NFPT CPT Review of 2023 - Is NFPT a legit cert?

​​Welcome to the most comprehensive PTPioneer article on the net, which breaks down the NFPT personal trainer certification.

In my NFPT review, I include the following aspects:

  • Topical information: pricing, packages, prerequisites
  • 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.

NFPT CPT Review of [year] - Is NFPT a legit cert? 1
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Let’s dive in!

Quick Breakdown: NFPT Certified Personal Trainer Certification

  • 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

5.4out of 10

Exercise Science Foundations4
Behavioral Coaching4
Client Health Screening7
Movement Screening7
Resistance Training7
Special Population Training4
Aerobic Fitness Training5
NFPT-CPT General Information

NFPT-CPT General Information

  • NFPT-CPT Exam Cost: $199 – $449
  • Study Materials: $15 – $99
  • Prerequisites: 18 years of age or older, high school diploma or the equivalent, current and valid government-issued photo ID
  • Exam Passing Score: 750/1000 (or 75%)
  • Average Program Duration: 60 to 90 days

Introduction: What is the NFPT?

The National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT) is a fitness trainer certification organization.

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 NFPT certified people, this is more of a middle-of-the-road online personal trainer certification.

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 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.

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?

Anyone learning how to become a personal trainer should consider choosing an NCCA accredited program, such as NFPT, to ensure the utmost competency and professionalism in the field.

According to recent surveys and reports on personal trainer stats, a projected job growth for personal trainers is higher than average and has been predicted to grow even more.

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.

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.

Now let’s proceed with NFPT content coverage.

Introduction: What is the NFPT

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.

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.

NFPT entertains the idea that wellness is earned through self-responsibility, which is key in helping clients adopt and maintain long-term healthy habits and mind-body wellness.

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A good personal trainer knows how to motivate clients inside and outside of the gym setting.

NFPT provides a basic library of resistance training and aerobic exercises, comprehensive core workouts, and stretches at the end.

NFPT CPT Review of [year] - Is NFPT a legit cert? 3

While there are not many pictures, some charts and infographics could be helpful for study purposes.

NFPT CPT Review of [year] - Is NFPT a legit cert? 4

Although the primary focus of NFPT is exercise programming 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 a general population.

More folks than not follow alternate diets and lifestyles contrary to those guidelines and are successful health and fitness-wise.

Moreover, this is a fitness certification, not a nutrition specialist program, where nutrition and dietary supplement emphasis should be heavier.

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.

Moreover, NFPT briefly covers 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.

However, NFPT certainly lacks the most important aspects of all fitness certifications.


NFPT enforces how to design a resistance training program, but practicing time management and getting creative with your exercises may be difficult.

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 knowledge from other resources.

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.

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.

NFPT-CPT Requirements

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 Study Materials: Quality and Price

Now, let’s dissect the NFPT study materials.

The NFPT study guide was helpful and went along nicely with the textbook.

For myself, I favored the online learning section and practice tests, which included quizzes for each individual chapter from the textbook.

NFPT CPT Review of [year] - Is NFPT a legit cert? 5

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.

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NFPT CPT Review of [year] - Is NFPT a legit cert? 6

The NFPT workbook leaves space at the end of each chapter test entitled “Notes” to track any notes you may want to write for yourself.

NFPT Personal Trainer Certification Packages

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 costs, such as 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 discounted rate.

On the other hand, the Premier Package costs $449 and contains the following:

  • 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.

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.

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:

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 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 contains 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 quizzes (by chapter)
  • 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.

NFPT-CPT Exam Outline

Like NASM, the NFPT personal trainer exam contains 120 questions; you will have two hours to finish it.

The NFPT exam is divided into five exam categories, and below is each respective percentage it counts toward your overall grade:

  • 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 exam the first time, you can retake the exam after paying a $119 retake fee.

You must retake the test within one year of registering.

NFPT Exam Difficulty: How hard is the NFPT-CPT 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:

NFPT CPT Review of [year] - Is NFPT a legit cert? 7

NFPT-CPT Continuing Education

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.

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 years 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 all required CEUs, 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-CPT Review Methodology

I based my expert review of the NFPT Personal Trainer certification based on the following criteria:

  • The opinions of experienced personal trainers
  • A critical review of quality and pricing
  • Typically reported information from trainers who passed the NFPT exam
  • Other comparable entry-level fitness certifications, specifically other CPT certifications

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.

What is a typical certified personal trainer salary with NFPT?

The NFPT personal trainer certification 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.

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.


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.

Tyler Read

Tyler Read, BSc, CPT. Tyler holds a B.S. in Kinesiology from Sonoma State University and is a certified personal trainer (CPT) with NASM (National Academy of sports medicine), and has over 15 years of experience working as a personal trainer. He is a published author of running start, and a frequent contributing author on Healthline and Eat this, not that.

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4 thoughts on “NFPT CPT Review of 2023 – Is NFPT a legit cert?”

  1. PTPioneer User

    Thank you for taking the time that you do to review cert organizations. I think it is important to have an unbiased perspective and a one stop resource for comparisons.

    For NFPT’s review, it appears that your review came just before we made some pretty major revisions and improvements. For example, the prices are now 3 options: $199 (exam only), and $299 (standard cert package) and $399 (premier cert package), no additional fees.

    Also, we had just released the new edition of our education manual which is much more robust (with 200+ more pages added). We’re not clinical like ACE, ACSM and NASM, we work for the entry level trainer just getting started; someone who has the passion and needs the pathway. Can I send you a copy of our new book? We would really appreciate if you would take a look and let us know what you think. We value your opinion and appreciate what you do here. Thank you.

  2. PTPioneer User

    As with any certification NFPT is a beginning entrance into the Personal Training field…what one does in addition to the basic materials and the experience one has in the gym determines the validity of ANY certification regardless of top tier status assign by some critic…I am a master trainer with NFPT and would challenge any Trainer from any other group to top my program and home-based business in terms of results and return clientele…W/R Rick Veteto – NFPT

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