How to Become a Personal Trainer


There are many certifications and ways to become a certified personal trainer but some require more work, cost and time than others.

About The Rankings and Tests

 These certifications all have text books that can be purchased online to prepare for the personal trainer test. We have broken down the most notable ones in Canada to take away the homework in researching them. 

We have also ranked them in order of reputation, quality etc (see the bottom of this pagefor the complete list of how we rated these). 

The Rankings


Certification Details and Website

Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS)
This is an intense written and practical exam. Must have a B.A., Bsc or in medicine from a university, or collage.
Time commitment: an exam Cost: $350 Canadian 

CSEP Certification
This certification has two levels and because of the prerequisites it comes in second place. 
Requirements for Level 1
2 year education at a college or university that addresses the CSEP-CPT core competencies.
Requirements for Level 2
Must have a 4 year degree in Human Kinetics or Kinesiology to be eligible for the CSEP-CEP certification. They designed this especially for Kinesiologists.
Workshops are not necessary as you could go write the examination which has a theory and a practical component. 
Cost: Unknown 

American Council On Exercise (ACE)
This certification is an intense written exam. You must have a backgroud in kinesiology, and CPR and order the manual at the address above. 
Am I eligible for Personal Trainer certification? 
The following eligibility requirements have been adopted for our Personal Trainer certification exams.
  • You must be at least 18 years of age.
  • You must hold current adult CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) certificate at the time of the exam.*
*You may sit for the Paper and Pencil exam without proof of CPR; however, you will not receive your exam results until you provide a CURRENT CPR Certificate. Candidates registering for computer-based testing must have a CURRENT CPR certificate at the time of registration that does not expire prior to the exam date. 

*Note: Effective January 1, 2009 all new and renewing ACE-certified professionals in the U.S. and Canada must hold both a current CPR and AED card to sit for or renew an ACE certification.
Cost: About $280 Canadian Time Commitment: One Exam
Young Mens/Womens Christian Association (YMCA/YWCA)
YMCA Personal Training Contact your local YMCA
This is a 5 part course. Basic Theory, individual conditioning, program design, cpafla, and personal training. Cost: $400 Canadain (members) Time commitment: 5 courses, each 2 weekends long.
Can Fit Pro
Can Fit Pro Certification
This certification has a practical and a written component. Visit the above to attain the manual required to complete this certification. Time commitment: 2 weekends (25 hours). + studing.
Cost: About $400 Canadian 
Canadian Personal Trainers Network (CPTN)
CPTNCPTN- CPT Certification
Must be 18, have CPR (Level C). 120 multiple choice questions, and a practical with a minimum of 75% (theory exam) to pass. Cost: $212.93
20 hours of practical experience and score 75% on practical exam
Submit a trainers log for all their hours
Canadian Time Commitment: 1 weekend.
Sports Performance Institute (SPI)
SPI Logo
Written and practical examination. (multiple choice). Text book comes with the course. Must have CPR to complete the course.Cost: Level 1 $250.00, Level 2 $265.00, Level 3 $340.00 
Time commitment: unknown


ACSM CertificationACSM Personal Trainer Requirements
This certification has a practical and a written component.. 
Requirements: 18 years old, high school diploma, current CPR with practical skills component.
Cost: $239 ACSM Members
$299 other candidates (This cost does not include the price of the manuals)
Re-Test $155

NPTICanadian Fitness Education Services LTD | Personal Trainer 
Pre-requesties: CFES Weight Training Instructor Certification, Classroom Course (40 HRS) PT Practicum (20 HRS), PT Exam (1 HR), Skills assessment, CPR-A Minimum and First Aid, liability insurance.
Course Calendar
Cost: Textbooks: $85.00 Online Exam and Cert Fee: $126.00
Sample PT Reference Study Guide: PDF

NPTINPTI Personal Trainer 
This course is a 6 month or 12 months (part-time) intensive class like structure and are taught physiology, anatomy, business practices and 200 hours of gym training. Hands on training is also included.
Cost: $6,300 Includes the registration fee, text books, CPR/AED and First Aid certifications and covers the entire 500-hour program including your gym membership for the duration of the program.

If you would like to protest Ranking's Contact Us.

Myfit's Personal Trainer Certification Ranking Criteria

Reputation is extremely important in a personal training certification. Why would you get a certification that wasn't recognized by everyone?
Pre-requisite of information
A quality certification will ask for a certain level of understanding before taking the course or have a level system in place.
Cost of the course. "Bang for the Buck"
Quality and quantity of information in the text that is offered
Obviously, the less information that you have to know the easier it will be to pass the course.
The quality of the members
Some certifications pass almost everyone that takes the course. The quality is assessed on personal contact with the members and ties in closely with reputation.
Provides motivation to learn
Certifications that provide as much information as possible to enhance their learning will earn a higher ranking. ie. free courses for their members, database of articles and exercises etc.


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