NASM and NCCPT are both NCCA-accredited personal trainer certifications that prepare you to train general fitness clients. NASM’s OPT Model makes it exceptional for giving new trainers a great training template, while the NCCPT gives more attention to special populations and growing a fitness business.

I highly recommend that you take the quiz and find out which certification is best for your career goals.

NASM, NCCPT, or a different cert?

We developed this critical quiz to help you find the best certification for you and your goals.

Welcome to my comparison article for the NASM CPT and NCCPT CPT certifications.

This is based on what I learned after taking and passing both exams, factoring in over a decade of my own expertise as a fitness professional.

The team of personal trainers and coaches at PTPioneer encompasses several people certified through both these organizations, along with many others, so we have a good idea of the pros and cons of each and which certification gyms like to see on a resume. 

After reading this personal trainer certification breakdown, you will know which of these two certifications suits you the best personal training cert.

This NASM vs NCCPT comparison review will look at these main personal training domains:

  • Pricing, packages, and prerequisites for NCCPT vs NASM 
  • A deep dive into the content, knowledge, and skills of the two certs
  • Difficulty of exams, timelines for preparation, and study materials of NASM and NCCPT

For additional help determining the right CPT for your goals, I recommend you take the quiz to find out which PT certification is the best fit.

Now, let’s dive in and compare these two excellent certifications!


CPTACSM vs ACE Quick BreakdownFeaturesPrice


  • A leader in the fitness and wellness industry
  • An organization with many specializations to further a trainer’s career
  • A good platform for immersive professional development 
View on the NASM website


  • Well-established organization partnered with ISSA
  • Over 20 years in the fitness industry certifying personal trainers
  • Considered to be a great entry-level cert for personal training
View on the NCCPT website
Exam cost
Exam cost
Study Material Cost
Study Material Cost
$799 (on top of exam cost)
Exam Passing Score
Exam Passing Score
Exam Pass Rate
Exam Pass Rate
60% – 75% (varies each year)
Average Completion Time
Average Completion Time
3 – 6 months
3 – 6 months
Trainer Academy Guides
Trainer Academy Guides
  • Complete curriculum study preparation
  • Audio guide, flashcards, and mnemonics
  • 800+ practice questions
  • Exam pass refund guarantee
  • Cheaper pricing than premium materials
Provider Materials
Provider Materials
  • Curriculum study preparation
  • Includes text, graphics, and videos
  • 200+ practice questions
  • No exam pass refund guarantee
  • $899.00 for NASM starter package
  • $950.00 for NCCPT (ISSA) starter course
PTPioneer Study Guides
PTPioneer Study Guides
  • Curriculum material overview
  • Complete chapter breakdowns
  • 60 practice questions
  • 130 flashcards
  • Exam cheat sheet
  • Free from PTPioneer

I must mention that the NCCPT and ISSA test prep materials are the same, and ISSA owns the NCCPT certification. As such, prepping with the ISSA CPT materials is your best bet for passing the NCCPT.

Furthermore, if you are looking for the best deal in the fitness industry, I would highly recommend looking at the ISSA Elite Trainer package, which includes the NCCPT exam and prep materials and two additional ISSA certifications which cost just $109 per month.

One included certificate is the ISSA nutritionist certification, an industry-recognized nutrition coaching credential.

Getting certified as a nutritionist is an excellent way to immediately set yourself apart from average trainers with only a CPT certification, leading to higher income and more opportunities.

On top of that, you have a great selection of additional certifications to round-off your CPT and nutritionist certification, including the ISSA Corrective Exercise, ISSA Strength and Conditioning Coach, and the ISSA Group Fitness Instructor.


The “triple-threat” ISSA certifications you get through the Elite Trainer will put someone on the fast track toward absolutely crushing it as a personal trainer during their first year.

As a final kicker, you can try the Elite Trainer program for free before committing your time and money. You can fully experience the Elite Trainer value before using your credit card number.

If you feel that getting three certifications is a bit much to bite off up front, you can still get a great deal on the NCCPT and ISSA Nutritionist, $99/month for 12 months for Fitness Coach package (CPT + 1 specialty) 

This is essentially a free nutritionist certification, as virtually all major CPT programs, including the NCCPT only, come in at about $800.00.

This approach is basically what you pay for the dual-certification deal from ISSA.

Once again, by checking out the ISSA website, you can start the program for free today, including your NCCPT prep.

I can say that any ISSA discounts are tough to pass up if you plan to be an expert fitness professional.

What is NASM?

The National Academy of Sports Medicine is one of the best CPT program options for new personal trainers to pursue.

NASM offers a National Commission for Certifying Agencies NCCA accredited exam. 

NASM has been an established organization since 1987. NASM is fully accredited by the NCCA, which is the gold standard in fitness certifications. 


The NASM name has grown substantially since, becoming one of the most established organizations in the health and fitness industry across the world, certifying over a million trainers in many countries.

NASM now offers a variety of programs ranging from nutrition certifications, sports nutrition certifications, group exercise certifications, and corrective exercise certifications.

These really help focus on training more specific populations and correcting exercise differently. These are some of the top specializations in the industry, which speaks for the value of the CPT cert.

NASM also offers periodic deals on NASM certification package bundles that combine the NASM CPT certification with an additional NASM certification, such as the NASM nutrition coach.

To check the latest deals on their certification packages, you should head directly to the NASM website.

I would highly consider taking advantage of current promotions.

For a quick peek at the rigorous nature of the NASM CPT exam, I recommend checking out my free NASM study guide and practice test.

What is NCCPT?

The National Council for Certified Personal Trainers, or NCCPT, was founded in 1995. They are a rising force in the fitness industry and have a firm partnership with ISSA, the International Sports Science Association. 

They set out in the fitness industry to act as a quality control portal for fledgling professionals seeking to enter personal training. 

The NCCPT is now considered a subsidiary of ISSA, one of the more reputable organizations in the health and fitness landscape. This really props up the NCCPT resources a bit in the industry. Most health clubs will recognize this certification now.

They have a firm grasp of the programming principles, which is evident throughout their testing in the examination process. Significant differences exist between their study materials and those from competing organizations. 

The NCCA still accredits this NCCPT certification, so it is up to the industry’s gold standard. 

Check out this video from NCCPT regarding their certifications:


The NCCPT and NASM CPT will help you earn a higher salary as a personal trainer than lesser-known certifications.

Next, look at the general coverage of knowledge and skills for these two CPT certifications.

Pros and cons of NASM vs NCCPT

Both NASM and NCCPT have their own individual pros and cons.

One of the positives for both NASM and NCCPT is their popularity. NASM is the most popular CPT out there and ISSA (who owns NCCPT) is right up there as well. So you are in good company if you get either of these certifications.

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If you get NCCPT without taking the ISSA course, that’s a big downside, because of the lack of study materials, whereas the NASM study resources are incredible for candidates.

One of the big negatives for both NASM and NCCPT is the price. They both cost more than some of the other options out there, like NCSF, ACSM, and NSCA. 

NCCPT and NASM packages and study materials

Regarding study materials for both certifications, you have various options, from exam-only and bare-bones study prep materials to comprehensive study packages that include many resources from their websites.

Keep in mind that anyone can prepare for the NASM and NCCPT entirely from home, ranking these two certifications as some of the best online personal trainer certifications.

If you choose NASM, you can frequently find deals on pricing directly through their website. I also recommend you consider doubling up on your certifications if you can get a further discount.

As I mentioned earlier, combining a CPT certification, nutrition certification, and fitness specialization is a massive boost over being a certified personal trainer. You can also consider options like becoming a NASM Certified Wellness Coach, among other NASM CEUs.

Even if you double up with your CPT and nutrition program at a discount, it’s a big win. NASM also has an Ultimate Trainer bundle (formerly called the Master Trainer) which combines several certifications for a bigger deal. 

The self-study package from NASM includes these items:

  • The final certification exam
  • Textbook
  • A series of lecture videos
  • NASM exercise library
  • NASM practice test or practice exam access
  • NASM exam answers
  • Online CPT cert quizzes
  • Comprehensive NASM study guide

The self-study package is fantastic, but it doesn’t include flashcards or an internship like the more expensive packages offered by NASM, but it contains the needs for assistance with studying.

The more you spend on your official NASM study materials, the more overall resources you get.

If you want a head start on your NASM exam prep without spending any money, I’ve put together a free NASM study guide and practice test you can use to test your baseline knowledge and begin studying.

Through third-party study packages, you can typically find better deals on NASM exam preparation with support materials such as flashcards, a list of practice questions, audio guides, and practice exams.

My students have the best success with the Trainer Academy NASM MVP Study Guide; however, you have many great third-party options to choose from.

Finally, you can always get the more expensive but excellent study materials directly from NASM. Be sure to check the organization for the latest NASM pricing.

Similarly, the NCCPT has a range of official study material options.

Since ISSA purchased the NCCPT, the ISSA CPT study materials are the official commercially available to prepare you for the NCCPT exam.

This ISSA and NCCPT equivalence also applies to the NCCPT exam questions and the NCCPT exam study guide.

On top of that, you can take advantage of the amazing ISSA Elite Trainer program, which includes the NCCPT, ISSA Nutritionist, and a third ISSA fitness specialization.

Combining these three certifications is the best way to absolutely crush it out of the gate as a personal trainer.

The Elite Trainer program comes in at $109/month for 12 months for Elite Trainer (CPT + 2 specialties), so it’s slightly more expensive than going for the CPT alone.

Plus, you must re-certify within 2 years regardless, so you must purchase at least one additional certification.

The Elite Trainer will give you these CEUs right out of the gate, saving you an insane amount of money in the early phase of your fitness career.

You can try the Elite Trainer program for free by signing up directly on the ISSA website.

I would consider checking out the Elite Trainer today for this insane discount.

It is tough to pass up if they are still offering this deal on the program.

If you think the three certifications are too much upfront, you can still take advantage of the ISSA deal on the CPT and Nutrition certifications.

The base pricing on ISSA materials used to prepare you for the NCCPT is $999.00 or $83.25 monthly for 12 months.

However, ISSA is currently running a buy-one-get-one deal on the CPT and Nutritionist program for just slightly more at $1188.00 or $99 per month with 12-month financing.

If you plan to go for the NCCPT, it’s an absolute win to double-up your credentials for the price of a single certification.

On top of that, you can start studying for the ISSA CPT and Nutrition program for free when you enroll through ISSA.

I highly recommend checking out the ISSA website if they are still running the BOGO special on the CPT and Nutrition program.

If the deal still stands, it’s tough to pass up.

In terms of materials included in the ISSA CPT Training program, you get access to the following resources for your NCCPT exam prep: 

  • ISSA Trainer Online Study Materials
  • Dedicated Student Success Coach
  • 4-Week Fast Track Program
  • Job Guarantee
  • Free CPR and AED Certification Course
  • ISSA Community Membership
  • Passing Protection with A Free Retest
  • Online Bootcamp and Study Group

As with NASM, the higher-tier training programs include many more materials in addition to a hefty price tag to match.

If this pricing seems overwhelming, don’t worry, you can start studying without registering for anything by checking out my free ISSA CPT study guide and practice test to help you ace the exam.

I recommend checking out the Trainer Academy ISSA CPT MVP Study Guide for an additional boost on top of the official packages that still include premium study materials such as flashcards, audio guides, and practice exams.

Trainer Academy offers a money back guarantee on their programs. If you purchase the Trainer Academy materials and somehow fail the exam, you will get a full refund (99% of Trainer Academy students pass their CPT exams).

The Trainer Academy materials are a great supplement to the official materials and provide multiple learning formats for all learning styles.

Nevertheless, be sure to seriously consider the deals offered by ISSA when selecting your certification.

That being said, NASM is still a great CPT certification for starting your personal training journey.

NASM vs NCCPT course layouts

While motivation and passion for fitness are important, becoming a personal trainer requires you to have the following specific skills and knowledge:

  • Exercise Science
  • Behavior Change
  • Consultation
  • Screening
  • Program Design
  • Special Populations
  • Business Skills

If you already have a background in these topics, it won’t take you quite as long to become a personal trainer.

Exercise Science

The NASM certification curriculum covers the best exercise science content in all personal training certifications.

They also have an excellent focus on the corrective exercise aspects of training.

Exercise science is covered throughout the main text’s Fundamentals of Human Movement Science section. 

The text teaches all of the essential elements regarding anatomy (muscles, nerves, bones, joints) and exercise physiology, biomechanics, cardiorespiratory and muscle systems, and more. 

These are expanded on through informative infographics and charts; visual learners will have no problem retaining all of this. 

Fitness nutrition ideas also fall in line with exercise science’s foundational aspect. NASM covers these areas well in the third section of their book.

They go into depth regarding macronutrient breakdowns, as well as the structures and functions and how everything is digested within the body.

As any top organization should, they knock it out of the park with their exercise science information. 

Exercise science and physiology stand up to what a CPT program needs.

The ISSA text for the NCCPT certification has a firm grasp on teaching exercise science. It would rank just under the NASM program but has all the necessary content.

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The first domain is the Applied Science domain, which explains the human body from a physical performance perspective. Nutrition, the second domain, also seamlessly transitions into the fundamentals of exercise and biochemistry within the body. This includes great coverage of sports nutrition in NASM’s curriculum, which is very helpful.

This exercise science knowledge flows from the fifth domain: exercise selection, technique, and training instruction. So, it is not as quickly identifiable and contained in one area as text like NASM. However, it still includes all the necessary materials you should expect to learn from a CPT certification. 

Behavioral Coaching 

NASM handles behavioral coaching on the page as well as any other certification in personal training. 

They implement and teach a few different models or theories on behavior change. The one they teach the best is the stages of change model.

NASM vs NCCPT - Which CPT is right for you in [year]? 10

The five stages taught in this method allows you to help clients transition from one stage to the next in their physical fitness training. All stages and the basis of behavior coaching in NASM are thoroughly explained.

Another main focus is goal setting to enhance training and coaching for behavior changes. SMART goals are emphasized to use with clients for short-term and long-term success.

NASM also works well on breaking down the common barriers to lifestyle modification and training, which is above and beyond some of the other certifications we run into within the personal training realm.

Someone cannot fully make a commitment towards bettering themselves if they don’t understand the types of poor behaviors that might be contributing to their current poor lifestyle. Also, knowing the benefits of exercise can help that person change habits for the better, like lack of sleep or including too many calories from food and soft drinks in their diet. The right attitude is only part of the equation, you need some actionable steps to resolve these issues. 

NCCPT does not enforce the same level of knowledge on behavioral coaching as we see in NASM. This is unfortunate, as being able to change a client’s behaviors is a skill that sets successful trainers apart from the unskilled.

The topic of behavior change is covered less than I would like in a personal training certification. It is found chiefly within the nutrition domain, the second study domain. 

Since NCCPT offers multiple study methods, the only way to enforce this the most in their supported textbooks would be with the ISSA. The rest of the books cover it even less than this. 

So, NASM gets the edge here. 

Client Health Screening

The NASM uses some assessment methods before using its state-of-the-art OPT model. The client screening and assessment will include health screening and movement screening. 

The certification’s text does an excellent job of teaching how to screen clients before entering into an exercise program, just as much as they teach how to handle a program’s design. 

The organization also has an extensive exercise library that users can view for another way to digest the information for the exam. 

This is something that NASM does better than some others, as video references are one of the best ways to see how to perform an exercise, as opposed to just reading about it and trying to imagine how to perform the activities.

NCCPT also shines in its client assessment section, covering the assessment, screening, and monitoring rather in-depth throughout its fifth domain.

The third domain is intake and ongoing evaluation, which entirely focuses on screening and assessments/tests for movement assessments in a session. That would compare to what NASM had before their OPT model.

These domains come together to form critical information on client health screening and movement assessment. 

The exam tests pretty extensively on this part, so it is good that the certification’s materials cover it well. 

NCCPT covers most of the required pre-program materials; some of the focuses in health screening include past injuries, medical conditions, chronic conditions, and current medications. These all play a role in the following sections that review program design. 

To design the best and most-individualized programs for everyone you work with, you will need to have proper assessment protocols in place. This will allow you to run a successful personal training business an create a compelling, effective workout. This also applies to group personal training as well, where you would be coaching a group of 2-10 people using traditional weight training programs as opposed to group fitness choreography style workouts.

NCCPT allows individuals to be ready to make the best programs they can.

Program Design and Resistance/Aerobic Exercise Technique

The OPT Training Model is how the NASM teaches this section regarding resistance training, and it is the most crucial aspect differentiating these two from each other. The OPT training model is based on scientific evidence and principles that progress clients through 5 phases of training, whether you train clients in-person or focus on virtual fitness training.

Note that NASM also covers how to improve flexibility through stretching, which you can learn more about by taking the NASM Stretching and Flexibility Coach if you want to specialize in this training method.

This model makes the process of resistance training and program design simple, safe, effective, and productive so that people can achieve desired results and achieve their fitness goals. 

Here are the phases of the OPT model:

  • Phase 1: Stabilization Endurance
  • Phase 2: Strength Endurance
  • Phase 3: Hypertrophy
  • Phase 4: Maximal Strength
  • Phase 5: Power
nasm opt model diagram

These phases are the order in which personal trainer certification programs should follow. For example, you would never start a brand new client with power training. You must build the base with the essential exercises and teachings within the former phases. 

The areas covered in the OPT model are all enforced in the exercise library provided by the study platform. This is a great way to add to the already fantastic experience of the NASM OPT model. As a NASM personal trainer, you can build excellent strength training programs for your clients. NASM is also well-known at being great for bodybuilding training, so that’s certainly a plus if you want to take your career in that direction.

What is the NASM Optimum Performance Training™ Model (OPT Model™)?

Aerobic training receives its own chapter, just like resistance training, and it really details the different modalities and training methods well. 

You will be able to differentiate the program design in these two very different forms of training. 

You can’t go wrong with Resistance Training, Aerobic Training, and Program Design with NASM, so let’s dive into the NCCPT next.

Resistance training and program design is around 15% of the NCCPT exam, which is enforced pretty well in the study materials from ISSA. 

You learn many resistance exercises, training principles, safe practice, correct form, and necessary techniques. Still, perhaps not to the depth that we see with the top organizations. This is a flaw with the NCCPT partner, ISSA, also.

They do not have the OPT model’s ultimate roundup and teaching simplicity, but a lot of the same foundation exists. 

You will not miss out on any of the absolutely essential information, but you will miss out on having that extended knowledge offered by other programs. Sometimes it may feel like all NCCPT does is ask you to differentiate between cardio and weights training, and it does not assess the training protocols properly. 

Future iterations of the NCCPT and some associated training study materials should improve this formula. 

It would be nice to develop a competing model for training, on account of the fact that other top organizations have similar breakdowns based on the training phases. 

Special Populations

The training of particular population groups is touched on perfectly in the NASM, as they have dedicated chapters to the many needed population groups. 

The NASM goes into great detail and has many charts for their special population group training guidelines. This is entirely different from the NCCPT.

NCCPT barely glosses over the subject of special population training, and this is actually a significant negative of this certification.

NCCPT even struggles to include athletes, a relatively common special population discussed within certification to some extent.

Another lesser discussed special population could be people who prefer classes or group training. These certifications offer some help, similar to what a group fitness instructor would cover. 

It would be beneficial to change this in future iterations of the NCCPT cert.

Nutrition Coverage

Regarding NCCPT, assuming you use the ISSA study materials, you will have some of the best nutrition content coverage. 

The NASM only meets the ISSA text in quality. Both of these certifications stand at the top of the fitness industry, and they handle their nutrition content nearly perfectly. 

I would rate both of these a 10 out of 10, as they handle their nutrition content like it is the beginning of their specialization in nutrition. 

Both organizations offer nutrition certifications, so they know how to teach the content effectively. You will find information on every macronutrient (fat, protein, carbs), micronutrient (vitamins and minerals), and popular supplement.

Both organizations also cover all of the popular diets and how metabolization works for all the nutrients. The study programs go very in-depth.

You also learn scope of practice, which is important from a safety and liability perspective.

For a deeper look at these two top fitness certifications, you can check out my NASM CPT and NCCPT reviews.

NCCPT vs NASM prerequisites

The requirements for personal training certification are easy to compare, as there are actually no differences in the requirements to sit for the certification exam and get a job.

For both NASM and NCCPT, you will need the following qualifications to sit for the exam:

  • 18 years of age
  • High School Diploma or Equivalent
  • CPR/AED Certified through the Red Cross or a similar organization

While you can start studying for either certification before having the above requirements, you must submit proof of these qualifications to NASM or NCCPT before taking the exam.

These are the only three fundamental requirements for these certifications, and they are all pretty standard for personal training.

However, once you become certified, you must obtain personal trainer liability insurance to protect yourself in the event of a lawsuit.

You should also update your personal training resume before starting your job search.

If you plan to open your own gym, you’ll also have to obtain personal training equipment and do some serious marketing for your personal trainer business.

Nevertheless, the minimal requirements to be technically certified are a high school diploma, 18 years of age, and adult CPR and AED certification completion.

NASM vs NCCPT salary

According to Payscale, average NCCPT-certified trainers make around $46,000 a year. NASM average income rates are a bit higher at $50,905 according to Ziprecruiter data. 

Take these numbers with a pinch of salt as your actual income opportunity as a personal trainer is based on more than just your certification like knowing your fitness market, providing quality services to clients, experience, and location. 

Which exam is harder, NCCPT or NASM?

Both the NASM and NCCPT certification exams hover around the 60 – 67% pass rate year after year. 

With this exam pass rate, this means that you are more likely to have success than failure, but you need to make sure to study and be as prepared as possible. 

For a bit more insider NASM exam info, be aware the passing score required for NASM is 70% or higher for the 120 multiple-choice question exam. The NCCPT personal trainer exam is 125 multiple-choice questions and requires a passing grade of around 73%. 

Ultimately, either exam will require you to put in the effort to prepare effectively.

Regarding how long it takes to become a personal trainer through these certifications, expect to spend anywhere from three to six months of daily studying if you have no background in exercise science knowledge.

NASM and NCCPT recertification

The NASM CPT cert is valid for two years from the date of passing the exam. From then on, you must continue your education and earn credits to recertify with the organization.

The recertification fee comes in at $99, but there are fees for the courses you take to earn your continuing education credits. 

You also have the option to recertify forever with their recertify for life options at $399. If you plan on being certified for more than 4 cycles of recertification, this pays for itself, so for this reason I’d choose this option. 

For recertification credits, you must choose from many online courses to ensure you stay informed and educated as a fitness trainer.

Once you have achieved the 20 hours for NASM, you can submit your recertification application.

For NASM specializations, you have a range of choices for continuing education from NASM itself. 

You can conveniently do your NASM CEUs directly through the NASM recertification portal.

However, you are not limited to official NASM-developed CEUs only.

Common CEUs for different fitness industry niches include the following:

You can find these from NASM.

For NCCPT, the certification must be recertified every two years, just like the NASM. 

They will also require 20 hours of credits from specialization courses either offered by NCCPT or through accompanied and verified organizations.

While there are no official NCCPT specializations, the ISSA offers CEUs that will apply to your NCCPT personal training CEUs to keep your certification current.

The fee for recertification for NCCPT is $75, and they do not offer any options similar to NASMs recertify for life.

Your long-term goals in the personal training industry should guide your selection of CEUs.

That being said, if you need CEUs to stay current and are happy with the baseline CPT career and knowledge, you can opt for the cheaper personal trainer CEUs just to ensure you maintain your certification.

So, these certifications are very similar regarding specific CEU requirements and options.

However, you must understand that being a successful personal trainer and earning a high personal training salary requires developing the ‘soft skills’ of personal training.

I highly recommend developing the key personality traits for personal trainers by doing your own personal development work.

Additionally, learning how to sell personal training is necessary to fill your client’s schedule.

Finally, soft business skills you must work on include the following:

Other offerings from NASM and NCCPT

NASM certification courses:

NCCPT (ISSA) courses:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How does NCCPT stack up to NASM?

NASM has more years in the industry and a wider array of accredited certifications, making it the best option between the two. It is also more expensive and does not have the same focus as NCCPT. NCCPT is a newer organization, but it already has accreditation through the top organization, and this means you are still receiving excellent value here.

How do you become a Personal Trainer?

By learning the fundamentals of exercise science and fitness programming through an educational experience such as a fitness certification in one of these companies or many more.

Is Personal Training with a credential from the NASM or NCCPT organizations worth it?

Yes, personal training is an excellent field to get into at the moment. It is highly recommended that you choose a certification from a respected organization like these two. If we had to choose a favorite between the two, it would be NASM, but it has its own faults.

Do you need a degree to become a Personal Trainer?

You do not need a degree to become a personal trainer, but more education will only help a resume to shine even more. However, if you want to take the NSCA CSCS exam and become an athletic trainer, you will need a degree in a exercise-related field like kinesiology. 

What is the job outlook for Personal Training?

A personal trainer’s prospects usually depend on many factors, from coaching ability, marketing, certification recognition, etc. If you want more information about this, check out the link here.


Both the NASM and NCCPT are well-respected within the fitness industry. They both have many similarities, but one is much more popular than the other and for many of the reasons within this article.

I believe NASM to be the best personal trainer certification for fitness professionals compared to most organizations, including NCCPT. 

NCCPT not having a dedicated study material package associated with it and having referenced texts for people to choose from makes one of the most significant negatives of the certification, meaning you kind of have to go the ISSA route here and use their study materials. 

NASM covers all of the main topics needed for personal training certification, and they offer many different study materials to allow people to digest the information properly. 

NCCPT is still a great option, but it does not stand up to the likes of NASM.

If you are ready to start your journey into the profession of personal training, dive into studying as soon as possible.

Good luck!

NASM vs NCCPT Video Breakdown

Here it is for those of you who prefer to see my breakdown between these two organizations in video form.

NASM or NCCPT 2023? - Which Personal Training Certification is right for you?

Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

Tyler Read

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5 thoughts on “NASM vs NCCPT – Which CPT is right for you in 2024?”

    • Hey Talijanac,
      It is an up-and-coming certification that is gaining traction quickly. It is not the most highly recognized but it is definitely recognized and accepted by a wide variety of employers for personal training.


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