I’m currently looking at getting my PT certification. With the variety of different certifications available my question is does it really matter which certification program I decide to go with? Obviously I would only look at programs that are NCAA approved and not some fake program. It seems that some certifications are harder than others which makes me wonder at the end of the day does it really matter which recognized PT certification I go for? Feedback appreciated!
Don’t go by the price. Each one is a bit different and targets a little different type of clients/groups. You will need to research each one out there and see which works best for you. Look at the resources, accessibility, networks and CEUs each certification and organization has to offer and how they will help you grow as a trainer. In my opinion these are the most important factors to consider when looking for one. Good luck to you.
once you pick an NCCA accredited certification, the differences become slim.
Which one of those you choose may also depend on what you intend to do with it. While ACSM is generally considered as the gold standard, I look at it of greater use if you look at working in a more clinical setting. For a personal trainer certification, I like NASM the best because all the subsequent specialty certifications tie back into their OPT model and are thus forming a coherent unit which I found not to be true for ACE.
If you have a potential employer in mind, I would also check with them whether they have a preference.
Karin’s and Harris’s responses are right on the mark. While not tremendously different, there are some differences in the audience that a particular certification targets. As you research the various certifications, focus on which one best targets the types of clients that you anticipate working with the most—clinical, general public, special populations. If you are planning on training in a facility, Karin’s suggestion to consult with the facility management to ascertain which certification(s) they prefer.
I have taught the material for several different organizations. The best know are ACSM, ACE. NSCA, and NASM. They are all very similar. Any will be more than adequate to get a trainer moving into the industry. The most important thing for any fitness professional is to continue to gain knowledge and abilities. The most successful trainers are able to communicate on the client’s level and have a sincere passion about our industry. If you don’t love what you do, it will show.