies accredited by it. 

The information regarding the programs may seem a little overwhelming, but this article helps you thoroughly understand the most popular accreditation programs where you can enroll.

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What Does NCCA Stand For?

NCCA is short for National Commission for Certifying Agencies and is the gold standard of accreditation for the fitness industry. Most fitness employers prefer personal trainers accredited by the NCCA. 

Accredited programs are popular as they are the gold standard. NCCA grants prestigious certifications that broaden your scope for employment.

Established in 1989, NCCA is an independent, non-governmental agency responsible for setting standards for the fitness and health industry. NCCA is one of the top accreditations around the world that sets the benchmark for certification programs.

What does it mean to be NCCA accredited?

The NCCA accredited CPT programs test your written knowledge and practical skills through a comprehensive personal trainer program and examination.

Getting an NCCA accreditation sets you apart as a professional personal trainer. Since NCCA is the leading standard in the accreditation of certification, it boosts the trust in the certification program while ensuring that the competence and skills of the trainer are on par with the industry requirements. 

NCCA certification also ensures employers that you have the highest level of skills and ability for the fitness industry.

NCCA requirements for personal trainer certifications

The agencies accredited by NCCA need to meet a specific set of standards before they can issue the certificates. The NCCA analyzes the programs and systems of the certifying agencies and investigates the curriculum set by them to get a clearer picture and understanding of the following:

  • To check whether the agency conducts examinations in an unbiased manner.
  • To ensure that the program assesses the minimum proficiency level of the candidate.
  • To assure enough support and guidance by the certifying agencies to their certified professionals.
  • To make sure that agency protects its clients from incompetent trainers.

The National Commission for Certifying Agencies makes sure that the certifying agencies work in a regulated manner to extend utmost support to the candidates and ensure complete protection for the people by determining the skill level of the personal trainers.

Current agencies that provide NCCA accredited personal trainer certification programs include:

Every program has its own set of guidelines and prerequisites. You can choose the best according to your career requirements and your knowledge level. 

While the NCCA accredited fifteen personal trainer certifications, our top four choices include the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF), American Council on Exercise (ACE), and International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA). The ISSA recently acquired NCCPT, making their CPT program NCCA certified as well.

Let’s dive in deeper to these four:

National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)

Opened in 1987, the National Academy of Sports Medicine is a premier certifying agency, regarded as the best certification program by many professionals. 

NASM is known for its Optimum Performance Training (OPT) model. This model enables trainers to advance their clients using secure, safe, and effective methods. As a prestigious agency, NASM primarily focuses on training instructions and exercise techniques.

There are four available study options – self-study, premium self-study, guided study, and the all-inclusive package. The examination consists of 120 questions you need to complete in two hours. To pass the exam, you need a score of 70% or above.

National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF)

Founded in 1996, National Council on Strength and Fitness is a community-driven fitness and health initiative. This certification aims to elevate the standards of the personal trainers and their inclusion in the same professional bracket as therapists and doctors. 

NCSF offers four packages – home study, home study plus, workshop, and workshop plus.

The NCSF exam consists of 150 questions that you need to complete in three hours. You require a score of at least 70% to pass the test.

American Council on Exercise (ACE)

American Council on exercise is the most popular non-profit certifying agency and considered one of the top-most personal trainer certifications. 

ACE follows an integrated fitness training model and offers a primary study package and a plus study package.

The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions divided into three sections. The pass rate for the examination is 65%.

International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)

Founded in 1988, ISSA is a 100% online certification program, and it is an entry-level personal trainer program. It offers five NCCA accredited certifications that are well-recognized in the fitness industry. 

ISSA offers extensive study material and various specializations for aspiring personal trainers. ISSA strongly emphasizes business-oriented personal training in its study materials.

The ISSA exam follows a unique pattern. It is an open-book test consisting of 200 questions, with a pass rate of 90%. You need to score 75% or above to pass the test. 

Final Notes From A Certified Personal Trainer

Choosing the best personal trainer program depends on your personal preferences and passion. You can select an appropriate program from the available NCCA certifications that can help you become a successful personal trainer and excel in the fitness industry. There are even programs that focus on personal training your clients online.

No matter which certification you choose, a career in personal training can be incredibly enriching!

Read more: How To Start A Personal Training Business: The Ultimate Guide

And for added momentum in your personal training certification, don’t forget that Fitness Mentors offers in-depth, proven study guides to help you reach your career goals!

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How to Become a Personal Trainer in 5 Simple Steps

how to become a personal trainer
Marketing Blog For Personal Trainers


How to Become a Personal Trainer in 5 Simple Steps


What Cert is Best for You?

We designed this quiz to help you choose the perfect certification based on your learning style and goals.

Have you always wanted to become a personal trainer?

Unfortunately, wanting is only half the battle.

In order to become a trainer and succeed as one, you need to have the right game plan in place and follow it up with consistent action — just like your workouts. As you’ll see in this guide, there are five simple steps you’ll need to take to become a personal trainer. And we’ll be covering the best ways to tackle each one.

If you are interested in training clients online check out our How to Become an Online Personal Trainer blog.

1. Get Your Prerequisites Completed First

Before you begin with a personal trainer course, you’ll need to have a few items checked off before you can get certified. These are:

  1. 18 years or older
  2. High school diploma or GED
  3. CPR/AED certification

Most personal training certification bodies require these items before you sit down for the final exam. Additionally, many companies are requiring the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Certification along with the Emergency Cardiac Care (CPR), but these certifications can usually be packaged together by the same provider.

The American Red Cross is a popular choice for the CPR/AED certification, and you can check out their website to find classes near you.

2. Nail Down the Best Certified Personal Trainer Course (for you)


What Cert is Best for You?

We designed this quiz to help you choose the perfect certification based on your learning style and goals.

What is the best personal trainer certification?

A better question is “what is the best personal trainer certification for me?” The certification body you choose is a highly subjective decision — and often a confusing one — so here are some questions you can ask yourself before committing to one over another:

How do I learn new concepts best?

Do you understand concepts better when they’re presented in-person with a teacher or can you handle learning on your own?

Personal training education isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. You actually have several options, including:

  • Certification via accredited US company (self-study)
  • Vocational college (in-person)
  • University programs with Bachelors or Masters (in-person)
  • Unaccredited online options (self-study)
  • Gym program (in-person)

Learn more about the different personal trainer courses.

How much time do you have?

Are you looking to get certified as soon as possible or would you prefer to get a college degree along with your certification? The self-study options are the quickest approach whereas the vocational college and university programs are obviously more long-term.

As you answer these questions, you should also be thinking about the differences between each personal training program.

Here are some answers to some common FAQs about becoming a trainer that may also help you decide which route you want to go:


Do I Need to Go to College to Become a Personal Trainer?


If the thought of becoming a full-time student isn’t something that interests you, you’re in luck.

You don’t need to go to college to become a personal trainer.

While a university program will give you the most in-depth learning experience, including learning subjects that aren’t solely personal-training focused, it comes at a price not everyone can afford, both in time and money.

However, if you have your sights set on becoming a personal trainer and you love school or are already working towards earning a Bachelor’s or Master’s, a college degree can strengthen your expertise and build trust with future clients.

This is especially important in the beginning of your personal training career when you’re still building your client base.

So if you don’t need a college degree, the next question is:


What Kind of Education Do I Need to Be a Personal Trainer?


As we talked about in this guide, there are five education routes you can follow to become a personal trainer:

  1. Certification by a US company
  2. Vocational college
  3. University programs with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree
  4. Unaccredited online options
  5. Internal gym programs

Each option has its own educational program and certification procedures. By completing one of them, you’ll hold a certification from that institute to teach people as a personal trainer.

Keep in mind, only the first three options on that list are accredited.

Let’s go over the difference between an accredited and an unaccredited program so you know which sounds best for you.

Do I Need to Find an Accredited Program?


An accredited program, such as Fitness MentorsNASM or ACE, means that it has been credentialed by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), National Board of Fitness Examiners (NBFE) or other top accrediting bodies. While there are other personal trainer program credentialing bodies, the NCCA is considered the gold standard.

More importantly perhaps, NCCA-certified personal training programs are generally recognized at most health facilities, meaning if you go with one of these you are almost guaranteed a job at a corporate gym.

Some of the most popular Accredited personal trainer bodies include:


• Fitness Mentors



On the other hand, unaccredited courses may not be accepted by corporate gyms and fitness studios.

Unaccredited courses are usually better for someone who already has an established network of clients through their own training methods and has no intentions of working at a corporate facility.

The majority of potential personal trainers will want to find an accredited program.

You’ll receive a more in-depth education and will be better prepared to find a job once you pass your test.

You can opt for an accredited self-study program, such as Fitness MentorsNASM or ACE, or you can enroll in a vocational college or bachelor’s program at your local college, as mentioned earlier. Vocational schools or colleges will have relationships with accredited certification bodies so you’ll walk away with a degree and your CPT.

Once you select a program, grab a calendar and set your exam date.

3. Choose an Exam Date & Prepare

Picking an exam date is the first major step towards seeing your personal trainer dreams through.


Put it off and you may end up backburnering your goal indefinitely.

That’s why certain programs have you set a date right away for this very reason.

Keep in mind, you should be realistic with your date.

Fortunately, this next section can help you understand the real magnitude of the work so you can adjust your timeline and plan accordingly.


How Long Does it Take to Become a Personal Trainer?


Consider your schedule, current workload, and other obligations before setting a date that’s too close for comfort.

You should give yourself at least three to six months, depending on your certification, to prepare. Plan on committing anywhere from 75-100 hours to doing so.

Here’s a breakdown of the expected study time for each personal training program specifically:

  • NCCPT: 80-100 hours is the recommended study time
  • FITNESS MENTORS: 80 hours is the recommended study time
  • NESTA: You must complete the test within 90 days of requesting the exam voucher so study well before this time
  • ACSM: 3, 6, 12, or 24-month options
  • ACE: Schedule test within 6 months of purchase date, but you can take it before 9 months
  • ISSA: 6 months to complete
  • NASM: Must complete in under 6 months
  • NCSF: Must complete in under 6 months
  • NCSA: 120 days after purchasing exam
  • NFPT: 12 Months after purchasing exam
  • AFAA: N/A

With your target test date in mind, you can then work backwards to plan out how many chapters you’ll need to cover each week and month in order to be best prepared for it.

However, if you want to fast track your certification, without sacrificing how much information you’re learning, use this study schedule to knock it out in just two months:

  • Read one or two hours per day at a minimum
  • Create your own chapter-by-chapter notes from the book/coursework
  • Use study guides to review hand-picked topics for reference
  • Listen to audio lectures to review the information while driving/working out/during down time
  • Take practice tests for each chapter
  • Quiz yourself on 5-10 chapters of the book at a time every few weeks
  • Reread study guides as you build upon new concepts
  • Quiz yourself and document the questions you miss; revisit the sections of the book discussing the topics you didn’t get right
  • Take a quiz every day leading up to the final week of study
  • Sit down for an entire practice exam and write down questions you missed; revisit topics you need a better understanding of
  • Take the official certification exam when you consistently earn at least 85% passing score on practice exams

You can also use study resources to help you work out pre-test jitters while you get a feel for the test’s format.

All this can help ensure you make it to this next (huge) step.

4. Pass Your Exam

There’s nothing better than seeing the words PASS after you submit your personal training certification exam.

But you can only get there if you put in the necessary time reading and studying the material and understanding the concepts.

Practicing test questions and using practice test preps also help increase your chances of passing your exam.

And once you do, you’ll officially be ready to start working as a personal trainer.

5. Land a Job as a Personal Trainer

Before you spend countless hours applying for jobs you may not enjoy, you should take the time to figure out what you really want and think about what gets you excited first.

You’ll save time by only applying to positions that check these boxes.

So consider these questions:

  • Where exactly do you want to work?
  • Do you prefer large group training classes or one-on-one sessions at the gym?
  • Would you prefer working in a hotel or country club setting?
  • Are you trying to start your own bootcamp or studio?

If you’re looking to gain experience, it can also help to approach the staff where you currently work out to see if there are any openings.

Since you’re already familiar with the place and the staff may be familiar with you, you’ll boost your chances of getting your foot in the door.

The last burning question many soon-to-be trainers have is:


How Much Money Can You Make as a Personal Trainer?

personal trainer salary

The good news is personal trainer salaries have an average median of $58,318 and 10% make over $80,000 per year!

When you do what you love and you truly help people become their healthiest, happiest selves, your salary may not matter as much in comparison. But it’s also good to know you’ll be compensated well for all your hard work.

Now that you know what it takes to become a personal trainer, and you understand how to ace all five steps to get there, it’s time to start chasing your dream.

FAQs on How to Become a Personal Trainer

The qualifications most personal training certifications require include: age 18 or older, has a high school diploma or equivalent degree, a CPR/AED certification, and the passing of a certified personal trainer course.

Some personal training certifications, like the Fitness Mentors CPT, can be obtained in a month with rigorous study. Most programs, however, take 3 months or more to complete the coursework, study and pass the final exam.

On average, personal trainers have an average median of almost $60,000 and 10% of trainers make over $80,000 a year.

Becoming a certified personal trainer is not nearly as time-consuming or challenging as other professions. However, a fair amount of studying and dedication are needed to complete a course and grow and build a client base.

A career in personal training typically begins at the gym for most trainers. This is the most ideal place to learn how to train, speak with prospects, and work on your sales technique.

Research suggests one in ten trainers earn six-figure salaries.

Personal trainers can use their skills to perform other jobs such as gym managers, sales managers, fitness writers, workout program developers, and group fitness instructors..

Most gyms require a qualification from a third-party accredited personal training body or their own internal certification for trainers to gain employment.

A personal training certification is not a legal requirement in order to assist others with their fitness goals. However, the safety and wellbeing of clients is a primary concern of the industry as a whole, which is why it is such an important aspect of any certification.

Personal training can be a great part time job. As an independent trainer you are free to charge as much as you’d like, choose your hours, and try to generate as much supplemental income as possible.


Become a Personal Trainer Today

With all this information under your training belt, now’s the time to take action.

Start by knocking out your prerequisites.

Then choose an education route you know you’ll stick with. Work through the rest of the tips in this guide and you’ll be one step closer to passing your certification test and achieving your personal training goals.

If you are interested in getting certified with the fitness industries three most popular certifications, check out Fitness Mentors and our free and premium study guides for NASM and ACE.

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