Easiest personal training certifications review. Tyler Read holds the textbooks in front of white board saying easiest cpt

Welcome to my PTPioneer article featuring the top 9 easiest personal training certifications.

Having reviewed each of these using my experience as a personal trainer for over 10 years, I’m able to give an accurate assessment of their overall quality. 

There are a ton of easy fitness training certifications out there, some of which are more difficult than others. In this article I breakdown the following:

  • Each personal trainer certification ranked from easiest to hardest training certification
  • Continuing education credits and recertification
  • What is the easiest personal training certification?

After reading this article, I can promise you’ll find the easiest personal trainer certification to fit your career goals and needs.

However, if you’re still undecided about which personal trainer certification is best for you, I highly recommend you take the quiz to see which of these fitness organizations matches your training style.

What type of Certification are you looking to get?

Now let’s explore each easy personal training certification, shall we?

Our Top Picks

CPTCPTFeaturesPrice
ISSA CPT

ISSA CPT

  • Excellent Coverage of Technique and Aerobic Training
  • Good Programming and Periodization
  • Minimal Corrective Exercise
  • Best Fitness Certification Bundles
Check ISSA Pricing
NASM CPT

NASM CPT

  • Solid Corrective Exercise
  • Versatile OPT Model
  • Solid Behavior Change Coaching
Check NASM Pricing
NCSF CPT

NCSF CPT

  • Lower cost than comparable certifications
  • Contains essential knowledge for CPTs
  • Great online portal
  • Less brand recognition
Check NCSF Pricing

When it comes to finding the best personal trainer certification, there are some extremely challenging exams. 

For example, take the National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA-CSCS) certification.

This is rated as a gold standard certification, but it’s a tough one.

It has a 55% pass rate, which means that you’re almost as likely to fail as you are to pass, whereas the ISSA-CPT has an 89.9% pass rate, making ISSA the easiest personal training certification to pass from an organization out there. 

Determining which certification you’re more likely to obtain is pretty clear.

Not only is the ISSA-CPT the easiest, but they’re also one of the cheapest personal training certifications when purchased with the ISSA Elite Trainer package.

This includes their ISSA CPT program, ISSA Nutritionist certification, and another certification you choose for a reduced price.

Keep in mind, too, that ISSA occasionally runs deals on their website for the Elite Trainer program, so if there’s currently a deal or sale on the Elite Trainer program, it’s pretty tough to pass up for the value you get.

I’d highly recommend the ISSA Elite Trainer package discount to save you money and get more certifications, which can potentially boost your training business and income along with other benefits. 

But enough of that, the thing is, there are many easy certifications available for you to choose from. Unfortunately, a lot of the easy-to-pass certifications are the ones you must watch out for. 

As is the case with many goods and services, especially the internet variety, many scams are lurking.

Exclusive PTP CPT Offers


Gold Standard Cert
NASM Gold Standard Personal Trainer Certification - Save 25&percnt off
Most Popular Cert
ISSA - Most Popular Online Personal Trainer Certification 3 Certs for
Best Study Materials
TA - Trainer Academy - Best Study Materials for Personal Trainer Certification Online - See MVP discount
A Good Option
ACE Certification- A Good Fitness Course Online Option - 25&percnt off
A Good Option
NCSF Certification - A Good Option - Save 25%
Best CPT for you?
Best CPT For You? Take the Personal Trainer Certification Online quiz and Get a Personalized Recommendation Just for You

And according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the personal trainer job outlook is higher than average, at 39%, so it’s no wonder scammers know you want to find out how to get personal training certification with ease.

But for the sake of brevity, I won’t be dealing with those fake certifications and bogus programs.

Instead of trying to weed out the bad, I’ll teach you how to spot some of the best personal trainer certifications, nutrition certification programs, and even online personal trainer certifications.

And to figure out which certifications to avoid, you’ll need to look out for accreditation.

Let’s dive deeper into what this means.

personal training qualifications

The major qualification you need to be a personal trainer is having an NCCA-accredited personal training certification. While this is far from all it takes to be a successful personal trainer, it’s the foundation for which you will build your entire career.

Follow the accreditation

Before even looking at the personal trainer certification cost, you should look for credibility and official recognition.

And that boils down to accreditation, which is basically a certification’s certification or a badge of authenticity and verification.

Basically, a panel of industry governing experts supports and recognizes the certification.

As I mentioned earlier, you must know two accrediting bodies – the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) and the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).

While the NCCA is older and more recognized as an accrediting body, the DEAC is more recent and was founded in response to the growing need for accredited remote learning certifications.

No matter what you do, make sure to look out for one of these two as a seal of authenticity. Gyms and employers like seeing an accredited certification over one that is not quality-controlled. 

Now you’re ready to pick the best personal training certification!

Easiest Personal Training Certifications

The 9 certifications listed below are the easiest personal trainer certifications.

The following personal training programs are ranked from easiest to hardest based on the pass rate of their certification exam.

Note that the order of this list does not necessarily represent my top personal training certifications, just the easiest.

ISSA-CPT

Easiest personal training certifications - ISSA CPT textbook laid out with a copy of scantron exam next to it and a sharpie

Number one on my list of the easiest certification programs is the ISSA Certified Personal Trainer (ISSA-CPT).

ISSA stands for International Sports Sciences Association, emphasizing the international part since ISSA is available in multiple language regions and numerous countries.

ISSA is also unique in that, although accredited, it isn’t with the NCCA.

Exclusive PTP CPT Offers


Gold Standard Cert
NASM Gold Standard Personal Trainer Certification - Save 25&percnt off
Most Popular Cert
ISSA - Most Popular Online Personal Trainer Certification 3 Certs for
Best Study Materials
TA - Trainer Academy - Best Study Materials for Personal Trainer Certification Online - See MVP discount
A Good Option
ACE Certification- A Good Fitness Course Online Option - 25&percnt off
A Good Option
NCSF Certification - A Good Option - Save 25%
Best CPT for you?
Best CPT For You? Take the Personal Trainer Certification Online quiz and Get a Personalized Recommendation Just for You

ISSA is accredited by the DEAC, which deals with the authentication of distance and remote learning programs.

The DEAC-approved courses have slightly different standards than the NCCA. 

Since ISSA is done almost completely online, this unique accreditation makes total sense.

The ISSA-CPT certification exam is an open book, making it extremely manageable regarding passing probability.

The current pass rate is 89.9%.

Not only is ISSA the easiest certification to pass, but it is also one of my top three overall certifications due to several aspects.

You’ll cover all the important topics from functional anatomy, human biomechanics, physiology, and proper exercise techniques to learning how you can become a successful personal trainer.

ISSA prepares you to sell personal training and provides some great personal training marketing ideas for you to kick off your career.

Recertification is required of its trainers every two years, so they earn those continuing education credits.

Also, ISSA offers one of the best group fitness certifications as well, so if you’re considering teaching group classes for that added job flexibility, go for the ISSA Group Exercise Instructor (ISSA-GEI) certification.

The ISSA-GEI will teach you the tools to become a group fitness instructor in no time and at your convenience.

Think you might be interested in the CPT credential?

Visit my ISSA review and then check out my free ISSA study guide and practice test for assistance in prepping for success with the exam.

Note that ISSA has two exams now. The DEAC-approved exam, which is the easier one, and a NCCA-accredited exam through the NCCPT, which is harder. 

The NCCPT exam has a 70% pass rate, so if you want the easier of the two exams, make sure to do the DEAC-online exam.

ISSA General Information

  • Exam cost: $999.00 (only purchased with study materials)
  • Study material cost: $83.25/month for 12 months
  • Prerequisites: CPR/AED, High School Diploma
  • Exam passing score: Scaled 550/800 – 90/125 Scored Questions
  • Exam pass rate: 89.99% 
  • Average completion time: 3 to 5 months

NASM-CPT

Easy personal trainer certification - NASM CPT textbook laid out with a copy of scantron exam next to it and a sharpie

Next up, we have the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) personal trainer certification.

The NASM-CPT is one of the most reputable certifications you can get behind your name.

Its online training course has high industry recognition and is globally regarded as one of, if not the best, fitness certifications.

NASM logo

With NASM, the focus is on a corrective exercise approach to personal training.

Even their corrective exercise training program, the NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist (NASM-CES) is a great  specialization on the market, allowing you to help prevent injuries in clients. 

The NASM CPT covers all the right fundamentals and exercise concepts effectively without being prohibitively complex and you’ll also learn great ways to motivate your clients in the gym. 

Though the NASM-CPT exam offers enough of a challenge to test your commitment to applied knowledge, it’s not too much that it can be considered hard.

For this reason, the NASM-CPT sits somewhere on the moderate side of this scale, with a pass rate of 74% for first-time test takers as of 2020 data.

However, just like ISSA, NASM now has a fully online version of their persona trainer exam which is open book, with a pass rate of around 90%.

So, if you want the easier of the two exams, make sure to pick the online version.

Just like with ACE, NASM continuing education credits are easy to obtain in-person and online.

For example, if you want to learn how to become a nutrition coach, you can do so through the NASM-CNC certification, which will award you continuing education credits toward your CPT.

Individuals are required to renew their cert every two years.

NASM is the third certification on my list of overall top three certifications.

Overall, the NASM-CPT is probably the most well-recognized certification in the industry today for both live in-person and online personal trainers.

If you’re interested in this full-bodied online course, check out my NASM-CPT review and even take a sneak peek at my free NASM study guide and practice test for better understanding. 

NASM-CPT General Information

  • Exam cost: $899+
  • Study material cost: Included in exam cost
  • Prerequisites: High School Diploma (or GED), CPR/AED certification from a qualifying provider
  • Exam passing score: 70%
  • Exam pass rate: 79% (proctored), 90% (non-proctored)
  • Average completion time: 3-6 months
Easiest Personal Trainer Certifications - the [year] List 3
Easiest Personal Trainer Certifications - the [year] List 4

ACTION CPT

Easiest personal trainer certifications - Action CPT textbook laid out with a copy of scantron exam next to it and a sharpie

ACTION is a new certifying agency, and its certification is for a new kid on the block.

Having only gained NCCA accreditation in 2014, ACTION still has a far way to go before fully gaining the same level of recognition in the fitness industry as some other big ones on this list.

One unique aspect of the ACTION CPT certification is its cost, which is as follows:

  • Basic: $99
  • Professional: $149
  • Platinum: $249

The Basic plan comes with the textbook and a digital verification badge.

The Professional and Platinum plans include the following:

  • Main textbook
  • Free Kindle textbook
  • Flashcards
  • Digital verification badge
  • Personal job reference letter
  • Personal training from a library
  • Professionally written business plan

The Professional and Platinum plans also include access to the best personal trainer insurance rates.

Along with the ISSA-CPT, it is one of the cheapest personal trainer certifications accredited by the NCCA that you can get your hands on.

While the quality of content offered by this program is agreeable, it doesn’t hold much when compared to the other more established fitness programs discussed in this article.

Although the current pass rate is unknown, from what I’ve come across in reviews and forums, the exam is easy enough for a substantial majority of first-time exam takers to pass.

Recertification is a requirement every two years.

ACTION CPT General Information

 

Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

Tyler Read


All Posts

PTPioneer Editorial Integrity


All content published on PTPioneer is checked and reviewed extensively by our staff of experienced personal trainers, nutrition coaches, and other Fitness Experts. This is to make sure that the content you are reading is fact-checked for accuracy, contains up-to-date information, and is relevant. We only add trustworthy citations that you can find at the bottom of each article. You can read more about our editorial integrity here.

Ask me a question and I will reply ASAP

10 thoughts on “Easiest Personal Trainer Certifications – the 2024 List”

  1. Hi Tyler! Thanks for the article. In order to take advantage of the ISSA fast track program (4 weeks), you have to sign up for one of their 12 month programs. I was hoping that was not the case.

    Reply
    • Hey Aileen, that does appear to be the case. The fast track program helps simplify studying and shorten your study time.

      Reply
  2. Good morning,
    I’m interested in getting my certification for personal use not for training purposes. I want to learn the correct way to exercise, workouts and nutrition. I kindly ask for your opinion on what you suggested is best for me.

    Reply
    • Hey Hope, I think an organization like ISSA or NASM would be most optimal for you. They have strong Exercise Science foundations and they both teach the design of exercise programs well. These are currently my two favorite programs.

      Reply
    • Hey Phebe, many of these certification organizations do have an international presence, but since I focus primarily on the US and Canada, it would be best for you to call around and see what certifications are accepted at your ideal place of employment.

      Reply
  3. Hello and good evening!

    I’m havinh trouble picking the right cert. I’m thinking the ISSA CPT might be the best one because im a high school coach in two sports and I just want to be able to train other kids in different sports and possibly do virtual training with clients. In this time i might have to shift my work to virtual and trying to become more licensed in my coaching certs. I’m licensed to coach basketball and soccer. What cert would benefit me most? Thank you for your help!

    Reply
    • The ISSA certification is definitely great for online training. All of them are good options as these are General personal training certifications. If you are looking to get a strength-and-conditioning certification as well, I suggest checking out the NASM PES or the CSCS if you have a 4 year degree.

      Reply
  4. Overall. What is the least expensive, easiest and accredited PT course to take out of them all?
    Basically, I just need the credentials on paper to start working.

    Reply
    • Hey John,
      Well do you want to know what the easiest certification is? Or do you want to know what the cheapest personal training certification is? The easiest certification is ISSA, hands down. The cheapest personal training certification is the Action CPT.

      Reply

Find the best Cert for you

Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The ISSA Exam

18749

Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The CSCS Exam

18749

Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The ACSM Exam

18749

Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The ISSA Nutritionist Exam

18749

Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NCSF CPT Exam

18749

Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NASM CNC Exam

18749

Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NASM PES Exam

18749

Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NASM CES Exam

18749

Get the top 5 Tips for Passing the ACE CPT

18749

Get the top 5 Tips for Passing the NASM CPT

18749

Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NSCA CPT Exam

18749

Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The ACE Exam

18749

Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NASM Exam

18749