Welcome to my comprehensive article breaking down the NFPT personal trainer certification.
Having gone through NFPT’s materials and passed their personal training exam, I am able to give you a clear picture of the CPT and its pros and cons.
The PTPioneer editorial team holds many fitness certifications and we know which certifications employers like to see on a resume.
In my NFPT certification review, I look at the following aspects:
- Topical information: NFPT certification cost, packages, prerequisites
- Is NFPT a good certification: deep dive into knowledge and skills taught in the NFPT curriculum
- Exam difficulty, preparation timelines, and study material review
- Explanation of my expert review process
Once you’ve read my review of the NFPT-CPT, you’ll know whether this fitness certification is right for your personal training career. But if you are still unsure which CPT you should choose after reading, I recommend that you take the quiz to find out which PT certification works for you. You can also check out my other articles.
What NFPT certification is right for you?
We developed this critical quiz to help you find the best certification for you and your goals.
Let’s dive in!
What is the NFPT Certified Personal Trainer?
Out of the gate, I will say that the NFPT is not the best personal trainer certification program. However, it still provides an excellent launch point for your fitness career at a lower cost than other top programs.
For a deeper breakdown of all of the top personal training organizations, check out my article on the best personal trainer certifications.
Based on other certification reviews and talking with other NFPT certified people, this is more of a middle-of-the-road online personal trainer certification.
NFPT credibility and reputation
The National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT) is a fitness trainer certification organization.
Since 1988, NFPT has been successfully providing certifications to fitness professionals worldwide, which complements the vast personal trainer job outlook.
Since 2005, NFPT has been accredited by the NCCA, which is a gold standard accreditation of interest in the fitness industry.
NCCA, which stands for the National Commission for Certifying Agencies, is a well-recognized and highly respected certifying agency in the United States which holds standards regarding fitness certifications.
For NFPT to scale through the strict criteria to get official NCCA accreditation certainly makes them one of the best certification programs, at least from my perspective.
What does this mean?
According to survey reports and NFPT exam reviews, the NFPT-CPT compares quite well with some of the top easiest personal training certifications, such as ISSA, ACE, and NCSF, so success with the exam should not be too difficult.
A a projected job growth for personal trainers is higher than average and has been predicted to grow even more on account of the rise in public health concerns.
In my perspective, personal trainer benefits far outweigh any risks simply because there is money to be made in a lucrative field where helping people is your top priority. This makes it a phenomenal career choice if you have a passion for helping people achieve their fitness goals.
And in case you were wondering how long it takes to become a personal trainer, it depends on which certification you choose.
Today, I’ll exclusively review the NFPT-CPT.
Is the NFPT CPT worth it?
The NFPT personal training certification is worth it, if you’re looking for a low-cost online personal training certification that is NCCA accredited. However, I wouldn’t recommend this certification for any other reason, due to the lack of complete curriculum compared to the others out there.
Subjects such as anatomy, kinesiology, nutrition, exercise physiology, and biomechanics are all important components of personal trainer certification, and understanding the basics of each subject can help you determine which certification program is best suited to your individual needs. The NFPT CPT covers these, but not in as much detail as NASM, NSCA, or ISSA.
- NCCA accredited
- Free continuing education can be obtained from their website
- Study materials are user-friendly and easy-to-understand
- Must recertify every year
- Inexperienced trainers unwelcome
- The least preferred CPT certification by employers
- Textbook lacks in-depth coverage on important topics
- Fails to demonstrate how to apply skills to real life
NFPT CPT vs other top CPT certifications
There are countless personal trainer certifications out there, but my top 3 are still ISSA, NASM, and ACE. Each of these fitness courses offers unique aspects regarding their CPT.
ISSA remains the best online certification and it’s the easiest program to pass of these three. ISSA has excellent strength programming insight and business skills as part of their curriculum.
NASM’s CPT gives you good content in the corrective exercise sphere and their video library is still the best out there.
ACE scores big points for their innovative take to exercise psychology and behavior change and their study system is up there with the best of them. In fact, both the websites from ACE and NASM are my top two picks for best online interface. ACE doesn’t score top points for exercise science and anatomy fundamentals, but it’s still one of the best options.
Compared to these certification organizations, NFPT doesn’t have much going for it besides its NCCA accreditation and competitive price, so for those reasons, NFPT is still an option to consider.
Who is the NFPT certification meant for?
The personal training certification from NFPT is geared towards beginner personal trainers who are looking for a way to become certified and learn the fundamentals of training in a gym setting. This is not an advanced course in strength training, or movement biomechanics.
By having a solid foundation of knowledge in the major topics needed as a personal trainer, individuals can be sure that they have laid the groundwork for making an informed decision when they start working with different client types.
NFPT CPT costs and course options
Now, let’s dissect the NFPT study materials.
The NFPT study guide was helpful and went along nicely with the textbook.
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For myself, I favored the online learning section and practice tests, which included quizzes for each individual chapter from the textbook.
The NFPT online portal offers tips for training, how to obtain and retain clients online, professional forms and documents, and the NFPT online exam outline.
Each of the NFPT-CPT review materials, NFPT study guide pdf, NFPT practice exam, digital workbook, and online chapter reviews is extensive.
The NFPT-CPT workbook is simple, straightforward, and user-friendly. And consists of different tasks, such as multiple-choice, matching items, open-ended answers, and fill-in-the-blanks.
Other trainer tools in the NFT materials includes space in the workbook at the end of each chapter test entitled “Notes” to track any notes you may want to write for yourself, which can be helpful at times if you like annotating.
NFPT Personal Trainer Certification package options
Let’s now discuss the NFPT personal trainer certification cost.
The NFPT personal trainer certification online program bundles cost between $339 to $449.
This price range is lower than most other personal trainer certification packages, such as those from NASM or NSCA.
In fact, when comparing prices among other fitness organizations, NFPT ranks second among the cheapest personal trainer certifications.
While NFPT offers you two juicy study packages, which are the Standard Package and the Premier Package, there is also an Exam-Only option.
The Standard Package includes the “bare bones” essentials for test prep (i.e., the NFPT Personal Trainer Manual and study guide), which are:
- NFPT exam and exam content outline
- NFPT study guide for the textbook
- NFPT online learning quizzes
This package costs $339; however, if you currently work at a health club facility or gymnasium, NFPT offers this same package at a discount.
On the other hand, the Premier Package costs $449 and contains the following course materials:
- All NFPT Standard Package items
- NFPT practice tests
- NFPT online study tools
- NFPT client assessment videos
You will get two sample practice NFPT tests containing 45 multiple-choice questions from the five exam sections.
By taking the two sample practice tests provided by NFPT, you can gain a better understanding of the material and gain valuable practice test experience before taking the actual exam.
The NFPT exercise animations are 80+ dynamic exercises that show form and the involved muscle groups for each exercise, which is a good feature, especially for visual learners like myself.
Also, the client assessment videos include 45 step-by-step assessments and help you assess your client’s fitness before you work towards a goal together in the session.
One additional study material that I found helpful is their free NFPT personal training career guide, which covers basic personal training tips and the following for students to use:
- Personal training marketing ideas
- How to sell personal training
- Personal training rates
- How to be a successful personal trainer
Though NFPT provides some small group personal training tips, you can definitely do some additional research on this topic if you choose.
For personal trainer resume advice, I’d suggest that you contact a certified fitness professional you know for greater insight.
And finally, the NFPT Exam Only option costs $199, which covers exam fees; basically sitting for the exam and the exam content outline.
While this works if you’re ready to test it out, it’s not recommended unless you already have the NFPT textbook from an old friend or have a four-year degree in Kinesiology or Exercise Science.
NTPT Hands-On Workshop
The NFPT certification workshop includes access to two segments, meaning you can learn half from the classroom and the other half from real-life situations.
The real life is the NFPT workshop which provides all the basic professional fitness training that will equip you enough for the skills required to be a good personal trainer.
The 2-day NFPT certified trainer workshop lasts for 16 hours, which is 8 hours daily.
This live NFPT workshop comes with the following benefits:
- Hard and soft copies of the NFPT Personal Trainer Manual
- Expert personal fitness trainer support
- NFPT exercise videos
- NFPT workshop materials (workshop presentation slide and study guide)
- Fitpro tool kit
- NFPT chapter quizzes
- Samples of NFPT test questions (similar to actual NFPT exam questions)
- NFPT personal trainer certification exam
- NFPT member card
The workshop plus NFPT certification costs $728 and can earn you 2.0 CEUs.
As you get all the training required for this awesome career, you can also add to your competence by using sound management software to operate at the maximum level and get great personal trainer insurance to protect yourself from liability.
Now let’s proceed with NFPT content coverage.
NFPT CPT course layout
Let’s look at a preview of what you’ll learn with NFPT’s trainer certification.
The NFPT textbook is fairly thin and 343 pages, whereas most other personal training organizations, such as NASM or ISSA, have much more in-depth textbooks and other materials that are more than twice as long.
Overall, the NFPT Personal Trainer Manual consists of 19 chapters, which are as follows:
- Chapter 1: Understanding Health and Wellness͘ ͘
- Chapter 2: Basic Human Anatomy
- Chapter 3: Anatomical Terms and Biomechanics
- Chapter 4: Skeletal and Muscle Function
- Chapter 5: Cardiac and Smooth Muscle: Structure and Function
- Chapter 6: Physiology of Nutrient Metabolism͘
- Chapter 7: Metabolic Pathways and Energy Production
- Chapter 8: Nutrient Review
- Chapter 9: The Beginner Client
- Chapter 10: Aerobic and Low Level Activity
- Chapter 11: Cross Training and Enhancing Sports Skills for the Athlete
- Chapter 12: Resistance Training
- Chapter 13: Program Design: Charts & Tables
- Chapter 14: Client Screening & Consultation
- Chapter 15: Client Programming, Stretches, and Exercises
- Chapter 16: Special Populations
- Chapter 17: Injury Prevention and Management
- Chapter 18: Client Troubleshooting
- Chapter 19: Legal and Marketing for Personal Training
Though NFPT provides some decent information, they are much too vague compared to most other CPT textbooks on the page.
Something that stood out at the beginning of the book is the scope of practice dialogue and the brief discussion on the personal trainer job description, which helps those entering the profession.
Also, while the aim isn’t to teach you how to become a health coach, NFPT enforces a strong understanding of what constitutes overall health and wellness and the personal trainer’s role.
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NFPT entertains the idea that wellness is earned through self-responsibility, which is key in helping clients conduct and maintain long-term healthy habits and mind-body wellness.
The ability to take ownership of one’s own health and wellness is essential for developing the self-responsibility needed to adopt and maintain long-term healthy habits and mind-body wellness, and is the cornerstone of a successful client-practitioner relationship.
A good personal trainer knows how to motivate clients inside and outside of the gym setting.
The combination of fitness program design along with assessment evaluation and flexibility in your approach will lead to the best results in your clients.
Each workout you program, whether its cardiovascular endurance-based or involving strength training the muscles with weights, needs to be balanced and purpose-driven.
NFPT provides a basic library of resistance training movements and aerobic exercises, comprehensive core workouts, and stretches at the end.
While there are not many pictures, some charts and infographics could be helpful for study purposes.
Although the primary focus of NFPT is functional programming concepts and client assessment, there is too much emphasis on nutrition and dietary supplement recommendations, which is problematic for several reasons.
The first is that such recommendations are based on government guidelines, which are often controversial, not up-to-date, or not applicable to either a general population or athletes.
More adults than not follow alternate diets and lifestyles contrary to those guidelines and are successful health and fitness-wise if they follow the laws of thermodynamics like appropriate amounts of calories.
Moreover, this is a fitness certification, not a nutrition specialist program, where nutrition and dietary supplement emphasis should be heavier than fitness programming.
If nutrition interests you, you can always browse through some nutrition certification programs to complement your career as a personal trainer.
I know the ISSA Nutritionist to be the best.
And if you want, you can purchase the ISSA Elite Trainer Bundle, which includes the ISSA-CPT, nutrition certification, and another certification of your choice for excellent value.
Having more skills at your disposal, like maybe a group exercise cert, or corrective exercise, will enable you to reach more clients. This package is often on sale for less than $1000, making the value extremely good for what you get.
NFPT briefly covers the content areas of special populations and personal training for seniors, youth, pregnant women, and more, which I think is important.
The NFPT Personal Trainer Manual provides basic fitness education and covers the personal training equipment you’ll need to familiarize yourself with to create fitness training programs.
However, NFPT certainly lacks the most important aspects of all fitness certifications.
Overall, the NFPT Personal Trainer Manual shines a dull light on foundational fitness education. You may need to spend much time, money, and stress seeking more in-depth instruction from other resources for the best performance education materials and training methods.
This isn’t very encouraging, especially for those entering the field and for those who have already purchased the NFPT Standard Package, where the sole means of studying is the NFPT Personal Trainer Manual and little else.
In my perspective, the NFPT certification is geared toward those with little to no fitness background, so the manual is much less sophisticated and in-depth than other textbooks.
You have the basic assessment forms, and the education material available to trainers covers a variety of topics, but it is important to remember that it does not provide all the best practices needed to be a successful trainer; therefore, it is essential to supplement the education material with additional resources to ensure that trainers are knowledgeable and prepared to deliver the best possible training experience.
Perhaps, the NFPT personal trainer certification was designed for fitness professionals who are already certified and seeking the NFPT-CPT as an addition to their repertoire.
You need to know concepts like reps, sets, and those sorts of things, but it would also be nice to know more about how to make a business plan, and other financial personal trainer decisions in this certification. Basically, you learn the basics, but not everything that everyone will need.
NFPT training certification exam prep and study materials
NFPT-CPT exam outline
Like NASM, the NFPT personal trainer exam contains 120 questions; you will have two hours to finish it at the testing center or at home under the gaze of a proctor.
The NFPT exam is divided into five exam categories, and below is each respective percentage it counts toward your overall test results:
- Human Anatomy Principles: 20%
- Principles of Human Physiology: 19%
- Fitness Components: 23%
- Training Program Development, Modification, and Implementation: 33%
- Professionalism and Communication Skills: 5%
While NFPT does provide you with NFPT exam answers in the back, the NFPT test answers should only be used as a reference to check your work.
I didn’t like how the fourth category, Training Program Development, Implementation, and Modification, consists of so much information packed into just one because it’s not ideal from a studying standpoint.
Moving on, you’ll have a full calendar year to prepare for your NFPT certification exam.
This is certainly more than enough time to breeze through the materials and NFPT Personal Trainer Manual.
But if you fail the NFPT personal training certification on your first exam attempt, you can re-test after paying a $119 retake fee.
You must retake the test within one year of registering for your second try.
NFPT CPT salary
There is no data on the average salary for NFPT certified personal trainers; however, you can expect your career options to be similar to other well established training certifications. According to ZipRecruiter, the national average salary pay is $59,413 per year in the US.
You can, of course, make more or less than this depending on your location, work ethic, skills and the necessary ingenuity.
Taking the NFPT CPT certification exam
The minimum NPFT personal trainer certification exam passing grade is 750 points out of 1000 or 75%.
According to survey reports and NFPT exam reviews, the NFPT-CPT compares quite well with some of the top easiest personal training certifications, such as ISSA, ACE, and NCSF.
Most people read through the NFPT textbook reasonably quickly, did a quick overview of the reference manual, and took some online NFPT practice tests, as pictured below:
Creating your own flashcards to help you study for the personal training exam can be a great way to ensure success; not only do they provide a quick reference for key concepts, but they also help to reinforce the information and make it easier to remember when it comes time to take the exam for candidates.
Similar to other programs, the basic NFPT personal trainer requirements before you can take this CPT course are as follows:
- At least 18 years old
- High school diploma or the equivalent (GED)
- Current and valid CPR and AED certification
- Current and valid government-issued photo ID
Failing to meet these prerequisites means ineligibility to sit for the NFPT-CPT exam.
However, unlike other personal trainer certifications, where you are welcomed as an inexperienced trainer, NFPT requires having at least two years of experience.
This is bizarre, considering most people who are interested in becoming certified personal trainers lack experience, and getting personal training internships can be hard.
NFPT continuing education (CEUs)
Continuing education credits (CECs) and recertification ensure that NFPT Certified Personal Trainers stay current with current knowledge, giving them a competitive edge in the field.
Besides the NFPT workshop, there are several ways of renewing certifications with NFPT.
- Take classes
- Live NFPT workshops
- Current CPR/AED certification
- Attending seminars
- Adding to the body of knowledge through conducting research
- Free and cheap CEC courses
You may add specializations for personal trainers through additional certifications to enhance your training career, such as:
Also, the NFPT membership renewal fee is $85 with your submission.
A drawback worth mentioning is that, unlike other certification programs that give a 90-day grace period for renewing your certificate, NFPT allows a 2-year grace period for recertification.
This can be problematic for those who are not on top of their certificate, as two years is a long time and may enable procrastination.
During that 2 year grace period, you can continue to acquire CECs to renew your NFPT certification.
But the longer it takes you to recertify (after the certification expiration), the higher the number of CECs you need to obtain, which can be somewhat costly.
A second drawback is that NFPT requires already-certified fitness professionals to renew their certifications yearly, which can be mentally taxing and financially burdensome.
Having only one year to maintain education credit, take courses, attend workshops, and whatnot can be problematic for someone whose schedule is already quite hectic!
Most top-notch fitness certifications, like ISSA and NSCA certifications, are valid for at least two years to three years.
In any case, NFPT didn’t make it to the list of my top fitness trainer certifications.
NFPT Overall Rating
Once you've read my review of NFPT, you’ll know whether this fitness certification is right for your personal training career.
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NFPT-CPT frequently asked questions (FAQs)
What are the main topics in the NFPT fitness certifications?
NFPT focuses on topics that will work in the environment of many gyms.
There is a slight focus on athletics, along with wellness, weight loss, and the programming of effective workouts for the general population to get fit. These concepts will work globally as a personal coach and fitness instructor.
Is NFPT a quality certification?
Though NFPT is a reputable online personal trainer certification, it is not near the top of my list of PT certifications. NFPT certification allows you to make a good living and is recognized by many gyms. After completion of the program, you will be a fully certified trainer.
What is a typical certified personal trainer salary with NFPT?
The NFPT personal trainer credential will allow you to make a pretty average living, roughly $35k and up. And this is just as good as other mid-tier personal training certifications.
Do you need a degree to become a Personal Trainer?
While there is no “personal training degree” requirement, more education never hurts job outlooks.
With more education, such as a degree in exercise science, kinesiology, or sports medicine, you can gain the knowledge and confidence needed to become a successful personal trainer and increase your job prospects, but this is not necessary.
What do I need to become a personal trainer with NFPT?
It is important to start off by studying and then taking the exam to become a personal trainer. Just make sure that you choose the best certification for yourself. Once you have decided on the best certification for yourself, the next step is to complete the enrollment process, which typically involves submitting the required materials and fees.
These are the major certification steps.
The NFPT personal trainer certification is accredited by the NCCA, which is noteworthy.
And if you’re wondering which gyms accept which certifications, most do accept NFPT certification.
Though NFPT is certainly not the best personal training certification organization, it is a decent certification to go for.
Hopefully, my NFPT certification review gave you a little more insight and you’re one step closer to finding the personal trainer certification that best fits you.
The certification process can be a daunting task, but with a bit of research and dedication, you can find the perfect personal trainer certification for you that meets your needs and goals; from understanding the different types of certifications available, to finding the right organization to certify you, to learning about the requirements and the steps of the certification process, you can be sure that you are making a decision on the basis of sound advice.