What does it take to become a Personal Trainer?

What Certifications are required for Personal Trainers?

Is Personal Training licensed? How do I become a licensed Personal Trainer?

What CPT test should I choose?


If you have been researching how to become a Certified Personal Trainer, often known as “CPT”, you have likely realized that the fitness industry is confusing with a buffet of certifications and options.


All of this can be traced back to the fitness industry having little to no public or private regulation (yet). Anyone can technically call themselves a “Personal Trainer”. To put this into perspective: every cosmetologist needs at least 1000 educational hours, and are required to retain a state license to practice in Massachusetts. They may not practice as a cosmetologist without an active license. Personal Trainers are not required to obtain a license to practice in Massachusetts.


At this time, the most common credential to become a Personal Trainer is an N.C.C.A Accredited Certification. A few examples of these are N.A.S.M, A.C.E, I.S.S.A, and N.S.C.A. These certifications are available online in self-study form, and typically have a pass/fail test at the end. NCCA Accredited certifications may only be tests; they cannot have hands-on or in-person learning components. Although these are the most common, they are not necessarily the most desirable. Because Personal Training is a hands-on occupation, employers and clients seek personal trainers with real experience and more than just a piece of paper.


So what do you do to get ahead in this industry? Anyone can purchase, study, and take a test. In fact, there are many people that already have. To get ahead, you do as much as you can to distinguish yourself. By joining a program like The American Academy of Personal Training, you are setting yourself apart from the rest. Upon graduation from AAPT you will have hands-on experience and a wealth of retained knowledge. Employers from gyms and studios prefer AAPT graduates based on the top level curriculum and extensive hands-on learning. You will feel comfortable and confident to begin taking clients. AAPT encourages students to practice and make all of the first mistakes here, so you are more than ready to go out into the real world as top level Personal Trainer right away.


You said that the most common and well known Personal Training certifications are NCCA accredited. Will AAPT provide me with one of these?

Yes! AAPT will provide you with the preparation needed and the most well known NCCA Accredited Exam upon competition. Not only will you be able to take the exam, you will feel prepared to do so.

AAPT is proudly licensed as an in-person school education CPT program, but understands that the current industry recognizes that additional NCCA credential.

American Academy of Personal Training is an Academic Partner of NASM as well as ACE, two NCCA certifications. At this time, NASM and ACE are arguably the most popular by name. AAPT will prepare you to sit for these exams as well as offer a discounted price to take them. Students who sit for the NASM exam upon graduation will also be awarded a “Certificate of Academic Distinction”, showcasing that they went to an in-person program with hands-on learning. AAPT prides itself in our high pass rate and extensive preparation for the NASM CPT.

If you are thinking of choosing our Online CPT option, the Live instruction will give you leg up on those who are self-studying as you will have the ability to ask questions and get real-time feedback.

AAPT has raised the bar for all personal trainers. Learning concepts in the classroom then going out into their private gym and using these concepts with hands on training really helped me learn to be a great personal trainer. Their affiliation with NASM means Grads are educated and certified and will be in high demand in the quickly growing fitness industry.

Chris Connolly , 2012 AAPT Graduate