There's something to be said for being hired as a personal trainer for one of the nation's largest gym chains. To get there, you need the right certification. Gold's Gym requires that anyone who seeks employment as a personal trainer have a personal training certification from a nationally recognized agency. These agencies are well-known in the Unites States fitness industry for providing personal trainer education and testing that meets high standards.
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, digital textbook, practice exam, study guide and exam is $699 as of June 2018. The most expensive includes all of the above plus a hardcopy textbook, workshop, an exam prep bundle, access to a coach and mentor and a job guarantee. It costs $1999 at the time of publication.
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 instructors, health fitness, clinical and specialty certifications.
At the time of publication, the exam costs $349 for non-members and $279 for members, and the study materials bundle costs $150. There are additional options, including live workshops and webinars, for an additional fee.
The National Strength and Conditioning Association was founded in 1978 and is a leader in the research and education of strength and conditioning professionals. As of June 2018, NSCA offers a member rate of $300 and a non-member rate of $435 for those wishing to take the exam.
There are various types of study materials, including a textbook, an online question bundle and an exercise technique manual ranging in price from $100 to $160. You can also choose to attend a live workshops or clinic. Those vary in price depending on the length and location. NSCA members receive significant discounts on all study materials and workshops.
The American Council on Exercise is a nonprofit exercise professional and health coach certification organization involved in research and advocacy. ACE offers its study materials and exam in one package.
Packages range in price from $699 to $899 as of June 2018, but specials are frequently offered online. The least expensive package includes the exam and the ACE study manual, while the most expensive package includes a retest voucher, an online fitness math course and career-focused online courses.
In addition to those listed, Gold's Gym also accepts certifications from the following:
- Academy of Applied Personal Training
- Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches
- International Fitness Professionals Association
- National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF)
- National Exercise and Sports Trainers
- National Federation of Professional Trainers
- The Cooper Institute (CI)
Gold's Gym prefers candidates with a college degree in a fitness-related field and relevant work experience, but it is not required. However, even candidates who do have those credentials will need to obtain a nationally recognized personal trainer certification.