there are some certifications on the internet where you only need to answer a series of questions (very easy from my point of view), then submit them, and if you are willing to pay their fee immediately, you are a certified personal trainer right there and then. In the same spirit, you can become their master trainer and what not. – You probably gathered from my tone of writing that I am not overly impressed with that process but it is available and out there.
Most certification organizations such as ACSM, NASM or ACE to name just a few will not make it that easy for you. I would hazard a guess that – no matter how experienced you are – you will not be able to pass their exams without studying their material (but I may not do you justice here).
The decision will ultimately be up to you. I would choose a nationally recognized organization of high standing in the industry for myself but your goals and intentions may be different.
I agree with Karin as well. Many gyms will look at who you are certified through and she has listed the top certifications they look for. I took the ACE exam just a few years back – it was tough but not impossible. I had a full time job at the time and dating my now husband and it took some time. Overall the material is very thorough and they cover many topics.
Some companies offer lots of fast track graduate courses, E.g 6 weeks or 12 weeks. Truth is it depends how much time you can commit and how dedicated you are to your study, what goes a long way is previous experience or knowledge in the industry already. As fast track course’s are fast paced development. I qualified at PT Academy in Birmingham, but they have various locations through out the UK and offer a 0% interest payment scheme unlike a lot of fitness companies on the market at the moment. With the support from PT Academy, I was offered jobs & interviews at top leading health clubs such as L.A Fitness, David Lloyd, Fitness First, Pure Gym although I decided to go free lance it was great to have these doors of opportunity open to me. Visit www.ptacademy.com for more info.
I’d be curious to know how you define fast.
If you are already successful, then it would appear to me that time is not of the essence unless it is necessary at your place of employment.
Many people say to me that I am completing my second masters degree “fast.” I am finishing it this May and started last May. Is it fast? I believe it is subjective and also depends upon the academic skin you’ve put into the game. If you have made an academic investment over the time you have been a strength trainer, then it should take a long time.
If you haven’t then the American Council on Exercise suggests a time line of 3-6 months. I hope this is helpful to you.