Gold's Gym requires that anyone who seeks employment as a personal trainer must have a certified personal training certificate from a nationally recognized agency. While there are over 30,000 certifications worldwide, Gold's finds that the four most recognized in the industry are the National Academy of Sports Medicine, or NASM; the American College of Sports Medicine, or ACSM; the National Strength and Conditioning Association, or NSCA; and the American Council on Exercise, or ACE. After being hired, you have 90 days to obtain a certification from one of the four agencies.
The National Academy of Sports Medicine has been a leader in providing certification and continuing credentials to health and fitness professionals since 1987. It has certifications for personal trainers, sports medicine and injury prevention. The cost of getting a certified personal training certificate from NASM depends the package you choose. The least-expensive package, which includes the online course information, textbooks, practice exam, study guide and exam, is $649, as of January 2011. The most expensive includes all of the above plus a workshop and an exam prep bundle. It costs $799.
The American College of Sports Medicine has certified over 25,000 health and fitness professionals in over 44 countries. In addition to certifying personal trainers, it also has certifications for group exercise instructor, health fitness and inclusive fitness. It encourages students to acquire membership for additional savings for the program. The cost of the exam and supplemental material for members is $535, and $595 for nonmembers, as of January 2011. A retest costs $150.
The National Strength and Conditioning Association developed its certified personal trainer certification in 1993. As of 2010, it had 9,600 health and fitness professionals possessing its certificate. It has a computer-based test as well as a paper exam. The computer exam, including supplemental material, for nonmembers costs $815, and for members the price is $536, as of January 2011. The paper exam, including supplemental material, costs $765 for nonmembers and $486 for members.
Certification includes training on risk-factor screening, fitness assessment, nutrition, exercise science, exercise programming and progressions, instructional and spotting techniques, lifestyle modification and professional scope of practice. Study packages range in price from $285 to $580, as of January 2011. The exam is in two parts -- a 150-question multiple choice section and a written test with two client scenarios.
Gold's Gym will also accept applications for personal training from those who might not have certification, but have a four-year degree in an exercise-related field. However, the same rules apply and successful applicants need to get certified within 90 days of employment with one of the four nationally recognized agencies. There is no in-house certification at Gold's Gym, but it does offer cross-training programs, coaching guides and personal training manuals for new employees. Continuing education also is necessary to maintain your credentials throughout your personal training career.