6 Best Nutrition Certifications

6 Best Nutrition Certifications

Are you considering getting a nutrition certification but don’t know which program to go with?

Not sure what the differences are, the advantages of each, the pros and cons, study parameters, and other insider information? 

Today you are in luck. Below, we have compiled some insider information to help aspiring Certified Nutritionists make the best choice for them. And that last comment there — “best choice for them” — is an important one. The best nutritionist certification is the one that is best for you. As you’ll see below, there are a number of factors that need to be considered before landing on a certification.

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How to Become a Certified Nutritionist

Step 1: Knock Out Your Prerequisites

Before you begin your nutritionist certification course, you’ll want to ensure you have the prerequisites needed to be eligible. Unlike the process to become a personal trainer, the prerequisites to become a certified nutritionist vary greatly from company to company.

Most companies that offer personal training certifications along with nutrition certifications require the below before you can sit for the final exam:

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

However, the certifications that are not associated with major fitness bodies such Precision Nutrition or Primal Health Coach do not have prerequisites in place. 

The ACE Health Coach seems to have the most stringent prerequisites in place, including the above three requirements as well as proof of a current NCCA-certification, an associate degree in a wellness related field, a completed health coach training and education program approved by the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaches (NBHWC), or two years years of documented work experience in wellness-type programs.

Bottom line: if you are serious about a specific course, check out their prerequisites to ensure they work for you.

Step 2: Find the Best Nutritionist Certification for YOU

As mentioned earlier, there is no “best nutritionist certification,” only certifications that are the most highly recognized. Nutrition education isn’t one-size-fits all, it’s up to you to determine what the best course is for your career and weigh all your options.

Further, consider how you learn best and how the options presented fit into your learning process. Another important consideration is time; how quickly do you want to get certified? Some options may be quicker than others and that may impact your final decision.

Step 3: Prepare for Your Exam & Pass!

Don’t overlook the importance of scheduling your final exam for your nutrition certification. Putting this off may result in long term procrastination. Still, you have to be realistic with your final exam date and your study timelines.

Once you knock out the exam and get certified, you are on your way to training with clients

Step 4: Start Landing Nutrition Clients

Now that you have a fancy certification next to your name and have learned about how to work with clients and various nutrition goals, you can master the art of helping your clients achieve their goals.

Without further ado, let’s learn about some important considerations you should be aware of as you choose the best nutritionist certification for you!

6 Best Nutrition Certifications

Best Nutrition Certification: An Objective Look into 5 Key Criteria


The majority of the nutrition courses on this list are priced in the same ballpark. The cheapest option at the time of this writing was the ACE Health Coach “Basic” package for $599. They also have a “Plus” package for $749 that includes a hard copy and audiobooks. 

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification, NASM Nutrition Certification, and ISSA Fitness Nutrition Certification are all $799. The AFPA has a discounted 100% online course for $649 in addition to the ebook and textbook course that costs $849.

Primal Health Coach does not display pricing information on their website, however, we found a page that shows the course is $2,995, making it the most expensive option on this page. The rationale for the price of this course, and the others, may be suggested in the following section on focus of education.

Primary Focus of Education​

The below information was taken straight off the websites of the certification bodies.

ACE Health Coach Certification: ACE places it’s education focus on business practices and how existing personal trainers can make more money selling this complimentary service. 

AFPA Nutrition & Wellness Consultant Certification: As the AFPA course name entails, this cert is a blend of nutrition and wellness principles rolled into one. It delves into the basics of diet planning, understanding nutrients, vitamins and minerals in one’s diet, and how to use food as energy. In addition to the understanding and planning aspect, this course also helps you build essential skills for consulting clients and developing protocols. Further, there is an educational element geared towards prevention and how food can treat or reverse disease.

ISSA Certified Nutritionist: ISSA’s Certified Nutritionist certification trains you on the ins and outs of nutrition but also places emphasis on the psychology of eating well and making good dietary choices. These principles can help coaches understand and plan based on their clients’ needs, according to the program.

NASM Certified Nutrition Coach: In addition to learning what NASM calls “cutting edge nutrition information,” this course incorporates general nutrition knowledge with program design around building muscle and losing fat. These skills focus on mental plateaus as they relate to diet and nutrition as well as psychological principles that trainers can use to help their clients get results. 

Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification: Often compared to a college level course, the Precision Nutrition certification simplifies complex diet and nutrition information so that you get a full understanding of the fundamentals and diet-planning that you can pass on to your clients. The program also focuses on designing programs that help clients integrate dieting alongside fitness programs to help them set attainable goals.

Primal Health Coach: The Primal Health Coach platform is rooted in evolutionary health science and what they call “learning how to reprogram genes to direct optimal cellular function.” You’ll be able to teach clients insightful combinations of functional fitness as well as efficient fat burning methods and the lifestyle behaviors that are best for them. The health coaching component is rooted in psychology so you’ll also understand the how’s and the why’s of shifting client behavior.

Expected Study Time

ACE Health Coach Certification: Exam is good for 6 months from the purchase date of your study program.

AFPA Nutrition & Wellness Consultant Certification: As long as you need but you need to complete the exam within six months from enrollment.

ISSA Certified Nutritionist: Study at your own pace. 3-5 hours per week, expected to take 4 months. Must sit for exam 12 within 12 months of registering. 

NASM Certified Nutrition Coach: Around 60 hours of total study time. 

Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification: As long as you need. 3-5 hours per week, expected to take 4.5 months.

Primal Health Coach: 60 to 100 hours.

Number of Test Questions

ACE Health Coach Certification: 150 Questions (125 scored and 25 experimental questions)

AFPA Nutrition & Wellness Consultant Certification: 250 Questions

ISSA Certified Nutritionist: 363 Questions

NASM Certified Nutrition Coach: 100 Questions

Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification: 180 Questions

Primal Health Coach: 500 Questions

Popularity of Certification

ACE Health Coach Certification: 7,227 students [*]

AFPA Nutrition & Wellness Consultant Certification: No posted results

ISSA Certified Nutritionist: No posted results

NASM Certified Nutrition Coach: New certification without statistics

Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification: 70,000 students [*]

Primal Health Coach: New certification without statistics

FAQs About Nutrition Certifications

You don’t need to be a personal trainer to get a nutrition certification. However, some nutrition certifications, like the ACE Health Coach Certification, have a prerequisite that you have a NCCA-accredited certification in fitness, nutrition, healthcare, wellness, human resources or a related field. Check with the specific certification beforehand to understand the prerequisites. If you are considering becoming a personal trainer first, check out the highly regarded FM-CPT.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics nutritionists have a median pay of around $60,370 per year, or $29.02 an hour.

The typical online nutrition certification can be completed in six months or less. Many of the programs are self-paced, so it is entirely up to the student in terms of how quickly they prepare and pass their final exam.

Yes, nutrition certifications don’t require a four year degree. While some programs can be obtained within a college setting, many certifications are available online without a degree. Just be sure to check the specific certifications’ prerequisites before enrolling for their respective requirements.

There really is no “best” nutrition certification as the decision is highly subjective. The best nutrition certification is the one that has the best course curriculum, price, and potential skill sets for your professional goals.

A certified nutritionist is a great career for those who love to help others meet their nutrition, health and wellness goals. If you are passionate about people and food, this low stress, high work-life balance job could be a great career for you.

Nutrition Certification Takeaway

A nutrition certification is an ideal option for those who want to help clients understand their health and wellness through food. Whether as a standalone career or as an add-on to your personal training or health career, the knowledge you gain can help others achieve their personal goals. 

The future for certified nutritionists looks bright as the industry is projected for continued growth as more people place an emphasis on the healing and preventative powers of food. As long as there is a trend for people wanting to improve their overall health, there should always be a strong demand for professionals who can help them.

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Best Personal Trainer Certification

Best Personal Trainer Certification

To help aspiring personal trainers choose the best personal training certification, we’ve decided to put together a list of (mostly) objective criteria we believe trainers are most concerned with. While there really is no “best personal trainer certification,” there are different factors that may better resonate with certain people.

Related: Personal Trainer Courses: 5 Ways to Become a Trainer

Thus, we put together the following factors based on feedback from existing personal trainers and found as much data as possible so we could quantify our research:

  • Accreditation: most gyms only accept personal training certifications that are NCCA, NBFE or DEAC – recognized so this is an important factor for aspiring trainers. These certifying bodies are considered the gold standard for fitness certifications.
  • Price: includes the cost of the test and the cheapest study materials.
  • Pass Rate: the total test takers divided by the passers.
  • Expected Study Time: this is the time you have to take the exam from the time you purchase the study materials.
  • Number of Test Questions: all tests are multiple choice, and we report on the amount of test questions for each exam. We also cover the total time allotted as well as the minimum passing score.
  • CEU Requirements: amount of Continuing Education Units required to maintain certification.
  • Popularity of Certification: indication of the amount of people who have a cert and take the test every year.
  • Primary Focus of Education: while this topic may surprise some, each program varies slightly in what their education process concentrates on teaching you. This information is pulled straight off their catalogs.
  • Average Income: average annual income by certification based on actual user feedback from reputable website Payscale.com.
  • Retake Fee: if you fail the exam the first time, the price to retake the exam again.

Personal Trainer Certifications we Analyzed (with links to websites)

  • NASM – National Academy of Sports Medicine
  • ACE – The American Council on Exercise
  • FM – Fitness Mentors
  • NSCA – National Strength and Conditioning Association
  • ACSM – American College of Sports Medicine
  • NESTA – National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association
  • NCCPT – National Council for Certified Personal Trainers
  • NCSF – National Council on Strength & Fitness
  • ISSA – International Sports Sciences Association
  • AFAA – Athletics and Fitness Association of America
  • NFPT – National Federation of Professional Trainers

Check out our infographic that covers the objective items mentioned above. Below the image is a list of all the items with a breakdown.

Best Personal Training Certification: An Objective Look into 10 Key Criteria

Below we summarize the data contained in the infographic, diving into highlights from each section, explaining why some companies vary so much, and giving an honest assessment of why each of the companies ranks where it does.

We also include a “Personal Trainer Takeaway,” from me, a longtime personal trainer who has worked in almost every facet of the business (big box gym, one-on-one, group fitness, business owner, etc.). This section is a bit more subjective, but will help you consider some things that a purely objective analysis might not.

In some instances, we were not able to find data for each of the certifying bodies and we made estimates. This estimated data is not presented in the infographic but we make mention of it here.

Let’s clear up some Personal Trainer Certification FAQs before diving in.


1: How do you get certified to be a personal trainer?

To be eligible for most certified personal trainer exams, you typically need to meet the following criteria:

  1. Be 18 years old
  2. Have a high school diploma or equivalent certification
  3. Have a Emergency Cardiac Care (CPR) or Automated External Defibrillator (AED) certification

These requirements may vary from certification to certification, but these are the basic guidelines for a CPT. From there, you simply register for an exam, study, pass, and begin your career.


2: How much does it cost to get certified as a personal trainer?

We cover the specifics of how much each certification body charges for the exam and study materials below, but the range is between $399 and $799.

So, you can figure it will cost you around $500 to get certified as a personal trainer for most certification bodies.


3: How long are personal training certifications good for?

The personal trainer certification length is good for life provided you keep up with continuing education requirements of your certification. Another way of explaining this is that you’ll have to understand that each personal trainer certification company has different requirements for their trainers to maintain their certifications. The general rule of thumb is a certification must be renewed every two years and is done so by taking continuing education courses. See our chart and description below to learn more about each certification.


4: What is the cheapest personal training certification?

The Fitness Mentors Personal Trainer Certification is the cheapest personal training certification at $399 including the digital textbook, 8 types of study materials, and the exam. This option is completely online and therefore does not have some of the unnecessary costs associated with the others.


5: What is the easiest personal trainer certification?

This is very subjective question, however, ISSA is generally considered the easiest CPT as the test is taken online in your own home and has no time limit.


6: How long does it take to become a personal trainer?

There are five basic ways you can become a personal trainer and each will vary in the time it takes to start the process to get your certification. You can theoretically get a personal trainer certification in as little as a few hours, but this method, available through unaccredited online companies, would be unlikely to help you get a job or equip you with any real knowledge. Furthermore, this method is not recommended by Fitness Mentors.

The other options and general timelines to get certified are:

  1. Self-study: Certification via Accredited US Company — 6 months +/-
  2. Certification via Vocational College — 30 to 42 weeks
  3. Certification and Degree via University Programs — 4+ years
  4. Certification via Gym Program (usually unaccredited training programs, not certifications) — 90 hours +/-
shutterstock CPT Prep
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Accreditation standards are developed by several third-party credentialing organizations to maintain a level of professionalism within the fitness industry. These designations showcase that a certification body has created a high-quality program that ensures the safety and wellbeing of the public. Fitness certifications that wish to be accredited have to submit their programs and final exam to be evaluated on an individual basis. This ensures that they meet the highest standard and validates that the aspiring trainer has the competency for entry level employment.

With the exception of AFAA and ISSA, every personal training certification body on this list has the option for a National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accredited exam, which is the gold standard for fitness certifications. This is important to trainers because most gyms will only accept personal trainer certifications that are accepted by an NCCA-accredited body. So, if you are like many trainers who want to jumpstart their career by working in a gym, you may want to avoid a cert that is not NCCA-accredited.

If you are looking for a more entrepreneurial route other than working in a gym, the FM-CPT is known for having the most business emphasis in their education. AFAA is currently rebuilding their program so that they will be accredited, but their main emphasis is their group fitness certification. ISSA does have accreditation with Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) and National Board of Fitness Examiners (NBFE), and is accepted at most gym chains.

Personal Trainer Certifications with the option for NCCA Accreditation:


Personal Trainer Certifications with National Board of Fitness Examiners (NBFE) Affiliation


Personal Trainer Certification with DEAC Accreditation:

  • ISSA

Personal Trainer Takeaway:

Be sure to check with your top employment options to find out which certifications they accept, as that may limit your certification choices. For example, if you have a friend that works at 24-Hour Fitness and says he can get you a job if you get certified, get a list of the certifications they honor so you know you’ll be a shoe-in.

Similarly, if you plan on working at a smaller shop with other personal trainers, inquire with them first if they will accept the personal training certification you are leaning towards. Bottom line, determine where you want to work, then see if those places have requirements on the types of PT certs they accept for employees.


The Price includes the cheapest study package and test.

Most of the personal trainer certification bodies sit around the $500 price range for the exam and the study materials. Fitness Mentors is the least Expensive at $399, and ACE ($599), NSCA ($712.80), and NASM ($699) are a full $100 to $300 more expensive.

For ACE and NASM, this is likely due to the popularity of the brands, while the NSCA seems to be expensive in general for these upfront costs as well as the Retake Fee (more on that below).


Personal Trainer Takeaway:

You should determine what matters most to you: prestige or cost? If you want to go with a more recognized name in the industry (NASM, ACE) it will cost more. If you only need an inexpensive, accredited certification for quick employment, look toward the less expensive certifications (Fitness Mentors, NFPT, NESTA).

However, also consider CEU requirements, income, as well as the above accreditation factors before you pull the trigger. While price may be the most important factor to you, all the factors on this page may influence your final decision beyond your initial investment.

Pass Rate

The cert with the best pass rate is ISSA at 89.9%, while ACSM, at 54%, sits on the bottom end. The ISSA has the best pass rate because it is the only open book exam out of the bunch, and there is no time limit on the exam.

There is no data on the Pass Rate for the AFAA because they are rebuilding everything to get NCCA accredited.


Personal Trainer Takeaway:

Some tests are much harder than others. If we use pass rate as our main reference point, it would appear that ACSM, NSCA, and NCSF have the most difficult tests. This can mean these tests are the hardest to pass or the educational experience provided is not sufficient in preparing students for the subject matter on the test.

Or, it could mean these tests tend to focus on more difficult subjects like anatomy, physiology and biomechanics. The study experience — books, study guides, practice exams, access to instructors, etc. — from fitness organizations can vary widely. The feedback from students is that some study curriculum does not fully prepare a student for a final exam as well as it could, while others find that the preparation materials provided fully prepare them for the final exam. This is why students often use third-party educators like Fitness Mentors to provide education for multiple certification exams like NASM and ACE.

Expected Study Time

The expected study time is inferred from the time the certification bodies give you when you buy the study materials until the time you have to take the exam.

NCCPT: As long as you need. 80-100 hours recommended study time.

Fitness Mentors: 6 Months with 80 hours of recommended study time.

NESTA: Study as long as you need but must complete the test within 90 days of requesting the exam voucher.

ACSM: 3, 6, 12, or 24 month options.

ACE: Schedule test before 6 months of purchase ends but 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.



Personal Trainer Takeaway:

The timeline you have to complete the test matters depending on your situation. Are you currently unemployed and need a training job as soon as possible? You would then want the shortest study time and easiest test. Are you looking to become certified without the need for immediate employment? Maybe a longer study time would be needed since you are less motivated for immediate results. Also, keep in mind how much time you have to put toward your studies? If you only have two hours a week, you may not be able to complete your studies in the allotted time.

The main takeaway here is to not just look at the exam with the least amount of study time and say, ‘that’s for me!’ Instead, take an honest assessment of your current financial situation and the certification you really want and make the best decision for your future.

Number of Test Questions

Below: Number of test questions / total test time / minimum passing score

NASM: 120 questions / 120 minutes/ 70% or higher is passing

ACSM: 120 questions / 120 minutes / 68.75% or higher is passing. 800 points available based on scaled questions, 550 points needed to pass

Fitness Mentors: 100 questions / 120 minutes / 70% or higher is passing

AFAA: 120 questions online exam / 120 minutes / 70% or higher is passing

NFPT: 120 questions online exam / 120 minutes / 70% or higher is passing

NESTA: 125 Questions / 120 minutes / 69% or higher is passing

NCCPT: 140 Questions / 120 minutes / 72.7% or higher is passing

NCSF: 150 questions / 180 minutes / 62% or higher is passing

ACE: 150 questions / 180 minutes / 62.5% or higher is passing. 800 points available based on scaled questions 500 points needed to pass

NSCA: 155 questions / 180 minutes / 70% or higher is passing

ISSA: 160 questions / unlimited time / 75% or better is passing


Personal Trainer Takeaway:

What type of test taker are you? A confident test taker will not need to worry about the length of test or number of questions. Someone whose mind goes blank because of testing anxiety may want to consider the shorter test like Fitness Mentors, NASM or ACSM. Or, if you have an extreme fear of tests consider Fitness Mentors or ISSA as the tests are open book. Just make sure your potential employer approves this certification.

CEU Requirement

The NCSF has by far the least amount of CEUs required at 10 credit hours. At the other end, NSCA trainers are required to obtain 60 CEUs. However, these numbers alone don’t tell the whole story, you should also consider the time periods in which these hours are required, as well as the costs to recertify.

NCSF: 10 hours of CEUs and $50 to recertify every 2 years

AFAA: 15 Hours of CEUs and $99 to recertify every 2 years

NASM: 20 hours of CEUs and $99 to recertify every 2 years

Fitness Mentors: 20 hours of CEUs and $99 to recertify every 2 years

ACE: 20 hours of CEUs and $129 to recertify every 2 years

ISSA: 20 hours of CEUs and $99 to recertify every 2 years

NCCPT: 20 Hours of CEUs and $75 to recertify every 2 years

NESTA: 40 hours of CEUs and $149 to recertify every 4 years

ACSM: 45 hours of CEUs and $30 to recertify every 3 years

NFPT: 10 hours of CEUs and $50 to recertify every year

NSCA: 60 hours of CEUs and $50 to recertify every 3 years


Personal Trainer Takeaway:

Recertification is required by all certifying bodies. The process of recertification varies slightly, but one common ground is that they require you to continue your education and show proof of this newly obtained knowledge via CEUs or Continuing Education Units.

Also, there are typically 1,000s of courses to choose from to continue your education and we have compiled a list of our favorites here. Another consideration is that the more CEUs that are required by a provider the more money you will spend on recertifying (roughly $20 per contact hour) which makes NSCA (60 hours) and ACSM (45 hours) less appealing financially. Hopefully, this will not matter if you are successful in your personal training career. To ensure that you are successful check out this highly recommended business and sales course for personal trainers.

Popularity of Certification

The popularity of a certification is based on the number of trainers with a specific cert in the field as well as the number of test takers per year. Not reported in the graph is the number of tests taken per year.

NASM is by far the most popular of all personal training certifications at over 22,000 attempts per year. NSCA, who is also the second-most expensive certification, has the least amount trainers with their cert. This is a bit odd considering NASM, a brand with lots of interest, can justify this interest by charging more.

AFAA said they have 350,000 certified but for a different group fitness certification. Thus, we didn’t include it on the reporting of the infographic.

The number of tests taken per year is provided below:

NASM: 22,304 attempts per year

ACE: 13,103 attempts per year

ISSA: 10,696 attempts per year

ACSM: 5,226 attempts per year

NFPT: 2,684 attempts per year

NCSF: 2,455 attempts per year

NSCA: 1,529 attempts per year

NESTA: 1,515 attempts per year

Fitness Mentors: 565 attempts per year

NCCPT: 355 attempts per year


Personal Trainer Takeaway:

The way that we look at this statistic is mainly by determining the recognition for each certification body. It is assumed that the more people that take a certification the more well-known that certification is. Popularity can be seen as a reputation builder meaning that more people trust that company, but it also can be determined by the volume of marketing and advertising a company puts in.

To give a brief example of this, NASM advertises on TV and radio in our local area. This leads to more people in general recognizing the NASM brand and name. When trainers say they are NASM-certified, their clients typically recognize the brand name because of the abundant advertising and that makes the trainer more reputable, even though the client knows nothing about the quality of education NASM provides.

On the other hand, some progressive companies, like Fitness Mentors, have introduced a relatively new certification. For this reason, they don’t yet have the same number of tests taken as organizations that have been around for dozens of years. The benefit of some of the newer certifications, however, is that they are able to fill voids where some of the older organizations lag. Fitness Mentors is 100% online, boasts more study materials than many of the other certifications, offers personal mentorships, and provides access to instructors. ISSA is also a 100% online option, rounding out the more progressive companies that are keeping up with modern demands of trainers who capitalize on online learning and test-taking.

The question you must ask is ‘do I care if my clients recognize the name of my certification?’ If so, choose a certification with more popularity. Just keep in mind that most clients don’t know and don’t care what certification you have, but employers do so make sure your chosen employer accepts the cert.

Primary Focus of Education

This information was taken straight off the catalogs of the certification bodies.

NASM: Exercise Technique and Training Instruction

ACE: Behavioral Modification for Fitness Goals

Fitness Mentors: Fitness Program Design and Business Success

NSCA: Techniques of Exercise

ACSM: Exercise Leadership and Client Education

NESTA: Business Applications

NCCPT: Exercise Application

ISSA: Program Design

NCSF: Exercise Prescription and Programming Considerations

NFPT: Goal-oriented Program Design in User-friendly Format


Personal Trainer Takeaway:

Most of the certifying bodies will be very similar in their balance of educational topics, due to the NCCA regulation that forces companies to do a Job Task Analysis. This Job Task Analysis determines the most important knowledge to have to be successful in the field and is typically the same across the board. Therefore, each company is required to have the same topics of education. ISSA is the outlier here as they are not required to stick with NCCA’s guidelines, but the balance of educational topics does not stray too far from the others.

Average Income

While the personal trainer certification bodies don’t publish this information, we are able to average data from self-reported data on reputable websites.

At the top tier of income is NASM and ACE, at $41,598 and $41,546, respectively. NCSF comes in at $35,061, the lowest of incomes we were able to find data on.

For NESTA, NCCPT, and ISSA, we were unable to find data but are able to estimate based on the popularity of each certification and the income reported for that cert. We estimate that these individuals, on average, make:

  • NESTA: $37,531
  • NCCPT: $35,101
  • ISSA: $36,235

Personal Trainer Takeaway:

These incomes are averages of about 30+ different people holding the same certification working as fitness professionals. We know trainers that make $200,000 per year as well as $20,000 per year all of which have the same and/or different certifications. Your success as a business person is determined by your drive, knowledge of key business and sales techniques, location and various other things. To find out how to optimize your success we recommend this online course.

Retake Fee

Should you fail the exam the first time around, all the certifications bodies charge to retake it. NSCA, the provider with the most expensive retake fee ($435), charges almost eight times more than the cheapest provider Fitness Mentors ($50), while the bulk of the other providers are in the $100 to $200 range.


Personal Trainer Takeaway:

The takeaway here is to prepare for whatever test you take, and make sure you pass the first time around!

Who to Pick for the
Best Personal Training Certification

Again, choosing a personal training certification is a very subjective decision and certain factors may weigh more heavily with specific individuals. For example, if price is a factor, then NASM may not be the best option for you. However, when you look at income, NASM personal trainers tend to make the most, showing that this is likely the best investment in your future.

If you are a terrible test taker, the Fitness Mentors CPT exam may be appealing to you as it is open book and has a nearly 80% pass rate.

The amount of CEUs required, as well as the recertification fee, are also an important consideration as this is required by all the certification bodies.

The point is you should be objective in your selection and determine what factors are most important to you. Talk to some other trainers and ask them what cert they have, if they like it, and if they’d recommend it to you. But remember, any trainer you ask advice for will likely be partial to whatever certification they have.

If you are interested in two personal training certifications for the cost of one, the NFPT and Fitness Mentors have partnered to provide the best education experience in the industry with the power of earning two CPT Certifications at once.

I hope that this post has helped you make the decision to choosing the best personal training certification for you that much easier. If you have any questions, or would like to see anything else added to this list, please leave a comment below.

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Top 5 Exercise Science Careers and The Best Education Paths

Top 5 Exercise Science Careers and The Best Education Paths

Are you considering an Exercise Science degree or asking yourself “what can you do with an exercise science degree?” to help plan for your future?

Whatever your stage in life — consideration, current Exercise Science student, or recent grad — this post is for you.

As a previous Exercise Science graduate (I studied Kinesiology at California State University, Long Beach) I can give you a little taste of the college route (as well as other education paths) and provide insight into the options for Exercise Science careers.

But first, let’s define what Exercise Science is.

What is Exercise Science?

Exercise Science describes the study of the body under the stress of exercise including acute and chronic adaptations like the effects on overall health parameters, pathologies, and its potential to reduce, or reverse, disease progression.

Some other areas of study within Exercise Science vertical that you might see at various educational institutes are:

  • Kinesiology
  • Fitness & Health
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Biomechanics
  • Exercise Nutrition

You can also expect a strong educational emphasis in the areas of anatomy, physiology, chemistry, biology, and oftentimes, physics.

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What can You Do with an Exercise Science Degree?

If there is one thing I want to emphasize about studying Exercise Science is that the majority of careers in the field require additional graduate school coursework. Yes, that is worth repeating.

Exercise Science is a common prerequisite for graduate level programs in careers such as:

  • Doctor (MD)
  • Exercise Physiologist
  • Registered Dietician
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Physical Therapist
  • Physician Assistant

The important takeaway here is that for most, the bachelor’s degree in and of itself does not get them to the career that they want. Additionally, and as I will get into more below, the career you want might not require a four year college degree in Exercise Science.

However, if you are interested in some of the above careers that require education beyond a B.S. degree, by all means continue on the path that makes the most sense for you.

I emphasize this point because I have met many people who studied Exercise Science in college only to find that they either did not realize they needed additional education to get the career they wanted, or realized there were quicker, more affordable ways to get into the career they wanted.

That said, listed below are some careers that you can get without additional education after your Bachelor’s in Exercise Science degree, including:

  • Athletic Director
  • Community Program Director
  • Massage Therapist
  • Recreation and Sports Director
  • Sports Coach
  • Sports Facility Manager
  • Strength and Conditioning Coach

Provided below are the most popular career paths in Exercise Science, which may or may not include a college education, are below.

Top 5 Exercise Science Careers


Personal Trainer

By far, the most common career path chosen by people looking to have an Exercise Science career, as well as who are currently studying Exercise Science, is personal training.

The benefits of a career in personal training are numerous and can even be aligned with that of any of the other careers on this list.

For starters, you don’t need to get a bachelor’s degree to become a personal trainer. In fact, there are five separate ways you can become a personal trainer, ranging from certification from accredited companies, to vocational college, to university programs, to online options, and internal gym programs.

If your heart is set on becoming a personal trainer it certainly would be helpful for you to understand your options for certification beforehand.

Now, I am certainly not knocking university or college-based personal training certification options — I got my B.S. at a university and was a college instructor afterward — but I do understand that it may not be an option for everyone.

But what if you want a career that requires a college degree? Would it still be beneficial consider a personal training certification?

Let’s say you choose any of the aforementioned education routes for your career in Exercise Science: college degree or not.

Either way, you can benefit from a personal training certification no matter what route you take. If you are wanting to have a career as a personal trainer, you can get certified in as little as two to five months and start making money right away.

If you are in college and are studying Exercise Science, it is still a good idea to get a personal training certification because you can begin gaining experience within your career immediately and can even pay for your education, through your personal training income.

For example, while I was in college I used my personal training certification to my advantage. I was able to train clients around my school schedule given the flexibility of the career. This provided me industry experience, but also allowed me to pay my way through college.

I also became certified as an Online Personal Trainer and trained clients through the internet, which gave me even more freedom to complete my studies and enjoy the college experience. 

Top 5 Reasons Personal Training is a Popular Exercise Science Career

So, no matter what your long-term goals are, getting a personal training certification can help in the following ways:

  1. Puts money in your pocket
  2. Allows you to gain experience in the Exercise Science field
  3. Helps pay for college (if you are shooting for a B.S., or advanced degree)
  4. Provides a strong foundation to further your exercise science studies


Physical Therapist

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a career in Physical Therapy has some very promising advantages.

For starters, the median pay approaches $90,000 per year, is expected to grow 28% by 2016 (which is much faster than average), and consistently ranks as one of the best jobs in healthcare for work-life balance.

Physical therapy jobs tend to require a doctoral degree (DPT), although some may accept a master’s degree. CostHelper.com says that doctoral physical therapy degrees can cost $35,000 (such as the doctorate in physical therapy at the University of Illinois at Chicago), or much more for out-of-state students, such as The University of Delaware’s doctoral program which costs over $75,000. That is on top of the money you spend for your bachelors degree.


Athletic Trainer

Athletic trainers also rank high on this list as the profession is similar in scope to that of personal trainers, yet requires a formal bachelor’s degree in a specialized program and the passing of a state licensure exam. Athletic trainers have a median income of $46,630 per year according to the BLS, and have a rapid rate of employment at 23% when looking out to 2016.

One of the coolest things I find about athletic trainer careers is that they often work alongside athletes within educational settings such as colleges of universities.This often means these professionals are the ones who work hand-in-hand with some of the best up-and-coming athletic talent in the country.

They can also work with younger students, within hospitals, or even for professional sports teams.


Exercise Physiologist

With a median pay of just under $50,000 per year, and a faster than average job outlook, a career in exercise physiology is a popular choice for many looking to put their Exercise Science degree to work.

This type of career typically requires a Masters in Exercise Physiology, which on average takes 6 years of total college time as well as requires board certification through the American Society of Exercise Physiologists.

Another interesting aspect of this career is that about half of all exercise physiologists are self-employed. So if you have an entrepreneurial spirit and enjoy the freedom of owning your own business, you may be able to do well in this career.


PE Teacher

According to ZipRecruiter, PE teachers make about $42,500 per year. While this is the lowest salary on this list, you have to remember that these teachers tend to have summers off and benefit from all school holidays as well as teacher pensions.

Typical education requirements for this career include a bachelor’s degree in exercise science as well as a teaching credential or a masters in education. Often times a personal training certification will enhance the likelihood of employment as well.

We also can’t forget that PE teachers get to hang out in gym clothes all day, coach fun sports like kickball and dodgeball, and even be physical fitness role models for many of their students.

Granted there is some give and take for each of the professions on this list in terms of knocking off all the boxes of the most ideal career, but the daily life of the PE coach can be very rewarding.

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Exercise Science Degrees and Educational Considerations

As we have learned above, not all careers within Exercise Science require a full-fledged bachelor’s degree. Similarly, we’ve learned that many sought after degrees within Exercise Science require advanced degrees such as master’s or doctoral degrees.

With that in mind below is a comprehensive list of the many careers and their educational obligations. Note that some of these careers may overlap in multiple categories.

Exercise Science Careers that don’t require Degrees

  • Personal Training
  • Aerobics Instructor
  • Fitness Coach
  • Gym Manager
  • Massage Therapist
  • Physical Therapy Assistant

Exercise Science Careers that require Bachelor’s Degrees

  • Athletic Director
  • Community Program Director
  • Kinesiologist
  • Massage Therapist
  • Athletic Trainer (ATC)
  • Physical Education Teacher
  • Recreation and Sports Director
  • Registered Nurse
  • Sports Coach
  • Sports Facility Manager
  • Strength and Conditioning Coach

Exercise Science Careers that require Master’s or Doctoral Degrees

  • Doctor (MD)
  • Exercise Physiologist
  • Chiropractor (DC)
  • Registered Dietician
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Physical Therapist (DPT)
  • Physician Assistant
  • Exercise Physiologist
  • Physical Rehabilitation

Closing Thoughts on Exercise Science Careers

You should now have a better idea of what you can do in the exciting field that is Exercise Science. For many, a bachelor’s degree at a college or university is the path that they will take to become educated in the many areas of movement and exercise. For others, the bachelor’s is just a stepping stone for a more advanced degree as in the case of physical therapy, physician’s assistant, or doctoral paths. Others may be surprised to learn there are many rewarding careers in Exercise Science that do not require a college degree, and the most popular career in this field, a certified personal trainer, demonstrates that.

When considering your education and career path, keep in mind the following:

  • The education required
  • The financial commitment
  • The time investment
  • The typical salary
  • Your passion for the career

With these considerations in mind, you should be able to paint a great picture of where you want your career to take you.

What is your experience with jobs and education in the Exercise Science niche? Is there any tip you wish you knew before you started your studies or career? Let us know in the comments.

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How to Get Your Group Fitness Certification

How to Get Your Group Fitness Certification

If you are considering getting your group fitness certification here are a few statistics that backup your decision:

  • Over 22 million attend group fitness classes each year[*]
  • 85% of group fitness members visit their facility twice a week[*]
  • Two out of five gym-goers are involved in group exercise[*]

As you can see, a group fitness certification, or having group fitness instructors at your gym, spells dollar signs.

Although you probably don’t need any more convincing about getting a group fitness certification that will allow you to find gainful employment in an exciting industry, you probably are looking for some information on how to get your group fitness certification.

Below, we have provided info on the exact steps as well as some information on the top group fitness certifications out there. There’s even a little bonus about section group fitness certifications versus personal trainer certifications that I think you’ll find quite interesting (hint: you can become a certified personal trainer and train in a group setting (but not vice versa)).

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How to Become a Group Fitness

Instructor in 5 Steps

Here are the steps to become a group fitness instructor. There may be some variation on these steps depending on the certification body you go with, but for the most part, these steps are fairly standard no matter which group fitness certification body you go with.


Get Your Group Fitness Instructor Prerequisites

Before you can sit for a group fitness instructor exam, most certification bodies require the following:

  • Be 18 years old or older
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Have a current CPR/AED certification
  • Possess a government-issued photo ID

By far, the most popular place to get a CPR/AED certification is through the American Red Cross. It is not the only option, but tends to be the most convenient. You can find a Red Cross CPR/AED class near you on their website.

Worth noting, is that you need not have all of the above prerequisites in place when you begin your group fitness studies, only when you sit for the exam. For example, you can start studying and obtain a CPR/AED certification along the way.

This brings us to our next step, finding a group fitness certification program that is right for you.


Choose a Group Fitness Instructor Certification

One of the most important steps in becoming a group fitness instructor is choosing the best certification for you. Now, there really is no such thing as the “best group fitness certification,” as this is a highly subjective decision.

There are a number of factors that may make a group fitness certification more appealing to you such as cost, length of program, CEU requirements, prestige of brand, job requirements, and convenience.

One area of group fitness certifications that is not subjective is the accreditation body. The gold standard in a group fitness certification is a program accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). The Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) accreditation is also gaining some clout, and is held by ISSA.

ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor


ACE offers NCCA accredited group fitness courses ranging from $299 to $599 (at the time of this writing). The final exam takes place at an administered location and the coursework can consist of videos, podcasts and webinars, depending on the program you register for. ACE is one of the largest name’s in fitness and boasts that their trainers benefit from agreements they have made with popular gyms such as 24 Hour Fitness, Anytime Fitness, Orange Theory, Crunch Fitness, and others.

ACSM Certified Group Exercise Instructor


The ACSM Certified Group Exercise Instructor (ACSM-GEI) course is prided on its educational approach to intentional planning around science-based group sessions as well as motivational and leadership techniques that make training fun and effective. While ACSM claims it is the “gold standard” in group fitness certification, it is not currently an accredited certification option.

AFAA Certified Group Fitness Instructor


AFAA has perhaps the most outstanding reputation in the group fitness certification arena. Not only is the cert NCCA certified and been in existence for nearly four decades, but is also a partner of NASM (NASM acquired AFAA in late 2017 which is why you won’t see a standalone NASM group fitness course).

AFAA courses range from $299 for self-study, to $399 for premium self-study, to $499 for an all-inclusive package with a job guarantee. On the NASM website, however, the certification is mentioned as an add-on continuing education course and has a reduced price of $224, $299, and $374 for the options mentioned above, respectively (at the time of this writing).

ISSA Specialist in Group Fitness Certification


The ISSA Specialist in Group Fitness certification is an online course that offers a self-paced study regime. As mentioned before, this is the only certification body that is accredited by the DEAC, which is a less prestigious name in the accreditation space, but nonetheless a national accreditation. At $799, it is by far the most expensive group fitness certification on this list.

NCCPT Group Exercise Instructor Certification


The NCCPT Group Exercise Instructor (CGxI) credential is a self-proclaimed “entry level specialization certification” that is likely intended to be an add-on CEU for existing certified personal trainers rather than a standalone certification like many others on this list. It is also amongst the cheapest at $199 for the exam-only package, but ranges up to $299 for additional study and preparation materials.

NESTA Certified Group Exercise Instructor


NESTA’s Group Exercise Instructor Course is 100% online and is one of the most affordable options for group fitness certification at $275. While highly convenient and amongst the least expensive group fitness certifications, The NESTA GEI is unaccredited, so many gyms may be a bit more discerning while hiring for this certification.

NETA Group Exercise Certification


NETA’s Group Fitness certification is amongst the three in the country that have earned NCCA accreditation. While the program doesn’t benefit from the brand power of ACE and AFAA (the other two accredited options), it does have a strong curriculum and multiple study options ranging from $239 to $299. The live workshop study option is popular as it allows students to attend a workshop with an experienced NETA educator.

Once you familiarize yourself with these brands and choose one that works for you, you can move on to the next step.


Schedule Your Exam and

Continue/Begin Studying

With most group fitness certifications you can purchase your study materials (and begin studying) before you schedule the exam. Many programs, however, require that you register for the exam within a specific time period after the purchase of the study materials.

ACE, for example, requires you to register for your exam within six months of the materials purchase date. With AFAA, you have 180 days from your enrollment date to take the certification exam.

These certification bodies require these timelines for a variety of reasons. First, they want to set that psychological goal in your head to start and finish the program in its entirety. Secondly, they make money on the study materials and the exam, so it makes sense that if you were to buy study materials, you would take the exam.

Group Fitness Exam Study Tips

While the exams of each certification body vary in difficulty and materials covered, there are some standard study tips that can help you get through all the studying in time for the final certification exam.

As a former college professor, I recommend the following approach to studying for the group fitness exam:

  • Use the target test as a marker and work backwards from that date to determine how many chapters you need to cover each week/month.

And here’s a study fast track system that works really well for those who like to knock things out fast:

  • Read one to two hours per day to maintain a solid flow of comprehension
  • Create chapter-by-chapter notes from the book to utilize the benefits of writing and reading
  • Reference study guides for hand-picked topics of reference
  • Take practice tests after you read each chapter
  • Quiz yourself on 5-10 chapters of your book every two to three weeks
  • Reread your chapter notes and build upon them based on your quiz and test results
  • Document the questions you miss in the quizzes and revisit those sections of the book
  • Take a quiz every day of the week leading up to the exam
  • Take an entire practice exam, write down the questions you missed, and revisit them again
  • Take the final certification exam when you consistently get 85% or above on practice exams

Once you are prepared for the exam, it is time to knock it out!


Pass Your Group Fitness Exam

The most obvious step in getting your group fitness certification is passing your exam.

But this necessary step only happens if you put in the time to learn the materials, understand the concepts behind them, and get the certification in your hand.

After you do this, you’ll be ready to start a career as a group fitness trainer!


Get a Job as a Group Fitness Trainer

Do you already know where you want to work? Are you going to start your own fitness club or perhaps get a job as a contractor at several?

Related: Check out this post on personal trainer salaries to see which gyms pay the most.

Once you have your certification in hand, you can begin to peruse the web for group fitness trainer openings, check in at your local gym, or visit the websites of gyms to see if they post active positions.

Gyms aren’t the only places that hire group fitness instructors though, so don’t limit your job search to these locations. Spin, yoga, and pilates studios are some of the other well-known locations to get a group fitness job. The rare country club gig or super rare cruise line job may also open up from time-to-time.

In many cases you may have to get an additional certification (ex. Spin instructor) or go through an internal training program at your place of employment.

There are also specialist programs that you may be interested in to truly hone your craft. For example, AFAA has an indoor cycling speciality course, and ACE has a Functional Aging Group Exercise specialty course. The specialization you choose largely has to do with the demographic you enjoy working with.

CEUS: Maintaining Your Group Fitness Certification

In an effort to help trainers maintain their education and the health and safety of their clients, continuing education units (CEUs) are required by every reputable certification body. The amount you need depends on the certification body, but these CEUs are not just a tool to help you maintain your certification, they are also opportunities to expand your knowledge of health and fitness.

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Bonus: Group Fitness Certification VS Personal Trainer Certification

A lot of aspiring group fitness trainers will also consider a personal trainer certification and weigh the options between each. There are some important considerations that aspiring trainers from each career option should take into account.

The first, and perhaps most important consideration, is that you are able to train group fitness classes with a personal trainer certification but are generally ineligible to train individuals at most corporate settings with a group fitness certification.

This may sway some trainers towards choosing the certified personal trainer route and considering a group fitness specialization or CEU as they can train groups and individuals.

The other important consideration for aspiring trainers is the potential income from each type of training — personal training or group training. This has a lot to do with your involvement as a trainer with your clientele.

If you are a group fitness instructor, you generally have to showcase the exercises as you teach (i.e. workout with your group), making man’s/woman’s physical limitations a factor in terms of financial gain from multiple group fitness sessions per day.

On the other hand, a personal trainer can provide guidance to multiple clients each day without having to physically exert themselves. For the entrepreneurial trainer, this may make the decision to get a CPT a more decisive one.

Granted, group trainers usually make more than personal trainers on a per session basis, but personal trainers can easily conduct five or more sessions per day whereas a group fitness trainer may be limited to two due to the physical demands of teaching.

Become a Group Fitness Trainer Today

Now you have a good idea of what the steps are to become a group fitness instructor, recognize some of the top certification bodies, and even know that you can become a certified personal trainer and train in a group setting (but not vice versa).

If you are ready to advance your group fitness career, start by knocking out your prerequisites. From there, find a group fitness certification that works for you, study hard, pass your exam, and find your dream job.

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NASM Certification- NASM Personal Training Review

NASM Certification:

A Review of Costs, Programs, Salary, How to Get Your CPT & More

As an aspiring personal trainer, there is a good chance you’ve considered a NASM certification to add to your list of professional accolades. There’s good reason too, NASM is considered to be a global leader in credentialing fitness professionals, and their wealth of certifications will prepare you for a promising career in personal training or one of their other areas of specializations.

Below is a NASM certification review from an actual certified NASM CPT (me), and an overview of the NASM company, the NASM CPT and other certifications, some notes on the ever popular NASM OPT model, and lots of other important information on costs, reviews, salaries, and your next steps should you choose to pursue a career with NASM.

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

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What is NASM?

NASM stands for the National Academy of Sports Medicine, a 30-year old company best-known for their Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) program. Within the last 10 years, NASM has certified and recertified more personal trainers than any other personal training company, helping nearly 200,000 obtain, or maintain, their CPTs all across the globe. 

NASM is also NCCA-accredited, meaning they have the National Commission for Certifying Agencies credentials, the first standards ever developed to ensure a fitness certification body has the essential elements of a high-quality program.

As a personal trainer, the global recognition and the NCCA-certification are important factors in choosing NASM as a potential candidate for your fitness education, along with utilizing the best NASM Study Tools.


NASM Programs

Like other fitness certification bodies, NASM is best-known for its Certified Personal Trainer program. However, they also provide a number of other specializations that are worth mentioning.

The NASM CPT is based on an evidence-based training model preparing students for real-life situations. In addition to learning and understanding complex scientific principles, students will use NASM’s proprietary Optimum Performance Training™ (OPT™) model, a systematic system that helps you train in various areas including: Flexibility, Cardiorespiratory, Core, Balance, Power, and Strength.

Cost: $699 (for the cheapest coursework)

The NASM CES is a specialization that can be applied to reduce muscular dysfunction and help you correct common movement issues. The corrective exercise continuum includes four areas, including: Inhibit, Lengthen, Activate, and Integrate. 

Exam Cost: $699 (includes course materials)

The NASM PES is designed to make athletes stronger, faster, and tougher. It uses approaches that are common in professional sports as well as exercise techniques and programs that are designed to maximize performance and minimize sports-related injury. 

Exam Cost: $599

The Behavior Change Specialization goes beyond the training elements and takes a deeper dive into motivational strategies. After completing this program, you’ll have the skill sets needed to determine your clients’ barriers to change, and design programs around their specific personalities.

Course Cost: $499 (Includes course materials and exam)

The Fitness Nutrition Specialization helps trainers explain to clients the true nutritional content of what they are eating and help them understand why they should, or shouldn’t, be eating it. This course will allow your clients to understand how to interpret food labels, select appropriate portion sizes, and eat healthy.

Course Cost: $499

The Group Personal Training Specialization is a course that helps trainers design, develop, and deliver successful group fitness training programs. In addition to the physical fitness elements of this course, trainers will also learn how to develop strategic business plans around group fitness.

Course Cost: $499

The Weight Loss Specialization uses NASM’s OPT Model to help you design weight loss programs and develop strategies to assist clients in implementing a healthier lifestyle.

Course Cost: $499

The Women’s Fitness Specialization helps trainers become more effective at training women of all body types and ages. In addition to specific nutrition recommendations, it also involves exercise and small group training coursework.

Course Cost: $299

For trainers who want to capitalize on the growing exercise demand for people aged 6 to 19, the Youth Exercise Specialization helps kids focus on sports, increase their physical fitness levels, and lose weight.

The Senior Fitness Specialization is designed to help trainers focus their exercise programs on the specific needs of seniors. This coursework includes helping seniors reduce risk, preserve independence, helps you to understand the aging process, and helps you understand the limitations of an older group of clients.

Course Cost: $199

The Golf Fitness Specialization is designed for the trainer who wants to help golfers be fit with corrective exercise strategies. While much of the focus is on injury-prevention, it also involves helping clients improve driving distance, how to increase head speed, and how to lower scores from a fitness perspective.

Course Cost: $199

The MMA Conditioning Specialization caters to the growing group of mixed martial artists who want to better condition their bodies to the rigors of MMA. It involves system design around individuals as well as group courses, and also includes nutritional and supplement guidance.

Course Cost: $299

If you want to learn more about the various specializations and my personal thoughts on them, refer to this guide on  NASM Personal Trainer Certifications.


NASM has pioneered what is called the Optimum Performance Training (OPT™) model, a comprehensive training system that is heavily versed in scientific, evidence-based research. According to NASM, the emphasis on science makes OPT ideal for program design and delivering consistent results.

Through the improvement of functional abilities including strength, balance, power, flexibility, core stabilization, and cardio endurance, this program helps clients from a wide variety of body types and ages increase muscle mass, reduce body fat, and improve overall health.

OPT takes into account the individual and their needs, but also the environment in which they are performing. The program is not just for athletes, but also for seniors, the clinically obese, or those populations with special needs.

It starts with an assessment of goals, needs and abilities, and takes a look at a client from the front, back, and side to evaluate the kinetic chain to make sure they are moving how they should be moving. With this information, trainers can then determine what exercises they should be doing to help clients’ reach their goals.

The program is made of five phases split into three levels — stabilization, strength, and power:

  • 1

    Phase 1: Stabilization Endurance

  • 2

    Phase 2: Strength Endurance

  • 3

    Phase 3: Hypertrophy

  • 4

    Phase 4: Maximal Strength

  • 5

    Phase 5: Power

Trainers should know that they don’t need a background in kinesiology or exercise science; they will learn all of this in their CPT and touch on it in additional certifications.

NASM Certification Cost

NASM has multiple study options for aspiring trainers and they really boil down to choosing the one that is right for you. The main NASM certification that people want to know about is the NASM Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) certification. For the others, you can see the costs above.

NASM, at the time of this writing, has four study options to choose from:

  • 1

    Self-Study $699

  • 2

    Premium Self-Study $999

  • 3

    Guided-Study $1,299

  • 4

    All-Inclusive $1,999

Each option offers progressively more study assistance and assets that will help you pass the test. If you want the best NASM study materials, created by college level NASM instructors who take the exam every year, check out our Free Study Guide for NASM and our Audio Lectures, Practice Tests and Study Guide for the NASM CPT Exam.

These guides are the best on the internet and will help you save a considerable amount of money and time compared to NASM’s study packages. Our students boast a 99% pass rate, making the choice to utilize Fitness Mentors’ study materials a no-brainer!

Wondering how the NASM CPT stacks up against other CPTs in terms of cost? We put together an in-depth look at the best personal trainer certifications and did cost comparisons. Here’s how it compares to the other major personal trainer certification bodies:

Price Graph

As you can see, the NASM CPT is the most expensive (considering exam and study materials) of all the major certification bodies. NASM is also considered to be the most popular of these brands, and there is a certain amount of prestige that goes along with their certification.

At the same time, there are other options you should be weighing in addition to cost. For example, you should also take into consideration CEU requirements, the primary focus of education, and perhaps most importantly, if the place you want to work accepts the certification you are leaning towards.

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NASM Certification Reviews

The NASM Facebook page shows that NASM has an average review rating of 8.2 out of 10. While this is a generally favorable average, I’d encourage you to speak with some NASM trainers to gauge their experience with the test, their studies, and how a NASM CPT played into their careers.

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In the aforementioned blog post we did on the Best Personal Trainer Certification, we evaluated the average income of NASM, ACE, ACSM, NSCA, AFAA, and NCSF personal trainers. This data was pulled from reputable websites where registered users self-report their income.

The top tier of these incomes was with NASM, at $41,598 annually. It was followed closely by ACE at $41,546. The others were below the $40k a year annual salary. The important thing to note is that these are just averages; your ability to be successful greatly depends on your business acumen and less about the words after your name. Regardless, it is interesting to note that on average, NASM trainers make the most.

CPT Average Income

How to Get a NASM Certification

The NASM website claims that you can get your NASM CPT in as little as 10 to 12 weeks. To be eligible, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Be at least 18 years of age 
  • Hold a current cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and an automated external defibrillator (AED) certification

From there, you simply sign up for one the aforementioned study programs on the NASM website and begin studying, then schedule a time to take the exam once you feel prepared. How do you know if you’ll be prepared? The Fitness Mentors Online Course for the NASM CPT Exam comes with a pass guarantee, so that is a good place to start.

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below and I will get to them as soon as possible.

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Personal Trainer Stats 2019

Personal Trainer Stats 2019

Personal Trainer Stats 2018

Personal Trainer Stats 2019

2019 is a great year to get into personal training in the United States. Many personal trainers enjoy the profession because they get to help people transform their lives everyday as well as work in a relaxed environment that promotes health and fitness.

With the right amount of training and a notable personal training certification under your belt, you can capitalize on the job growth of this market, attractive pay, great quality of life and need for health and fitness professionals in this amazing field.

Let’s check out some of the personal training stats mentioned in the infographic to show why now is the right time to get your personal training certification and start your personal training career.

330,000 Personal Training Jobs Forecasted by 2026

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the number of personal training jobs in the United States is slated to grow about 10 percent until 2026. The government also reports that many of these trainers work in health clubs, fitness or recreation centers, gyms, country clubs, hospitals, group fitness studies, resorts and at clients’ homes.

The median pay mentioned on the Bureau’s website ($38,160) is a bit dated and varies from the pay mentioned on the following stat which is significantly more than the income listed from 2016.

$58,318 Median Annual Income of Personal Trainers

Salary.com reports that the national average for full-time personal trainers in the United States is $58,318. This means that half of the people who become personal trainers can expect to make $58,318 per year, with the upper echelon reaching as much as $83,770 per year. This website allows you to sort more specific salary data by zip code and is a good resource for determining what you may be able to make in your local city. We also performed our own research on personal trainer salaries, check it out. It is worth noting that personal trainers with over three years of experience tend to make between $53,472-$61,698 a year, meaning that the more time you put in the more you are likely to make. Fitness Mentors recommends progressing your personal training career by getting additional personal training certifications such as the Pain Management Specialist certification or the Special Populations Exercies Specialist certification. These additional certifications will provide you with more knowledge and make you more valuable to clients.
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Personal Trainer Quality of Life

An older but still relevant assessment of personal trainers revealed that it was regarded as the 18th best job in America. The variety of settings in which personal trainers can work was attributed to one of the most important factors for ranking it so high on the list. In addition to the diversity of work, CNN gave high grades to personal trainers in the areas of Personal Satisfaction (B), Low Stress (A), Benefit to Society (A) and Flexibility (B).

What better ways to represent these fields than with Kayne, the Dalai Lama, Einstein and Gumby?

Obesity in America: Sad but True

Personal trainers are in a unique situation to lend themselves to the increasing obese population in America. At more than one-third, this group of people will likely contain a large segment that is interested in improving their health and fitness. As personal trainers are knowledgeable in fitness and increasingly nutrition, they can be a great resource for obese American’s looking for change.

Get Your Personal Training Certification

Fitness Mentors specializes in helping personal trainers get certified and prepare for the FM-CPT, NASM-CPT or ACE-CPT Exams. The previous certifications are the biggest and most highly recognized personal training certification bodies in the country. Once you make the decision to become a personal trainer, utilize all of our free and premium resources to help you start the career of your dreams!
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Online Personal Trainer Certification: 5 Tips to Get Certified in 2 Months

Online Personal Trainer Certification:

5 Tips to Get Certified in 2 Months

You’d probably agree with me when I say:

There are no shortcuts to fast and credible personal trainer certifications.

Or, are there?

As it turns out, there are some great ways to get a personal trainer certification, fast. And I’m not talking about those crappy, fake certifications you may have come across from the vast stretches of the interwebs.

I’m talking about a real, accredited, personal trainer certification that will get you a job at most gyms and into a personal training career that you love.

Today I’ll show you what the shortcuts are and exactly how you can get a real personal trainer certification, all online, and in as little as two months.

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Get Your Prerequisites in Order

Before you can tap into the personal training field you’ll need to get some things in order that most online personal trainer certification bodies require. For most of these agencies, you’ll need to check off the following three things:

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

More companies are requiring the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Certification along with the Emergency Cardiac Care (CPR), but these certifications are usually given together. American Red Cross is one of the primary providers of these courses and you can find a CPR/AED class near you to satisfy this necessary requirement.

Note that you don’t always have to have CPR/AED certifications to purchase most online personal trainer packages (to start your studies), you’ll just need it to become official once you do sit for the final exam.


Choose the Best Online Personal Trainer Certification for You

In a previous post of mine on the “best personal trainer certification” I conclude the blog post with a note that the decision is very subjective and there are certain certifications that may be better-suited for certain individuals. The major factors I find that influence which online personal training certification you go with includes:

  • Accreditation
  • Price
  • CEU requirements
  • Pass rate
  • Average income of trainers

At the time I wrote that post, there was one option that I did not include because it did not yet exist. That option is the Fitness Mentors’ Online Personal Trainer Certification. As you’ll learn, it is actually the only truly and fully online, accredited online personal trainer cert. More on why this is important in tip three.


Choose a Course that is Truly Available Online from Start to Finish

If you have begun to look at your available options for a CPT, you probably understand that you can begin to order study materials and start gaining the knowledge you need to pass the final exam with the swipe of your credit card.

What you may not be aware of, however, is that once you are ready to schedule the exam, you have to take the following, sometimes inconvenient, steps:

  1. Register for an exam
  2. Wait for the next available exam slot
  3. Drive to the physical exam location

This is not even taking into consideration what happens if you try to reschedule an exam, if you are an international student, or if you fail the exam.

The long and short of understanding all the above is this:

You want the fastest, most convenient route to becoming a certified personal trainer.

Anything that detracts from that — such as having to attend anything away from the comfort of your home — can significantly delay how quickly you are able to become certified. This is partly why the Fitness Mentors Online CPT was created; the fitness industry needed an accredited, purely online option for aspiring trainers to get certified with.


Ensure You are Fully Prepared with Appropriate Study Guides, Practice Exams, and other Study Aids

If you are going to go through the trouble of getting a CPR/AED and buying personal trainer certification books or study materials, you might as well ensure that you pass the exam the first time around (some personal training certs charge as much as $435 to retake an exam).

For example, Fitness Mentors has created a wealth of study materials ranging from free study guides, premium study guides, audio lectures, and even practice tests to help students prepare themselves the best way possible for their exams.

Study materials that are created by previous exam takers are always helpful. There are usually a wealth of blogs online that feature stories of how people prepared for their personal trainer exam and what questions threw them into a frenzy. I encourage you to read up on these types of blogs and to look into some premium study materials that make studying and learning the material easier, and most importantly, quicker to digest.


Set Up a Study Schedule to Retain as Much Information as Possible as Quickly as Possible

If you are setting out to study, take, and pass your online personal trainer certification course in two months, be honest with yourself in terms of how much time you can actually give yourself to studying each day.

Personal trainer certs are not made to be walks in the park; there is a lot of complex biological, programming, and business application information to learn. Truth be told, it can be pretty hard but only if you don’t study and prepare yourself the right way.

But you’re not going to have that problem are you?

As a former college professor who helped students study and prepare for their CPT, I’ve found that a dedicated student can begin studying and be prepared to take (and pass) the CPT in as little as two months.

Here is a basic outline of the strategy you can use to accomplish the same.

How to get a CPT in 2 months:

  • Dedicate yourself to reading 1-2 hours per day
  • Create your own chapter-by-chapter notes from the book/coursework
  • Use study guides to review hand-picked topics for reference
  • Use audio lectures to review the information (while driving/working out/during down time)
  • Take practice tests of each chapter
  • Quiz yourself on 5-10 chapters of the book at a time every few weeks
  • Reread study guides as you get deeper into the book
  • Quiz yourself and document the questions you miss; revisit the sections of the book of the topics you’ve missed
  • Quiz yourself lots leading up to the final week of study
  • Take a entire practice exam and write down questions you missed; revisit topics you’ve missed
  • Take official certification exam once you consistently get 85% passing score on practice exams

Get Your Online Personal Trainer Certification Started Today

There is no better time than now to get started on your personal training career. Personal trainers are consistently marked as professionals with exceptional work/life balance, with jobs that have flexible working hours, have growth potential of 13% by 2022, and just generally are more fun careers to begin with.

If you have any questions about the best online personal trainer certification option for you, your experience studying online, or anything else related to online CPTs, please let me know in the comments.

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5 Best NASM CEU Courses: Online and In-Person

5 Best NASM CEU Courses: Online and In-Person

As a NASM-certified personal trainer you are required to recertify your CPT every two years. You’ll need to get 1.9 CEUs (19 hours) through a course or seminar to fulfill this requirement in addition to earning 0.1 CEUs (1 hour) by maintaining your CPR and AED certifications (20 total credit hours).

Just a few years ago, personal trainers only had one option for recertification and this involved finding and visiting in-person workshops. Today, trainers have the option to do their continuing education in-person or get their necessary credits online.

While in-person and online CEUs each have their pros and cons, it’s nice to have options. Here is a breakdown of the five best NASM CEU courses that includes both in-person workshops as well as online courses.

Best In-Person NASM CEU Courses

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IDEA World Fitness Convention

The IDEA World annual fitness convention provides NASM personal trainers the opportunity to earn up to 1.9 NASM CEUs during the event and during pre and post-conference workshops. There are literally 100’s of personal training continuing education courses offered (see full list here) ranging from group training classes, to gut and microbe classes, and even a class called “Seven Figure Laws of Leadership” on how to build a million dollar business.

The beauty with Idea World is that over 14,000 trainers and fitness professionals converge for one amazing weekend providing you the opportunity to network with peers, meet industry thought leaders, and learn new skills that will propel your career.

Cost: Member: $399 / Non-Member: $489 (2017 prices)

Enrollment Period: Event is once a year, usually July

CEUs: up to 1.9 NASM CEUs

Small Print: The IDEA World Fitness Convention is hands-down our favorite, however, there are lots of logistical costs you have to consider including: lodging, travel costs, travel time, and parking fees.

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NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist

Our top pick for NASM-specific certifications, the Corrective Exercise Specialist teaches you how to be a trainer that can minimize injury while still focusing on strength and athleticism. Learning about muscular imbalances makes you an extremely valuable asset to your clients and often provides trainers the confidence to charge more for their services.

While the CES certification is available online, the face-to-face time you’ll get with a live person is highly recommended and is why we recommend in-person workshops over online learning for this specific class. The material is quite in-depth, meaning that you’ll likely be challenged and having an instructor next to you to answer your questions can be a valuable asset.

Cost: $699 for Self-Study or $999 for Live Workshop

Enrollment Period: 365 days a year

CEUs: 1.9

Small Print: At a price range of $699 to $999 the CES course is fairly expensive. Because the course is so intense (and lends itself well to the progression of your career), having solid CES study materials are recommended to ensure completion the first time around.

Best Online NASM CEU Courses

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Business and Sales: The Guide to Success as a Personal Trainer

Successful business owners are created, not born. The often unfortunate case with many trainers is that they don’t know how to structure their businesses for success or put leads into a sales funnel, leading to their ultimate failure. The Business and Sales: The Guide to Success as a Personal Trainer was created by a successful personal trainer for exactly that reason and helps lead trainers down a path to financial growth.

Trainers have plenty of options for continuing education that have to do with physical fitness or nutrition, but little when it comes to actionable advice on how to create a system that generates sales. With coursework touching on creating a personal brand; creating and registering a business entity locally, statewide and with federal agencies; how to give away free information to get the attention of your chosen market; how to engage prospects and how to close, this class covers it all.

Cost: Only $249

Enrollment Period: 365 days a year

CEUs: 1.9

Small Print: This class provides valuable real-world business advice and might be less fun than exercise-based classes. It also forces you to be an actionable business owner, so it might not work for the moonlighting personal trainer who just wants CEUs and nothing else. At $249, this is definitely one of the least expensive NASM CEU courses out there.

Precision Nutrition Level 1

Pn1 Coach

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 course is hands-down the most well-regarded nutrition certification in the fitness industry. Adding a nutrition-based certification to your NASM-CPT will give you the confidence to make client recommendations and possibly even charge more for your services.

The other great thing about the certification is that it requires no recertification so if you get Precision Nutrition’s Level 1 cert, you’ll have it for life. You know that without proper nutrition, exercise programs won’t work to their full potential. Add this certification to your list to help your clients accomplish all their health and fitness goals.

Cost: $999

Enrollment Period: Twice per year

CEUs: 1.9

Small Print: You’ll have to read a 500-page book and time your enrollment to one of their two slots per year. Not a great option for those looking for last minute CEU options.

Bonus: Free NASM CEUs

Looking for some free NASM CEUs to round out your criteria for the two-year recertification period? As a bonus to the other five listed on this page, check out Build Your Marketing Muscle: The FREE Guide to Marketing for Personal Trainers. This coursework is entirely online and focuses entirely on marketing.

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Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Just as Precision Nutrition’s Level 1 is the most highly regarded course of its kind in the nutrition industry, the NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist course is true to athletic training. If your goal is to work for a university or at the professional athlete level, it is likely you’ll be required to have this exact certification as a prerequisite for getting the job.

The coursework covers sport-specific training for America’s most popular professional and college sports, and also covers exercise techniques, how to design sport-specific programs, and organizational and administrative elements that are essential in professional environments.

Cost: $475 plus study materials

Enrollment Period: 365 days a year

CEUs: 1.9

Small Print: A bachelor’s degree is required to sit for the two-part, four-hour, exam. The passing rate is pretty low at 63%, so while the course is available online, the Exam Preparation Live Clinics are highly recommended.

Best NASM CEUs Recap

Furthering your continuing education is a requirement, but shouldn’t be viewed as one. Rather, NASM CPTs should view this obligation as an opportunity to further their interests in fitness and training and increase the ways in which they can help their clients. If you are unsure how to go about choosing the next CEU course for your career, we invite you to consider the “three P’s:

  1. Purpose: How will you use the knowledge you learn from a specific course or workshop?
  2. Population: Who will benefit from the new skills and education you receive? Is this the target population you want to work with? Is the population you want to target abundant in nature?
  3. Passion: Will you actually enjoy learning about this topic?

If you have questions about which NASM CEUs are right for you we would love to help. Leave a comment, call (424) 675-0476, or email us directly. We are always here to assist you in choosing the most successful path for your fitness career.

For more information on becoming a successful personal trainer click the below link and check out our business and sales course.

Business and Sales: The Guide to Success as a Personal Trainer 

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Foods in Nature Lecture

Foods in Nature Lecture

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Recently there has been a lot of interest around the quality of food and how that might affect the body. We wanted to share with you a lecture delivered by Fitness Mentors CEO, Eddie Lester to help clear up some confusion around how foods exist in nature and how processing xenical 120 mg might be an issue. His recent visit to California State University Long Beach was to help students understand how certain foods might work for you, while some might work against you.

Click play below and let us know what your thoughts are by commenting below.

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The 5 Best Continuing Education Courses for Personal Trainers

The 5 Best Continuing Education Courses for Personal Trainers

We all know this to be true:

If you know more about your craft, you can further assist the people paying for your services.

The Fitness Continuing Education scene can be pretty confusing. It is dominated by the large fitness education companies trying to kindle your spending by stroking your eagerness to learn new and exciting fitness topics. Let us help you unravel this confusion as we explore the purposes of continuing education and give you our 5 most recommended courses and/or seminars.

Learning more about the TRX can create better strategies for stability training, but this matters little if your main clientele is Crossfitters. Make the right choice on building your credentials based on the following three factors:

  1. Purpose: Why are you choosing a specific course or seminar? What will you use it for?
  2. Population: What type of client will benefit from the skills or knowledge you will attain? Are they abundant? Is this the population you want to work with?
  3. Passion: Do you enjoy learning about this topic?

Analyzing these factors will allow you to make proper decisions based on your career and training goals.

Furthermore, there may be different reasons you are now looking into continuing education. Some of you may have procrastinated and are now desperate for last minute CEU’s that you need for your recertification. On the other end you might be eager to continue learning and growing in your craft, and have all the time in the world. Some of our recommendations below may be good for the short term and inexpensive, while some require big bucks, time and travel to complete. Choose based on your timeline and budget needs as well.


It is important to understand if you are new to the game your continuing education focus should be on one thing: Business. Other education is not needed unless you have what it takes to build a sustainable career. This is one of the biggest mistakes made by new trainers and contributes to the failure of over 50,000 fitness pros per year.

Below we have laid out 5 of our most highly recommended continuing education courses for recertifying your CPT. For further ease we have listed the pros and cons of each course.

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Idea World Fitness Convention

As one of the most enjoyable events you can attend in the fitness industry, the Idea World Fitness Convention brings together the best minds in the industry to teach you a plethora of topics. You can choose your own schedule and rack up your continuing education hours as you learn about everything from Rope Undulation Training to how to use YouTube to make money. It is a must attend for any personal trainer at least once in their life.

It typically takes place in Los Angeles, CA and lasts for three and one-half days. A convention runs simultaneously with hundreds of hours of continuing education, and provides you every opportunity to learn what’s new in fitness. You will need a sheet to record the classes you take and may need proof of attendance when submitting with your recertification application. The travel and cost of everything may exceed what you are looking to spend to recertify, but it is definitely an enjoyable experience.


  • Choose your schedule of classes
  • Multiple topics
  • 1 condensed weekend
  • Convention/Trade show going on at the same time
  • Discover the newest tools and training methods
  • Contains all the CEU’s you need to recertify


  • Lodging costs
  • Travel costs
  • Travel time
  • $360 + Parking for the event
  • Small introduction to many topics


Precision Nutrition Level 1

If you are looking for the current most prestigious certification in the Fitness Nutrition scene, Precision Nutrition’s Certification is your go-to.

The course feels like a college level class as it requires the reading of a 500-plus-page textbook. It is an at home course that allows you to study at your own pace. The content focuses on a two headed approach, nutritional coaching and nutritional sciences.

Once finished with this course you will feel confident in addressing nutrition with any type of client goal. One thing that makes this course less attainable is that the cost is high. It also only has two enrollment dates per year which may be bad for those of you looking for a quick way to get the CEU’s needed for recertification.


  • Most respected nutrition certification in the fitness industry
  • College level learning and structure
  • Go at your own pace online
  • Contains all the CEU’s you need to recertify
  • Teaches nutrition coaching as well as the nutritional sciences
  • Your name gets listed on the PN directory for qualified trainers


  • $1000 (expensive)
  • Only enroll twice a year (next is April 13, 2016)
  • Mainly government backed nutritional science (not much on newer strategies).


Business And Sales: The Guide To Success As A Personal Trainer

Business and Sales Your Guide to Success as a Personal Trainer

Business and Sales: The Guide to Success as a Personal Trainer, will teach you a system all about generating leads and closing client sales. With an emphasis on ACTION, this course will teach you how to create the necessary documents and tools that lead to creating an easy road to success. It will also teach you how to maximize your income through online personal training softwares like gymGO. The value from a course like this far surpasses that of other topics in continuing education, as the knowledge you attain goes directly toward financial gain.

Getting new clients and closing sales can be tough. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a system, to combat this difficulty. Most trainers mosey about the gym and wait for people to make eye contact, with the intent to spark up a conversation. Although this may lead to a new client here and there, taking action and relying on a proven system will create boundless opportunity.

The course is $199 and it is an online, home-study course. It can be completed relatively fast for those of you in need of last minute CEUs.

REMEMBER: You can be the most educated personal trainer in the world, but if you don’t have any sales technique or clients your education is pointless.


  • Only $249
  • Contains all the CEU’s you need to recertify
  • Home study which allows you to go at your own pace
  • Build your business step by step from the ground up
  • Actionable documents to assist your business processes
  • Learn how to increase sales
  • Great for new trainers and experienced trainers
  • Will build the most value to your resume when being hired at a commercial gym
  • The best business and sales certification in the industry
  • Receive the title of Fitness Sales Specialist (FSS)


  • Forces you to take action and create your business
  • Might be less fun than learning exercise based continuing education


Pain Management Specialist

The Pain Management Specialist certification is absolutely one of the best certifications to have. It forces you to understand origins of pain based on postural analysis and teaches you how to fix it.

My biggest concern with my own training was learning how to always progress in strength, athleticism and body image, while avoiding any training associated injury. NOTE: If you don’t have efficient flexibility and muscle balance, you are on your way to creating an injury.

When taking the Pain Management Specialist course you learn about all the issues in flexibility and movement patterns that can lead to injuries.

You can also build a ton of value describing why someone might have pain or a nagging injury. Explaining to someone how their overactive hip flexors are giving them that back pain they have had for years, and then immediately assisting them in alleviating that pain via stretching goes yards for an initial impression.

It is an at home study course which allows you to go at your own pace and you have one year to complete it from your purchase date. The final exam is a bit tough but forces you to know your stuff, which is good thing for you and your clients.


  • In-depth education on posture and causes of pain
  • Learn the corrective exercise continuum for treating postural imbalances
  • Great for assisting older clientele in pain management
  • Best corrective exercise certification available
  • Contains all of the CEUs needed for recertification
  • Increase your practical knowledge of muscles
  • Receive the title of Pain Management Specialist


  • Cost is $299 
  • Final Exam is a bit challenging
  • The study hours that need to be put in are more than other courses.


NSCA Certified Strength And

Conditioning Specialist

The NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist is the most prestigious athletic conditioning certification in the fitness industry. In fact, it is so prestigious, it is required by almost all college and professional teams to work as a conditioning coach.

The content is quite expansive and covers everything you would need to know about training the most popular sports like Baseball, Basketball, Football, Hockey, Track and Field; and other major sports. The textbook is massive (750+ pages) and can be intimidating, but typically if you are going after this certification your passion will encourage your reading. One downfall to training athletes is that it is typically not very lucrative. Don’t expect this certification to make you more money.


  • Needed to train for a college or professional team
  • Most prestigious athletic conditioning cert in the industry
  • Great content for learning about athletic conditioning.


  • $475 + materials (expensive)
  • Requires a Bachelor’s degree to sit for the exam
  • Lengthy study hours and massive textbook
  • 210+ question, very difficult final exam
  • Requires you to take further continuing education every 2 years

You have a lot of choices when choosing your continuing education courses and we hope this settles some of the confusion. Remember to apply the three factors to your decision making process. We believe the above five courses will bring the most value to you and your business.

If you have any questions we would love to hear from you. Contact us via comment, call (424) 675-0476, or by using the contact button on this page. We are always here to assist you in choosing the most successful path for your fitness career.

For more information on becoming a successful personal trainer click the below link and check out our business and sales course

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Careers with Great Work-Life Balance

Careers with Great Work-Life Balance

It seems that the more technology we introduce into our lives the harder it is to disconnect and spend time doing the things we like with the people we love. Increasingly, we are becoming more connected and the responsibilities of work are taken home with us, seemingly always just an email away, making it hard to balance the time we should be relaxing with the time we put in at our jobs.

While we would imagine a world where technology allows us to be more productive the reality for many is that we are working longer hours, having less fun on the job, are stressed out and lack the flexibility we need from our jobs to spend time doing other things that are important.

In fact, nine out of ten Americans feel that they don’t have the flexibility in their jobs to meet their families’ needs and over half feel that they could perform their jobs better if they were allowed a more flexible schedule. It is, for this reason, why many Americans are seeking employers that offer more flexibility or are leaving jobs that don’t offer their desires for a good work-life balance for careers that do.

Below is an informative infographic on Careers with Great Work-Life Balance to showcase what many data-driven and opinionated articles cite as the best jobs for a happier work-life balance.

Careers with Great Work Life Balance Fitness Mentors
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Indicators of Work-Life Balance

Just what do American’s look for when seeking careers with great work-life balance? According to the OECD Better Life Index, six of the major indicators are:

  1. Total hours worked per week– this is an obvious one, but the fewer hours worked per week the more favorably a job is looked at.
  2. Fun rating– some jobs are a lot more fun than others and many careers actually provide this type of balance within the job.
  3. Average pay– pay is an important consideration for any career and for those people who want a job with great work-life balance and good average pay, these professions should be considered.
  4. Growth potential– upward mobility is important to many professionals and is a major factor when deciding a career path.
  5. Flexibility– having a schedule that is flexible is becoming more and more important to many individuals.
  6. Stress– finding a balance between work and stress can be a career decision that makes you happier and healthier.

The Top Jobs for Work-Life Balance

According to career website Glassdoor and our own analysis of jobs with great work-life balance, some of the most promising careers that meet this criteria include:

  • Lifeguard– while saving lives is no joke, lifeguards enjoy flexible schedules, casual environments such as the beach or a swimming pool, and are highly regarded by society.
  • Data Scientist– ranking at the top spot of Glassdoor’s list, the data scientist is in high demand, boasts great pay, and is integral to the success of their employers.
  • Personal Trainer– personal trainers consistently come up on lists of professionals with a great work-life balance due to their flexible working hours, benefit to society, and low-stress jobs.
  • SEO Specialist– another career that is in high demand, the SEO specialist helps rank websites in search engines and can virtually work from anywhere there’s an internet connection. This makes it highly appealing for business travelers and those that like to see the world while making a living.
  • Social Media Manager– the social media managers job is to create fun, engaging content across their clients’ social networks and can also work from nearly anywhere.
  • Hollywood Stuntman– the most fun job on this list, the Hollywood stuntman is no stranger to excitement and hanging with celebrities.
  • Solutions Architect– a solutions architect is one of those jobs no one knows about but wishes they did because of the high pay and ability to work remotely.
  • Dental Hygienist- coming in hot for one of the best part-time jobs as well as a great job for working moms, this jobs offers great flexibility and pay.
  • Hair Stylist- according to career site CareerCast, the hair stylist has the least stressful job of 2015 and has considerable job growth opportunities.
  • Tour Guide- another job with low stress and that tends to be a lot of fun, the tour guide is a top job for those seeking great work-life balance.

Best Jobs Under 40 Working Hours

Per Week

According to financial website 24/7 Wall Street, the airline pilot has the best job with the highest pay and most time off. Working about half of what most consider a full-time job at 21 hours, these professionals have a median annual income of over $100k and can make as much as $139,330 per year.

While pilots work the least and make a great income, personal trainers should also be mentioned on this list. With the ability to set their own hours and rates (if they are self-employed), the typical personal trainer works less than 40 hours per week and still makes a respectable median salary, all while helping others design and carryout effective workout plans.

Fun Rating

Along with working with celebrities, hanging on the sets of exciting action and adventure movies, and doing crazy stunts like crashing Ferrari’s, getting set on fire and doing martial arts with kung-fu experts, stunt men can make as much as $250,000 a year if in high demand.

Another job that easily makes our list of top jobs on the fun scale is a video game tester. These professionals test for bugs while playing video games and can make as much as $55k each year. Does anyone remember Grandma’s Boy?

Best Average Pay

If you’re seeking a job with great work-life balance but want a higher xenical xenical orlistat average pay than most, check out the solutions architect position. These professionals have a median salary of $112k and a solutions architect in a TechCrunch interview said it’s not uncommon for him to get shot in the face by a NERF dart while on the phone with a customer. Money and NERF darts? Where do I sign up?

Growth Potential

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A great work-life balance can mean different things to different people. For some, the ability to have a lot of opportunity for upward mobility or income is very important. For those who value growth potential in their careers, consider jobs in either mobile applications development or personal training.

The personal training industry is speculated to grow 13 percent through 2022 and the salary increase of a mobile applications developer is forecasted to grow 10.2 percent each year.


Is flexibility in your work hours something that’s important to you? Check out these professions that offer considerable flexibility in specific sectors:

  • Best telecommuting or remote job: SEO Specialist– these professionals can work from home, the beach, or anywhere there’s internet.
  • Most flexible schedule (hours determined by worker): Consultant– consultants don’t have employers that dictate specific work hours making this an extremely flexible job.
  • Best freelance job: Graphic Designer– for the self-employed contractor, perhaps there is no better job than a graphic designer.
  • Best part-time job: Dental Hygienist– working less than 40 hours a week and still making decent money is why a dental hygienist position is so appealing.
  • Best short-term or seasonal jobPhotographer– if long-term obligations aren’t your thing, consider a career as a professional photographer.


Stress can lead to headaches, elevated blood pressure levels, and trouble sleeping according to WebMD. Our jobs can often be the center of these problems which is why many job seekers look for jobs with low stress levels.

A hair stylist is a career with considerably low stress and offers job growth in the area of self-employment. A career as enlisted military personnel has been identified as one of the most stressful careers for obvious reasons although this job is held in very high esteem by society and us at Fitness Mentors in particular. Big thanks to our troops!

Best Work-Life Balance by Background

When considering work-life balance in careers we also wanted to identify with a few popular sub-sectors of professionals. What we found was that the following three professional-types were increasingly looking for jobs that offered great work-life balance:

  1. Working Moms
  2. Business Travelers
  3. Digital Nomads

Best Jobs for Working Moms

Working moms have a lot going on. They have to take care of a lot of household responsibilities as well as the kids and also provide for their families. The two best jobs that help working moms maintain a good work-life balance are jobs that offer considerable flexibility as well as attractive pay.

According to Monster.com, two of the best jobs for working moms are a dental hygienist and fitness trainer. Dental hygienists can often work part-time or very flexible hours so that they have time to tend to their family lives. Similarly, fitness trainers can create their own schedule and make a competitive hourly pay if they are motivated.

Best Jobs for Business Travelers

Do you love to travel but think that a permanent career means that you’ll be glued to your desk? Think again, Business News Daily identifies a travel agent and traveling nurse as two excellent jobs for jet-setters.

Part of a travel agent’s responsibility when providing sound vacation advice is to actually have firsthand experience with the suggestions that they make. This means travel is a work requirement and can be written off as a business expense while also allowing you to form relationships with luxurious resorts or dining destinations that might actually compensate you for recommending their properties.

Traveling nurses make Business News Daily’s list of great jobs for people who love to travel because the position allows you to move from location-to-location, enjoy great pay and benefits and a rewarding career that is always in demand.

Best Jobs for Digital Nomads

If you work in the digital realm and like the idea of being able to set up shop anywhere, a digital nomad lifestyle is for you.

Topping work and travel website Global Goose’s jobs that allow you to plug in and get it done are jobs for web designers and SEO specialists. Building websites is a skill that is in high demand and if you have a good reputation it could mean the work will continue to allow you to live your nomadic lifestyle how you want.

A similar profession is the SEO specialist, a digital professional that often works as a marketing consultant or with a team to help clients achieve superior search engine rankings. Both these jobs allow you to work on a laptop and travel as you please.

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What Does Work-Life Balance Mean

to You?

There are lots of jobs out there that afford you great work-life balance, but the definition is subjective. Before you quit your job or pursue one of the above ask yourself what type of balance is most important to you and you’ll have a good idea of jobs that may or may not fit that criteria.

In the end, you’ll be happier that you opened up your life to spend more time with the people that you love and doing the things that make you smile.

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