Getting your certification as a personal trainer can propel you into a new and satisfying career. But before you launch your website, start your Twitter feed, and begin to look for clients, there is something you need to do first.
Pass your certification exam.
Okay, so that may seem as easy as doing 50 one-armed pushups. Which exam should you take? ACE? ISSA? NASM? AFAA? ACSM? Or one of the many other accredited personal trainer certification exams? What should you know before you take the exam? What’s the exam like? Where should you start?
A Beginner’s Guide to Personal Trainer Certification Exams
Let’s answer these questions one at a time.
What Exam Should You Take?
While some personal trainer certification exams are perceived as being more difficult than others, this shouldn’t be the major factor in your decision making process. Find out what local employers like gyms and clubs prefer; chances are, you’ll have a choice of several nationally-recognized, NCCA-accredited programs. You’ll notice that, while the exams cover the same fundamental subjects, each program offers different study options. These can range from relatively inexpensive self-study books to full-on distance learning classes. Choose the one that works best for your budget and schedule.
What Should You Know?
If you didn’t major in physical fitness in college – or if you don’t have a college degree – don’t sweat it. Many personal trainer certification programs only require that you be over 18, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and a valid CPR/AED certification.
And that’s all you need to start with, although some knowledge of fitness will make your studies easier.
What’s the Exam Like?
Each exam is a bit different, but you’ll find that many of them last 2-3 hours and contain over 100 questions. By the time you take the exam, you should be knowledgeable about the human body, particularly anatomy. You should also understand how movements in exercise work, how they should be performed, and how to design an exercise program. Safety and emergency procedures, legal information, business and marketing, and client relationships are also covered, although not with as much emphasis.
How to Start Your Personal Training Certification Test Prep
There are three keys to success. One is to learn about the certification exam you’ll be taking; you can usually find a candidate handbook or other information for free on the certifying company’s website. Next, give yourself a reasonable time frame to study, and set a schedule. Finally, don’t underestimate the power of the practice test, which will help you gauge your progress and retain information come exam day.
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