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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  1. […] 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 […]

  2. Hi
    A great article on CE in my explorations of a possible new career. I am no stranger to CEs, having needed them for many years. I love these ideas esp. #4 & 5, posture analysis & conditioning. I have worked in pain clinics & in everyday patient care, chronic pain is experienced by the majority. In my experience It seems 90% of chronic pain is directly or indirectly related to poor conditioning or posture instabilities of musculoskelature. If I seek certification as personal trainer I would look forward to taking all these classes. I have also heard of functional posture which it sounds the above class covers, but I think it’s also a whole area itself of expertise. Any info or advice you have for me in taking on personal training studies to combine w/ my current experience would be helpful. I’m afraid hardest part would be to lose more than half my current income if did personal traing alone. Which worries me of course but so much will be gained that money can’t buy,
    Thank you! Laura

  3. Thank you for mentioning how you need to ask yourself why you are taking a continuing education course when you want to take one. I can understand that doing this can help you find the best classes that will help you learn what you are passionate about and be able to succeed when you are an adult. My brother was talking about how he needed to take some HVAC classes, so I’ll share your page with him for help.

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