Personal Fitness Trainer Certification Organizations

Personal Fitness Trainer Certification Organizations

American College of Sports Medicine
Much more than a slogan, the American College of Sports Medicine puts into practice its strategic efforts to advancing the health of all. As the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world, ACSM has more than 20,000 International, National, and Regional Chapter members. ACSM was founded in 1954. Since that time, our members have applied their knowledge, training and dedication in sports medicine and exercise science to promote healthier lifestyles for people around the globe. In 1984, the National Center relocated to Indianapolis, Indiana, and our strong heritage, combined with our visionary approach to the future, means ACSM continues to grow and prosper both nationally and internationally.

American Council on Exercise (ACE)
The American Council on Exercise® is a nightmare.  Keep away.

Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA)
AFAA is the world’s largest fitness and TeleFitness® educator. Since 1983, AFAA has issued over 250,000 certifications to fitness professionals from 73 countries worldwide. Each year, health clubs and studios host over 2,500 educational workshops nationwide. AFAA is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). The DETC is listed as a nationally recognized accrediting agency by the U.S. Department of Education; and is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). This meets IHRSA’s 2005 recommendation on accreditation for fitness certification organizations. AFAA is proud to be granted affiliate status with the National Board of Fitness Examiners (NBFE), additional accreditation by Vital Research and membership in the National Organization of Competency Assurance (NOCA). AFAA provides a variety of certifications and specialty workshops.

American Fitness Professionals & Associates (AFPA)
AFPA is a recognized leader in Fitness, Trainer & Nutrition Certification & Continuing Education for Fitness Professionals AFPA is a licensed corporation through the state of New Jersey. AFPA education and certification provides individuals with the information necessary to achieve long term success in the fitness profession. Our dedication to high standards and progressive training programs follow the most current guidelines set forth by the most respected agencies! Whether you are just getting started with your career in fitness or if you just want to expand your knowledge, AFPA looks forward to providing you with the education you seek and deserve

IDEA Health & Fitness Association
Offering a Wealth of Fitness Professional Success Tools Since 1982, IDEA has provided health and fitness professionals with unbiased research, educational resources and industry leadership. IDEA Health & Fitness Association communicates with fitness professionals in over 80 countries. Their original newsletter has grown into the award-winning IDEA Fitness Journal, the most respected industry publication and education resource for fitness professionals, with a paid subscriber base of 70,000 people. Attendance at IDEA’s annual World Fitness Convention™ has grown from the original 600 to over 5,000.

International Fitness Professionals Association (IFPA)
The International Fitness Professionals Association is devoted to offering the highest quality learning experiences to individuals aiming to improve their lifestyle, and those aiming to improve the lifestyles of others. Our educational opportunities provide only the most practical and scientifically based health and fitness information that can be directly applied to “real life” experiences. It is with this dedication that the IFPA is committed to being the lifelong exercise and training resource to the entire fitness community.

International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)
The ISSA is a distance education institution and certifying agency committed to our students’ fitness education and professional goals. Our highly acclaimed online Personal Trainer Certification program has been designed so that our students can turn their passion for fitness into a paycheck. ISSA’s personal trainer education approach is backed by top fitness industry professionals throughout North America. The International Sports Sciences Association’s Personal Trainer Certification advisors and authors are some of the most prestigious and respected names in the fitness industry. The years of scientific research they have conducted, in conjunction with the hundreds of professional publications and college textbooks they have authored, form the basis of virtually all exercise, physiology, nutrition, and fitness courses taught around the world.

National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
Since 1987, the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) has been a global leader in providing evidence-based certifications and advanced credentials to health and fitness professionals. In addition to its evidence-based NCCA-accredited Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) certification, NASM also offers a progressive career track with access to advanced specializations in Sports Performance (PES) and Injury Prevention (CES), Continuing Education courses, and accredited Bachelor and Master Degree programs. The NASM educational continuum is designed to help today’s health and fitness professionals enhance their careers while empowering their clients to live healthier lives.

National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association (NESTA)
Since 1992, the National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association (NESTA) has been a leader in innovative solutions for fitness, nutrition & wellness professionals, as well as club owners. We understand that there is much more to having a successful career than earning quality certifications. To reach the pinnacle of the industry’s elite, you must have superior business skills, proven marketing strategies, entrepreneurship, career diversity and multiple revenue streams. Our comprehensive educational programs combine science with practical, real-world experience to ensure you have a well-rounded understanding of how to guide your clients to their goals safely and effectively.

National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT)
NFPT has been certifying personal trainers since 1988. We seek to equip trainers and their clients with the education and tools needed to address America’s health problem and promote fitness around the world. Everyday, NFPT certified trainers go to work in gyms, health clubs, and private fitness studios around the world. Graduates of our certification process receive an NCCA-accredited, Certified Personal Trainer credential. This CPT assessment is legally defensible and recognized as an industry standard both nationally and internationally.

National Fitness Professionals Association (NFPA)
The NFPA, based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is a nationally recognized network of fitness professionals providing education to the fitness industry since 1985. Our certifications and workshops are presented by Fitness Professionals with health and fitness degrees in addition to years of practical experience. NFPA offers Personal Trainer Certification, Aerobic/Group Fitness Instructor Certification, and Indoor Cycling Instructor Certification.

National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA)

Founded in 1978, the NSCA has been serving its members by bridging the gap between science and application. Take an online tour of the NSCA’s legacy and learn about the Association’s impact on strength and conditioning as both a practice and profession

About the NSCA’s strength and conditioning certification program

The NSCA established its CSCS credential in 1985, setting the standard in the strength and conditioning industry in the U.S. and around the world. In 1993, the credential became the first to be accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

Attaining CSCS certification requires coaches to pass the industry’s most rigorous and comprehensive exams. “These question sets require an intimate and robust knowledge of the coaching profession,” says Epley. “This ensures that those who pass the exam have truly developed the educational knowledge and practical expertise to be leaders in the field of strength coaching.” The NSCA’s accredited certification also requires a continuing education component, enabling coaches to stay on top of the latest effective and safest training standards for student athletes.

Epley adds that Major League Baseball at the MLB, AAA and AA levels requires all of its strength and conditioning coaches to hold the CSCS credential and the Registered Strength and Conditioning Coach distinction.

The NSCA is the only organization that provides cutting-edge information from the laboratory, and translates this knowledge into application so that all athletes who are trained by registered strength and conditioning coaches receive the best training practices and advice.

Details about the CSCS can be found in the Certification Handbook available online.

For additional information about the NSCA and its programs, visit


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