NASM CPT Review (2019) – NASM Cost vs Value, is NASM worth it?

In my NASM review, I will be talking about all of the pros and cons of this popular certification. The overall goal is to have you be able to decide whether or not this certification lines up with your training style and goals. So, is NASM legit? Let’s find out.

Afterward, you should check out their website. Also, make sure to check out my must-read article on the top five personal training programs or my article on NASM vs ACE

I highly suggest that you take the quiz to find out which PT certification fits your training style the best. This is super helpful. 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.

Check out my free study guide or premium study materials from Trainer Academy. They have a great team over there.


  • 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 Cost for their packages (especially at the highest end)
  • The test is not easy (but overall this is a good thing)

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

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Get $200 off the ACE Pro advantage CPT Certification
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NASM Review: What is the NASM Certification?

The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) certification is one of the most well-known certifications in the industry today.

Besides their general CPT certification, they also offer a wide variety of specializations such as their CES and PES and nutrition fitness specialist certification (FNS).

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.

As most clients that personal trainers work with are sedentary and overweight, this is a complete certification for working with this population.

Let’s jump right into my NASM review and see what it is all about.

And if you have not done too much 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 certifying agency was started in 1987. Since its inception, it has grown to become one of the most prestigious certifications you can choose from.

The program is based around their 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 extremely probable.

Correcting these imbalances is the first thing that should be done. NASM does a great job at fixing this.

Taking a client through the optimum training performance model makes everything very easy, safe and progressive at the same time so that they can see the results that they deserve.

There are a few prerequisites needed for NASM certification.

You need to have obtained your high school diploma or GED and have a current AED/CPR card (although not required to be at least 18 years old to take the exam, most employers need trainers to carry liability insurance, and most insurance companies require the insured to be at least 18).

The certification is valid for two years after passing the test. Getting recertified will cost you $99 as well as proof of continuing education. There is also the option to pay $299 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.

NASM requires approximately 20 hours of continuing education every two years. 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!

The Test

The exam consists of 120 questions. All of these questions are multiple-choice, and you have two hours to complete it. 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. You will receive a passing or failing grade immediately after finishing the test.

Let’s check out the different parts of the test.

  • 17%   Basic and Applied Sciences and Nutritional Concepts
  • 18%   Assessment
  • 21%   Program Design
  • 22%   Exercise Technique and Training Instruction
  • 12%   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, but you need to make sure you are fully prepared.

The 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 approximately 55%. 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 you are not prepared for the test within the six month period 12 month time period, you have the option of paying $75 for three extra months. Make sure you are ready.

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Here is the link to the ISSA Elite Trainer Deal
Save 25% (up to $500 off) on NASM CPT certifications. Use code my personal code PTP25
Here is the 25% off NASM sale
Get $200 off the ACE Pro advantage CPT Certification
Here is the link to the ACE CPT Sale

There is a $199 fee to retake the test. You may, however, take it as many times as necessary to pass it.

Test your knowledge with my free NASM practice test here.

NASM Certification Cost

At the time of writing this article, there are four packages that you can choose from. The cheapest option is $559. This option includes the primary textbook and online study materials (digital textbook, lecture videos, cueing library, practice exam and study guide). Although prices change frequently, check out the current prices here.

The next option will cost you $749. It includes everything from the $559 package as well as learning activities, including an anatomy memorization activity and flashcard bundles.

The “Guided Study” option costs $909 and features content/exam prep webinars, access to a coach and mentor to guide you and help answer questions, discussion questions, live workshops and a hard copy of the textbook.

It even includes an exam prep guarantee which means that if you don’t pass the test the first time, NASM allows you to retake the exam at no cost! That feature alone is a $199 value.

As long as you are willing to put in the time, this bundle practically assures you that you will successfully pass the exam.

The final “All-Inclusive” option costs $1,299. It includes everything from the “Guided Study” option but then takes it to the next level by including a CPT development program which consists of 80 hours of actual hands-on training with fitness clients.

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 to your clients.

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. These can help reduce your study time by 50% and offer an exam pass guarantee.

If you are planning on turning your personal training practice into a full-fledged business, the business accelerator program is definitely valuable information.

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!

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!

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 and start working directly after getting certified.

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!

Get studying with my free NASM study guide here or check out Trainer Academy NASM materials that boast an impressive 99% exam pass rate.

Conclusion: Is NASM CPT Worth it?

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!

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.

For people trying to study for the NASM exam, check out my free study guide or premium study materials from Trainer Academy. They have a great team over there.

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 you can make significant money and do something you love at the same time.

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 comments section!

  • Jill Consani says:

    I am just getting started on my quest to be a CPT. I am gathering as muffin info as I can and didn’t want to lose out on you form.

    • Tyler Read says:

      Hey Jill,
      Good luck with your training and I hope it all goes well with you. The NASM is a fantastic certification to get started with.

  • Caroline says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your information! I’ve been teaching group fitness for a while, and I’ve had several students ask me to train them (they don’t realize my group ex cert is different than a CPT!). So right now I’m trying to gather as much info as I can to see if training makes sense for me. There’s so much info out there, but your articles are so straight forward and helpful! Thank you!

  • Ajax says:

    Everything Mr. Read says about NASM I find to be very true and informative.

  • Kelly says:

    I studied thoroughly. I passed all the “practice exams”. I felt confident and excited to test. I failed by 3%. The questions are poorly worded and confusing. I feel like the questions selected set me up for failure. I feel this way even more strongly knowing there’s a fee to retake the test. I feel very disheartened by NASM. The books content is wonderful and thorough and everything I wanted and expected. I enjoyed learning, but wish I chose a different program. 😔

    • Tyler Read says:

      Hey Kelly,
      I am so sorry that you did not end up passing the exam. The exam is very difficult and some versions are harder than others that’s why they grade them on a scale. It’s very likely that you got one of the more difficult exams which can be tough. Although you may feel down right now, I urge you to not give up. 3% is not that much and you will surely pass it on your second try. The textbook is very big and can be difficult to navigate. That’s why I have created a premium study guide and practice tests to help my students feel confident that they will pass the exam. If you want, you can check these out here as they come with the exam pass guarantee or your money back.

  • Abhirup Bhowmick says:

    Sir, I just purchased the NASM GUIDED STUDY , please give me some tips how can I pass the exam in my first attempt.

    • Tyler Read says:

      Congratulations on the national Academy of sports medicine certification. You will not be let down with the information that you learn from this organization. There are a couple study tips that I have for you. I highly suggest picking up the study materials over at Trainer Academy. They have helped lots of my students pass the exam without any problem. You can find that here You can also check out my free study guide for NASM right here on my website.

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