I would generally recommend to get an NCCA accredited certification such as ACE, NASM or ACSM. Those are nationally recognized, and you cannot go wrong with either one of them.
One consideration would be what you plan to do as a personal trainer. If you have a place in mind where you would like to work, I would inquire whether they have a preference.
All personal training certifications touch on nutrition, and by now there are plenty of specialty certifications around on nutrition. However, unless you become a registered dietitian (which is a lengthy process) you will be limited as to what you can do with any of those specialty certifications. For example, it will not be in your scope of practice to provide meal plans to your clients unless you are an RD.
Hello Trish. This is a question that has been asked quite often on this site (you may want to search for prior answers here as well). To my mind, the answer really depends on YOU. There are so many certifications out there, and so many factors to consider. For example, your budget, the educational requirements for the certification, the recognition that the certification has or will receive from any potential employers in your area, Continuing Education requirements, the ‘support’ that the certifying agency gives to its members such as forums, articles, continuing education, job listings etc.
Take a critical look at each organization that you’re considering and make your decision based on your comfort level. A word of caution: as Karin says above, all things considered, your best bet may be to go with a certification that is NCCA accredited, although that is NOT an absolute necessity. Good luck!
What do you want to use it for?
What is most important to you when you ask for “best?” Best price, best quality (although quality will depend largely on your goals as a trainer), easiest test, easiest to get CECs, access to more advanced programming, etc.
This has some good information about many certifications
Another one that’s oft-overlooked but excellent is PTA Global. I’ve attended lectures by many of their contributors and they’re top-notch therapists, trainers, physiologists and scientists.