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

In this article, I will 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 and your circumstances.

They are:

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

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

What type of Certification are you looking to get?

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

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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 regarding 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 the 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 been certified or undergone academic training have good foundational fitness knowledge.

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 faces a different challenge: 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 to be successful, your business acumen has to outperform hordes of competition.

It is through identifying this new urgent need that PTAG was formed. Their goal is 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 discover if PTAG is perfect for you by weighing a few pros and cons.

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

Pros

  • 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 and 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 tell you what to make your clients do.

A big psychological and emotional component of people who buy fitness influences their initial decision.

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

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

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.

Cons

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

  • Very new and not well recognized
  • The 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 not to 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, a cert’s mileage 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. 

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

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

PTGA offers both online and sit-down exams for its 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 its administration doesn’t fit the criteria set forth.

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

And why is that, you may ask?

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

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?

From what I can understand, these standards are based on numerous criteria that fall into two categories.

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 how 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 ensuring 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, more and more online courses and certifications claim 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 ensuring 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 determining how much you’ll need to spend is necessary when picking out a program or credential.

Regarding 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 go for $799.00.

Regarding the price conversation, 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.

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A Good Option
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To give scope and meaning to the price fully, we need to understand what the value proposition is, how good what you’re paying for, and whether it is worth it.

PTA Global [year] Review - the Personal Trainer Academy 3
PTA Global [year] Review - the Personal Trainer Academy 4

Quality of Study Materials

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

The PTAG study materials seem diverse, except for the exam only option.

I will 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 habitually review bad certifications; 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 toward good exam prep.

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

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

The two packages are only really separated because one provides the manual only in digital format, while the other provides a physical hard copy and 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 about implementing their services after certification.

Having two key elements already done for your intake and programming, you can focus more on delivering a good training experience and less on 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 rating. 

A couple of points are lost because 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 enjoy including a hard copy.

Exam Layout and Passing Grade

Join me in examining 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 to emphasize some aspects while limiting the focus on others.

This targeted approach means that while your knowledge is fundamental across all subject areas, 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 a trainer’s most focused domain of competence.

And why is that? Well, it’s pretty obvious. 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 related to fitness instruction.

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

They aim to populate the fitness industry with professionals who understand their client’s psychological and emotional needs.

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

Focus on your prep material’s programming, client behavior, and exercise science portions.

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

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

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

While these questions are essentially useless regarding 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 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 the exam’s 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 and those who show up late or have some form of administrative problem while taking or grading their exams.

Regarding failing the exam, 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 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

In my experience and opinion, expected study time 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 complete your exam prep.

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 double the 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 specifically provide income stats on PTAG trainers, 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 salary.com, 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 tell you that simply getting a personal trainer certification doesn’t guarantee the big payday.

Several factors influence your income.

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

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

Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

Tyler Read


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