This is the most comprehensive review of the NASM certification in 2021.
In this review, we’ll present:
This article reviews everything you need to know about NASM, recertification – all gathered from my 10+ years of working with them!
Make sure to take the quiz to get a good idea of which certification is right for you.
Let’s hike right along!
Before we get started, I have three important things to tell you:
- I have free study guides and practice tests for all of the PT certifications including NASM.
- Trainer Academy has fantastic study materials and they offer a NASM exam pass guarantee.
- My Running Start course is 100% free and will guide you A to Z to starting your PT career.
Welcome to my NASM review, this is coach Tyler at your service.
I will be sharing all the relevant information as well as the pros and cons of this popular certification.
The overall goal is to help you gain the insights needed to decide whether or not this certification lines up with your training style and goals.
So, is NASM legit? Let’s find out.
NASM CPT Review Video
NASM Pros and Cons
- Possibly the certification with the highest credibility in the industry
- A wide variety of study packages to choose from and excellent study materials
- The OPT model is beneficial for a wide range of clients
- Has an emphasis on building your own business around personal training to help you grow professionally
- Has lots of information on corrective training and functional training
- The NASM Exam Cost for their packages (especially at the highest end) is on the high side
- The test is not easy (but overall, this is a good thing).
NASM Certification Review: What is the NASM Certification?
From this section, you’ll be introduced to the NASM certification and what it focuses on.
Join me to discover how you can use this certification to work with sedentary and overweight individuals.
Come along, and learn how to!
The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) certification is one of the most well-known certifications in the industry today.
Overall, I would put this certification in the “corrective exercise” category. It is an excellent certification for working with sedentary individuals and post-rehab clients.
Considering that most clients that personal trainers work with are sedentary and overweight, this is the ideal and complete certification for working with this population.
They also need to improve their eating habit so a specialty course on nutrition will be helpful. Check for the top fitness nutrition specialist certifications to balance your work and help your clients better.
Let’s jump right into my NASM review and see what it is all about for.
For those that want to choose the best fitness certifications in personal training and not sure about which of the many certification organizations to choose from, this is for you.
And if you have not done enough research on personal trainer certifications, I have an excellent article on my guide to starting a career as a personal trainer!
Check out the NASM website after the review for much more information and the most current prices.
General Information on NASM
This section introduces you to the history of NASM and the basis for its establishment.
Are you interested in knowing how the OPT model helps correct muscular imbalances?
Let me show you how below!
The National Academy of Sports Medicine, NASM, is a certifying agency established in 1987 and fully registered with the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) for compliance with the set standard.
Since its inception, it has grown to become one of the most prestigious certifications you can choose from as far as exercise science is concerned.
The NASM program is designed around its unique OPT (Optimum Performance Training) model.
This model has five phases of progression.
The beginning phase is called the stabilization phase.
I feel like this stage is the most important for working with a wide variety of clients. It emphasizes correcting muscular imbalances before moving on to strength training.
Since most of the individuals you will be working with are overweight and sedentary, this stabilization phase is critical.
By sitting all day, a person develops exceptionally tight hip muscles, weak ankles, and forward shoulders. Because their posture is so bad, injury from weightlifting is highly probable.
Correcting these imbalances is the first thing that should be done. NASM does a great job of fixing this.
There are a few prerequisites needed to acquire the NASM certification.
NASM requires approximately 20 hours of continuing education every two years.
As such, there is a wide variety of continuing education that they except and they even have their own courses or advanced certifications you can get that will fulfill this continuing education requirement.
Check here for more information!
NASM Certified Personal Trainer
Well, as you already know, the fitness industry has come to stay. it is growing and will continue to grow.
Report from many research work in the health and fitness industry concludes that the Certified Trainer job is result-oriented and so it leaves no room for mediocrity.
Personal Training is required for individuals that are conscious about their physical well being.
These folks are in high demand all over the world and work with all sorts of individuals to design exercise that suits the client’s needs.
Armed with the certificate, they can then work in gyms or outdoors or help other clients in their homes, using unique systems and models associated with NASM.
NASM Optimum Performance Training, OPT Model – The Game Changer!
The Optimum Training Model is a fitness training system developed by NASM.
The OPT Model is an exercise training model based on scientific evidence and principles that progresses an individual through five training processes.
Taking a client through the optimum training performance model makes everything very easy, safe and productive at the same time so that they can see the results that they deserve.
First is stabilization endurance. The trainer designs exercise training or activities that are targeted towards helping the client’s breathing and heart rate function properly.
These exercises include walking, jogging, swimming, and biking.
Secondly, you have the strength-building exercises. This involves weight lifting and many other fitness works.
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The third is hypertrophy. This is an exercise training system that helps with muscle building. Many clients hire Personal Trainers for this type of exercise alone.
Fourthly is a maximal strength exercise. This exercise is about basically testing how strong the client is. This type of exercise mainly includes squats.
Overhead squats, back squats, and fronts squats are strength-building exercises that personal trainers use to reduce body weight that is unhealthy.
The exercise trainer makes an overhead squat assessment and gives the client feedback on their progress.
The last is power. This is the combination of bodybuilding and powerlifting exercises.
This set of five exercise science routines developed by NASM has proven to be very effective among clients and NASM certified professionals are to thank for that.
In the end, NASM has successfully been using the OPT model to ultimately improve the lives of their clients who are from a diverse population (special or general).
The intensive program helps to reduce body fat, increase lean muscle mass and strength, and improve overall health and performance.
It’s time to show you the financial implications of becoming a NASM certified personal trainer.
You will discover the four different options you can pursue depending on your financial capability and schedule.
Ready? Let’s get right into it!
NASM offers four CPT programs.
The NASM certification cost for the very cheapest package is $699 and is called the self-study package.
Let me go over this package in a little more detail for you.
After talking a little bit about the NASM certification costs, I will explain how to get 25% off these prices with my special discount code.
From the title, you can tell that this program is about flexibility; you design your own schedule.
- NCCA Accredited Exam
- Series of lecture Videos
- Exercise Library
- NASM practice Exams
- online practice question/quizzes
- Comprehensive study guide
The second is the NASM CPT Self study premium program.
This program costs $1099
This program provides what self-study provides and much more, including:
- Anatomy Memorization Activity
- Correcting form videos
- Learning Activities
- Flashcard bundles
Since prices change frequently, check out the current prices here.
The third is the CPT guided study program
Guided study program costs $1499
This program gives you direct access to a team of coaches.
You will receive a mentor that is dedicated to working with you throughout the process of obtaining your CPT certification.
Benefits of applying for this program are;
- Reading materials and exam readiness webinars
- Access to coach and mentor
- Nine discussion questions
- Live workshop
- Exam prep guarantee
- NASM-CPT hardcopy textbook
The forth and the juiciest program is the All-Inclusive program.
You wouldn’t want to miss this one because you are guaranteed a NASM job offer.
This program cost $2199
The benefits are:
- NASM Job guarantee after the completion of your “Gymternship”
- Real-life experience working with experts
- Also, includes all the benefits you get from CPT guided program
The package even includes the ultimate level of assurance with the “Job Guarantee” which states that if you do not get a job within 90 days, you get your money back!
This package not only helps you get through the exam but also gets you on the fast track to becoming a thriving industry-leading personal trainer.
Check here for the most current packages that are available!
It also includes guidance on maintaining a successful personal training business perspective with their “NASM Business Accelerator Program.”
They provide actionable techniques to help you maximize your profits, your use of time, and the value that you provide when training clients.
Here are the current prices and my discounted price. Readers of my site can use my personal discount code PTP25 to save 25% on all NASM CPT certifications.
$699$524 (25% off) – Self-study package $824 (25% off) – Premium self-study package $1099 $1499$1024(25% off) – Guided self-study package $2199$1649 (25% off) – All-inclusive package
- Check out my special deal for 25% off
You can also split this cost into four separate payments.
Are these NASM prices worth it?
When you pass your exam, you are on your way to becoming a NASM certified trainer and make even more money compared to your investment in the test.
It’s that simple!
The NASM Exam
From my years of experience, having a proper understanding of the exam format helps with your preparedness.
Let me help you with the breakdown of the different part of the exams and practice tests to use to get the expected pass rate.
Trust me, you are guaranteed a pass rate in your first attempt – if you study the right way.
I’ll show you how if you pay attention.
The exam consists of 120 questions. All of these questions are multiple-choice, and you have two hours to attempt all.
The test is administered at the closest PSI facility.
These facilities are located in most large cities in the United States.
This third-party test-taking facility ensures that there is no cheating and you will receive a passing or failing grade immediately after finishing the test.
Let’s check out the different parts of the test.
- 15% Basic and Applied Sciences and Nutritional Concepts
- 16% Assessment
- 20% Program Design
- 24% Exercise Technique and Training Instruction
- 15% Client Relations and Behavioral Coaching
- 10% Professional Development and Responsibility
The NASM exam is not particularly easy to pass.
It is not the hardest test in the industry, in any case, but you need to make sure you are fully prepared.
The NASM pass rate for NASM is approximately 64% for first-time test takers.
This is slightly harder than ACE at 65% but easier than the NSCA or ACSM certification tests which are both in the 55% proximity.
So, you see, it is not a walk in the park. I found the practice tests to be helpful for preparing for the final exam.
Once you purchase the certification, you have six months to take the test at a PSI facility.
If, however, you are not prepared for the test within the allotted 12 month period, you have the option of paying $75 for three extra months.
So, make sure you are ready before committing.
There is an opportunity to retake the exam.
NASM retest costs $199.
You may, however, take it as many times as necessary to pass it.
Before going for the exam, test your knowledge with my free NASM practice test here.
NASM CPT requirements before taking the certification exams
- It is a must to have a high school diploma or equivalent
- You must have CPR and AED Certification on or before you write the exams
- The last is that you must have a passion for health and fitness and helping others lead healthier lives. If you don’t have this, you cannot be successful in this industry.
- You are not required to be at least 18 years old to take the exam. However, most employers require trainers to possess liability insurance, and most insurance companies require the insured to be at least 18. This condition makes NASM slightly different from other fitness professional certifying agencies.
NASM CPR requirement includes the need to have the practical experience and your CPR certification must be from any of the following organizations:
- American Heart Association
- American Red Cross
- American Safety and Health Institute
- St. John Ambulance
- Emergency Care & Safety Institute or Emergency Medical Technician
If you choose the Premium self-study program option and you didn’t pass the test the first time, NASM allows you to retake the exam at no cost!
NASM CPT test costs $599 alone without taking the full package that includes study materials and many more perks.
As long as you are willing to put in the time, this bundle practically assures you that you will successfully pass the exam.
To be honest, the NASM study materials are not as good as some of the other options out there.
For the best NASM study materials, check out Trainer Academy.
This option can help reduce your study time by 50% and also offer an exam pass guarantee.
Who is the NASM Academic Partner School designed for?
Well, if you prefer a classroom setting for your training rather that self-study, NASM Academic Partner Schools have you covered.
It is an excellent opportunity to receive practical knowledge before being certified.
It’s going to be an interesting and interactive session, I can tell you.
If you feel a little overwhelmed with the course content and think you may not be able to pass the exam on your own, NASM has got you covered.
The NASM Academic Partner Schools are designed for people like you.
It is a live setting that offers top-notch personal fitness training education.
Prospective candidates are trained first-hand by experts in a gym or partner facility that is approved by NASM.
The aim is to ensure participants gain best-in-class knowledge of all areas they are going to be tested in the exams.
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The training is focused on functional assessment, program design, and human movement science – and all these are practical.
In other words, you will not only study the materials but actually see it in practice – long before you get certified.
This is better than attempting online practice questions and is great value for your money!
NASM opens its doors to international candidates
Are you outside the United States of America and interested in becoming NASM-certified?
Join me to discover these countries.
Guess what! the standard is the same all over.
So, what are you waiting for? let’s jump right in!
After successfully helping thousands of Americans gain the requisite knowledge and then get certified as Personal Fitness Trainers, NASM now certifies prospective PT practitioners in the UK.
Partnering with Premier Global, residents in the UK can now become NASM certified and then launch their own fitness training career.
More importantly, the course content, exam, support, and certificate issued are the same as in the US.
In other words, the standard is the same.
Welcome to London, NASM Personal Trainer certification!
Other than the UK, residents in nine other European countries, as well as 13 others in Asia (and Saudi Arabia), can also get certified through NASM partners in their respective countries.
Now, that is international in every sense of the word!
In this section, I’ll be showing you all you need to know about getting recertification.
This part is important if you are planning to have a long-term career in personal training and be relevant always.
Let’s get going now!
The certification is valid for two years after passing the test.
The NASM recertification fee will cost you $99 as well as proof of continuing education.
There is also the option to pay $329 and never have to pay the $99 recertification fee every two years.
This is a great deal if you know that you will be doing personal training for over six years.
You can use a completed college degree, that is related to the field of exercise science as your continuing Education Units Credits. All you need to do is submit your transcript and your recertification application.
If you choose to do courses for the purpose of certification renewal from other organizations that are not yet recognized by NASM, you are required to pay a $25 fee for the NASM certification board to verify those CEUs.
It is advisable to do other specialization courses in the personal trainer industry to keep you grounded and sort after. There are courses on nutrition, health, strength and conditioning and so many more. These specialty courses get you CEUs and advance you quickly.
As much excellent training, you get from NASM make sure to choose professional liability insurance that will keep you safe in this career and also a management software that will make your job easier and better.
NASM Certification FAQ
Conclusion: Is NASM CPT Worth it?
That is it! All you need to know about one of the top certifying body in the personal training industry.
Obtaining a certification with NASM will certainly boost your chances just like thousand of students that have pass the same route.
Go ahead and register with them and the sky will be your starting point!
My overall rating: 5/5. Check out NASM here.
In my opinion, this is one of the top personal training certifications in the industry. This certification has a strong emphasis on corrective training and muscle imbalances.
If you are not quite sure what type of training you want to do, you need to make sure to check out my article on the top five personal training certifications so that you can figure out which certification is best for your training style!
I think that the job guarantee is an excellent addition because sometimes even if you are certified, it can be hard to get your foot in the door for training or to get hired. This job guarantee lets you get your feet wet in order to get your bearings right and start working directly after getting certified.
Most personal training organizations teach you all about how to train clients and tends to neglect the sales, marketing and business aspect of the profession. If you want to get a leg up on other personal trainers, you need to learn how to sell yourself and your services!
Here is their website: I recommend that you check it out for more information.
If you’re having a tough time choosing the right certification for you, take the quiz to help point you in the right direction about which one to choose.
With NASM, you will be able to work with a wide range of individuals. The options they provide for studying are exceptional and are tailored toward a wide variety of learning styles.
This helps to make sure everybody who takes advantage of their study options has a high chance of passing the exam. Be sure to talk with a local employer and find out which certifications they prefer before choosing one.
From my experience, everyone has heard of NASM. Most employers prefer it as well. The test is pretty tricky and the retest fee is steep.
In my opinion, though, a challenging test only makes the certification more valuable.
It makes sure that you know your stuff, and know it well. You will know exactly what to do when it comes time to train your first client. I find this very valuable.
Now is the best time to get into the personal training industry because the salaries for personal trainers are juicy and it is an opportunity for you to do something you love.
If you are planning on turning your personal training practice into a full-fledged business, the business accelerator program is definitely of value.
I have articles on the education needed to be a personal trainer that can help you work towards your dream and be successful fitness trainer in the industry.
I also recommend checking out my certification comparison section as well as my other reviews! Make sure to check out the NASM website for more information on this as well as different specializations from them.
Let me know what you think in the comment section!