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Personal Training Certification Online

Did you know you can get certified as a personal fitness trainer over the computer?

personal trainer stretches clients leg
client with personal trainer

From organic ingredients on a restaurant menu to the White House’s “Let’s Move!” initiative, more Americans are embracing healthy living. For aspiring personal trainers, this couldn’t be better news.

If you’ve been craving a career where you can help others feel their best, but are worried you can’t fit personal training school into your schedule, consider an online program.

It’s true: You can earn your personal training certification online.

It can be difficult to know which school to choose, so here’s what you need to know about personal training certification online schools, from gaining hands-on experience to preparing for professional certification exams.

Personal Trainer Certification Online: Courses

Personal training schools are peppered throughout the country, but many of these institutions recognize that students need more flexible options to reach their career goals. Personal trainer certification online programs are increasingly common.

While an online program gives you schedule flexibility, you can still expect a comprehensive list of classes which focus strictly on career skills. This is different from an associate’s degree in personal training in which you would also take general education requirements, such as English composition.

Here’s what you might see in your course list:

  • Nutrition
  • Health and Wellness
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Kinesiology
  • Weight Management
  • Clinical Exercise

Because personal trainers can work anywhere from fitness centers to school systems, you’ll learn how to train different populations and clients with unique needs. Meal planning, specific fitness routines and creating personalized programs are just a few of the skills you’ll learn.

Personal Training Class Format

Students typically access their online course materials from a school portal. You’ll find course readings, videos and quizzes. In some instances, you’ll also receive study materials for a professional certification exam. If you’re a fan of e-books, you’re in luck. Some schools offer their textbooks in this format.

Most personal training certification online programs last between 11 and 12 months.

Online Personal Trainer Certification: How They Differ

It’s important to know that most online personal trainer certification programs aren’t 100 percent online; there’s typically a hands-on component. It’s during these sessions that you’ll learn weight lifting techniques and other skills that require proper form.

Do your research because schools deliver this portion of the curriculum differently. You’ll want to compare the types of in-person training based on your personal needs.


Professional Personal Trainer Certification

Earning a personal trainer certificate from an accredited school is just one part of the process. Many fitness-related employers prefer to hire personal trainers who are professionally certified. There are five certification programs to become familiar with:

  • American Council on Exercise (ACE)
  • National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
  • International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)
  • American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
  • National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)

As you evaluate the features and benefits of different online personal trainer certification schools, find out if they’re affiliated with any of the aforementioned credentialing agencies.

This tells you if your education will prepare you for a specific certification exam. For instance, ACE and NASM recognize Heritage Institute’s personal training program.

Personal Trainer Certification Accreditation

As you search for the perfect online personal trainer program, check on accreditation. Without it, there’s no guarantee the curriculum or school will properly prepare you for a career in personal training.

Attending a non-accredited school also jeopardizes your eligibility for federal financial aid.

Online personal training certificate programs should be accredited by one or more of the following:

  • National Commission of Certifying Agencies (NCCA)
  • Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES)
  • Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)

Now that you know what to look for in an online personal trainer certification program, you’re ready to push yourself to the next level.