T Nation

Personal Training Certification


Didn't know where to put this...but places to become a certified personal trainer. Am from Canada, up north, so Canadian courses, would be great, and can you do it if you are not yet the age of majority?




Google Canada, ahahhaha, what the hell!
Anyone gone thru the Parrillo course? I bought it but never followed it thru. :frowning:


All training certificates are garbage...they just want your money..knowledge is more important....most of the best trainers dont carry certificates..it doesnt mean anything


That's a pretty ignorant generalization. Maybe if you qualified it a little bit as there are a lot of junk certifications out there that are not worth the paper printed on. I hardly think the "best" trainers don't have the respect for their position to not be legit.

To the OP, if you go through one of the major certifying organizations, NSCA, ACSM, etc, I believe that they are recognized in many countries. I don't know about any that are Canadian based.


This is pretty much the truth. Although in my experience, the absolute best trainers still have a solid academic/theoretical foundation. To me, a really well rounded trainer should possess:

Theoretical: MS Exercise Physiology, or at least a BSc/BA in Kinesiology or the like.
Professional Certifications: CSCS and perhaps a professional Olympic lifting certification (or something that involves a decent amount of hands on weight room work).
Applied: A verifiable track record of getting results. This is the most important by far.
Visual: 20 inch arms and a different fanny pack for every day of the week. Deal breaker.


I would disagree that all certifcations are garbage, but I do understand your sentiment. There are far too many shitty trainers with shitty certifications that don't have a clue what they are doing.

However, most trainers have to have a certifiation to get their foot in the door, and it also forces them to attend continuing ed. courses or conferences, which in turn forces them to learn more.

I would agree that many of the top level coaches let their certifications run out, because of the hassle of maintaining them. But many were certified at one point. And most, if not all, have worked directly with a great mentor, which is where most of the learning was done.

Book smarts is a nice foundation, but real world knowledge is key.


Some decent certifications: NSCA-CSCS & CPT, ACSM-HFS (Health Fitness Specialist) & CPT, NASM-CPT, and maybe a half step down ISSA-CFT.


I have completed Parrillo, it's not bad. I also have other certifications though (ISSA, NASM, PICP, Biosignature L1&2). The biggest drawback I found with the Parrillo certification is that most gyms don't know what it is. One of my friends was close friends with him though so I was in one of the first classes certified (if that clues you in on my age:) The one I learned the most from would be the Poliquin series and Biosignatures. As someone stated above though there is not substitute for hands on learning. I continue to learn everyday by setting aside time to read and correspondance with my mentors. Ultimatly, what is going to cement your reputation is the results you get for your clients. All the knowledge in the world does not matter if you cannot apply it.


Mahwah...your right that i wasnt clear...However with over 15 years running my own training business i can tell you having a cert does not mean your legit....Most head strength coaches at major universities dont have anything...I have my cert as a Health Fitness specialist with ACSM and it does nothing for me except to say that i have a cert...Real world and practical training ( having to put yourself through the rigors) with a college degree in either kinesiology and or physiology is much more important...Passing a test to say your a certified pro is not applicable to the real world...however i do understand that in order to work at some commercial gym and teach people how to stand on a bosu ball that you need a piece of paper to get you in...Or more importantly if you wish to work in a university strength program you need your CSCS ( which is outdated by about 10 years)


A 4 year degree in Exercise Science outweighs a 3 day certification by a long shot. I am a personal training manager and do not require my employees to get certified if they have a degree. A- Money is an issue because they are all way to fucking expensive. B- The only certification I encourage is the CSCS. It is the gold standard and recognized worldwide. The best personal trainers are sponges...they soak up everything from news, to articles and constant observation of the industry. Save yourself the $600 go to college and get a degree. It will pay off in the long run.

Laroyal- Couldnt have said it any better. Personal training is a sales job. You can know every book from front to back but if you cant communicate and apply what you know youll never be successful.


Im going to do an instructors course,I find your 95% right that most instructors talk like theyre reading from a text book...fucking boring we already know the basics,I beleive this is one of the few subjects in the world where experience beats education (instructor courses) hands down.


pech 24....well said


What would you guys suggest for a 19 year old who would like to become a personal trainer in America? Obviously the CSCS is a no go since it requires a college degree, so what would be the next best thing? I'm thinking of getting certified since I'm already training my old high school team while I'm home from college and really enjoying it. I feel it'd be a great summer job if possible and wouldn't look too bad for med-school either...


Get your NSCA CPT. Then you can sit for the CSCS when you are a senior in college, and taking the CSCS will count towards your continuing education for the CPT.


So I understand you as when you get your NSCA-CPT you then can get your CSCS after acquiring NSCA-CPT? You do not need a degree in Human Kinetics or Kinesiology if you take that rout? Correct? (Sorry if it's a stupid question(s)).

EDIT: As well they are just exams or is there a workbook to actually learn from?


Correct, you just need a bachelor's degree in any field from an accredited college/university (or be in your senior year). It is a common misperception that you have to have a degree in a related field for the CSCS.

However, the ACSM-HFS requires it to be in a related field.


OHHHH okay makes sense thanks Modi.


Yes, there is a text book, as well as other study materials (practice exams, exercise technique manuals, cd's, etc.)


I cannot say that I disagree with any of you. I have my fair share of credentials and throughout 10 years in the business, I have had only 1 client ask about certification (he didn't ask for proof though). Hell, I even started out with the dreaded ACE cert.

Knowledge along with results are the most important things in this field, not initials behind our names, yes. However, our profession has to deal with ignorance on a daily basis, from the public to other "trainers", so to tell a peer that a certification is unneccessary is not prudent.

No certification has all the answers, it is up to the trainer to become a professional. The piece of paper is the first step, even if only to provide legitimacy.