The Cost to Become a Personal Trainer

The Cost to Become a Personal Trainer

How much does it cost to become a personal trainer broken down by certification

When choosing between personal training educations it’s important not only that you can afford it, but that it will also provide you return on investment.

You want to look for the education that will provide you with the best business acumen, competency, and confidence you need to charge a good rate for your services. While some personal training certifications may be more alluring because of their lower price tag you need to make sure they have a reasonable return on investment.

Here’s a brief overview of the upfront cost, average Continuing Education Unit (CEU) cost, and renewal cost for popular personal trainer courses. 

The Upfront Costs and Renewal Costs of Becoming a Personal Trainer


National Academy of Strength and Conditioning (NASM)

Certification cost: $629-$1999

Renewal cost: $329 (every 2 years)

CEU cost: $367-$569


National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)

Certification cost: $355-$950

Renewal cost: $50-$75 (every 2 years)

CEU cost: $10-$445


American Council on Exercise (ACE)

Certification cost: $549-$899

Renewal cost: $329 (every 2 years)

CEU cost: $367-$569


The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)

Certification cost: $319-$1039

Renewal cost: $250 (every 3 years)

CEU cost: $450-924


OPEX Fitness

Certification cost: $395 for 13 months ($535 savings paid upfront)

Renewal cost: Not applicable

CEU cost: Not applicable

You can see there is variation in the upfront course payment, renewal cost and price of CEUs required to keep your certificate. It is important to factor the long-term costs of maintaining your certification into your decision, you may end up paying more for what appears to be the cheaper option. 

The lowest price quoted also often doesn’t include all the study materials required and is just for sitting the test itself, so be mindful of these traps. Learning must involve questioning, feedback and mentorship, so make sure the certificates you’re considering don’t leave you stranded in a study bubble. 

At the end of the day, you need to consider what option is not only cost-effective upfront cost, but what will give you the tools and support to make a career out of personal training. Make sure you get in contact with the education company, ask tough questions about ROI and request testimonials to get a better idea of the kinds of personal trainers and coaches they produce.

At the end of the day, the difference between a mediocre and a world-class personal trainer is the education their skills are built on. Start building your skills and learn how to create better exercise programs, work better with your clients, and run a successful business with our free Coach’s Toolkit education.

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