With more than one-third of adults in the United States battling obesity, it’s time to turn your passion for health and fitness into a career as a personal trainer. You have the drive to help others live a healthier lifestyle. Now, all you need is the training and certification. But how much does a personal trainer certification cost?

Why Get Certified?

The demand for personal training professionals is predicted to grow by 10 percent by 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. With the growing popularity of the profession and the fact that personal training is an unregulated industry, anyone can call themselves a personal trainer—even if they don’t have a certification, training, or experience.

Getting your personal training certification builds your credibility as a personal trainer, setting you above the rest and giving potential clients confidence in your skills and ability to help them on their journey to healthy living. Furthermore, most gyms won’t hire you without a personal training certification, and if you have your own business, many insurance companies won’t cover you without a certification.

Certification Costs

The cost of personal trainer certification varies by certification level. Whereas an entry-level personal trainer certification can cost $400-$600, a master certification can cost upwards of $2,000 for the materials and exam. Specialist certifications for strength training, senior fitness, or youth fitness typically cost between $400 and $500.

Additionally, some certification organizations offer a set cost just for the exam, which can range from $200 to $600, while others offer study guides and packages starting at $46 and reaching beyond $2,400. If you’re concerned about course and exam fees, payment plans and financing are usually available for those who qualify.

The cost of a personal trainer certification program typically includes:

  • Digital e-books, video lessons, and online quizzes
  • Guides for launching a personal trainer business
  • Expert advice and guidance
  • Instructional support
  • Study materials, including certification course textbooks
  • Final exam and issuance of credentials upon the successful completion of the program requirements

Many courses also offer the option to purchase a print textbook for an additional fee. Some courses are not fully online and may have separate shipping costs that vary depending on the training program, shipping destination, and whether you’ve request expedited shipping.

Other Costs and Fees

There are other expenses and fees to consider on top of the guides, materials, and exam costs of earning a personal trainer certification, including:

  • CPR certification: Many certification organizations require CPR/AED certification, which run about $75.
  • Rental fees: If you’re working out of a gym, you’ll likely have to pay a rental fee for use of the space in either a flat monthly fee or percentage of your session fee or hourly rate.
  • Liability insurance: If you plan on starting your own personal training business, you’ll want to have professional liability insurance, which protects you in case of a lawsuit for negligence or undelivered services. In 2017, the average annual cost for a small business was $1,735 and the median was $920.
  • Marketing: Finding clients and getting your name out there is one additional cost of becoming a personal trainer.
  • Taxes: Don’t forget that as an independent contractor, you will have to pay taxes, so be sure to speak with a trusted accountant.

The Real ROI

The thought of watching your future clients transform their lives through healthy living might seem like a reward in and of itself for the amount of time and money you’ll be investing in getting certified. However, if you’re concerned about the practical return on investment spending hundreds or thousands on a personal trainer certification, consider this: The median annual salary for a personal trainer in the U.S. is currently $58,875 (and some salaries are as high as $81,690). Becoming certified as a personal trainer will give you the credentials to quickly build a client list, which means you’ll see a return on your financial investment in no time.

If you’re ready to launch your career as a personal trainer, download our Pricing Sheet FAQs to see the costs of personal trainer certification with AFPA.

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