Ultimate Guide to the Best Personal Training Certification

Best Personal Training Certification

Choosing the best personal training certification is going to look a little different from person to person. “Best” is subjective, meaning that it really depends on what your goals are. If you want, for example, to become a group fitness trainer, then a personal training certification won’t be right for you at all. If you’re interested in working with children or another specialized group, like people with disabilities, then you’ll want to find the certification course that addresses this specialization. Here’s the ultimate guide to the best personal trainer certification for you:

What Are the Different Types of Personal Training Certifications?

Before you can decide which is the best personal training certifications, you first have to know what your options are. Below is a list of nationally-accredited, generalized personal training certification programs in alphabetical order:

  • Academy of Applied Personal Training Education
  • American Council on Exercise
  • American College of Sports Medicine
  • ACTION Personal Trainer Certification
  • Athletics and Fitness Association of America
  • American Fitness Professionals and Associates
  • International Fitness Professionals Association
  • International Sports Sciences Association
  • National Academy of Sports Medicine
  • National Council for Certified Personal Trainers
  • National Council on Strength and Fitness
  • National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association
  • National Exercise Trainers Association
  • National Federation of Professional Trainers
  • National Personal Training Institute
  • National Strength and Conditioning Association

Note: The list above is taken word-for-word from another blog we wrote called “Which Certification Should I Get as a Trainer?”

This article is also designed for those looking for a general but widely-recognized personal training certification, and we go into detail about each program, stating prerequisites for the courses, costs for the exam, and more. If your definition of “what is the best personal trainer certification” is just the one that’s the cheapest or the one that you meet the requirements for, then this article will be really enlightening for you!

Which Specialized Personal Training Certification Is Right for Me?

If you’re interested in getting a specialized personal training certification, the latter part of this article might be more helpful to you. We’ll explore the different types of specialized certifications you can get as a personal trainer as well as help you discover your true passion.

Specialized Personal Training Programs

In the realm of fitness and health, the demand for specialized personal training programs is rapidly increasing. The diversity in client needs and goals has led to a burgeoning field of specialized training certifications. From athletes looking to enhance their performance to individuals seeking rehabilitation after an injury, there is a multitude of specializations tailored to meet these varied demands. While we list some popular options below, it’s imperative to delve into extensive research to discover a niche that resonates with your passion and career aspirations. You cannot overstate the importance of choosing a specialization that aligns with your interests, as it significantly impacts your ability to connect with and effectively train your clients.

Kinesiology Specialist

For those who are captivated by the science behind human movement, becoming a Kinesiology Specialist offers a fulfilling career path. This specialization delves into the intricacies of how the body moves and operates. It equips you with the knowledge to help clients optimize their physical capabilities. The certification process for Kinesiology Specialists is comprehensive. It covers areas such as biomechanics, physiology, and anatomy at a depth not found in general personal training courses. This ensures that, as a trainer, you are well-prepared to analyze and improve your clients’ movement patterns. Ultimately, this enhances their performance and reduces the risk of injuries. Your work might involve clients ranging from sports enthusiasts looking to refine their technique. It could also include individuals recovering from physical setbacks aiming to regain their mobility.

Military Physical Training Prep Specialist

Those interested in joining the military but not physically fit enough to go through PT during basic will want to find a personal trainer who specializes in military prep. You could be this person for them! If you have a passion for supporting our troops, this might be the best specialty certification for you.

Personal Training for Children

Working with children and working with adults is going to be different. When your clients are children, they’ll require a different level of attention, engagement, and direction. If you’re passionate about fitness and health education for children, consider this specialization.

Personal Training for Young Adults

In a similar vain to working with young children, adolescents and young adults will require a different teaching and instructional style. To learn to work with developing bodies and oscillating emotions, consider getting certified to work with young adults.

Personal Training for the Elderly

As we age, our bodies develop a more limited mobility. Likewise, there are certain exercises that are especially beneficial to older people because of the brain benefits. Exercise, for example, can improve memory and stave off symptoms of dementia. Furthermore, if you’re interested in working with the elderly, this kind of specialization would be right for you.

Rehabilitation Specialist

Rehabilitation exercises are designed for clients who have endured an injury. These clients have newly limited mobility that they’re trying to navigate. Working with people in physical rehabilitation can be immensely rewarding. You can watch your clients improve their abilities a little each session. If you’re a patient person, this fact might appeal to you. Additionally, if you want to help people with injuries, then this is the right physical training certification for you.

Autism Fitness Specialist

In the same realm that exercise provides brain benefits for the elderly, exercise also offers unique benefits to individuals on the autism spectrum. In this certification, you’ll learn exactly which parts of the brain are affected by exercise and in which ways. This way, you’ll be able to implement this knowledge in your sessions with clients who have autism.

Tips on Getting Personal Training Certification

Embarking on the journey to become a certified personal trainer involves careful planning and dedication. Here are some key tips to guide you through the process of obtaining your personal training certification:

Firstly, research reputable certifying bodies such as NASM, ACE, or ISSA, and choose one that aligns with your career goals and industry standards. Additionally, prepare thoroughly for the certification exam by utilizing study materials provided by the chosen organization, including textbooks, practice exams, and online resources. Moreover, consider enrolling in a comprehensive certification program that covers anatomy, exercise physiology, program design, and client assessment.

Additionally, gaining practical experience through internships or shadowing established trainers can provide valuable insights and enhance your understanding of real-world scenarios. Stay updated on industry trends, attend workshops, and engage in continuing education to deepen your knowledge and maintain your certification.

Finally, prioritize ongoing learning and professional development to stay abreast of the latest fitness research and training methodologies. By following these tips, you’ll not only successfully attain your personal training certification but also establish a solid foundation for a rewarding and impactful career in the fitness industry.

Where Is Your Passion Pointing You?

After reviewing the options above, you may realize that you actually have a different specialty interest than you thought you did. Or, rather, you may have realized that what you thought you were passionate about was simply an interest.

However, you may have been more attuned to your passion than you realized. After reading the list above, you may have lit up after reading about a specialty you were already interested in pursuing.

In either case, that spark you feel is pointing you in the direction you should go in. It’s telling you exactly which option is the best personal training certification for you.

Special Needs Personal Training Certification

If you’re interested in becoming a niche personal trainer who works with clients with special needs, but you want to make sure you work with people many different types of disabilities, then our special needs personal training certification is right for you. Our all-online personal training course takes about eight hours to complete on average. You’ll receive access to reading material and video tutorials that can better prepare you to work with different clients with special needs. Sign up for our affordable Level 1 course today!

Strong Education teaches personal trainers and service providers on how to adapt fitness and nutrition for children, adolescents, and adults with autism, Down Syndrome, and other disabilities through our online adaptive special needs certification course.

Tell us where to send your FREE guide:



Get a FREE Adaptive Workout & Nutrition Guide

  • Breaks down Adaptive challenges
  • Breaks down things to Try and Avoid based on Adaptive challenges
  • Gamified challenge to help create new habits
Enter your Email to Receive a 10% OFF Coupon and Download a FREE Sample Exam

Floating 10% Coupon Form

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • 10% off coupon for any certification program
  • Preview our multiple choice sample exam
  • Be the first to know about new monthly adaptive courses
Sale Extended! SAVE 25% & Start for $1!
email tick

Thank you for your interest in Special Strong

One of our local special strong trainers will reach out to you shortly.

Please take a look at this video to know more about what to expect in a training class. Also join our Facebook and Instagram community where we highlight stories of our clients overcoming challenges to live an abundant life. We hope to highlight your story soon.

email tick

Thank you for your interest in Special Strong

One of our local special strong trainers will reach out to you shortly.

In your area we provide virtual in home training. Please take a look at this video to know more about what to expect in a training class. Also join our Facebook and Instagram community where we highlight stories of our clients overcoming challenges to live an abundant life. We hope to highlight your story soon.

Thank you for your submission. Check inbox for coupon code.