PTA Global Review for 2023

Hey everybody, and welcome to yet another personal trainer certification review.

In this article, I’m going to take a dive into the PTA Global PTAG certification.

I’ll provide insight into several key aspects of the certification, allowing you to decide based on the numerous options as well as your own circumstances.

They are:

The Pros and Cons
Accreditation and Cost of Study Packages
Quality of Study Materials
Average income+more

Be sure to check out my quiz here. I’ve designed this quiz to help you hone in on my top picks for certifications, which would be your best option.

And with that said, let’s jump right into it.

PTA Global Review for [year] 2

About PTA Global PTAG

Founded in 2008 and launched in 2009, Personal Trainer Academy Global is quite the new kid on the block.

With barely more than a decade on the scene, you would be forgiven to think that PTAG is not very robust in terms of what they offer trainers in the business.

However, PTAG has paved the way for a new era in how CPT certification empowers professionals in the game.

They are one of the few NCCA accredited certifications with an entrepreneurial slant. Most of the legacy certifications like ACE, ACSM, NSCA, and NASM were born from a time when simply equipping practitioners with knowledge and skills was the requirement.

Today, knowledge of the scientific principles of fitness instruction and their practical implementation is quite accessible.

Many individuals who may not have certified or gone through any academic training have a good foundational knowledge of fitness.

That’s not me saying you don’t need to get certified; I’m simply pointing out the fact that the urgent need for education on fitness instruction is not as pressing as it used to be, say, 30 years ago.

Today, the modern fitness professional is faced with a different challenge, and that is having the skills and knowledge to run a business.

Because the fitness industry is now an established, multi-billion dollar industry, the market is mature.

But mature markets are also saturated ones, which means in order to be successful, your business acumen has to outperform hordes of competition.

It is through identifying this new urgent need that PTAG was formed, and it is their goal to equip trainers with both the fundamentals of exercise science and the progressive implementation of good business strategy.

The main three challenges PTAG aims to address with its qualifying candidates are:

  • Sustainable income
  • Optimizing the client experience
  • Membership and trainer attrition

Pros and Cons

In this segment, you’ll get to learn about the pros and cons of PTAG certification.

Nothing is perfect, but you can begin discovering if PTAG is perfect for you by weighing out a few pros and cons.

Let’s start with what I really like about the certification.


  • A non-traditional, modern approach to fitness instruction
  • NCCA Accredited
  • Focus on the business and client experience side of personal training

The first thing I liked about Personal Trainer Academy Global is its fresh-faced approach. This is as much a product of their time as well as a purposeful effort towards a contemporary direction.

Most of the traditional certifications, as I mentioned, don’t provide much in the way of training clients in both business and the value of the client experience.

They pretty much just tell you what to make your clients do.

There is a big psychological and emotional component to people who buy fitness, which influences their initial decision.

Taking this into account is a big key in retaining clients and elevating the reputation of your business.

This focus on the experience rather than just the implementation of personal training is what I feel the industry has been missing.

Lastly, PTAG is NCCA accredited. I’ll be getting more into accreditation later in the article, but knowing that PTAG has this badge of authenticity is a bonus for me and a bonus for you.


Now for a few things, I don’t personally like, or that I just view as disadvantages, in my opinion.

  • Very new and not well recognized
  • Online Version is non-accredited

The very first and most obvious disadvantage of the PTAG certification is its lack of skin in the game.

This leads it to not be very recognized as compared to more established certifications.

At the time of writing, PTGA has only been in operation for 11 years.

That makes it the newest certification I’ve reviewed on this website.

While age is nothing but a number, as they say, the mileage a cert has amongst trainers, and the industry directly impacts the potential opportunities it can grant you.

Many gyms may not be familiar with the PTAG cert, and even those that are may prefer hiring candidates holding more tried and trusted credentials. 

While this is a con for now, with time and consistency, PTGA may become a dominant institute. 

Another disadvantage I picked up on is the fact that the certification’s online exam is non-NCCA accredited.

PTGA offers both online and sit-down exams for their certification process. The sit-down paper is conducted in the traditional method, proctored at an approved testing center. 

The online version, however, is not NCCA accredited since it’s administration doesn’t fit the criteria set forth.

This may be a complication when applying for jobs or positions that only look at NCCA accredited certifications.

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And why is that, you may ask?

Let’s take a look at the value of accreditation.


Accreditation indeed makes a difference!

Below, you’ll find out if PTAG meets the criteria for legitimacy and credibility.

Accreditation matters big time when thinking of a certification.

What accreditation does is provide insight into whether or not a certifying agency has met all reasonable standards towards the training and qualifying of fitness professionals.

These standards are based on numerous criteria that fall into two categories from what I can understand.

The first category is the quality of the content. This basically means how practically relevant and scientifically accurate the curriculum of an academic program is.

The second category is the standard of administration. This means how the program or programs are run within an academic institution. That includes the way learning activities are rolled out as well as the way in which exams are administered.

We can see a case where exam administration can impact accreditation with PTAG.

As I’ve already pointed out, the proctored exam is NCCA approved, while the online version isn’t.

I presume an online exam would not be governable under the same standards as a proctored exam in a sit-down venue.

However, that has changed recently with the introduction of live remote proctoring, so perhaps PTGA will implement this.

Aside from making sure a cert ticks all the quality boxes, accreditation also helps you avoid those programs and courses that have little value as credentials, or in some cases, are outright scams.

Every day, there are more and more online courses and certifications claiming to offer a revolutionary experience and skill set that will skyrocket your career aspirations. 

I can’t say they’re all lying, but I’ll say that making sure you only engage with accredited programs will save you from the risk.

Cost of Study Packages

I’ll unveil the cost of each PTAG study package to help you determine which one you can afford.

Stay tuned for detailed info.

Education costs money, so when picking out a program or credential, factoring in how much you’ll need to spend is a necessary consideration.

When it comes to fitness certification, a common trend is to have multiple study package options, all priced according to the variety of resources included.

With PTAG, you’ll have access to 3 package options.

The first one is the exam only package. This one includes, well, just the exam.

It’s $199.00 but pretty barebones and not much of an investment if you don’t have the required study material.

Next, we have the CPT Course + NCCA Exam.

The contents of this package bring the total cost up to $759. Based on what’s included, the extra cost seems justified.

We’ll get into the quality of materials soon, but the last package and the one with all included goes for $799.00.

When it comes to the conversation of price, PTAG does a very good job of providing an accessible price point even for its top tier packages.

The most expensive option they offer even rivals established institutions’ middle tier price points.

ISSA, for example, only offers one package, which goes for $799, the same price as PTAG’s most expensive option.

In time I suspect PTA Global will mark their prices up in response to increased demand and the maturing of their value.

Having said that, in order to fully give scope and meaning to the price, we need to understand what the value proposition is, as in, how good is what you’re paying for, and is it worth it?

Quality of Study Materials

Below is a comprehensive analysis of the quality of study materials available in each study package.

The PTAG study materials seem pretty diverse, save for the exam only option, of course.

I’m going to give my insight on the quality of the study materials using a rating out of ten, with zero being something you should absolutely avoid and ten being absolutely perfect.

I don’t make a habit of reviewing bad certs; everything you’ll find on PT Pioneer ranges from good to amazing.

The key things I look for when evaluating the quality of certification study packages are:

  • The recommended reading, which includes
    • The official course textbook
    • Journals and articles
    • Manuals and instructionals
  • Workbooks or study guides
  • Practice exams and quizzes
  • Interactive and multimedia learning experiences

Let’s go package by package and see what’s in the box.

Certified Personal Trainer Course and NCCA Accredited Exam

  • Ebook manual
  • Study Guide
  • Over 30 downloadable client forms 
  • Access to premade fitness programs
  • Downloadable PDF “notes pages.” 
  • Online practice exam with unlimited attempts
  • Final exam

Personal Training Certification Course plus Exam and printed Manual

  • Ebook manual
  • Printed manual
  • Study Guide
  • Over 30 downloadable client forms 
  • Access to premade fitness programs
  • Downloadable PDF “notes pages.” 
  • Online practice exam with unlimited attempts
  • Final exam

As you can see, the study packages from PTAG pretty much tick all my boxes in terms of variety and relevance towards good exam prep.

There is a lot on offer, but it’s also not very bloated like some study packages tend to be.

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The course textbook is labeled as the manual, which some may find confusing since manuals are often a separate resource.

The two packages are only really separated by the fact that one provides the manual only in digital format, while the other provides a physical hard copy along with everything else.

I like the fact that the practice exam allows for unlimited attempts. Having great access to practice exams is an undeniable advantage.

The last thing I enjoyed was the fact that both packages provide post-certification career resources in the form of downloadable client forms and premade programs.

It’s often the case that trainers are a bit clueless as to how to implement their services after certifying.

Having two key elements already done for your intake and programming, you can focus more on delivering a good training experience and less trying to fiddle around with the admin.

With all those tasty features considered, I’ll give the PTA Global study materials an 8 out of 10 ratings. 

A couple of points are lost on the fact that the first package is pretty much pointless to buy. The fact that the only thing separating the other two packages is a hard copy of the course text is another deductible offense.

I would have liked to see a few more exclusive options in the top-tier package, although I really do enjoy the inclusion of a hard copy.

Exam Layout and Passing Grade

Join me to examine the exam layout and passing grade of PTAG certification.

Let’s see more below!

Every exam has its structure, layout, and demands of the candidates.

Knowing this before you sit down for the test may be pivotal to your success. Understanding how to navigate the concepts and topics you’ll be assessed on is important and can allow you to spend less time memorizing and more time understanding.

Most PT certification exams are structured in a way that places more emphasis on some aspects while limiting the focus on others.

This targeted approach means that while your knowledge is fundamental across all areas of the subject, you will be assessed on the most crucial aspects of your practice as a fitness expert.

As far as PTAG is concerned, you will be dealing with 100 multiple-choice questions.

These questions are laid out based on the following domains:

  • Program Design 30%
  • Human Behavior 15%
  • Exercise Sciences 25%
  • Workplace Practices 10%
  • Nutrition 10%
  • Special Populations 10%

As expected, program design comes out on top as the most focused domain of competence for a trainer.

And why is that? Well, it’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? As a PT, your main order of business is creating fitness programs and administering them. 

No matter how many supplementary skills could possibly give you an edge as a trainer, not having this one down is as good as not having any.

In almost all the certifications I’ve reviewed, the final exam places programming as the biggest focus ensuring that successful trainers have exactly what it takes.

Exercise science is next for a good reason. Knowing how to function as a trainer requires that you know what you are training: the human body.

This domain tests candidates on their knowledge of fundamental biomechanics as it relates to fitness instruction.

Human behavior is the next biggest domain, and this one speaks to the ethos and mission statement of PTAG.

Their aim is to populate the fitness industry with professionals who understand the psychological and emotional needs of their clients.

From looking at that, you can now begin forming an idea of where your efforts will be best spent when studying.

Focus on the programming, client behavior, and exercise science portions of your prep material.

An important thing I want to mention is that the exam contains 20 unscored “pretest” questions.

These questions are included in order to evaluate their viability in future iterations of the exam.

If the results from these questions line up with the rest of the questions, then there’s a good chance they will be included in future tests.

While these questions are essentially useless when it comes to your final grade, you won’t be able to isolate which ones they are unless you guess really lucky 20 times.

It’s better to just answer all the questions to the best of your ability.

The passing grade for the PTA Global CPT exam is 70%.

Exam Difficulty and Pass Rate

Knowing more about the exam difficulty and pass rate will make passing the exams less strenuous.

Find out more below!

Now that you have a handle on what the exam is like in terms of structure, it’s important to understand what you’re dealing with in terms of difficulty.

The PTGA exam comes in with a 67% pass rate, which is not too difficult but also not very easy.

The odds are at least in your favor, so all you need to do is manage your exam prep to the best of your ability.

Focus on the big domains and manage your time well.

Retake Fee

If you do fail your first attempt, PTA Global, just like any other certification worth its salt, will allow you the opportunity to retake the exam.

The retake procedure allows candidates who failed to retake the exam as well as those who show up late or had some form of administrative problem while taking or grading their exams.

As far as failing the exam is concerned, you’re allowed to retake it three times free of additional charges.

After your third failed attempt, you’ll have to purchase the exam only package in order to try again.

This is perhaps the best possible use of that package and is actually a great deal since some of the other certifications will have you pay the same amount for each retake.

Expected Study Time

Expected study time, in my experience and opinion, should be half the allotted time between when you sign up and when you’re required to take the final exam.

This timeframe is known as the enrollment period.

As far as PTA Global is concerned, the enrollment period runs for 180 days or six months.

That should give you about three months or 10-12 weeks to get your exam prep done right.

Sometimes things happen, and you will need more time than that; you may even find yourself unprepared by the exam deadline.

In that case, PTA Global actually allows you to extend enrollment by 60 days for a maximum of 3 times.

That means you can essentially double the amount of time you have to pass your exam.

However, this should only be a last resort, and I encourage you to get your exam prep and the exam itself out of the way as soon as possible.

Average Income

Here, you’ll get access to the average income of a PT with PTAG certification.

What you stand to earn as a personal trainer is an important fact to hold onto.

It’s your career and livelihood you’re dealing with, and even if it’s not going to be your primary source of income, it’s important to have an idea of what you’re working with.

I would have loved to provide income stats on PTAG trainers specifically, but that data probably doesn’t even exist in the 11 years since the certification’s inception.

However, I did manage to gather stats from, showing that personal trainers in the US earn $61,713 per year on average.

Those are pretty good earning stats if you ask me, but I also need to let you know that simply getting a personal trainer certification doesn’t guarantee you the big payday.

There are a number of factors that influence your income.

  • Location
  • Recognition of certification
  • Additional credentials
  • Amount of experience

All these things play into how well you can expect to earn.

Primary Focus Of Certification

This section will give you the reason PTAG focuses on behavior and psychology.

Let’s know more below!

Every certification has somewhat of a niche.

While fitness science is fundamentally universal, there are many aspects to the whole picture.

Often you’ll find different certifying agencies will focus on a different aspect, such as how NASM focuses on corrective exercise for lifestyle enhancement with their OPT model.

With PTGA, I’ve already gone over how their unique selling point is to focus more on the client experience by placing emphasis on behavior and psychology.

Through this, you can enhance the experience your clients have, not just through the attainment of superficial outcomes but through the enjoyment, comfort, and security they experience when dealing with you.

This is the progressive direction PTAG is trying to take and is what signifies their primary focus.

CEU Requirements

As a CPT certification, you can bet PTAG has an expiry date on its credentials.

Like most certs, you will need to renew your PTA Global cert after a two year period.

At that point, in order to successfully renew your cert, you will need to submit continuing education units or CEUs.

These time based academic credits stand as proof that you’ve continued to upgrade your skills and knowledge, or at the very least, maintain it to a reasonable standard.

For PTA Global, you will need 20 CEUs to be submitted every two years in order to maintain your credentials.

Certification Take Away

With the valuable info, I have spilled out in this review, you should be able to make an informed decision soonest.

The PTAG CPT certification seems to be a great option on paper, but in the real world, it may not get you as far as you’d like to go. 

This is simply a function of the amount of time it’s been around, denying it the ability to leverage time in the ring for industry recognition.

This will change over time and could likely see PTGA as a big player in the world of fitness credentials.

I believe this is possible due to the quality and attention to detail they seem to bring.

I give it a 3.5/5 as my final PT Pioneer rating.

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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