Comparing Online Trainer Academy VS Fitness Mentors Certified Online Personal Trainer:

What’s the best online personal training certification?

An online personal training certification can be one of the most important pieces of education you’ll receive in your online business. With a structured course like the Online Trainer Academy or the Fitness Mentors Certified Online Personal Trainer you’ll have a good idea of how to monetize this hot trend in fitness and make money while you sleep.

In terms of what you’ll learn and what you’ll take away from each program, there are some major differences. Each program has its own strengths, so before you choose one it pays to understand which might be the best for you.

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What to know about the Online Trainer Academy and the Fitness Mentors
Certified Online Personal Trainer courses

The Online Trainer Academy (OTA) was the first of its kind and has built its reputation on the back of the Personal Trainer Development Center (thePTDC) website and its founder, Jonathan Goodman, a leading voice in the personal training industry for helping trainers succeed. The course includes video lecture presentations as well as textbook reading. The contents of the course are well-regarded for mindset management and overcoming mental roadblocks.

The Fitness Mentors Certified Online Personal Trainer (FM COPT) course is a 100% online, cutting edge course built by leading fitness education site Fitness Mentors. The head instructor, Eddie Lester, created the site based on years of experience as a trainer and college instructor teaching certifications. The course is centered around helping trainers determine the best type of business model to utilize, provides real mentorship from actual online trainers, a Facebook support group, and promises to teach the true application of online training concepts.



Online Trainer Academy has one package with two payment options: pay in full at $1,999 or use their 6-month payment plan for $366 a month (or $2,196).

Fitness Mentors COPT course offers two pricing tiers of $699 and $1,299, both considerably less expensive than the OTA. The $699 package, Online Trainer Pro, also offers a payment plan of $266 a month for 3 months (or $798). This package includes the final exam, a digital textbook, lecture video presentations, audio book lectures, actionable assignments, bonus learning videos, business templates, templates from other successful online trainers, and an online support group. 

The more intensive of the packages, Online Trainer Elite with Live Online 6 Week Course, offers everything in the Online Trainer Pro package with live online classes. It also includes a 6-week live online business course, and lifetime online trainer career mentorship.

Comparing the OTA and the FM COPT on price

For the price conscious trainer, the FM Online Trainer Pro comes in at full $1,300 cheaper than the OTA product and provides a certification that is recognized by the National Board of Fitness Examiners. This makes the OTA course almost three times more expensive. 


Overall education comparison

The core of the OTA course is based on video presentations and accompanying textbook reading. In all, there are about 14 hours of content where students will watch a video lecture and engage in some chapter reading. One-on-one feedback is available to fitness business mentors via online chats.

The OTA course is comprised of five modules:

  1. Getting Started- Determining what sets you apart from competitors; deciding what to charge; how to get your first few online clients.
  2. Structuring Your Business- Process-driven education on how to setup your online PT business, done-for-you intake forms, legal documents, etc.
  3. Taking Care of Clients- How to take care of clients and deliver great results.
  4. How to Get Clients- Learning how to teach clients about how you deliver results.
  5. Bonus: Skills Module- Tutorials on sales copy, online marketing, product packaging and pricing, and hiring.

OTA also has some additional coursework on Facebook/Instagram, and website success.

The FM COPT course is 100% online, includes over 60 hours of content including video lectures, slide presentations, actionable assignments, and chapter reading. The coursework was created by PhDs, college professors, and active online personal trainers. The active phone number is also a selling point for students who want to be able to ask questions to a live person on the fly.

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The FM COPT is made up of five major learning sections:

  1. Prepare Your Business- Step-by-step instructions for starting an online business and creating services to be successful online.
  2. Take Your Business Online- Educational principles on how to transition your business from in-person training to online training. 
  3. Generate Leads to Grow Your Business- Learning skills on digital marketing such as Content creation, SEO, web design, social media, and paid advertising. 
  4. Convert Sales- Learning how to utilize your own sales personality to set efficient pricing and close sales.
  5. Care for Your Clients- Retaining clients is of utmost importance to a successful online PT business. This section teaches best practices for supporting your clients and generating consistent income.

Comparing the OTA and the FM COPT on education

There are some overlapping principles contained in both programs as to be expected. Both aim to prepare you for online training and how to setup your business for maximum efficiency and marketing. The learning materials of the OTA are about 14 hours, where the learning materials of the FM-COPT are around 60 hours. The FM-COPT also has a great deal more logical course progression given that it is created by former college professors, PhD’s, and those intertwined with professional course development. Further, the active phone number for the FM-COPT(424-675-0476) and online Facebook group makes it easy for students to engage with teachers and their peers.

Both courses also provide turn-key assets that allow the trainer to quickly on-board clients. FM COPT has 12 premade online training programs, 12 premade nutrition programs, and whitelabeled templates so you can easily add your branding and info to every program. The OTA has these types of assets as well, but they are mostly based in Google Docs (Google Survey’s, Google Sheets, etc). 


Course duration

The OTA website says that the course can be finished in 8-12 weeks with 3-5 hours of study time each week. There are no completion deadlines and lifetime access is provided. In short, the program is self-paced.

The FM-COPT can be completed in one month if 2-3 hours of aggressive studying are done each day. This approach is not for everyone, but is an option for those trainers who want to learn business skills quickly. A 1-2 month completion is recommended by Fitness Mentors as they say it is more compact in nature and provides the best opportunity for optimal comprehension.

Comparing the OTA and the FM COPT on course duration

Both courses can be completed quickly, however, Fitness Mentors has a study timeline that allows completion in one month. It is likely that both courses should be completed within 8 weeks for optimal comprehension.


Final exams

The OTA course is made up of five modules before getting to the final exam. Each module has 7-10 chapters, and they are followed by four bonus mini courses. The final is 60 questions, with a passing score of 75% or higher required to graduate. Any retakes after the first test are $50 per test.

The FM COPT is built more along the lines of what you’d expect from a well-designed college course, with step-by-step curriculum, and a career application as the primary focus. This leads up to an exam with 50 multiple choice questions. A score of 70% or better is required to receive the certification, and two exam attempts are provided. Failure to pass the exam on the first two attempts will result in a retest fee of $50.   

Comparing the OTA and the FM COPT on exam

The biggest takeaway with the exams is that the FM COPT places more emphasis on a National Board of Fitness Examiners recognition, and an exam to reinforce the true takeaway of the concepts. Both are around the same number of questions, although the COPT allows two chances before a retake fee and the OTA only one. 


What trainers think

The OTA has been around for a bit longer than the FM COPT and has a great deal of reviews with lots of high praise. Trainers that like mindset management and mental toughness types of learning will enjoy the OTA course. Further, the OTA provides a good number of premade templates, questionnaires, and resources to help trainers get started engaging with clients right away.

Trainers who transition from in-person training full or part-time love the Fitness Mentors COPT. It is the only program that teaches trainers about all six of the possible models of online training and provides education in a college-like, yet user-friendly, setting that allows trainers to build an online business, scale it, and market it. 

Comparing the OTA and the FM COPT on what trainers think

Trainers are trustworthy of products that come out of thePTDC/Jonathon Goodman camp because they know their/his materials to be well-respected in the industry. However, trainers who opt for the cheaper, new kid on the block FM COPT are pleasantly surprised on how the former college instructors have a knack for making students truly comprehend what they’re taught.


Adoption & reviews

Online Trainer Academy

Common reviews from around the web mention some similar strengths and weaknesses of the OTA course. There are also a lot of affiliate relationships with the OTA course meaning many online reviewers are getting paid should their review lead you to a sale of the OTA product. These reviews are obviously going to be a bit more biased and in favor of all things OTA.

The strengths of the program, as exemplified in this review, are the multiple learning formats — digital portal, physical textbooks, and video — that the OTA provides. This student in particular mentions he got a textbook sent to him in Thailand for no extra charge. 

Another reviewer said the course paid for itself within three months of graduating. They also said the OTA course makes no illusions that online training is not easy, which they appreciated. On the negative side, this reviewer said the fact that the course has no deadlines may make it difficult for some people to complete it, something that other reviewers mentioned as well.

Other negatives on the OTA from reviewers cite that there is not enough guidance on the information provided. On the plus side, there is a lot of good info, however, some graduates felt that it was hard to know what to do without guidance on all that information.

Fitness Mentors Certified Online Personal Trainer

Reviewers of the FM COPT praise it for providing real person mentorship and support groups to talk application over with Fitness Mentors’ employees or a peer group. Reviewers also liked the various different digital learning formats Fitness Mentors provides such as the — digital textbook, videos, audio books, business templates, and support groups. 

The FM COPT has also received acclaim for providing actionable advice on how to transition clients over to a hybrid model of in-person and online before going all-in with online training. Further, the structuring of the course contents to identify step-by-step how to create an online business that is based on your interests in fitness and wellness was also praised. 

The shortcomings of the FM COPT are brand awareness of the certification. Trainers thought that clients would not place much merit in it. Another negative of the FM COPT mentioned by one reviewer was the lack of a physical textbook. 

Comparing the OTA and the FM COPT on adoption and reviews

Overall, there are no glaring negative reviews with either course. Students of either course may be surprised how in-depth the curriculum is and how much there is to learn about online training. For many students, having access to support groups or mentors was highly valued and where the OTA fell short. For the FM COPT, its freshness to the market may turn some trainers off who are more familiar with thePTDC brand. 

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Overall verdict:
Comparing the Online Trainer Academy VS Fitness Mentors Certified Online Personal Trainer

For new trainers: It’s a draw, as the OTA is great at motivation and the FM COPT understands the psychology of teaching better than most fitness bodies.

For seasoned trainers: FM COPT, as the program has a focus on transitioning existing trainers to savvy online trainers.

For those with an existing web presence: FM COPT, as the program goes more in-depth with the various types of online businesses, or combinations of them, you can start. It also has brandable templates you can leverage immediately to sell and provide instantly to clients. These templates include complete fitness programs for all goals which allows you to focus on client care and acquisition as opposed to programming. 

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