PERSONAL TRAINER
SPECIALTY CERTIFICATIONS

M

Many personal fitness trainers believe that “average healthy adults” do not exist–virtually everyone has some type of special fitness goal or health issue. Accordingly, there are personal trainers who prepare to meet a variety of clients’ needs, from general fitness to postrehabilitation conditioning, while others concentrate in a specialty area, such as training athletes or women. To gain education distinctive to a specialty area or to demonstrate advanced knowledge in an area, personal trainers can obtain specialty certifications. These next-level certifications focus on specific populations or goals beyond average healthy adults, the focus of most baseline certifications. Just as the number of entry-level certifications continues to increase (see “Evaluating Personal Trainer Certifications” in the November-December 2000 IDEA Personal Trainer), so does the number of specialty certifications. This issue of IDEA Personal Trainer contains a roundup of specialty certifications from 18 different certifying agencies in the United States. All the material published here was provided by the agencies. Note that the certifying organizations represent a lot of different methodologies, from home study to residency programs. The term “certification” means there is a test on the material, but several agencies offer training with the test as an option. Some may require a four-year degree from a college or university before taking their course, while others do not have any prerequisites. The depth of knowledge, and the blend of academics versus practical, varies. Do you need a specialty certification? Here are some questions to ask yourself: 1. Why do I want a specialty certification? 2. What populations am I interested in training? 3. How will a specialty certification help me professionally and/or personally? 4. Will certification prepare me for current and emerging fitness trends? 5. How can I reach the population I want to train? 6. Will studying and taking the exam prepare me for the population I want to train? 7. Do I have the time and money to spend on an advanced certification? 8. What certifications do employers in my area recognize? 9. What education and certifications do trainers I admire hold? 10. What are the reputations of the different certifying agencies? IDEA is a professional association that does not offer a certification. We do not endorse any specific industry certification, basic or advanced. As a neutral observer of the many certifications available, IDEA encourages personal trainers to “do their homework” before choosing one that best suits them. There are many organizations seeking your certification dollars, and you owe it to yourself to carefully examine them.
IDEA PERSONAL TRAINER JANUARY 2001

Certifications for Personal Training
Agency Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) Certification Format Prerequisite to exam

Weight Training Certification Emergency Response Certification AFAA Fitness Practitioner ACSM Exercise Specialist

2-day workshop; exam 1-day workshop; exam 2-year curriculum; case study thesis project optional workshop; exam

AFAA personal trainer certification and/or college degree in exercise science or related field; CPR certified CPR certified college degree in health or fitness related field; CPR certified; liability insurance bachelor’s degree in allied health field or the equivalent (e.g. 2-year degree plus a minimum of 2 years experience in cardiac rehabilitation/clinical exercise testing environment); minimum 600 hours practical experience in clinical exercise program (e.g. cardiac pulmonary) including exercise testing; Basic Life Support certified ASCM-certified health/fitness instructors, health/fitness directors, exercise specialists and program directors are eligible to sit for the exam; any professional, certified or not, may register and attend the workshop ASCM-certified health/fitness instructors, health/fitness directors, exercise specialists and program directors are eligible to sit for the exam; any professional, certified or not, may register and attend the workshop ASCM-certified health/fitness instructors, health/fitness directors, exercise specialists and program directors are eligible to sit for the exam; any professional, certified or not, may register and attend the workshop ASCM-certified health/fitness instructors, health/fitness directors, exercise specialists and program directors are eligible to sit for the exam; any professional, certified or not, may register and attend the workshop degree in exercise science or equivalent or personal trainer certification or equivalent; 300 hours of experience; CPR certified minimum 18 years old; CPR certified

American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)

Advanced Personal Trainer Certificate of Enhanced Qualification (CEQ) Exercise and the Older Adult CEQ Nutrition and Exercise: From Health to Physical Performance CEQ Scientific and Applied Aspects of Resistance Exercise Training CEQ
American Council on Exercise (ACE)

1-day workshop; exam 1-day workshop; exam 1-day workshop; exam 1-day workshop; exam exam exam

ACE-certified Clinical Exercise Specialist ACE Lifestyle & Weight Management Consultant Post Rehabilitation Exercise Specialist Senior Fitness Certification

American Fitness Professionals and Associates (AFPA)

workshop; exam

minimum 400 hours of documented one-to-one personal training experience and a personal trainer certificate through a nationally recognized agency none

workshop; exam

Certified Children’s Fitness Specialist

workshop; exam

none

Certified Strength Consultant

workshop; exam

none

Certified Nutrition Consultant

workshop; exam

none

Certified Trainer of Special Populations Certified Aquatics Instructor

workshop; exam

none

workshop; exam

none

Certified Pre/Post Natal Exercise Consultant Senior Personal Trainer Long Term Care Fitness Leader

workshop; exam

none

American Senior Fitness Association (ASFA)

workshop; exam; distance certification 2-part course; exam; distance certification

CPR, First Aid certified CPR, First Aid certified

IDEA PERSONAL TRAINER

JANUARY 2001

Certifications for Personal Training

Continuing education requirements

Site where exam is offered

Cost

More information

15 CEUs every 2 years (minimum of 1 AFAA workshop or independent study course); CPR certified 15 CEUs every 2 years (minimum of 1 AFAA workshop or independent study course); CPR certified 20 CEUs every 2 years (minimum of 1 AFAA workshop or independent study course); CPR certified 80 CEUs every 4 years

various cities year-round various cities year-round various cities year-round various cities year-round

workshop: $299 workshop: $199 varies workshop: $370 exam: $350-$400

AFAA 15250 Ventura Blvd. #200 Sherman Oaks, CA 91403 (800) 225-2322 (800) 968-7263 AFAA.com

none none none none 4.0 CECs (40 hours) every 2 years 1.5 CECs every 2 years

various cities year-round various cities year-round various cities year-round various cities year-round quarterly at locations around the globe quarterly at locations around the globe

workshop: $75 workshop and exam: $99 workshop: $75 workshop and exam: $99 workshop: $75 workshop and exam: $99 workshop: $75 workshop and exam: $99 certification: $225 exam: $125-$175

ACSM 401 W. Michigan St. Indianapolis, IN 46202 (800) 486-5643 (317) 637-9200 ACSM.org

ACE 5820 Oberlin Dr. San Diego, CA 92121 (800) 825-3636 (858) 535-8227 AceFitness.org AFPA P.O. Box 214 Ship Bottom, NJ 08008 (609) 978-7583 AFPAFitness.com

8 CECs within 2 years of certification, then 8 CECs yearly 8 CECs within 2 years of certification, then 8 CECs yearly 8 CECs within 2 years of certification, then 8 CECs yearly 8 CECs within 2 years of certification, then 8 CECs yearly 8 CECs within 2 years of certification, then 8 CECs yearly 8 CECs within 2 years of certification, then 8 CECs yearly 8 CECs within 2 years of certification, then 8 CECs yearly 8 CECs within 2 years of certification, then 8 CECs yearly 15 contact hours (1.5 CECs) every 2 years; CPR, First Aid certified 15 hours of continuing education every 2 years; CPR, First Aid certified

throughout the year at various fitness facilities, universities, conference centers, hospitals and in conjunction with AFPA regional health & fitness conferences throughout the year at various fitness facilities, universities, conference centers, hospitals and in conjunction with AFPA regional health & fitness conferences throughout the year at various fitness facilities, universities, conference centers, hospitals and in conjunction with AFPA regional health & fitness conferences throughout the year at various fitness facilities, universities, conference centers, hospitals and in conjunction with AFPA regional health & fitness conferences throughout the year at various fitness facilities, universities, conference centers, hospitals and in conjunction with AFPA regional health & fitness conferences throughout the year at various fitness facilities, universities, conference centers, hospitals and in conjunction with AFPA regional health & fitness conferences throughout the year at various fitness facilities, universities, conference centers, hospitals and in conjunction with AFPA regional health & fitness conferences throughout the year at various fitness facilities, universities, conference centers, hospitals and in conjunction with AFPA regional health & fitness conferences various cities year-round; accredited local proctors various cities year-round; accredited local proctors

$299

$189

$189

$189

$189

$189

$189

$189

full certification training package: $339 full certification training package: $299

ASFA P.O. Box 2575 New Smyrna Beach, FL 32170 (800) 243-1478 (904) 423-6634 SeniorFitness.net

IDEA PERSONAL TRAINER

JANUARY 2001

Certifications for Personal Training
Agency Aquatic Exercise Association, Inc. (AEA) Certification Format Prerequisite to exam

Aquatic Personal Trainer

1-day training program; exam

AEA Fitness Instructor certification; or personal training certification from ACE, AFAA, ACSM, IAR, ISCA, NATA or ATRIC and AEA independent study prep course

The Cooper Institute

Master Fitness Specialist Biomechanics of Resistance Training Providing Dietary Guidance Fitness Specialist for Older Adults Special Populations Aquatics Advanced Personal Trainer Postrehab Fitness Specialist

5-day workshop; exam 2 1/2-day workshop; exam 3-day workshop; exam 3-day workshop; exam 2-day workshop; exam 2-day workshop; exam 3 workshops; exam 4-day course; exam

Physical Fitness Specialist certification or equivalent certification or educational background in health and fitness; CPR certified CPR certified none CPR certified CPR certified CPR certified Future Fit-certified personal trainer or certification from national organization Future Fit-certified personal trainer or certification from national organization; minimum one year experience or background in the health and fitness field study preparation; IFPA personal trainer certification or approved equivalent

Future Fit

International Fitness Professionals Association (IFPA)

Advanced Personal Trainer

workshop; exam; distance learning available workshop; exam

Master Personal Trainer

IFPA Advanced Trainer and Sports Nutrition certifications; 400 documented hours personal training experience; study preparation; CPR and First Aid certified study preparation; IFPA Personal Trainer certification strongly recommended

Sports Nutrition

workshop; exam; distance learning available independent study; essay exam independent study; essay exam independent study; essay exam independent study; essay exam independent study; essay exam independent study; essay exam independent study; essay exam lecture and lab

International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)

Fitness Therapy Certification Program Specialist in Performance Nutrition Specialist in Sports Conditioning Youth Fitness Trainer Specialist in Fitness for the Physically Limited Water Fitness Trainer Specialist in Senior Fitness Strength Training Specialist

ISSA-certified fitness trainer or personal trainer certification from nationally recognized organization or medical background minimum 18 years old; CPR certified minimum 18 years old; CPR certified minimum 18 years old; CPR certified minimum 18 years old; CPR certified minimum 18 years old; CPR certified minimum 18 years old; CPR certified bachelor’s degree in a health-related field, physical therapist, occupational therapist or athletic trainer or a minimum of 2 years training in the field

The International Weightlifting Association (IWA)

IDEA PERSONAL TRAINER

JANUARY 2001

Certifications for Personal Training

Continuing education requirements

Site where exam is offered

Cost

More information

15 CECs every 2 years; CPR certified

various cities year-round

AEA members: $160 nonmembers: $185

AEA 3439 Technology Dr. #6 Nokomis, FL 34275 (888) 232-9283 (941) 486-8600 AEAWave.com The Cooper Institute 12330 Preston Rd. Dallas, TX 75230 (800) 635-7050 (972) 341-3200 CooperInst.org

30 hours of continuing education within 3 years 30 hours of continuing education within 3 years 30 hours of continuing education within 3 years 30 hours of continuing education within 3 years 30 hours of continuing education within 3 years 30 hours of continuing education within 3 years 15 hours every 2 years minimum 15 hours in a postrehab setting or take another postrehab course every 2 years 8 CEUs within 2 years of certification

The Cooper Aerobics Center, Dallas The Cooper Aerobics Center, Dallas The Cooper Aerobics Center, Dallas The Cooper Aerobics Center, Dallas The Cooper Aerobics Center, Dallas The Cooper Aerobics Center, Dallas various various

course fee: $645 course fee: $345 course fee: $395 course fee: $395 course fee (includes resource manual): $295 course fee (includes resource manual): $275 each workshop: $79 course fee (includes manual): $495 textbook, study materials, workshop, testing, certificate and membership: $299 distance learning: $339 study materials, workshop, testing, certificate and membership: $399 textbook, study materials, workshop, testing, certificate and membership: $299 distance learning: $339 texts and tuition: $595 texts, tuition and audiotapes: $450 texts and tuition: $450 texts and tuition: $395 texts, video and tuition: $395 texts and tuition: $395 texts and tuition: $495 $295

Future Fit P.O. Box 1508 Culver City, CA 90232 (800) 778-6060 FutureFit.net IFPA 14509 University Point Place Tampa, FL 33613 (800) 785-1924 (813) 979-1925 IFPA-Fitness.com

major universities, fitness facilities and conference centers throughout U.S. and internationally; distance learning

8 CEUs within 2 years of certification

major universities, fitness facilities and conference centers throughout U.S. and internationally major universities, fitness facilities and conference centers throughout U.S. and internationally; distance learning

8 CEUs within 2 years of certification

16 hours of continuing education every 2 years 16 hours of continuing education every 2 years 16 hours of continuing education every 2 years 16 hours of continuing education every 2 years 16 hours of continuing education every 2 years 16 hours of continuing education every 2 years 16 hours of continuing education every 2 years 12 CECs every 2 years

online distance learning online distance learning online distance learning online distance learning online distance learning online distance learning online distance learning 110 various locations

ISSA 1035 Santa Barbara St. Santa Barbara, CA 93101 (800) 892-4772 (805) 884-8111 FitnessEducation.com ISSAonline.com

IWA 441 Darby’s Run Bay Village, OH 44140 (800) 934-4487 IWACourses.com

IDEA PERSONAL TRAINER

JANUARY 2001

Certifications for Personal Training
Agency National Athletic Trainers Association Board of Certification (NATABOC) The National Council of Strength and Fitness (NCSF) Certification Format Prerequisite to exam

Athletic Trainer Certified

3-part exam

bachelor’s degree; completion of core courses and completed contact hours (800 curriculum program; 1,500 internship program)

Sport Performance Specialist

independent study; exam

any certified professional

Strength Specialization

independent study; exam

any certified professional

Nutrition and Weight Management

independent study; exam

any certified professional

Prenatal/Postpartum Specialist

independent study; exam

any certified professional

National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Certification Commission National Strength Professionals Association (NSPA)

Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

2-part exam

bachelor’s of arts, bachelor’s of science or chiropractic medicine degree; CPR certified

Certified Conditioning Specialist Postrehab Specialist

3-day course; exam 2-day course; exam

minimum 2 years relevant college course or another equivalent certification; CPR certified certified conditioning specialist or another equivalent certification or a 4-year degree in the health and fitness field

North American Academy of Health, Fitness & Rehabilitation Professionals (NAAHFRP)

Medical Exercise Specialist

independent study; 15 videotapes; 2 exams; occasional onsite course

nationally recognized personal trainer certification

Postrehab Conditioning Specialist

independent study; 4 videotapes; exam

nationally recognized personal trainer certification

The Resistance Training Specialist Program (RTS)

Resistance Training Specialist Level 2

practical, oral, hands-on test four 3-day modules; exam 27-hour course; exam 15-hour course; exam

Resistance Training Specialist Level 1 test

Resistance Training Specialist Level 3

Resistance Training Specialist Level 1 and 2 tests

World Instructor Training Schools (WITS)

Aquatics Instructor Certification Senior Fitness Instructor Certification

none degree in the field of study and/or national certification in personal training; CPR certified

IDEA PERSONAL TRAINER

JANUARY 2001

Certifications for Personal Training

Continuing education requirements

Site where exam is offered

Cost

More information

80 hours of continuing education every 3 years

20-35 cities in February, April, June, August, November

NATA members: $300 nonmembers: $350

NATA Board of Certification 4223 S. 143rd Cir. Omaha, NE 68137 (402) 559-0091 NATABOC.org NCSF P.O. Box 43-0945 South Miami, FL 33243 (305) 668-8705 (800) 772-6273 NCSF.org

NCSF-certified professionals need total of 12 CEUs every 2 years (5 earned from NCSF specialty course completion); non-NCSF-certified professionals need 5 CEUs every 2 years NCSF-certified professionals need total of 12 CEUs every 2 years (5 earned from NCSF specialty course completion); non-NCSF-certified professionals need 5 CEUs every 2 years NCSF-certified professionals need total of 12 CEUs every 2 years (5 earned from NCSF specialty course completion); non-NCSF-certified professionals need 5 CEUs every 2 years NCSF-certified professionals need total of 12 CEUs every 2 years (5 earned from NCSF specialty course completion); nonNCSF-certified professionals need 5 CEUs every 2 years 6 CEUs (equivalent to 60 continuing education hours) every 3 years

distance

NCSF members: $169 nonmembers: $189

distance

NCSF members: $169 nonmembers: $189

distance

NCSF members: $169 nonmembers: $189

distance

NCSF members: $169 nonmembers: $189

various cities year-round

NSCA members: $225 nonmembers: $300

NSCA Certification Commission 1640 L St., Ste. G Lincoln, NE 68508 (888) 746-2378 NSCA-CC.org NSPA Headquarters 700 Russell Ave. Gaithersburg, MD 20877 (800) 494-6772 (301) 428-2879 NSPAInc.com NAAHFRP 3323 Watt Ave. #158 Sacramento, CA 95821-3609 (888) 610-0923 MedicalExerciseSpecialist.com

24 CECs within 2 years candidates are required to complete 20 documented hours of internship with a licensed facility in a clinical setting within 1 year participants must complete 10 hours of observation in a sportsmed/physical therapy clinic, chiropractic office or physician’s office under the supervision of a licensed medical practitioner within 1 year of certification; annual renewal of 10 hours of postrehab related courses or observation hours participants must complete 10 hours of observation in a sportsmed/physical therapy clinic, chiropractic office or physician’s office under the supervision of a licensed medical practitioner within 1 year of certification; annual renewal of 10 hours of postrehab-related courses or observation hours 2-page report on any industry article or workshop outlining the use of science, what was learned, perspectives, insights, etc. to maintain RTS Level 3 status, must teach an industry workshop, followed by a written report submitted to RTS 10 hours of study within a 2-year period 10 hours of study within a 2-year period

contact NSPA contact NSPA

course price: $395 course price (includes course manual and exams): $375

videotape distance learning

$495

videotape distance learning

$199

regional locations, 8 months a year

training: $249 exam: $125 training: $3,146 exam: $250 $299 $299

monthly in Oklahoma City

RTS Programs 9608 N. May Ave. PMB #276 Oklahoma City, OK 73120 (888) 553-6287 RTS123.com FocusonFitness.com WITS 206 76th St. Ste. A Virginia Beach, VA 23451 (888) 330-9487 WITSEducation.com

locations throughout the U.S. locations throughout the U.S.

IDEA PERSONAL TRAINER

JANUARY 2001