Cooper Institute Review 2019 – Is Cooper Institute Worth it?

Welcome everybody to my official Cooper Institute review.

All help you break down the certification. After weighing all of the pros and cons, you will be able to make an educated decision on whether this certification is something you want to go for. Afterward, make sure to check out my big breakdown of the top five certifications as well as the step-by-step guide towards becoming a trainer. So, is Cooper Institute legit? Let’s find out!

The menu at the top of this page will answer any question related to personal training that you have. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave me a comment here (I’ll respond within 24 hours). Also, visit the home page for the most recent and popular articles.

Another tool to help you decide which personal training certification is right for you is to take the quiz in order to point you in the right direction.

Cooper Institute pros and cons


  • NCCA accredited
  • Great workshop


  • Not the best study materials
  • Not the cheapest certification for what you get
  • The workshop is only in Texas

For you individuals who like to digest their material in video format, here is the YouTube video I made on the Cooper Institute CPT about three years ago. In general, the article is more information in this more up-to-date.

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The Cooper Institute CPT is significantly different than most of the personal training certifications that I talk about on my website. It is a more hands-on and intensive program than some of the others.

It is almost like going through a college laboratory course. I only know one friend that has come through this course, so I sat him down and asked him some questions about it so that I could write my review.

My friend is not only certified through Cooper Institute. He has four certifications in total. His opinion means a lot to me because he can compare this certification to all of the others that he has gone through.

Let’s get right into this review and see how it stacks up against the other top certifications in the industry. If you want a handy comparison of all the different certifications, check out my article here.

If you are wondering how much money you can make in this industry, check out my article here.

Let’s get right into the Cooper Institute review!

Cooper Institute Personal Trainer Certification Review

Cooper Institute Review – General Information

The Cooper Institute certifying agency was established in 1970. It has a strong focus on preventative medicine. It is also a nonprofit research and educational organization.

Like most other personal training certifications, The Cooper Institute is NCAA accredited.  Most of the courses that they provide are located in Dallas, Texas.

The only way to get hands-on experience is to move to Dallas for a period. Recently they implemented an online study course which allows you to study and take the test at a designated location close to your hometown.

Overall, I think they offer an exceptional curriculum, professional advice, and excellent hands-on training if you can take their full course in Dallas.

Cooper Institute Certification Cost

There are a variety of options to prepare for the examination. One of the most popular choices is their CPT education course. The hands-on training course located in Dallas, Texas that I mentioned above will cost you $595.

The online version of this course will cost you $695. The price of the exam is separate from the study course. The combination of the examination plus the online study course will cost you approximately $900.

The online option is by far the most popular option since obviously, most people do not live in Dallas, but if you are lucky enough to live in Texas, you will find that their hands-on training will give you beneficial practical experience.

The instructors are top-notch. Besides the CPT education course, the Cooper Institute provides various manuals and textbooks that do an excellent job of covering their curriculum.

Get 3 certs for 1 with the ISSA Elite Trainer Program ($1,400 of savings).

Save 25% on NASM with code PTP25 or Save $200 on the ACE CPT.

50% off premium study materials for NASM, ISSA, ACE, CSCS or NSCA with links below
Study NASM - Study ISSA - Study ACE - Study CSCS
- Study NSCA

Of course, as with most other certifications, you need to be CPR certified and 18 years of age at the time you take the test.

The Cooper Institute Test

The Cooper Institute recommends that you study for a minimum of 75 hours with an additional 10 hours of one-on-one practice with family and friends to simulate real-world clients. The tests alone will cost you $289.

You do not need to go through the online course or even buy the textbooks if you feel confident enough to pass the test. But their curriculum is challenging, and I would not recommend going this route even if you have a degree in exercise science.

This is because they have a steep retest fee of $195, so you want to do all you can to make sure you pass the first time around. Similar to NASM’s use of PSI/Lasergrade facilities, the Cooper Institute lets you take their test at your nearest Pearson VUE test taking facility.

You can find these facilities in most major United States cities as well as Canada, Brazil, Mexico and the Virgin Islands. Check out this link for Pearson VUE location centers.

The exam is broken up into four main sections. The four sections are basic exercise science knowledge (30%), fitness assessments and medical review (20%), program design and evaluation (40%), and professional responsibilities and development (10%).

Your Cooper Institute certification is good for two years after you pass the test. Just like every other certification, you will need to complete continuing education credits to get recertified.


My overall Rating:

Cooper Institute Review [year] - Is Cooper Institute Worth it? 1

I am very excited that the Cooper Institute expanded their curriculum and test taking to an online format. If you do have a chance to attend their hands-on course in Dallas, Texas, I would highly recommend doing so.

I highly suggest you take the quiz to see which personal training is right for you. Especially if you are having a hard time choosing.

As I said above, their curriculum is pretty intense so you will need to bring your A-game to get certified (as with any other legitimate certification).

I do feel that the course is a little too expensive compared to some of the other certifications in what you get for the price, and they still have work to do on their online curriculum and study materials.

The Cooper Institute focuses on a wide range of topics and doesn’t go too deeply into anyone in particular. This is why I would put them in the “general” category for certifications.

The conclusion of this Cooper Institute review is that I think it is an excellent place to start for a beginning trainer. You may want to check with your local gym to see what certifications they prefer and find out if they accept the Cooper Institute certification.

A lot of people I’ve talked to have never heard of it. From my research, I have found that ACE and NASM are the two most prominent names in the industry.

Everyone knows who they are and most gymnasiums, as well as local employers, prefer them.

I am personally certified by both of them and can attest to the quality of both certifications. If you have any questions regarding the Cooper Institute certification or any other certifications, drop me a comment in the box below.

For more information, I suggest that you check out the Cooper Institute website. I also recommend that you check out my comparison section for direct one-on-one comparisons of certifications such as ACE vs ACSM, NASM vs ACE, NASM vs ACSM and ISSA vs NASM.

Health coaching is another area of the fitness industry that is growing in popularity, and I have a great article on that here!

2 thoughts on “Cooper Institute Review 2019 – Is Cooper Institute Worth it?”

  1. Bridget Scarbrough

    I have the CI Law Enforcement Specialist as well as PT and can attest to the quality of material and instruction. I took the LE at a week long workshop in VA and at the time I had my ACE. I will say that the CI instructors gave me many aha moments that I never understood before. I actually let my ACE cert go because I was so impressed with CI.

    1. Hello Bridget,
      I’m glad that you really enjoyed the CI program. Everybody that has taken it has heard good things. The only thing is that is is usually out of the price range for most people.

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