TABLE 2

Certification Organizations

CertificationRequirementsExamination ContentRecertificationNCCAWeb Address
National Council on Strength and Fitness Certified Personal Trainer (NCSF-CPT)18 y of age, high school diploma or equivalent150 MC questions, 3-h proctored examinationEvery 2 y, 10 CEUsYeswww.ncsf.org
National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer (NASM-CPT)18 y age, CPR certification120 MC questions, 2-h proctored examination2.0 NASM CEUsYes, 2003www.nasm.org
National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Personal Trainer (NSCS-CPT)18 y of age, high school diploma or equivalent, CPR certification140 questions, 3-h proctored examination3 y, 6 CEUs; 2 different categories (conference, research publications, etc)Yes, 1996www.nsca-lift.org
National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCS-CSCS)BA/BS degree or chiropractor degree, CPR certificationScientific 80-question, 1.5-hour proctored examination, practical 110 MC 2.5-hour proctored examination3 y, 6 CEUs as aboveYes, 1996www.nsca-lift.org
American Council on Exercise (ACE) Personal Trainer18 y of age, adult CPR certification150 MC questions, proctored examination, 2 written simulations2 y, 2.0-hour ACE approvedYes, 2003www.acefitness.org
American Council on Exercise (ACE) Clinical Exercise Specialist18 y of age, adult CPR certification, 300 h of work experience, current ACE-PT150 MC questions, proctored examination2 y, 2.0-hour ACE approvedYes, 2003www.acefitness.org
National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT)18 y of age, high school diploma or equivalent, 2 y of experience120 MC questions, 2-h proctored examination2 CEC per yearYes, 2005www.nfpt.com
American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Certified Personal TrainerHigh school diploma or equivalent, adult CPR certification150 MC questions, proctored examination3 y, CEC 45 hYeswww.acsm.org
American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Health Fitness InstructorAssociate's or bachelor's degree in health-related field, adult CPR certificationWritten examination, 140 MC questions, proctored examination3 y, CEC 60 hYeswww.acsm.org
International Fitness Professional Association (IFPA)No requirements105 questions at certification site2 y, 12 CECNowww.ifpa-fitness.com
American Fitness Professional Association (AFPA) Personal Trainer18 y of age, high school diploma or equivalent, adult CPR certificationHome examination, 90 d to complete2 y, 16 CECNowww.Afpafitness.com
International Sports Science Association (ISSA)No requirementsHome examinationwww.issaonline.com
National Strength Professional Association (NSPA) Personal Trainer18 y of age, adult CPR certificationTwo 10-h lectures, written/practical examination, 50 MC questions, 5 practicals2 y, 24 NSPA CECNowww.nspainc.com
  • As of 2006, instructor certifications received by the following groups are certified by the National Committee for Certifying Agencies (NCCA): National Strength and Conditioning Association, American College of Sports Medicine, American Council on Exercise, National Council on Sports & Fitness, National Academy of Sports Medicine, and the National Federation of Professional Trainers. CPR indicates cardiopulmonary resuscitation; MC, multiple choice; CEC, continuing education credits, CEU, continuing education unit.