I get this question all the time: “Which personal training certification should I get, Stu?”
In this post, we’ll break down the top 5 certifications and what their focus is. That way, you’ll be able to choose the certification that’s best for you.
The Top 5 Personal Training Certifications
Based on my 15 years in the industry, here are the iron-clad, top 5 certifications that you can’t go wrong with:
Each of these certifications will get you a job just about anywhere, but there are subtle differences you need to know about. Let’s take a look at them.
The ACE certification is a more general certification. It was one of the first certifications in existence, and has a strong reputation. It’s a great certification if you plan on training a diverse demographic and “general” demographic. By that I mean people that aren’t athletes and just want to get into overall better shape.
I personally have the ACE certification and it has served me very well.
As a note, the certification gets you started, but the continuing education really helps develop you into a diverse and knowledgeable trainer.
NASM & ACSM
NASM & ACSM get into a bit more depth of knowledge than ACE. These certifications cover more physiology material having to do with the inner workings of muscles and other more advanced anatomy. They’re a bit harder, but can pay off with the extra knowledge (and maybe confidence) you get from the depth.
I would hire someone with an NASM or ACSM certification without question because they’re difficult enough that they weed people out who aren’t serious about training.
I also know that a trainer with one of these certifications is going to know enough about the body that they won’t injure a person, and they’ll probably be a pretty effective trainer.
NSCS & CSCS
These certifications are way more in depth. These are the certifications you should look at if you plan on working with athletes and building a business or reputation around sports medicine, rehab, or therapy.
These certs are very specific and you will gain a tremendous amount of knowledge in a more athlete-focused curriculum.
This certification is probably overkill if your planning on training the general population. You’d do better to choose one of the other three I’ve discussed.
Still, having this certification will show any potential employer that you’re extremely knowledgeable and serious about your profession.
One Thing To Consider:
Even though your certification is important, it won’t guarantee you a job. You still need to be marketable and hone your business skills so that you can interview well and demonstrate how you’ll be an asset to a potential employer.
And that’s why I created my e-class… to make sure when you get certified you get a job at any gym you want… and… you get clients right away!
In fact, most of my students end up making $4,000 a month within 6 months!
Remember: the certification is just the first step… it’s what you do afterward that determines your level of success.