It all depends on the type of clients you are looking to work with. Once you have that figure out (if you haven’t already), then choosing the right certification for you should be easy. Every organization out there offers a variety of certifications which you choose which one will be appropriate for you. Just be sure it’s NCCA accredited.
I’m with Harris – it really depends on what type of training you want to specialize in. For instance, if you want to train athletes, I would go with the NSCA. On the other hand, if you wanted to work in a more clinical setting, I would probably go with a certification from the ACSM. But there are plenty of certifications that fall in between those two – just check the NCCA website to make sure it’s an accredited organization. Good luck Jeannette & congratulations on getting your degree.
You do not say what the degree is or where you were studying, but I would ask whether your school had any available career counseling. Even if you just graduated you might be able to access that help. In any field there are many different kinds of opportunities…. many different career paths a particular degree can open up to you.
Are you planning to work as a personal trainer? In fitness management or marketing? In health promotion.
Do you prefer to work in a hospital setting? A large club?
Do you want to be your own boss? Do you prefer to be part of a team?
Do you prefer working with a group, or with individuals?
With some paths you may want to explore working toward a second degree, such as physical therapy or nutrition or occupational therapy, for example, in addition to specialty certification.
With others having an exercise science degree is already something that will set you apart, and it is a question of which certification is best for what you want to do. And both Harris and Paul give great advice.
If you start by narrowing your list to ones that are NCCA accredited you will rule out a lot of inexpensive and often worthless options. I’ve worked in a few places that will accept many different certifications, but require them to be NCCA accredited.
Think about what you want to specialize in, look at places you would like to work and see what they are looking for, or require. You could go for a general personal trainer certification, and/or a cert. that targets clearly the specialty in which you wish to work. But whatever you get you need to balance getting the most prestigious one you can get for the money and time you have to spend.
Many places will hire you with a degree in exercise science, assuming that your education is even more extensive than a personal training certification. So perhaps get a job first and get some experience under your belt before determining whether you need a certification and if so, which is the most suited to you.