Training Tips

6 Reasons to Skip the Easiest Personal Trainer Certification

ISSA, International Sports Sciences Association, Certified Personal Trainer, Personal Trainer Certification, 6 Reasons to Skip the Easiest Personal Trainer Certification

Personal trainer certification is an important step on the path to working in the fitness industry. It’s understandable that you may want to find the easiest way to get there, but avoid cutting corners. 

The best education is not necessarily the easiest. It’s the one that teaches you the skills and provides the foundational knowledge for helping clients meet fitness goals safely. To master a subject takes effort. Take your career seriously and choose a program based on more important factors. 

What is a Personal Trainer Certification and Why Do I Need it? 

You have a passion for fitness. You love working out and playing sports. The gym is your life. And, you want to make a career out of helping people benefit from exercise as much as you do. So, what does it take? You’re knowledgeable and experienced; can you start working now? 

Being a good personal trainer takes more than personal experience and passion. It also requires foundational knowledge of anatomy and physiology, the musculoskeletal system, proper form and technique, goal setting, motivation, and even small business skills. 

Anyone serious about working as a personal trainer must get certified. Legally there are no requirements to do so, but many reasons to get that credential anyway: 

  • Most gyms require certification when they hire trainers. 
  • Clients are more likely to hire a trainer with certification over one without a credential. 
  • Certifications justify higher pay. 
  • Liability can be a problem for uncertified trainers, and insurance companies may refuse you coverage without a credential. 
  • Completing a certification program gives you entry into a community of professionals that includes networking, online resources, and continuing education. 

Just getting started on your personal training career? Here are some useful tips to help you along the way to becoming a successful fitness professional. 

Why Shouldn’t I Look for the Easiest Personal Trainer Certification? 

The easiest ways to get your personal trainer certification are not always the best. A quick search online will turn up all kinds of companies offering easy, cheap certifications for personal trainers. Some may even be week-long minicourses. Anyone can offer you a two-day course and promise you a certificate. But before you jump at the chance to be a certified trainer by next week, consider these important reasons to dig deeper: 

1. The Easiest Personal Trainer Certification Won’t Provide the Best Education

A more intensive course in learning to become a personal trainer may be challenging or even take longer than easier options, but the rewards are higher. Personal training is so much more than giving clients a workout routine. This is a profession that will teach you how to lead and coach people and help them achieve challenging fitness and health goals. 

To learn all the skills needed to do this job well means you have to put in some work and effort. With a more intensive personal training certification program you’ll learn a lot that will help you be more successful in your career: 

  • How to assess new clients
  • The art and science of creating individualized training programs
  • Helping clients determine their real goals and achieve them
  • How to motivate clients when they want to quit
  • Detailed knowledge about body systems, exercises, correct form, nutrition, and health
  • How to educate clients and guide positive lifestyle changes
  • How to adapt and change programs as needed

It takes some time and effort on your part to learn all this. It’s not something you can do in a weekend or a week. Check out these reviews of personal trainer certification programs from ISSA students to see how much they learned and felt prepared for their careers by working through a complete certification program. 

2. Gyms Will Probably Not Recognize that “Easy” Certification

While there is no legal or official requirement for certification, most gyms have standards for employees. You may need to be certified, but not just any certification is considered acceptable. Those cheap, easy, and fast programs are most likely offered by organizations that no gyms recognize. Before picking a program, take a look at several gyms and the certifications they accept when hiring trainers. 

3. The Easy Programs Don’t Provide Ongoing Support

When you choose a real certification program for personal training, you choose to work with people dedicated to the professionalism of the industry. This means you get more than a study guide and a certification exam. 

What you also get is online support in the form of student and instructor forums; support for starting a personal training business; networking opportunities online and in the real world; and opportunities to earn certifications in specialty areas. They also will require you to take continuing education credits to keep your skills fresh and your certification valid. 

4. You Need Courses AND Study Materials to Pass the Certification Exam

Many of the so-called easy certification programs simply give you content for you to figure out on your own. The content is useful, but it’s only one part of the educational process.

A certification exam proves that you have learned what you need to know to be a successful trainer. But to truly absorb the information and gain a deeper understanding of how to put it into practice, you must do more than study for two days and take a test. The best programs include ongoing courses as well as study materials to support your efforts to pass the final exam. 

5. That Easy Course is Probably Not Accredited

With no official oversight of the industry, programs offering certification do not have to be accredited. This means they can promise you anything and then fail to deliver with no repercussions. Accreditation ensures that educational programs, in all kinds of industries and subject areas, deliver to students what they promised. Some of the recognized accrediting agencies in personal training and fitness include: 

  • International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association
  • National Board of Fitness Examiners
  • National Commission for Certifying Agencies
  • California Association of Post Secondary Schools

Only choose a program that is accredited by one or more of these or another respected and recognized agency. 

6. Only a High-Quality Program Can Help Advance Your Career

Personal training may just be your steppingstone to another career, in sports medicine, physical therapy, physical education, or athletic training, for instance. Starting out as a personal trainer is a great way to get experience and an educational foundation. From there you can enroll in degree programs to get the qualifications you need to advance. 

If you take the easy route to becoming a personal fitness trainer, completing a short program with minimal coursework, consider it a waste of time. It will provide no benefits for your ongoing education. The piece of paper you earned will be as meaningless as the minimal effort required to get it. 

Fast and High-Quality – The Best of Both Worlds

When you say you want an easy certification for personal training, what you probably mean is that you want the fastest, for several valid reasons: 

  • You’re passionate about training and you want to get started. 
  • You can’t afford a program that takes one or two years to complete. 
  • You need to start working and earning as soon as possible. 
  • There are great work opportunities for you now, but you need certification to take advantage of them. 

It is possible to get a high-quality education and respected certification without spending a year or more on it. An online program is the best option if you’re in a hurry. Just be sure the program you choose is accredited and recognized by major gyms. Most programs can be completed in four months or less, depending on how fast you can work. 

Choosing your personal trainer certification program is a big step to becoming a true professional in this industry. While you may be eager to get started, avoid the pitfall of skimping on your education. This is what will set you up for success, so don’t simply take the easiest path. 

One of the fastest ways to get a high-quality personal training certification is with the ISSA fast track. Check out the ISSA Certified Personal Trainer – Fast Track Program that can get you certified in just four weeks.


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