Fitness and Personal Training Schools

Make the right certification choice

Personal trainers are busy people. Many work long hours in fitness centers or in clients' homes. They may even take on clients during evenings, weekends or some holidays. They're responsible for the physical well-being of each and every person they train throughout the day.

Clients deserve assurance that the personal trainer they've hired knows what they're doing and can help them safely reach their goals.

Certification and accreditation

All personal trainers in North America are required to be certified. Different agencies grant certification once trainers meet several requirements. This will usually involve the type of training they receive and successful completion of an examination. It's possible for a personal trainer to be certified by more than one organization, as certifications can relate to different specialized skills.

Graduates of personal training schools should be diligent in getting certified. Some associations may offer certification that is questionable or potentially fraudulent, by allowing students to buy certification with no testing required. The best certification comes from groups that are accredited by a nationally recognized commission. This means a group is monitoring the certification requirements. A reputable program will require applicants to have CPR training, to take all tests in person and to complete continuing education courses each year.

NCCA accreditation

The National Commission for Certifying Agencies monitors personal trainer certification and endorses programs that meet its requirements for minimal level of acceptable knowledge. These are a few of the accrediting agencies approved by the NCCA:

Finding the right school for you

Now that you know how important certification will be, you'll want to make sure the training you receive will provide the right skills. Talk to personal trainers and reputable certifiers to find out what programs offer the best education.

You'll also want to consider the individual courses within a training program. Is instruction focused on theory or are there classes that involve practical application? Some people learn better with different teaching methods. If you want to go into business for yourself it's a good idea to train at an educational institution that includes courses in business.

Make a checklist of everything you want to get out of a personal training program, find out all you can about the schools that interest you and check this information against your list to see which school fits best.