Here is a link with a list you might find interesting. It makes it easy to compare based on time and background required to earn each one. Livestrong also does not offer one itself, and I think it is helpful to get input from informed people without a stake in the answer.
That said, though ACE does offer certification itself they have a good tool to let you do side by side comparison on a wide variety of points
AFAA personal training is not accredited by the NCCA, which while not the only point to consider, is an important point.
I have ACE for group fit. I used to carry ACE for personal training, back in the 90s, but closed my business when my family moved and I did the ‘mommy track’. If I decide to go back into that part of the business again I would probably do ACE, but that is because: I am familiar and comfortable with the organization, they are NCCA accredited, and I am already well connected, and have students who have expressed interest if I were to train.
So what i am saying is that there is no one best certification…. it depends on a lot of factors. The baseline, I think is to try to get one with NCCA accreditation. You might also look at some of the local health clubs and gyms and see which certs they accept (even if you are planning to teach independently it will give you good info on what the standards are locally).
I agree with Ariadne. NCCA accreditation is an important factor for me as well. I pulled up information from their website which reads:
“The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) was created in 1987 by ICE to help ensure the health, welfare, and safety of the public through the accreditation of a variety of certification programs/organizations that assess professional competence. Certification programs that receive NCCA Accreditation demonstrate compliance with the NCCA’s Standards for the Accreditation of Certification Programs, which were the first standards for professional certification programs developed by the industry.
The NCCA standards require demonstration of a valid and reliable process for development, implementation, maintenance, and governance of certification programs. NCCA uses a rigorous peer review process to establish accreditation standards; evaluate compliance with the standards; recognize organizations/programs which demonstrate compliance; and serve as a resource on quality certification.Certification organizations that submit their programs for accreditation are evaluated based on the process and products, and not the content; therefore, the Standards are applicable to all professions and industries. Program content validity is demonstrated with a comprehensive job analysis conducted and analyzed by experts, with data gathered from stakeholders in the occupation or industry.
The NCCA Standards are comprehensive and cover all aspects of the certification program(s), including administration, assessment development and recertification. NCCA standards are consistent with The Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (AERA, APA, & NCME, 1999) and are applicable to all professions and industries.
NCCA accredited programs certify individuals in a wide range of professions and occupations including nurses, automotive professionals, respiratory therapists, counselors, emergency technicians, crane operators and more. To date, NCCA has accredited approximately 300 programs from more than 120 organizations.”
To me, an organization that is subjecting itself to those standards shows a commitment to excellence and consistency in their certification programs.
That does not necessarily imply that an organization that is not NCCA-accredited is bad or deficient. I am pretty sure that the accreditation process itself is laborious and may be difficult to meet for a small company.
Hello April Goldberg,
Here are two sources you may check out:
I think the best way to approach this, is to figure out the type of clients you want to work with. Then your choices will become more clear and help you decide which certification to go with. There are many good certifications out there and each one specializes on a specific type of training and clients. And of course you can check the links others have posted here to find out more information about the different organizations and certifications in the fitness industry.
Getting a Certification that is NCCA accredited will make you far more employable. I’d say at least 90% of your better facilities at this point require that you have one of those certifications to be employed as a personal trainer with them. Which one at that point is just a matter of how you want to focus your training style.