Personal Trainer Certification Requirements

Personal Trainer Certification Requirements

Becoming a Personal Trainer can help you fulfill your dreams of working in the fitness industry and making your hobby and passion - a job!  Working as a personal trainer can be a very rewarding career with many avenues for for personal development and career advancement.  Many personal trainers further specialize their expertise by focusing on niche markets such as: senior fitness, sport-specific fitness, group fitness, Pilates, yoga, HIIT and more.

One question that we are asked frequently is, "What are the requirements to become a Personal Trainer?".  In this article, we will try to address what is required to become a Personal Trainer as well as what is preferred by most employers.  It is important to take industry standards into consideration as well as the minimum requirements.

Age Requirement

Primarily, the age requirement to become a personal trainer is set by both the certifying body and the employer.  For example, one certifying body might not allow a participant to become a personal trainer until he/she is 18 years old, while another might have an educational requirement such as a high school equivalency instead.  In the second instance, the 16 or 17 year old with a high school diploma or equivalency could be certified as a personal trainer.  However, a certification does not guarantee employment.  


There are more than 300 different certifying bodies in the United States.  Obviously, we are bias towards ASFA!  Most employers do require a valid certification to practice as a personal trainer.  There are some exceptions that are listed later in this article.  When choosing a certification, make sure that it is well recognized and fits your needs.  The American Sports & FItness Association (ASFA) is endorsed by Human Kinetics (the leading exercise science publisher), HSPO (the largest healthcare insurance company in the world), Berxi (a Berkshire Hathaway company), and hundreds of fitness institutions and gyms throughout the United States and Internationally.  Additionally, you can test with us anytime, 24/7, from the comfort of your own home - and, only pay if you pass.  

Additional Qualifications

There are several qualifications that might be required in addition to your Personal Trainer certification in order to practice as a personal trainer and/or keep your certification active.  Most certifying agencies require you to have an active CPR certification.  We have partnered with MyCPR NOW to give discounts to ASFA fitness professionals and help keep their certifications active and up-to-date (Use Code: ASFA20).  Also, many certifying agencies require that you are either 18 or have a high school diploma or equivalency.  These are the most common additional qualifications that are usually required by your certification body.  

There are also additional qualifications that can be required by your employer.  For example, if you wish to work as a personal trainer in an aquatic-fitness facility, you might be required to specialize in water aerobics.  Or, if your employer needs a personal trainer to teach group fitness/bootcamp or HIIT classes, you might be required to obtain those specialties.  There are many specialties that personal trainers can obtain.  It is important to make sure that you have all the additional qualifications that are required by both your certification body and your job.  


Insurance might be required for your position as a personal trainer. Insurance can depend on whether you are working independently, as an employee or as a contractor. Some employers cover insurance for trainers working at their facility, while others require potential employees to have insurance prior to applying. This is one reason that you should be careful to select the correct personal training certification. With a reputable certification, you shouldn't have problems obtaining liability insurance.  ASFA has partnered with multiple insurance companies to ensure that our certified personal trainers and fitness professionals get the best coverage and rates.  If you are certified through ASFA, you can receive up to 20% off of your liability insurance rates by visiting our partners directly from our Insurance Page.

Passing Your Certification Exam and Keeping Current

Once you have checked all the requirements for your certification and employer of choice, you will need to take and pass your certification exam.  After passing and processing through checkout, you will be certified.  From that date on, your certification will be active (if in compliance with terms & conditions of your certifying body) until further action is needed.  That further action might be renewing your CPR certification, or completing a continuing education course.

ASFA offers both annual and lifetime renewal certifications.  Our annual certifications require retesting and payment each year.  Our lifetime renewal certifications require you to take at least 1 continuing education class, course or seminar yearly.  We recommend lifetime renewal certifications for fitness industry professionals who intend on staying in the industry for several more years.  That is the most cost-effective option in the longer term.  We recommend annual certifications for those who have a shorter window of employment in the industry.

Another Path (Formal Education) 

As mentioned earlier in this article, there is another path becoming a Personal Trainer.  You can pursue formal education through a collegeant degree in exercise science, human performance, kinesiology, exercise physiology or other related fields.  It should be noted that many employers do require certification, even if the individual has a college degree in a related field.  

Hopefully, this article has shed some light on the requirements to become a personal trainer.  You will need to know which certification body is right for you, what the agency requires to certify you and what your potential employer will be looking for to optimize your employment chances.  At ASFA, we are here to help! Just click the link below to checkout our Personal trainer certification exam today!

Personal Trainer Certification

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