Being a personal trainer myself, I know that one of the hardest aspects of becoming certified is choosing which program or organization is right for you! This can be completely confusing because there are so many organizations to choose from; even colleges and universities offer personal trainer programs. Where do you even begin? One way to decide which program to get certified through is to keep several questions in mind.
First, it's important to ask yourself, "Which organization's program fits into my budget?" This is paramount because quite frankly, if you can't afford it you might as well as look at a different program. Not to fear though, there are a ton of programs with a wide variety of price ranges to choose from. Organizations offer a variety of programs and study material options that can cost anywhere from $300-$400, all the way up to $2,000. Many times you can get all the study materials you need and an exam voucher for $400-500.
Second, you need to ask yourself, "How much time to do I have/want to take to get certified?" This is very important to remember because programs offer a number of different options for getting certified. These options range from a 3-4 day workshop to a self-paced study course in which you can get a year long exam voucher. It all depends on your time frame!
Third, ask yourself, "Do I want to take a live workshop or do a self-paced study?" There are many benefits to both. For one, a live workshop is great because it allows you to get all of the information in a couple of days and get the course and exam over with. You also get the chance to discuss and review the exam with an instructor face-to-face. The downside is that you have to travel (which could cost you money) and a large amount of information is dumped on you rather quickly. On the other hand, self-
paces courses or physical studying materials can be quite handy as well. Self paced courses allow you to work at your own pace and usually offer the ability to call or email staff with any questions. The downside of self-paced courses is procrastination and not being able to discuss and review the exam face-to-face with a professional.
Fourth, you need to ask yourself, "If I want to do a live workshop, which programs are offered close-by?" Doing a live workshop is great but only if it is relatively close-by. Find out which organization you want to go through that offers live workshops and check when the upcoming ones are and where they are. Workshops are offered at many different locations, so time it to where you can sign-up, have time to study beforehand, and be ready for a workshop. This will save you traveling time!
Fifth, it is always good to be mindful of and ask yourself, "How long until I have to get re-certified?" If re-certification is of concern to you, check to see how long each organization gives you until you need to be re-certified. This is normally around 2 years but can be anywhere from 6 months to 4 years.
Sixth, and most importantly ask yourself, "Is it an accredited program accepted by gyms everywhere?" Although you can be a personal trainer without getting a certification or you can get certified through an organization that isn't accredited by a governing body, getting a job is at the discretion of the gym and perspective clients. Getting certified through an accredited organization greatly improves your chances of landing a job quickly!
Keeping these questions in mind can make choosing which program to get certified through much easier. Having a game plan when deciding on an organization can take a lot of the confusion out of becoming a certified personal trainer!
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