If you are building your career as a personal trainer, choosing the right certification program is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. There are countless online programs available to help you pass the CPT exam, but a select few will also prepare you for what comes next.
Personal training goes far beyond learning exercise science; you’ll master interpersonal communication, the psychology of motivation, and build your own programs. Perhaps you are also considering becoming a business owner, which requires a different level of knowledge.
Luckily, the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) provides multiple tiers of support for students looking for a comprehensive introduction to personal training, from passing the test to landing their first job or starting a business. Consult this certification guide if you are considering NASM as the online program to launch your career.
NASM offers four program options at varied prices, with each upgrade bringing more in-depth resources and support. The prices range from $524-1499, with the first level of the program being completely self-driven.
The Self-Study option is designed for students looking for a completely online flexible learning option, with the exam and an extensive library of online study resources available.
The Premium Self-Study option provides an extra level of study support for students, with flash card bundles and anatomy memorization exercises for retention.
The Guided Study tier introduces a personal level to the certification, with coaches and mentors available for personal support. This tier includes live sessions and workshops as well as a hard copy exam prep textbook.
Lastly, the All-Inclusive program tier offers a retest voucher, a Job Guarantee in reputable gyms, a Gymternship option, and access to the NASM Business Accelerator program. NASM will occasionally offer seasonal promotions, such as their current offering of 25% off all programs. Payment plans are also available for each of the program options, with 4-part plans available online and 12-part plans available through phone inquiries.
Methods of Learning
NASM learning methods depend on the program level you choose, however they build beginning from the self-study option. This level of learning is entirely online and flexible to when the student is able to dedicate time to their studies. One attractive aspect of this certification are the flash cards and memorization exercises, which are helpful for students who require a college-like study approach to their certification.
A more comprehensive method of learning is added with the access to coaches and mentors for individual help. This aspect, along with the live sessions and workshops, allow students to ask questions and receive feedback on challenges they struggle with as they study. For more traditional learners, quizzes are available at each level of the program options to support the main goal of the program, which is acing the CPT exam. These quizzes and the test guide are evidence-based and designed to mimic real questions you may encounter.
NASM also offers video recordings for mini-lectures, which are helpful for students to watch after they have digested the information from their main study resources.
NASM stands out with its focus on real world skill building, with additions to its certification program that go beyond preparing students for the exam. Its coaches and mentors are helpful for answering questions, but their real value lies in providing feedback on student coaching styles, which must be cultivated over time and require attention to wording and methods of motivating clients. Without this personal level of support, students must wait until after the exam to begin building their coaching voice.
NASM also holds workshops to develop specific skill sets, such as understanding what it means to create a personal training program and how to navigate challenges such as injuries and limitations clients may have. Lastly, its cue-building library provides students with verbal and interpersonal cues they will use on a daily basis, especially when coaching clients in person. These skills are built throughout each program and are entirely self-paced.
The most exciting (and perhaps valuable) part of the NASM certification program is the addition of real life experiences into their course. The NASM Gymternship program is a trademarked option for students who are new to personal training to gain real world experience through internships at partner gyms. These internships are designed to build new trainers’ client bases while creating connections with potential future employers at gyms they are interested in. This program also benefits new trainers who plan on opening their own businesses, as building testimonials and client referrals is the best way to begin.
NASM also offers a Job Guarantee in their All-Inclusive program, taking advantage of their wide network of partner gyms to guarantee job placement for students who successfully complete and pass the exam through NASM. Many students who are new to personal training may lack the network to guarantee themselves successful employment in a saturated market, so NASM solves this pain point by connecting students with the appropriate employer.
The last bonus of the All-Inclusive program is the Business Accelerator program, equipping students with the marketing and business skills they need to succeed. This especially benefits students looking to start personal training businesses, as digital marketing and personal branding are essential for a successful self-employed personal trainer.
The comprehensive support and resources provided by NASM are unparalleled, with program options available to benefit any type of student and their needs. Self-guided learners can take advantage of the foundation programs, with completely online resources and libraries to pass the CPT exam.
Students looking for an in-depth learning experience will feel confident in the personal support they receive from coaches, mentors, and their first gym internship experience. The guarantee of job placement and exam retest vouchers make the NASM program stand out and cover all possible needs students may have as they prepare to pass the exam and make their first career moves as personal trainers.
With NASM as your certification program of choice, you can feel confident in your ability to ace the exam and launch a successful training career you’ll love.