9 Nationally Accredited Gym Instructor Training Programs

Nationally accredited gym instructor training programs play a vital role in preparing individuals for successful careers in the fitness industry.

These programs provide comprehensive education and practical training to equip aspiring gym instructors with the knowledge, skills, and certifications required to excel in their profession.

Nationally accredited programs are designed to meet rigorous standards set by recognized accrediting bodies, ensuring that the training provided meets industry requirements and maintains a high level of quality.

These programs are often developed in collaboration with fitness experts, industry professionals, and educational institutions to ensure that the curriculum is up-to-date, relevant, and aligned with current industry trends and best practices.

Nationally Accredited Gym Instructor Training Programs

Let’s look deeper at the Nationally accepted certification mentioned in the previous section to help you choose the fitness certificate that best suits your needs professionally and personally.

  1. International Sports Sciences Association 
  2. National Academy of Sports Medicine
  3. National Council on Strength and Fitness 
  4. American Council on Exercise 
  5. National Strength and Conditioning Association 
  6. National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association 
  7. National Federation of Professional Trainers 
  8. American Fitness Professionals Association 
  9. International Fitness Professionals Association
  1. International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA);

To survive in a cutthroat market, the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) believes giving its trainers the resources they need inside and outside the gym is crucial. You can study and sit for an open-book exam for the certification, which costs $799, in the convenience of your own home.

The ISSA personal trainer certification has a two-year validity period, during which time you must earn 20 CES credits to keep it current. Thanks to online conferences and seminars, you can finish the majority of them in your free time at home. They are confident you will land a job after receiving your fitness certification, so they offer a money-back guarantee.

  1. National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM);

The well-known NASM program emphasizes corrective exercise and equips students with the knowledge and abilities to become effective personal trainers. When it involves studying materials, it provides a variety of possibilities, including self-study, premium self-study, guided study programs, and all-inclusive solutions.

The all-inclusive version includes all the assistance that NASM delivers. At the same time, the guided study program features more than 45 lectures and instructional videos. For $649, it includes the online course, test cost, digital textbook, instructional videos, quizzes, and practice exams.

The other options range in price from $839 to $1484, including guided study sessions, extra study materials, a 90-day job guarantee, and the free retest option.

NASM is acknowledged by all major gyms and is accredited by the NCCA. Like every other NCCA-accredited test, it needs a high school certificate and AED and CPR certifications.

  1. National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF);

The National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF) is the best option for academics since it is a demanding and rewarding course that enhances your analytical skills, client communication, and training abilities.

People who desire to work in a health club or gym or create their own business might consider getting this certification.

More than 300,000 people have received an education thanks to the certificate, recognized in more than 160 countries. There are more than 8,000 exam centers globally, making selecting a location to take the exam simple.

The NCSF has relationships with reputable fitness clubs and gyms like 24 Hour Fitness, Gold’s Gym, and Equinox that help beginners succeed in their job search.

Each pricing tier offers a printed and digital textbook, study guides, quizzes to review material, teacher support, and exams.

The top two most complete alternatives include continuing education units (CEUs) that aid learners in fulfilling ethical obligations.

  1. American Council on Exercise (ACE);

Any personal trainer wishing to advance their credentials or who is just starting is an excellent candidate for the ACE personal training certification. It shares many characteristics with NASM and offers a variety of options for study materials.

Its entry-level subscription, which costs $979, provides access to the exam, one practice test, a digital textbook, and study aids.

The extra options, which cost between $979 and $1729, include more study materials and assistance. You can repeat the test for $249 if you fail it the first time.

Even while the cost of ACE’s recertification is more than that of other certificates—starting at $129 for one renewal—the range of additional certifications and CEU programs can help you advance your career and attract new customers.

  1. National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA);

The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) is committed to improving fitness trainers’ abilities and educating them about cutting-edge techniques in the field.

Globally, the NSCA offers three certificates for fitness trainers, each tailored to the kind of professional training the user intends to pursue.

NSCA offers three certifications for Certified Personal Trainers, and numerous training-specific topics are covered in these certification programs. You can start a career in the fitness business by selecting one of the many specialist certificates offered by NSCA.

  1. National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association (NESTA);

NESTA’s certification program for fitness is relatively new. They collaborated with the tech company Polar to create a curriculum for personal trainer education that utilized Polar technology. NESTA uses this technology to train its fitness instructors and issue them an online personal training certification to become certified Heart Rate Performance Specialists.

An average age of 18 is necessary, along with a high school degree and an up-to-date certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation or a Basic Life Support card. It costs $25 to sit for the short certificate examination with a polar heart rate monitor at a different cost.

You must pass a non-proctored online test with 100 multiple-choice questions and finish the course in 3 to 4 weeks for a year to receive the certification and graduate.

  1. National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT);

All personal trainers must accrue continuing education credits (CECs) to keep their credentials and stay current with industry knowledge, regardless of the certification scheme they pick.

The National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT) offers lifetime free access to these credits, which are frequently expensive.

There are three different class tiers available, and the CPT exam is the least price ($379); the intermediate tier ($499) includes learning materials but not videos; and the highest or “premier” tier ($1299) contains all learning materials in addition to videos, practice exams, access to NFPT specialist trainers, and other things.

  1. American Fitness Professionals Association (AFPA);

This well-known organization offers fitness trainers a variety of courses that are recognized nationally and internationally.

Due to the AFPA’s remote learning strategy, fitness trainers from outside the US who are ready to join may also do so for its educational programs. Fitness, health, wellness, and nutrition professionals greatly benefit from these courses and have more employment options after earning an AFPA certification.

With the development of technology, an increasing number of programs have moved online, and the AFPA now offers most of its education courses online. They also provide a master certification that combines four courses into one, costing $1,899, among other options.

Applicants must be 18 or older to be eligible for the AFPA Personal Trainer Certification; there are no other requirements, and there is a $449 fee for the personal trainer course. All study materials and the test fee are included in this sum. The passing grade for the pupils must be 85% or higher; if they don’t meet this, they’ll have to retake the test, which will cost them about $75.

  1. International Fitness Professionals Association (IFPA);

IFPA is approved by the NCAA and offers the opportunity to become a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT). A two-day class in a significant U.S. city costs between $399 and $459, but the entire IFPA Fitness program takes two to six months to complete.

The price of the IFPA fitness certification includes the cost of the exam. Examinees must take the test within six months of the workshop or pay $79 to retake it. The test consists of 100 questions that must be answered in 2.5 hours.

The ability to take specialized courses in particular exercise genres is another bonus of IFPA certificates. This program must also be recertified every two years for a fee of $339.


What does a personal trainer do?

A personal trainer is a health and fitness expert who collaborates with customers to assist them in reaching their fitness objectives.

Here are some of their major responsibilities;

  1. Conducting Fitness Assessments
  2. Developing Customized Exercise Programs
  3. Providing Instruction and Feedback
  4. Motivating and Encouraging Clients
  5. Monitoring Progress and Adjusting Programs:
  6. Providing Nutrition and Wellness Coaching
  7. Maintaining Professionalism and Ethics

Categories of a Gym/Personal  Instructor

Fitness certificates can be divided into the five categories listed below. The goal of your fitness certification and how it fits with your long-term career objectives must be considered;

  1. Personal Training

The NCCA-authorized certification programs are the gold standard in the fitness and wellness business, so if you want to become a certified personal trainer, choose one of them.

You could choose from a variety of organizations, such as the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), or the Cooper Institute (CI).

  1. Group fitness‍

The courses listed in the following paragraphs are for you if you have the energy and enthusiasm to instruct an aerobics class or any other fitness exercise.

When it comes to group fitness certification, there are some right choices. ACE, ACSM, NASM, and NETA offer reputable group fitness certifications.

  1. Clinical

The ACSM certification program is the natural choice for those more interested in exercise from a clinical standpoint because it enables you to work with individuals with stable, medically-controlled health issues and healthy adults in general.

It would help if you were an ASCM Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist (CCEP) or ASCM Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist (RCEP) to pursue a clinical career in exercise physiology.

  1. Human Performance

When it comes to a certification that enables you to work with athletes at every level, the NSCA’s Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) program stands out.

The CSCS is the only strength and conditioning certification program for training athletes granted NCCA accreditation, although ISSA, NASM, and ACE also offer certificates in sports conditioning.

It’s a comprehensive core certification that requires a bachelor’s degree and has long been regarded as the best in the business for strength coaches.

  1. Specialty

A specialty program is for you if you wish to work only with the young or elderly population, become an authority in women’s fitness, or gain knowledge in weight reduction or nutrition.

FAQs about Nationally Accredited Gym Instructor Training Programs

  • What is the time commitment needed to become a personal trainer?

The time required to become a personal trainer can vary depending on the academic requirements and certification criteria of the particular company or institution in which one desires to work.

  • Should I pursue a career as a personal trainer?

Becoming a personal trainer can be a fulfilling career decision for people who are enthusiastic about fitness and health.

Final Thoughts on the Nationally Accredited Gym Instructor Training Programs

Nationally accredited gym instructor training programs can be a valuable resource for individuals seeking to enter the fitness industry or enhance their existing skills.

These programs typically adhere to certain standards and guidelines set by reputable accrediting bodies, ensuring a level of quality and consistency in the education and training provided.

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