3 Steps to Become a Certified Personal Trainer

If you are passionate about physical fitness and helping others achieve their health and wellness goals, then becoming a personal trainer might be a great career option for you. A certified personal trainer works with clients one on one in a unique and personalized way that puts their client’s health and goals front and center. This is a great career field for people who get a lot of satisfaction out of helping others pursue and achieve their goals and dreams. 

Not only does being a certified personal trainer have a high level of satisfaction, but it can be a great career job. But what does it take to become a certified personal trainer aside from an interest in health and a passion to help others? 

If you have been wondering what it takes to become a personal certified trainer, here are the steps you need to take! 

1. Get a High School Diploma

When it comes down to the educational requirements necessary to become a certified personal trainer, the main baseline educational need is going to be a high school diploma. This is necessary in order to register for your certification itself which is going to be the second step in the process. 

What About College Level Education?

If you have been looking into four-year institutes that offer tracks in health sciences, you may be wondering what the benefits of getting more education may be. After all, if you only need a high school diploma to become a certified personal trainer, why go to college?

To a degree this is correct. Becoming a certified personal trainer is a fantastic opportunity for someone who is passionate about physical training and education and who may not have a desire for higher education. That being said, most four-year university degrees in related fields are more geared for areas of medicine that go past personal training. In fact, several tracks in the university setting will have you get certified as part of their program before you graduate. 

So, if you have your sights set on getting a bachelors in a health-related study, it’s a great tool to have in case you ever may want to expand your career to other areas of the healthcare field. However, you only need a high school diploma level education in order to qualify for the personal training certification exams.

2. Choose Your Certification

This second step of the process involves some research because there is more than one kind of certification you can attain. Finding the best personal trainer certification can be a little overwhelming, but it’s not impossible. When it comes to finding a certification, you want to be sure that it is recognized by one of the three main accrediting bodies. These bodies are the NCCA, the DEAC, and the NBFE. If a training course isn’t approved by one of these three, it may not be worth your time or money. These three accrediting bodies are the main seals of approval for all certifications within the world of personal training. 

Each accrediting body has more than one certification route. Here is a brief overview of the accrediting bodies and their correlating certifications! 


  • ACE
  • ACSM
  • NASM
  • NCSF
  • NFPT
  • NSCA
  • ISSA


  • ISSA


  1. Study, Study, Study 

Once you know what direction you want to go with your certification, the next part is passing your certification testing. This is arguably the most difficult part of the process. Many of the certifications are in-depth and require a lot of studying in order to get a passing grade. It’s important that you go into this stage of the process with the tools you need to be successful.

Practice Exams and Study Guides  

The exams for various personal training certifications can be daunting, but with the right tools, you can successfully score above passing. Some of the most important tools you can use during this time are practice exams and study guides.

A practice exam gives you the chance to experience the difficulty and length of the exam before taking the actual exam itself. This is invaluable for helping you to evaluate your level of knowledge and know where you need to focus your time. It’s suggested that you take multiple practice exams for a certification exam throughout your studying period to best prepare for the exam. 

A study guide acts as a road map to make sure you don’t get overwhelmed and discouraged by the volume of knowledge you will have to learn mastery of in order to pass your tests. Study guides work powerfully to help you know how to focus your energy and attention. When it comes to learning how to work smarter and not harder, a study guide is your best tool. 


Being a certified personal trainer is a gratifying career. It takes hard work and dedication, but if you follow these steps you can find the success you want and get the certification you need to follow your dreams.

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