Certification Comparison

An Investment in Your Future

Getting certified is the first step toward a successful career in the fitness industry, but each certification company has its own processes and costs. With so many choices, the decision can be overwhelming. To help you determine which certification fits you, we’ve assembled these charts to make your decision clear. Each company has programs accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCAA).

How Much Does Personal Trainer Certification Cost?

NCCA Accredited Certification Programs
Cert Package Cost
Total Annual Cost Estimate
Discounts
Financing Available?
Recertification Frequency
Recertification Cost per Cycle
CEC Cost Estimate per Recertification Cycle
National Federation of Professional Trainers
$199 – $449
$85
Military, civil servants, health club staff
Yes
1-2 years*
$85
$0 – $305
American Council on Exercise
$549 – $899
$398
Military
Yes
2 years
$329
$367 – $569
National Academy of Sports Medicine
$629 – $1999
$661
Yes
2 years
$474
$699 – $999
National Council on Strength and Fitness
$485 – $535
$116
Military
Yes
2 years
$50
$15 – $349
National Exercise and Sports Trainer Association
$449
$157
Military
Nope
4 years
$149
$199 – $749
National Strength and Conditioning Association
$355 – $950
$100
Nope
3 years
$50 – $75
$10 – $445

Is there anything you think we should add? Contact us. We appreciate your suggestions and we’re happy to answer your questions.

Continuing Education Credit Requirements

Each certification company has different requirements for continuing education credits (CECs), sometimes called continuing education units (CEUs). You must earn CECs to maintain your certification but the associated fees and recertification cycles are unique to each company. We’ve compiled this chart so you can decide what works best for you.

How Much Does it Cost to Keep My Certification Active?

Recertification Cycle(CECs requirement must be met before you can renew)
CECs Required(per cycle)
Recertification Fee(per cycle)
Estimated CEC Cost(per cycle)
Petition Fee(cost per non-approved CE activity)
Sample CEC Award Allocations
Average Cost per CE Award
Total Annual Cost(estimated recert. fee + median CEC costs per year, excluding any petition fees)
National Federation of Professional Trainers
1 year
2.0 CECs
$85
$0 – $305
FREE
College semester, 1.0
Self Tests**, 0.5
Article submission, 0.5
CPR/AED, 0.50
First Aid, 0.25
Proof of insurance, 0.25
NFPT CE/specialty courses, 0.25 – 6.0
$0*
$85
American Council on Exercise
2 years
2.0 CECs
$129
$267 – $499
$25
College semester, 0.8
Quiz, 0.2
News, 0.2
Article submission, 0.5
CPR, .2
First Aid, 0.2
AED, 0.2
0.1 – 0.2: $15 – $ 45
0.3 – 0.4: $60 – $80
0.5 – 1.0: $100 – $178
2.0 – 2.5: $267 – $499
$256
National Academy of Sports Medicine
2 years
2.0 CECs
$99
$699 – $999
$25
College semester, 0.3 (max 1.5)
Quiz, 0
Article submission, 0.5 (max 1.5)
CPR/AED, .1
First Aid, 0
0.2 – 0.6: $33 – $97
0.8 – 1.3: $199 – $299
1.9: $449
2.2 – 3.5: $699 – $999
$474
NETA
2 years
20.0 CECs
$45
$199 – $299
$15
Quiz, 1.0
Article submission, 1.0
CPR, 0
First Aid, 0
AED, 0
1.0 – 2.0: $19 – $39
2.0 – 3.0: $39 – $49
4.0 – 6.0: $55 – $109
9.0 – 15.0: $129 – $149
20.0: $199 – $299
$147
NCCPT
2 years
2.0 CECs
$75
$250 – $600
$10
College semester, 0.9
Self Test, 0
Article submission, 0.5 (max 1.0)
CPR, 0.1
First Aid, 0
AED, 0.1
0.05 – 0.2: $20 – $60
0.4: $49.95
0.8 – 1.1: $199 – $299
2.0: $319
$122
National Council on Strength and Fitness
2 years
10.0 CECs
$50
$258 – $468
FREE
College semester, 1.0
Quiz, 0.5
Library, 0.3
Ethics, 0.5
Article submission, 1.0
CPR, 1
First Aid, 0
AED, 1
0.3 – 0.5: $15
3.0 – 4.5: $79 – $119
5.0 – 6.0: $119 – $49
7.0: $179 – $349
$101
National Exercise and Sports Trainer Association
4 years
4.0 CECs
$149
$497 – $749
$25
College semester, 1.0
Quiz, 0.5
Library, 0.3
Ethics, 0.5
Article submission, 1.0
CPR, 1
First Aid, 0
AED, 1
1.5 – 1.6: $199 – $319
2.0: $199 – $357
3.0 – 4.0: $497 – $749
$156
National Strength and Conditioning Association
3 years
6.0 CECs
$50 – $75
$345 – $445
FREE
College semester, 0.5 (max 1.5)
Quiz, 0.1 (max 5.5)
Journals, 0.2
Article submission, 0.5
CPR, 0
First Aid, 0.25
AED, 0.25
0.1 – 0.5: $10 – $25
3.0: $285 – $445
$98

* Non-NFPT continuing education activities can be awarded credits, though the amount of credits will vary. NFPT offers free continuing education provisions but as there are many options for trainer growth and development, there are many ways to earn CECs.

** Free (two per certification year)

Get Certified!

Build a rewarding career by helping others live a healthy lifestyle. As a personal trainer, you can live your dream by sharing your passion for fitness. Embark on a new career now. Start your NFPT certification today.

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