NCCA Certifications for the Fitness Industry

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

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

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

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

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What Does NCCA Stand For?

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

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

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

What does it mean to be NCCA accredited?

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

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

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

NCCA requirements for personal trainer certifications

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s dive in deeper to these four:

National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)

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

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

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

International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)

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

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

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

National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF)

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

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

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

American Council on Exercise (ACE)

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

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

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

Final Notes From A Certified Personal Trainer

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

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

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

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

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