6 Best Group Fitness Certifications [2023 Prices & Reviews]

Welcome to PTPioneer!

Today’s article is a detailed review of the 6 best Group Fitness Certifications for personal trainers interested in group fitness training, in which I’ll compare each one based on the following:

Certification focus
Cost, study materials, and exam
Earning potential

After reading this entire article, there’s no doubt that you’ll be able to choose a group fitness certification with utmost confidence.

However, if you’re still undecided, even after reading, then I’d highly recommend that you take the quiz to get an estimate on which group training certification is the best fit for you overall.

Let’s take a peek at each of my best group fitness instructor certifications below.

6 Best Group Fitness Certifications [[year] Prices & Reviews] 5
The 6 Best Group Fitness Certifications [In 2023]

The Best Group Fitness Certifications

In case you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out my articles on the following:

Interested in health coaching?

You can even learn how to become a health coach.

Having additional certifications to complement your group instructor certification enables you to provide more services.

The more you’re able to do to help more people live better lives, the more money you’ll earn.

And one of the group fitness and personal trainer benefits is simply that you’re making a living by helping others.

In my perspective, the top two group exercise certifications are definitely the ISSA Certified Group Exercise instructor (ISSA-GEI) and the Fitness Mentors Virtual Group Fitness Instructor (FM-VGFI).

However, I do favor ISSA for the following reason.

The ISSA-GEI has extreme value, especially if purchased in the ISSA Elite Trainer package.

This includes their ISSA CPT program, ISSA Nutritionist certification, and a third of your choice, which in this case, could be the ISSA-GEI.

There’s no doubt you’ll earn more money once certified as an Elite Trainer than you spent shelling out to cover your overall personal trainer certification cost.


Keep in mind, too, that ISSA occasionally runs deals on their website for the Elite Trainer program, so if it’s up for grabs, consider going for it while you can.

If there’s currently a deal on the Elite Trainer program, it’s pretty tough to pass up.

1) ISSA Certified Group Exercise Instructor (ISSA-GEI)

6 Best Group Fitness Certifications [[year] Prices & Reviews] 6

The International Sports Sciences Association Certified Group Exercise Instructor (ISSA-GEI) is one of the newer group fitness certifications on the market.

It has a heavy focus on creating effective yet safe programs for a wide variety of clients and capabilities.

With the ISSA group fitness certification, you’ll discover your training style, the essential training equipment you’ll want to work with, and how to market your class and expand your business.

So not only does ISSA teach you how to become a group fitness instructor, but ways to market your class and training, which thus increases your overall personal trainer salary.

Highlighted below are some other things you’ll learn from the ISSA-GEI:

  • Performing safe fitness assessments
  • Effectively programming routines for a variety of clientele
  • Different types of classes (i.e. flexibility, endurance, strength, or cardiovascular fitness)
  • Choosing the perfect equipment for your specific class and objectives
  • Marketing yourself as a group fitness instructor and growing your business

Overall, you’ll learn a great deal.

Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if you become the one clients reach out to for some personal training tips or even tips for beginner core workouts.

If you’re truly good at what you do, then class members may become potential personal training clients and vice versa.

How do you study for this certification?

In this next section, let’s explore the ISSA-GEI cost, study materials, and exam.

ISSA-GEI Cost, Study Materials, and Exam

Although the ISSA-GEI certification is highly reputable and provides outstanding fitness instructor education, it is among one of the cheapest personal training certifications.

When you purchase the ISSA-GEI, you will receive the following:

  • The main textbook
  • A study workbook to guide you through the textbook
  • Access to their online exercise lab (which includes 250 animated exercises)
  • Free access to an ISSA-certified group exercise specialist for assistance
  • Practice quizzes and tests
  • Access to the online student forum,
  • A free, professional website designed for you

You can study at your own pace using a wide variety of the study materials provided to you, and whenever you are ready to take the exam, you can hop right online and do so.

Since you don’t have to go to a test-taking facility in order to get certified, this group fitness training certification is international.

The ISSA-GEI is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).

Founded in 1926, the DEAC is a private, non-profit organization that operates as an institutional accreditor of distance education institutions.

As far as cost is concerned, this certification typically ranges between $599 and $799, however, ISSA offers a monthly payment option for those who prefer it.

Although this is the newest group fitness certification, it is already one of my top choices for those who envision themselves as successful trainers.

2) Fitness Mentors Virtual Group Fitness Instructor (FM-VGFI)


Fitness Mentors (FM) built up quite a significant reputation in delivering second to none career guidance and business acceleration strategies to fitness professionals worldwide.

Today, they also offer a suite of fantastic health and fitness certifications fully accredited by DEAC.

This puts FM in league with all other legacy certifying agencies such as ISSA, ACE, and NASM.

Although FM still has a long way to go before it can claim the same heritage, its strides with its online and entrepreneurial take on fitness have them poised to be the dominant institution in the next phase of fitness.

In my perspective, this alone is what makes FM one of the best online trainer certifications.

Their Virtual Group Fitness Instructor Certification (FM-VGFI) takes the traditional approach of group fitness and adapts it to the online fitness sector.

This exclusively online course is not only designed to teach you how to become a group exercise instructor but more so, to help you take over group fitness from across cyberspace.

Especially if you envision yourself as an online trainer, then this course is probably the best for you.

Don’t get me wrong, this has everything that a general live/in-person group exercise certification has, but it includes plenty of information on how to be a successful group exercise coach digitally.

Let’s check out exactly what you’ll get.

FM-VGFI Cost, Study Materials, and Exam

The FM V-GFI alone typically costs $499, and comes with the following:

  • Certification exam
  • Digital textbook
  • Audiobook
  • Video lectures
  • Business growth assignments
  • Programming templates
  • Student support

However, when it comes to Fitness Mentors certification programs, and even other fitness certifications in general, it’s always best to go for entire package deals if you can.

FM deals include at least one extra certification at a significant markdown on both.

For example, the FM Pro bundle would include the FM V-GFI and two other certifications for just $899.

The study materials are pretty good, and that’s excluding all the extras you’d get with a bundle package.

The exam is a 50-question multiple-choice exam administered entirely online. 

You will be allowed to attempt it three times before the retake policy kicks in, and the retake policy requires that you pay $50 to retake the exam.

To pass and eventually become certified, you’ll need to score at least 70% overall.

Just like the ISSA-GEI, you can also pick up the FM V-GFI by itself or as part of a package deal.

And package deals are highly recommended if you plan on doing any other type of training such as personal training, health coaching, etcetera.

3) ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor


Over the last couple of decades, group exercise classes have exploded in popularity.

The rise of Zumba, yoga, cross-fit, indoor cycling, and body pump has swept across the nation, and nearly every single gym provides a variety of group fitness classes to its members.

At first, general personal trainers used to teach these classes, but they had little to no instruction on how to do so correctly.

This led the American Council on Exercise (ACE) to create its own group fitness instructor certification for a more organized, systematic way to teach these classes to be efficient and fun.

The instructors of those classes needed education on the dynamics of group exercise training, and this fact alone birthed the ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor certification.

The ACE group fitness instructor handbook teaches you how to properly design, construct, choreograph, and safely lead large group classes.

Aside from learning class choreography for more structured classes, you’ll learn ways to get creative with your exercises in classes that aren’t choreographed or structured.

Unlike most other certifying agencies out there, the ACE group exercise certification is nonprofit and sticks to its primary goal of helping individuals live exceptional and healthy lives.

ACE was also one of the first group fitness certifications to be NCCA accredited.

NCCA stands for the National Commission for Certifying Agencies and is recognized as the gold standard accreditation in the fitness industry.

Established in 1987 by the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE), the NCCA is an independent, non-governmental agency that sets the standards for professional certification programs.

NCCA accredited group fitness certifications are highly reputable.

As of right now, there are 13,000 individuals certified with the ACE group fitness certification.

That number is multiplying, but it’s no surprise why.

ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor Cost, Study Materials, and Exam

Right now as we speak, ACE is offering two separate bundles on their website for the group fitness instructor certification.

The first bundle will cost you $299 and includes the following study materials:

  • Primary textbook
  • Booklet on the essentials of exercise science
  • Booklet to help you “master the manual”
  • Access to their online resource center
  • Entrance to take their official certification exam

On the other hand, their more expensive bundle is called the Premium bundle and will cost you $499.

But even with this option, ACE is still one of the cheapest group fitness certifications on the market, in line with ISSA.

Their Premium package contains everything that the first package does, but includes a booklet containing sample tests and the “ACE Academy,” which is a fantastic 12-week series over e-mail.

The best thing about the ACE Academy is that you will have one-on-one access to call or e-mail a qualified ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor.

If you have questions (which I’m sure you will, you will also have access to a private tutor whom you can contact.

But most students who took the exam will claim that ACE holds one of the easiest personal training certifications and group fitness programs.

4) AFAA Group Fitness Instructor (AFAA-CGFI)

6 Best Group Fitness Certifications [[year] Prices & Reviews] 7

The Athletics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) offers two different ways to get certified for their group exercise certification – on-site or online.

The point of these two AFAA group exercise certification options is to try and extend their reach to as many people worldwide as they possibly can.

Every certifying agency should require their test takers to be monitored to ensure that they do not cheat on the test.

And I like that even the online AFAA group exercise practice tests are monitored via webcam to make sure people don’t cheat.

I have read some forums on the AFAA Group Fitness Instructor (AFAA-CGFI) certification that it is relatively easy to use your study materials and cheat the system.

Enrolled in the AFAA Group Fitness Instructor (AFAA-CGFI) certification program?

Save $150 on the ACE Group Fitness Instructor Certification
See the ACE Group Sale Here
Get a free prize with the ISSA specialist in group fitness Certification
See the ISSA Group Special Here
Save $150 on the ACE Health Coach Certification
See the ACE Health Coach Sale Here

Here’s what you’ll get when you purchase your study course.

Let me go ahead and provide you with some information on the AFAA group fitness exam as well as the cost and study materials.

AFAA-CGFI Cost, Study Materials, and Exam

The last time I checked the AFAA website, both the on-site and online AFAA-CGFI courses were $299, however, I have frequently seen discounts for the online version which they offer for $199.

The AFAA group fitness certification cost includes entrance to the exam and all of the online study materials.

You will have 12 months to take the certification exam after you purchase the package, which in my perspective, is plenty of time to get all of your studying done.

You can take the AFAA group fitness practice exam, which complements the AFAA group fitness study guide.

Also, I’d say that AFAA offers the right amount of study materials, especially when compared to the limited options offered by ACSM.

They offer 14 different video lectures that can all be accessed online.

The primary textbook is in PDF format which makes it easy for you to access it on your tablet or smartphone and encourages you to study for your AFAA group fitness test wherever you go.

Need some additional guidance?

Another feature included in the AFAA-CGFI course is access to a video conference with an AFAA professional instructor.

I have heard that sometimes these can be one-on-one sessions, but more often than not, you will be in a group with other students.

This is pretty cool because you can get answers to a lot of the questions you may have through these conferences.

Ready to take the exam?

You can take the exam at any test-taking facility if you purchase the on-site version.

You can buy physical textbooks from their website if you prefer them as well.

5) ACSM Certified Group Exercise Instructor (ACSM-GEI)

American College of sports medicine or ACSM

The best thing that I like about the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Certified Group Exercise Instructor (ACSM-GEI) certification is its strong focus on camaraderie.

There are many ways that you as the instructor can raise the motivation in your class and provide a friendly atmosphere.

The primary sections of the ACSM-GEI textbook cover the following:

  • Endurance and cardiovascular
  • Health and wellness
  • Strength
  • Flexibility section
  • Motor skills
  • Body composition

Similar to other fitness certification programs, here are some prerequisites that you’ll need to fulfill:

  • You must be 18 years old
  • You must have a current and valid CPR/AED certification
  • You must have graduated from high school (diploma) or the equivalent (GED)

So make sure you meet them all in order to qualify.

This goes for all certifications.

ACSM-GEI Cost, Study Materials, and Exam

Unlike the ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor certification, there is only one package that you can purchase through ACSM.

And that is the ACSM-GEI.

However, there are two separate costs depending on whether you are a member of ACSM or not, which is similar to all of their other certifications.

Also, the study materials are sold separately from the test.

While the most current cost for members of ACSM is $219, the cost for non-members is $279.

If you do not pass the exam on your first try, then it will cost you a steep $150 to retake it.

ACSM offers two primary textbooks to study for the exam.

The primary manual, titled “Resources for the Group Exercise Instructor,” can be purchased from the ACSM website for $72.99.

The smaller second book, called “The Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription,” can also be purchased from the ACSM website, but for $41.99.

Overall, I think that the ACSM-GEI certification is all right.

This certifying agency is one of the most well-renowned in the fitness industry not only for their general personal trainer certification but also for their more advanced CSCS certification.

Personally, I am not a huge fan of there being different costs for being a member versus not being a member of ACSM, but others may be.

Also, in my perspective, ACSM would be much better off if they package the study materials and final exam into one to make it easier for their customers.

And finally, I do not think that the ACSM group fitness certification curriculum or study resources are as good as the materials from ISSA or ACE.

They should have an online version of the textbook and study materials because everything is digital these days (and I love my personal training software!).

6) NETA Group Exercise Certification

6 Best Group Fitness Certifications [[year] Prices & Reviews] 8

The final certification that I will be talking about is the NETA group exercise certification.

Although it’s not the most well-known certifying agency out there, NETA has helped over 130,000 fitness professionals over the last 33 years.

They offer a bunch of niche certifications, such as barre, pilates, and senior fitness, as well that I have talked about on my website.

NETA certainly provides a strong foundation for beginner personal trainers through effective yet safe practices and exceeds expectations on small group personal training tips.

The curriculum for the group exercise certification focuses a lot more on music selection, cueing, and timing of your class instruction.

Let’s jump ahead to the NETA Group Exercise certification cost, study materials, and the exam.

NETA Group Exercise Certification Cost, Study Materials, and Exam

Through NETA, you will have two different options for you to get certified.

The first option is to attend a one-day workshop in which the exam will be administered at the end.

The second option is the test-only option in which you have to take the exam at a test-taking facility administered by Comira.

In my perspective, NETA does not do the best job in regards to their test-taking procedures and they are not as strict as they should be.

Compared to the other group fitness certification options, the NETA Group Exercise certification is not nearly as difficult.

The first option only requires a one-day workshop before you can take the exam, which is not nearly enough time to learn all the material necessary to be a great group exercise instructor.

Moreover, there are two different ways you can pay for the NETA Group Exercise certification, which are as follows:

  • Early Bird: $299
  • Standard: $349

Keep in mind that the Early Bird special only applies to you if you register at least 30 days prior to the workshop.

While these fees cover the workshop and proctored certification exam, the study materials are sold separately.

What are the Benefits of Obtaining a Group Fitness Certification?

In obtaining a group fitness certification, you will surely gain many essential skills which will help enhance your fitness career and grow your personal training business.

Not only will you be fantastic at working with larger groups, but you will become a much more diverse and skilled personal trainer with one-on-one or smaller groups.

For instance, the active lifestyle and lots of physical activity that group fitness classes encourage will definitely help your clients adopt healthy lifestyles that last a lifetime.

Being certified as a group fitness instructor also opens you up to a plethora of opportunities and makes you much more desired as a personal trainer.

You can even choose specific certifications for the classes you desire to teach and/or your niche.

Here are some examples:

  • Bootcamp certification
  • Barre instructor certification
  • Pilates instructor certification
  • Step aerobic certification

If you’re a personal trainer, consider looking into personal training for seniors.

You could teach small group fitness classes at local gyms, in their homes, or in their apartment complex gyms or clubhouses.

Once I became certified as a group fitness instructor, I got most of my one-on-one personal training clients to also take classes with me.

The biggest win for me was converting members in the group exercise classes into one-on-one personal training clients.

This is where I saw a significant increase in my overall income.

Teaching group fitness classes give you access to a whole bunch of new leads.

It is also the best type of personal training marketing method and if you can sell personal training, then you will have no trouble obtaining and retaining clients.

After all, a good personal trainer is one who stays sharp in the fitness game.


Conclusion on the Best Group Fitness Certifications

As I mentioned at the beginning of my article, a group fitness certification can open up many doors for you.

You can gain a lot more clients and therefore make a lot more money by converting class members into personal training clients and vice versa.

Plus, the energy that comes along with leading group exercise classes makes it extremely fun.

(So if you ever questioned “are fitness instructors happy,” my only answer would be, when are they not!)

Group Fitness Certification

While not all certifications mentioned here are equal, any one of them is better than no group instructor certification at all, especially if you are considering teaching a class.

Also, if you’re a personal trainer, obtaining any of the group fitness certifications would fulfill your continuing education credits (CECs) for your CPT and allow you to offer group strength training.

And finally, especially if you decide to work independently, consider personal trainer insurance to protect yourself from any potential legal actions.

Overall, I do hope that my article on the best group fitness certifications was helpful and that you can now make your choice confidently.

See you after class!

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.

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.

43 thoughts on “6 Best Group Fitness Certifications [2023 Prices & Reviews]”

  1. PTPioneer User

    Good day,
    A friend of mine recently opened a gym and offered me the opportunity to teach the boot camp/drills a few days a week. Super excited, I took the opportunity and I really enjoy it but I would like to know more about group training. I recently took the TRX suspension training course and it was AWESOME! I learned a lot as far as cue’s, NAPS-MR, etc… and of course I’m hooked so I signed up for the Group Training Course; but I would also like to get certified for group training and eventually personal training. However, I’m torn between ACE, AFAA and NASM. After reading your article and hearing a few things from other instructors I eliminated AFAA but have you tried or heard anything about NASM’s group certification program?

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      Hey Ash,
      Good to hear that you are so excited about getting into the fitness industry. If you are looking to mostly do group training stuff I would recommend sticking with ACE. I think that their group exercise certification is better if not the best one out there.

        1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

          They have been around for a long time. They are very well respected in the industry and by employers also always have great study materials for all of their personal trainer certifications.

          1. PTPioneer User

            Hi Tyler,

            Thanks for all of the great information you provide, it’s very informative and helpful. I just registered for the ISSA Group Fitness training and I chose them based on the timeframe in which I’d like to get the certification and I saw that the exam could be taken online and I was under the impression that the ACE exam had to be taken at an exam center? My questions to you are as follows:
            1. Are the ISSA and ACE trainings equivalent as far as quality/current industry information?
            2. Is the ISSA certification “less” respected because of the open book test?
            3. If I study the ISSA material and pass the exam, would I be able to take the ACE certification without studying the ACE material or do you recommend that I study the ACE material as well?
            Thanks a million!

          2. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

            Both certifications are highly respected within the industry. You will definitely learn just as much from both of them. In terms of it being an open book test, it kind of is in this kind of not. I would definitely contact your future potential employer to see which certifications they accept. And no, you would not be able to pass the American Council on exercise exam from all of the study materials you learn from the international sports Sciences Association. You will need to study that separately in order to pass it. Good luck.

  2. PTPioneer User

    AAFA was always recommended to me but I notice you don’t have AAFA yourself and didn’t seem to have anything bad to say about it yet def didn’t recommend it as much as ACE. It would be good to see a chart ..what one offers, what one doesn’t, to easily compare as you were a bit mumbly in places. Thanks. I really appreciate this site.

  3. PTPioneer User

    Can you become certified as a group fitness instructor if you take the NASM personal training certification or would I need to also take an additional course for group fitness?

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      Hello Emily,
      Most people that are hiring group fitness instructors tend to hire people that are certified with a group exercise certification. Although with the knowledge you gain from the general personal training certification NASM, is not unheard of of people leaving group fitness classes. It really depends on the gym that you are going to work for in what they are looking for in a group fitness instructor. I’ve seen it go both ways. I hope this Helped answer your question.

  4. PTPioneer User

    Hello….Appreciate all the info. Can the ACE test be taken online? I was thinking about getting the ACE package with a study guide and exam, but can’t figure out where the test is taken. Do you have to purchase a study guide before taking the ACE exam? Can just pay to take the exam and study online.

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      You can just pay for the exam and it comes with study materials that can be found on the ACE online portal. You can take the ACE group fitness training exam online once you are done studying. I hope this helps answer all of your questions and good luck with all the studying.

  5. PTPioneer User

    Hi! I was considering to take the basic ACE package ($299) which does not include practical tests; if one uses the study guide alone, one may have less chance to pass the exam, since one may not know what type of questions or what material they like to emphasize more on.
    #1 What type of method to study do you recommend to best optimize one’s chances in passing the exam the first time.
    #2 What is the time range one needs to study provided they study every day the material 3-4hrs/day? What do you recommend in terms of how long should one take to study in order to pass the exam?

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      Hello Emily,
      Great questions. The study materials I usually suggest are a good study guide, the textbook obviously, flashcards and practice tests. I feel like these are the most important study materials for any personal training exam. In terms of the study time it takes to pass ACE, it really depends on how much knowledge of exercise and fitness you already have under your belt. If you study for 3 to 4 hours every single day, you can probably take this test in a month. If you do not have any experience with personal training or personal training certifications, I recommend three months study time for somebody just starting out.

  6. PTPioneer User

    Thanks for the great insights for all the available certifications. I hv better understanding on the choice of certification I like now .. thank u again

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      Hey ling,
      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment with your kind words. I really hope this information helps you make an informed decision on which group fitness certification to choose. Good luck with all the studying!

  7. PTPioneer User

    Thanks so much for this post! I was a bit confused when I came across the NASM Group Personal Training Specialization. How does it differ from the group certs you mentioned above? Are “Group Exercise” and “Group Personal Training” two different things?

    I’m currently in the process of studying for my personal training certification with NASM but would also like to instruct or teach groups, as well as, create online programs to sell to a variety of people. Would my NASM CPT be enough to do this, what path would you recommend I go?

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      Hey Lu,
      I am so glad that you enjoyed my article on group fitness certifications. Group exercise is more of how to train large groups of people for classes such as step classes, spin classes, zumba classes etc. Group personal training is typically smaller groups where people get more individual attention. There is a gray area though and they do mix quite frequently. The national Academy of sports medicine general certification will be fine for small group personal training sessions totally. If you want to get into larger groups, I do suggest picking up a group fitness certification as well. It all depends on what the gym requires of you in order to hold these types of classes.

  8. PTPioneer User

    Hey Tyler! Love your articles, but I do have question though. I have been leaning toward getting the AFAA Group fitness cert or getting the CrossFit level 1 certification. I really enjoy teaching my group classes with my personal training cert, but I do want to expand my knowledge on it. I currently teach HIIT classes and I was wondering if you would suggest which of the two I should pick for this type of training class. Thank you!

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      hello Anne,

      I think that the best option for a group exercise certification would be the international sports sciences Association or ISSA. This is due to the fact that everything is online including the final exam. Not only is the final exam online, it is also open book so there should be no anxiety involved while taking this exam. I hope this helps.

  9. PTPioneer User

    I teach Tai Chi, Meditation, and Qigong. I have taught these for decades without any sort of national certification. More and more, I am being asked for group exercise certifications when I apply to teach with corporations, benefits management companies, and gyms/health clubs.

    After 30 years, I am very well versed in running my classes, modifying movements based on age, strength, health, ability, safety in martial arts, safety in rehabilitation, fun with the group, music, etc etc.

    There are no offerings that I am aware of for certification in any of my areas of expertise. It would almost be insulting to be certified by a person or body who undoubtedly has less experience than me.

    In your opinion, is it worth it for me to spend the $ to certify, and if so, which body do you think is best?

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      Hey Bill,
      This can definitely be the case especially for people that have been working in the industry for a long time. Certifications are a necessary step in the fitness industry to try to weed out bad trainers. On the other hand, in your circumstance, you have a lot more experience than any certification can teach and that is invaluable. If you are trying to get it job at a new location though, most people require a certification as opposed to just handing them your resume. If this is your only concern, might as well get certified because it will be a walk in the park for you. I think AFAA, ACE and ISSA are all good options for group exercise certifications.

      1. PTPioneer User

        I’m still considering the value of this type of a cert for me – so few gyms offer Tai Chi, Qigong or Meditation (despite the tremendously healthy benefits each modality offers) that the cost of certification is more of a risk than a guarantee. Thank you for your site and your input.

  10. PTPioneer User

    Passing an exam and becoming certified doesn t automatically make you a good fitness instructor if not already experienced, you also have to make a concerted effort to practice and rehearse skills such as cueing and choreography which can t be instilled in you passively by studying from a book, manual or video.

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      Hey Finley,
      I couldn’t agree more with what you are saying. The best fitness instructors, group instructors, personal trainers etc. all practice their craft religiously. But it is also important to get a good base of knowledge before you jump in and start practicing for safety reasons.

  11. PTPioneer User

    Hello, I am looking to get certified as a group instructor but want to make sure the accreditation is well known. With that I know NCAA is very well known but what about NCCA in comparison to them? I am deciding between NETA and ACE
    Thanks Tyler

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      Hello April,
      I feel like you are talking about the same accreditation agency the NCCA. Both NETA as well as the American Council on exercise are both fantastic organizations that are accredited. I would lean more towards ACE personally, just because I really like their study materials and help.

  12. PTPioneer User

    Hola Tyler
    Te quiero preguntar en EEUU cual de todas las certificaciones de entrenador personal seria la mejor?
    Muchas gracias

  13. PTPioneer User

    Hey there!
    Hoping you can help. I am based in Europe and have no previous experience, just love group classes. I did your quiz and it recommended ISSA. Is it recognised across Europe and would you recommend it for someone with limited to no experience?

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      I know that it is recognized in multiple parts of Europe. But just like I tell everybody oh, you should check with the gymnasiums close to you that you would like to work at to see which certifications they accept. That’s the number one factor.

  14. PTPioneer User

    How frequently do you have to renew your certification? And if you have both this group fitness and personal training, do you have to renew both?

    The article about the personal training cert talked about educational credits, is there the same requirement for the group fitness cert? And is the first aid requirement the same? Or will I have to take 2 first aid courses?

    Sorry if you already answered some of these questions and I did not notice.

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      Renewing your certification usually comes every two years for the majority of the certifying agencies out there. All you will need to do is show proof of continuing education. They typically ask for approximately 20 hours of continuing education every two years.

  15. PTPioneer User

    Hey Tyler
    I have a passion to become a group instructor and I need to know what is the best option for me since I am not good at study or test. I am so much better with visuals rather than someone handing me a book, saying go study and then take a test. I am already certified in Spin. That was an easy day of 8 hour class, then taking a test with open book. I passed and have been instructing for two years. Love it. I want to go on and do group. What do you suggest for someone who isn’t great at study but would make an excellant instructor. Thanks

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      That sounds awesome and I’m glad that you already have a lot of experience in the fitness industry. Any of the group fitness certifications on this list should do just fine. Whichever one resume is best with you. I think that ACE it’s always a good option to go with.

  16. PTPioneer User
    Geraldine B Martin

    I would like to take the quiz, however I have never taught or done personal exercise training. What would be determined by taking the quiz? But I am interested in studying to become a trainor.

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      The quiz should really help you find which personal training certification is right for you. It’s just a general guideline, make sure to read the full article to understand.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The ISSA Exam


Before you spend your money on the wrong personal trainer, nutrition, or other fitness certification. 

Which Certification Is Best For You?


Find the best Cert for you

Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The CSCS Exam


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The ACSM Exam


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The ISSA Nutritionist Exam


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NCSF CPT Exam


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NASM CNC Exam


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NASM PES Exam


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NASM CES Exam


Get the top 5 Tips for Passing the ACE CPT


Get the top 5 Tips for Passing the NASM CPT


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NSCA CPT Exam


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The ACE Exam


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NASM Exam

Scroll to Top