Action Personal Training Certificate Review 2023 - Full breakdown

Hello and welcome to PTPioneer’s review of the ACTION CPT certification!

Once you have read this page, you will know whether or not this is the right personal training certification for yourself.

This article is going to cover these topics:

The Essential Personal Training Information in this ACTION Program
The Certification Exam and Recertification Information
Comparisons to Other Top Certifications

Let’s take a look at this ACTION Certification Review!

Action Personal Training Certificate Review

Quick Breakdown: ACTION CPT Certification

5out of 10

Exercise Science Foundations6
Behavioral Coaching3.2
Client Health Screening6
Movement Screening4
Resistance Training7
Special Population Training5
Aerobic Fitness Training4
  • Cheapest Personal Training Certification
  • Multiple formats for the study materials 
  • 1 year to take CPT exam
  • Based on research that is not as thorough as other certs
  • Not a reputable organization
  • Virtually no continuing education credit options
ACTION CPT General Information

ACTION CPT General Information


  • Study material cost: $99 – $249
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Exam passing score: 70%
  • Average completion time: 8 – 16 weeks.

ACTION General Information

ACTION used to be known under the name of ACT personal training, which was the Athletic Certification Training organization. 

The final exam is administered through the ACTION Governing Board, with which there is little to know online regarding them.

The Organization offers three different fitness certifications, which cover a basic intro into the three main areas of training. These are Personal Training, Nutrition, and Group Exercise. 

This is a great combo of certifications and should be more than enough to cover the vast majority of what clients are looking for with fitness and wellness training.

This is the cheapest certification organization in the entire fitness industry, and they pride themselves on reaching many people in order to reduce this cost. 

It does feel like the personal training certification skips out on what other certifications put in their programs as basic items, but for the price, it would be hard to complain.

Let’s dive in with more depth and see the general info specifically for this ACTION Personal Training certification.

ACTION CPT General Info and Packages

The Advantages of an Action Personal Training Certification

The CPT personal trainer online course from ACTION comes in 3 packages. It is a newer certification in the fitness industry, especially when compared against the likes of NASM and ACE.

The Action personal trainer certification is advertised as only taking a few weeks, we would place this around 10 weeks minimum to be a good ACTION certified personal trainer. 

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Action has made this course to be done online only if you choose the right package.

NCCA accreditation does mean that this certification has attained the gold standard for the fitness industry. That does set them above competing organizations like ISSA, which do not have NCCA accreditation.

Let’s look at the three plans they have to purchase for their CPT.

Basic CPT Plan

This plan starts off the plans at $99, which for a personal training study program, is an incredibly low price. You cannot find another certification program for anywhere near this number. 

Included in this plan will be the smallest offering of study items, as it is a low price. There will be the physical textbook, pdf form of the textbook, a tiny practice exam, 5 real-world simulations, and 2 online classes. 

This is the bare minimum for a fitness certification, but still amazing that they could sell for such a price. 

For the exam, the only thing not included in this $99 purchase is going to be the proctoring fee, which you will have to pay. This can be around the same price as the study package, more or less.

Professional CPT Plan

This plan comes in at $149, or $9.95 per month. Still a cheap and great solution to getting a personal training certification. It includes quite a bit more for just $50.

Included in this plan will be the textbook, pdf form of textbook, kindle ebook, flashcard study, online CPR training, 18 online classes, 12 real-world simulations, 200 practice questions, a job reference letter, personal trainer form library, business plan, and insurance rate benefits. 

For just $50, there is quite a bit of value added to this professional plan. 

The Practice Test questions are a notable addition here, as the basic package has very little exam-specific prep.

Remember that the online exam is covered in the program, but not the proctoring fee, so that will cost around $99.

Platinum CPT Plan

This package comes in at $249, or $19.95 per month. 

This plan will have a much longer list of additional materials. Included here we have the textbook in physical and pdf form, kindle ebook, flashcard system, over 400 practice questions, 21 real-world simulations, 28 online classes, online CPR training, job reference letter, business plan, insurance rate benefits, free recertification for life, advanced nutrition cert included, and the priority support system. 

This is a lot included in the package, but the main kicker here is the nutrition certification. 

Now, let’s look at how the textbook and content of the study materials cover the main CPT aspects in the industry.

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ACTION CPT Content Coverage

Study With A Difference: Take ACTION Now!

The textbook is just over 300 pages and packed full of the basics of personal training. 

The main textbook includes all of the basic topics on exercise science, biomechanics, client assessment, program design, special populations, nutrition, starting a business, and legal issues.

The textbook works very well with the ACTION personal training system, which is their online platform that goes along with your studies. 

After you have gone through the content in the study system and textbook, you will be able to do these things:

  • Give your client a complete nutrition and workout tracking system
  • Guide new clients through the assessment process and make sure their medical, health, and lifestyle info are considered 
  • Create custom training programs based on templates for safe and effective workouts
  • Make more money through provisions of extra services like planning meals, tracking calories, and tracking performance
  • Be in charge of group fitness and boot camp style classes
  • Manage billing and packages for training 

If you have another Personal Training certification, it is likely that you will not benefit much from this more basic approach to the profession.

Most of the essentials are still here, but nothing really shines.

ACTION Certification Exam


There are two options for exams when it comes to the CPT certification. 

For the basic certificate without NCCA accreditation, the exam is included in the program. 

The exam has a total of 150 questions and you have 2.5 hours to complete the test. You must receive a 70% or more on the exam to pass. 

For the non-NCCA accredited exam, it is $35 to retake if you fail. The retake can be anytime after the first exam.

The NCCA accredited exam is taken only at Prometric Testing Centers and will cost the test-taker $99 for the proctoring fee. The actual exam is still included in the program for free.

The exam follows the format above with 150 questions, 2.5 hours, and a 70% required to pass. 

The NCCA Accredited exam is superior to the basic online certification exam.

I would recommend going for the NCCA exam strictly for the value in the fitness industry that this gold standard accreditation comes with. 

ACTION CPT Recertification

Recertification with ACTION needs to be done every two years and a $65 cost comes along with this recertification. 

To recertify, you will need to attain continuing education credits. 2.0 CEC’s will get you to recertification level. CECs are also known as CEUs through some other organizations.

This is equivalent to around 20 hours of time put into expanding your personal training knowledge and going through classes for specializations and such. 

In terms of other organizations, this is a much lower cost to recertify. Some of the top organizations charge $100 – $150 to recertify every two years.

In addition, ACTION offers recertification for life, which is pretty popular now in the fitness industry. Not all organizations offer this, but some bigger names are starting to, like ACE.

Recertify-for-life still requires people to get their continuing education credits, but it makes it so you do not have to pay so much in the long term. 

PTPioneer Review Methodology

This PTpioneer ACTION CPT review is based on our expert opinion and these criteria:

  • Gathered opinions of successful personal trainers within the fitness industry
  • Comparisons between other top personal training certifications to verify quality and pricing
  • The usual information coming from new fitness trainers that have passed the ACTION certification exam
  • Many other CPT certs and entry-level fitness programs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


The main takeaway from this personal training certification is that it is the cheapest option available for someone looking for quick entry into the industry. 

It offers fitness professionals enough substance in the study materials to get by, and not much more than that. 

This is an option, but it is by far the best option out there for a personal trainer. If you are looking for entry into the market, and do not need much when it comes to studying materials, this would be the way to go.

I would rate this certification as an overall 5 out of 10. It still has its place in the industry.

For more reviews and study materials, bookmark PTPioneer!

Tyler Read

Tyler Read, BSc, CPT. Tyler holds a B.S. in Kinesiology from Sonoma State University and is a certified personal trainer (CPT) with NASM (National Academy of sports medicine), and has over 15 years of experience working as a personal trainer. He is a published author of running start, and a frequent contributing author on Healthline and Eat this, not that.

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32 thoughts on “Action Personal Training Certificate Review 2023 – Full Breakdown”

  1. PTPioneer User

    Thanks for the information. I just got a PT/Floor monitor job at the YMCA and my certification is through ACTION. I taking my test this Saturday and I was looking for some tips on the ACTION test.
    I know it not that strong of a cert but I have a lot of experience in training and coaching. I defiantly would like to add another certification to by belt.

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      Hello Jeremy,
      The action personal training certification this definitely not a bad certification. It is NCCA accredited and it is recognized by a lot of people. It might not be as well-recognized as ACE or NASM, but it is still a legit certification.

  2. PTPioneer User

    Do you have any study materials for this certification exam like you do for NASM and ACE?
    Or planning on offering soon?

    Exam study tips appreciated as well 🙂

    Thank You

  3. PTPioneer User

    Hey Tyler, I am a former HS / College athlete and longtime HS coach. I want to get certified in personal training. Being new to personal training but having a sports background, would you recommend Action as a starting point or one of the other organizations ie; nasm, ace, issa etc.

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      Hey Tony,
      Action is a decent personal training certification in my opinion. I think the three that you mentioned above are definitely more sought out by employers in terms of industry recognition for the certifications.

    2. PTPioneer User

      Hi Tyler,
      I must be certified ASAP..Is this a good option? Once I have this one under my belt, I’ll consider getting the ACE Certification. Thanks.

      1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

        Hey Mitch, if your goal is to get certified as quickly as possible I would definitely go with the international sports Sciences Association. Good luck with your future personal training career.

  4. PTPioneer User

    Hey there,
    I bought the platinum plan for $149 via groupon, so it was a great deal. But if you’re considering a higher tier with ACTION, you should beware the chapter quizzes are disorganized and not based on material from the book, and there is no discussion forum anymore (they just removed it because of “low activity”) and so there are no instructors or peers you can reach out to to get help on the questions. This can be really frustrating especially for beginner/aspiring PTs. But they say the book has everything you need to pass the cert exam.

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      Hey Ever,
      This is great information and insight into the ACTION certification. Yes this is one of the cheapest NCCA accredited personal training certifications that you can get on the market but honestly I thought that the study materials were not the best and the way that they organized the main textbook overall was okay. That’s why I prefer to go with other more reputable certifications such as the national Academy of sports medicine or the American Council on exercise. Also the international sports sciences Association is a fantastic certification and it comes at a great price with additional certifications you can get for very cheap.

  5. PTPioneer User

    Hi Tyler,

    I am taking the Action certification. I feel that I need more knowledge to take the test and there are no materials to study. Do you have any recommendations? I don’t want to go and not pass the test.

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      Hello ann,
      currently I do not have any study materials for the action personal training certification. I am not quite sure if I have seen others online as it is not one of the most popular certifications. I would simply just used the study materials that come in your package with them as going through the textbook in trying to take any practice quizzes or practice tests should be the most important thing for studying for it.

  6. PTPioneer User

    Thank you for this review of ACTION. I’m studying for the certification now and your review put me at ease. I have years of training experience but will be new to personal training and actually working with populations so this will help me. I plan to get my high school strength and conditioning certification as well. My goal ultimately is to work as a strength and condition coach.

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      Hey Ricky,
      that’s awesome that your ultimate goal is to work as a strength and conditioning coach. Overall, I definitely recommend checking out the CSCS as a specialized certification for strength and conditioning. The only thing is that you need to have a four year degree to even be eligible to take this exam. That is super cool that you have found the correct personal training certification to go with. Good luck with all the studying.

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      Hey Fernando,
      the action personal training certification is probably in the middle-of-the-road when it comes to difficulty compared to other popular certification such as nasm, ace and nsca.

  7. PTPioneer User

    Hello Tyler,
    How is ACTION exam compared to other major certification in the industry? (In terms of difficulty/complexity). Particularly, how is it compared to ACE?


  8. PTPioneer User

    Hi tyler! I was wanting to get certified so I can train myself and hopefully afterwards start training other people at gyms! Is this the program I need to get? If so which one would I choose? Basic, professional, or platinum?

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      The action personal training certification will definitely let you work at a gymnasium and work with clients. Both of the options are good it depends on how much study materials you need. Good luck with your personal training career, you are going to crush it.

  9. PTPioneer User

    Hi Tyler. I am looking at several certifications Action, Fitness Mentors and Nesta have you heard anything about Nafta (National Aerobic and Fitness Trainers Association) hear good things about ISSA.

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      All of the certifications you listed above are good, if it were me I would go with ISSA. But with either one of them you should be able to find employment without a problem.

  10. PTPioneer User

    Hi..I was certified with NASM..I did not recertify so my certification expired. I was thinking to get an Action certification just to be in the game again..My NASM certification expired in February 2019.

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      Hey there, the action is a decent certification but basically all certifications vary from one to the other. If you already studied for and passed the National Academy of strength medicine certification, I would probably just renew as passing that test will be much easier for you. Also NASM is one of the highest recognized certifications. Much more than action in my opinion.

  11. PTPioneer User

    Thanks for this review. I’m currently studying for the ACTION cert and appreciate this review. I’m using this as a jump start to my career and plan to add other certifications over time.

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