action cpt review - Tyler Read holds the ACTION personal trainer certification textbook

This article is a comprehensive ACTION personal trainer certification review. In this article, I look in-depth at the ACTION CPT program based on my experience studying the ACTION curriculum, passing the ACTION CPT exam, and working in the field for over 10 years as a certified personal trainer.

I have multiple fitness certifications, so I can definitely attest to the pros and cons of every certification, including the ACTION CPT. Additionally, my team of trainers at PT Pioner has over 2 dozen different certifications, so we really do understand all the ins-and-outs of this program.

This review looks at the following aspects of the ACTION personal training certification:

  • General information on the ACTION CPT
  • ACTION CPT cost and study materials
  • Certification requirements
  • ACTION CPT salary
  • ACTION exam difficulty

If you are really stumped as to which certification you can choose, you can take the quiz to determine which CPT is best for your career.

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We developed this critical quiz to help you find the best certification for you and your goals.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the ACTION CPT certification.

What is the ACTION CPT Certification?

ACTION certification review - what is the ACTION CPT? ACTION personal trainer textbook displayed on table.

The ACTION certification is a generalized, low-cost certification aimed at personal trainers who want to get certified on a tight budget.

ACTION covers a range of information and knowledge needed for personal trainers to get a handle on the various areas you need to succeed in the fitness industry.

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 Credibility and Reputation

ACTION was known under the name of ACT personal training, 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 fitness certifications, which cover a basic introduction to the three main training areas. These are Personal Training, Nutrition, and Group Exercise. 

This is a great combination of certifications and should be more than enough to cover most 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 to reduce this cost.

With that said, the ACTION Certification content is pretty thin compared to other certifications, so in many ways, you get what you pay for.

Is ACTION Worth It?

ACTION personal training certification review - Tyler Read holds up the ACTION textbook and decides whether the ACTION CPT is worth it for his training career.

ACTION is realistically only worth it if you absolutely cannot afford the best personal trainer certifications like the ISSA personal trainer certification, NASM CPT, or ACE personal training certification. The ACTION CPT is extremely cheap for an NCCA-accredited certification, making it a straightforward way to become a personal trainer, but that’s roughly the only thing it has going for it.

I would only recommend ACTION if getting a personal training certification is just a formality, and you already have a solid career. Most gyms are not going to know about ACTION, so be aware of that before you get certified with intention to get hired at a gym. That being said, it is a great certification among cheapest CPT reviewed by us.

It’s always a good idea to read the coaching job description specific gym you want to work at regardless, so this note is not necessarily specific only to ACTION.

  • 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

Who is the ACTION Certification meant for?

The ACTION CPT is geared for trainers who do not want to spend the money on any of the big name certifications like ISSA, NASM, or ACE.

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It’s useful since it is accredited by NCCA, so the curriculum has been vetted by the same institution that gave NASM it’s credibility.

Great for
  • Individuals on a tight budget
  • Self-employed trainers
Not Great for
  • Individuals who want to work at a gym
  • Individuals who need a widely recognized certification

ACTION Certification Cost and Packages

Action personal training certification cost - ACTION training textbook placed on table with gold coins

ACTION offers three certification packages with varying levels of materials included.

Basic CPT Plan

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

This plan will include the smallest offering of study items, as it is a low price. There will be the physical textbook, a pdf form of the textbook, a short 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. 

The only thing not included in this $99 purchase for the exam will 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.

This plan will include the textbook, PDF form of a textbook Kindle ebook, flashcard study, online CPR training, 18 online classes, 12 real-world simulations, 200 practice questions, a job reference letter, a personal trainer form library, a 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 program covers the online exam but not the proctoring fee, which 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. 

The package includes a lot, 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.

ACTION Certification Review – Personal Trainer Content Coverage

action cpt certification table of contents - ACTION personal trainer certification review

The textbook is just over 300 pages and is 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. 

You will learn a variety of exercises for all areas of the body to hit the various muscles across your body to gain muscle and lose weight. You will learn how to build muscle and sets goals for implementing workout programs with weights aimed at getting results while preventing injury.

Weight loss is common among fitness goals, and you will learn how to increase movement in your clients in order to promote weight loss. Development of flexibility in your arms, shoulders, and other areas of the body is also covered in the details in the textbook.

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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, likely, 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 Exam Prep and Study Materials

ACTION CPT exam prep - Action textbook open with highlighter for studying for the ACTION textbook

Depending on which package you purchase, you can get a solid set of study materials for the ACTION CPT.

All packages include the physical textbook, which is printed and shipped to your house. Interestingly, you only get flashcards and a kindle book if you purchase the professional and platinum tier programs.

The ACTION textbook covers all of the materials you’ll need to learn and pass the ACTION CPT test.

The higher tier packages include the additional materials but also come with career transition materials aimed at helping you get the job after getting certified.

The plan benefits kick in at the highest tiers and give you recertification for life and an advanced nutrition couse, but do not‌ apply more materials to the CPT program.

Generally speaking, the basic package with the textbook is sufficient. If you do want the digital kindle version and flashcards, you will have to opt for the professional tier plan.

I recommend planning 8 to 12 weeks to prepare for the exam if you do not have any prior experience in exercise science.

ACTION Certification Requirements

The ACTION personal trainer certification requires a valid CPR/AED certification and high school education.


There isn’t a ton of data on the specific salary of ACTION-certified personal trainers. That being said, the average personal training salary varies between around $30,000 per year to upwards of $75,000 per year.

This can be higher depending on experience, location, and employment arrangement.

Taking the ACTION Final Exam

ACTION CPT final exam - Tyler Read takes the ACTION 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. 

The non-NCCA accredited exam costs $35 to retake if you fail. The retake can be done 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 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 Continuing Education and Recertification

Recertification with ACTION needs to be done every two years; a $65 cost comes with this recertification. Note that the most expensive of the study plans gives students and candidates a recertification for life, meaning they do not have to keep paying the recertification fee.

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

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

Regarding 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. 

ACTION CPT Overall Rating

ACTION CPT Overall Rating - ACTION textbook displayed on table for review
ACTION CPT Certification
Action Personal Training Certificate Review [year] - Full Breakdown 8

Hey everyone and welcome to my Action certification review. After reading this article you will know if the Action trainer certification is right for you.

Product Currency: USD

Product Price: 99

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:


  • 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

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

ACTION cpt faqs - ACTION CPT Review  - frequently asked questions

Is ACTION CPT a Quality Cert?

ACTION is a good cert for people not looking to invest much into the certification process. You can definitely spend a bit more and get a higher quality and greater brand name in fitness.

How does the work schedule look for someone in personal training?

It will entirely depend on what type of job you get in the fitness industry, but in general, schedules can be fixable to your life. You can oftentimes set your own hours to match your day well.

How tough is the Action CPT Certification Exam?

Action is far from the toughest certification exam in fitness; that title belongs to NSCA, but it is still not a 100 percent guarantee and you should make sure to study well going in.

Is Action CPT a fake certification?

Action is not a fake company; they offer real products and study packages once you have paid for their material. They are the cheapest, so it makes sense that people become skeptical.


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, not much more. 

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 - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

Tyler Read

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36 thoughts on “Action Personal Training Certificate Review 2024 – Full Breakdown”

  1. How quickly can you take the exam after registering for the classes? Can it be taken immediately or do you need to pass the classes first?

    • Hey Cam, You definitely should try to pass all of the classes first, but I do not believe it is fully required once you take on the program.

  2. I had a terrible experience with Action. I signed up because I was interviewing for a job that required a PT cert. I logged on once and found it difficult to learn with their resources. Long story short, I didn’t get the job and Action refused to refund my money even though I didn’t use the learning portal. Rebecca even accused me of lying, saying she saw that I had logged in. She was very rude. Anyone interested in a PT cert would be better served spending the extra money for a superior product with a more reputable organization.

    • Hey Amberly,
      Sorry to hear that you had a horrible experience with the action certification. I totally agree, they have been around for a long time but are not the most reputable organization. I would definitely recommend either going with a more recognized organization such as ISSA for the National Academy of sports medicine. Your certification is still NCCA accredited and you should be able to get a job at any commercial gyms such as 24 Hour Fitness Etc. Sorry for your horrible experience with them.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

    • 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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?

  7. 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?


    • 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.

  8. 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.

    • 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.

  9. 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.

    • 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.

  10. 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.

    • 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.

  11. 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

  12. Hi,
    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

  13. 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.

    • 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.


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