T Nation

What Certification?

Ok, so I’ve been looking around to pickup my Trainer certification to make some $$ on the side. Problem is, which of the ones out there are worth the $ and are respected/accepted? I’ve run into:
ACE
AFPA
IFPA
NEST
NFPT

I’ve already heard the horror stories about ACE so I won’t even count that. But does anyone know of which certs are the most widely accepted/acknowledged? Thanks in advance.

The horror stories about ACE are from those that are more experienced in training. Many people get their ACE designation and don’t do any other “homework”. These are poorly educated trainers, but keep in mind that none of the PT certificates are exactly considered “higer education”. If that is what you want, then get yourself a degree in one of the sports sciences and then get your CSCS designation from the NSCA. This is the step to get to a strength coaching position at a higher level. If all you want to do is “make some extra money” as you stated, then just stick with the ACE. It is one of the cheapest and easiest to get and it will get you a job in most fitness centres in North America. No need to get all fancy if you just want to make some extra money on the side.

I agree with loopfitt. I’ve seen trainers with one or two certifications who are exceptional, and I’ve seen trainers with five or more who suck. The certification isn’t going to make you a good trainer. What you read and put to use through trial and error…keeping in mind that proper technique is a given…will make you a good trainer. To make money you have to have clients, and to keep clients you have to know what you are doing. So, get a national certification, and continue reading stuff on here and elsewhere.

I’m going to put a plug in here for a certification that I have. The NSPA is a national certification with it’s offices based out of Maryland. I found the course to be pretty comprehensive. It went over quite a bit of programming etc… Where as ACE covers more of the legal aspect, or that is what I’ve heard from trainers I know that have an ACE cert.

Everyone has made some valid points. Personal trainers are successfull because they are knowledgeable and experienced, not because they have some initials after their name. In my opinion the NSCA certs are the most authentic and respected. I dont know about the CPT, but the CSCS requires a B.S. degree to apply for testing. I aquired my CSCS because it compliments my degree in Sports Medicine and Athletic Training. I don’t use it on a regular basis to make money as a personal trainer, but it gives me that option.