T Nation

Interested In Becoming a Trainer

I’m interested in becoming a personal trainer. I’ve never been certified and have never taken any classes. I’ve checked out a few websites such as NASM, ACE, AFAA, NFPT.

There are so many routes in getting certified that I have found it very frustrating. Any advice or reccomendations from your own experiences with any institution would be much appreciated.

Thank you!

go for ACSM. best certification, most recognized, and I guarantee that it will be well worth the money.

Im going for my NCSA just because I want to train athletes and eventually get my CSCS. I also like powerlifting and sports alot.

http://www.ncsa-cc.org

Definitely ACSM if you want to be a personal trainer for the masses.

NSCA or ACSM are the best.

Personally I think ACSM would be best to start with. We did some of it on my University course and it is very thorough for stuff like training people who are taking medications etc.

It is very well internationally recognised, here in England people regard it very well, so if you ever wanted to travel it would be useful.

Whatever course you do, hopefully it will give you a good grounding in the basics of physiology etc but I think the best trainers are the ones who have always strived to continually read, learn and experiment, combined with having years of personal experience.

Good luck.

If you plan on working at a commercial gym, check to see what certs they accept. If you want to work with individuals in their homes or have them come into a private studio, it probably doesn’t matter what cert you get.

Getting certified can get expensive. NASM is close to $600, NSCA is around $400. Most of the ‘big name’ certs can be pricey, and are good for 2 years (on average).

I went with NESTA-PFT. The study materials, DVD’s, test, etc, cost around $250, and the cert is good for 4 years. I had the study materials for NSCA-CPT and CSCS, and the NESTA certification process was pretty much in line with the NSCA-CPT.

Whatever route you take, you have to keep learning. Use and apply sound principles, listen to your clients, don’t use cookie cutter routines, and I can’t stress this enough - keep learning!

NSCA all the way, don’t let phd’s in their upper 60’s from ACSM inform you on how to become a personal trainer. I myself am NSCA-CPT and taking the CSCS this june after graduation.

Dan

Thanks for all the info guys/gals!

I forgot to metion, if this works out for me, I plan on training people out of my home. I’m almost somewhat finished in setting up my personal gym. I’ll post some pictures of it later today and you guys can let me know what you think. Maybe give me some advice on what other pieces to get. It’s not a commercial gym by any means, but it’s very inviting and gives people the comfort of privacy.

What’s the general time commitment when training/preparing to get certified? (In other words, how long does it take to get certified?)

without any courses or background you might be looking at about 6 months to prepare

Can anybody give me some reasons why a NCSA cert would be better then a ISSA cert ?

–JB

[quote]WS4JB wrote:
Can anybody give me some reasons why a NCSA cert would be better then a ISSA cert ?

–JB[/quote]

bump

I just listened to Alwyn Cosgrove’s interview on the Fitcast this morning, and he said that he doesn’t care all that much for “qualifications”. He looks for personality and work ethic first.

However, he also said that all of the trainers that he hires have to be NSCA-certified within 6 months of hiring.

He said that other programs (he never named them) have the same people teach the course, administer the exam, and grade the exam. NSCA, he stated, has an outside governing body that administers the NSCA exam. It also has a very high failure rate, which he saw as a good thing.

So, there is one vote for the NSCA.

[quote]cool-hand wrote:
I just listened to Alwyn Cosgrove’s interview on the Fitcast this morning, and he said that he doesn’t care all that much for “qualifications”. He looks for personality and work ethic first.

However, he also said that all of the trainers that he hires have to be NSCA-certified within 6 months of hiring.

He said that other programs (he never named them) have the same people teach the course, administer the exam, and grade the exam. NSCA, he stated, has an outside governing body that administers the NSCA exam. It also has a very high failure rate, which he saw as a good thing.

So, there is one vote for the NSCA.[/quote]

Thanks, thats a good bit of info right there.

–JB

ACSM is the recognized as the gold standard, usually better for the general public.

NSCA is a lot better for athletes population with more performance orientated goals.

I’m going to take the ACSM-CPT exam in May.

It seems like NSCA-CPT is just a bit harder by the sample questions they ask. A lot more applied stuff than ACSM.

The ‘fitness’ industry is entirely unregulated. There are no laws in any states requiring any type of certification to be a personal trainer.

Trainees know jack shit about the differences in varying certifications.

So…

If you’re looking to make money. The personal trainers that make the most $$$ are good at selling themselves and often know little about how to actually get someone strong, increase performance, loose fat, etc. What they are good at is how to bullshit and throw out fancy terminology.

One last thing, I’ve been lifting weights since 1982 and I’ve yet to meet a personal trainer that’s stronger than I am (which isn’t very strong). Kind of pathetic.

Well dont you think that you should take an exam that asks questions that are applied, more so than relative(NSCA vs ASCM). When in any trainer or future trainers experience are situations going to be relative? Every client is different and NSCA realizes that simple fact. So if you want to be a run of the mill 2 sets of 8 to 12 reps trainer then take the ASCM-CPT!!

You must live in fcukin Montana if you haven’t met a trainer stronger than you, by the way Hello my name is Dan I am a Personal Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Coordinator I have been lifting since 1998 I have a BS in EX Phys and CSCS. CPT. nice to meet you!

[quote]W@LRUS!1 wrote:
The ‘fitness’ industry is entirely unregulated. There are no laws in any states requiring any type of certification to be a personal trainer.

Trainees know jack shit about the differences in varying certifications.

So…

If you’re looking to make money. The personal trainers that make the most $$$ are good at selling themselves and often know little about how to actually get someone strong, increase performance, loose fat, etc. What they are good at is how to bullshit and throw out fancy terminology.

One last thing, I’ve been lifting weights since 1982 and I’ve yet to meet a personal trainer that’s stronger than I am (which isn’t very strong). Kind of pathetic.[/quote]

I’ve acquired a number of certifications over the years, all of which have their strengths and limitations.

First, if you have a degree, get your CSCS. The exam is tough, the material is basically good, and there isn’t much BS that you have to “unlearn” later (what there is is largely confined to the nutrition component). Plus, the CSCS is recognized around the world and was designed for post secondary grads and that certainly helps from the “street cred” end.

No degree? Well, the NSCA CPT is OK, but a lot more fluff than the CSCS. Reeeaaal easy.

Next, I strongly advise getting some type of Poliquin certification. It isn’t “perfect” either, but at least you learn how to execute exercises perfectly, which when you boil it down is what people want to hire you to do in the first place.

Finally, and this is more important than all of your certifications combined, OFFER TO JOB SHADOW WITH A REALLY GOOD STRENGTH COACH. After working with normal business type clients for years, I had the opportunity to assist an excellent strength coach with training football players, hockey players, and MMA fighters for 50-60 hours a week. It kicked my training chops up to a new level.

All the theory is fine, but its in the trenches where you really learn.