Who Should Get Certified as a Personal Trainer and Why?


All coaches and any student studying towards an exercise degree should get certified as a personal trainer. Many coaches obtained a degree many years ago. Since then, the study of biomechanics has become more prevalent in the research and development of fitness equipment as well as fitness programming.

Sports have become much more competitive and athletes are more apt to specialize in one sport. All exercises, sports, or movement in general involve the application of force on the musculoskeletal system. Great coaches and trainers now commonly have a better understanding of joint structure and function along with strength and resistance profiles, and how those profiles affect the body.

College and universities are like large battleships that often take a long time to turn, while certification companies are more like PT boats and can turn much quicker. Because of this, certification companies can incorporate new information or techniques in their curriculum and study materials much easier than conventional institutions. For example, HITT (High Intensity Interval Training), suspension training, CrossFit, Barre and Soul Cycle weren’t popular five years ago, or in some cases didn’t exist. This doesn’t necessarily mean these programs are good or suitable for many goals, however, the ability to assess or analyze these programs are essential for fitness professionals in order to safely and effectively service their clients/athletes/participants.

A certification will allow students to earn extra money as a personal trainer as opposed to waiting four years to obtain their degree. With the cost of education and the demands of higher education, students can work part-time while they finish their degree. Alternately, coaches can learn new techniques and improve their training knowledge by obtaining a wide variety of specialty certifications such as:

Speed Agility and Quickness, Speed, Agility and Strength, Weight Management, Senior Fitness, Youth Fitness, Powerlifting, Indoor Cycling, Yoga, Pilates, Barre, Kickboxing and Group Exercise.

Certifications from reputable companies can be costly. An average NCCA nationally accredited personal trainer credential could cost a student $400-$500 while specialty certifications are in the $200-$300 range. An option for colleges and universities is to offer these programs through their own institutions; however, as mentioned before they don’t turn very quickly. Instead, it might be wiser for them to license these certifications from an organization for a fee.

An organization like Smart Fitness has this type or content/certifications delivered via a LMS (Learning Management Software) for a reasonable licensing fee with no restrictions on participants. This might be the most cost effective way for an educational institution to keep their coaching staff and teachers up to speed on the latest training techniques, while offering students a way to begin working in the fields they’re studying for. It might just turn into a new revenue source of revenue!


John Platero MA, has a dual master’s degree in Sports Medicine and Health and Fitness with an emphasis on personal training. He is the CEO for the National Council for Certified Personal Trainers, an organization that has certified thousands of personal trainers all over the world. He was the National Director for Personal Training for both LA Fitness and Bodies in Motion and owned and operated his own 20,000 sq. ft. gym. Over the last 40 years John has obtained 35 personal training certifications, filmed over 30 fitness videos and infomercials and has been published or featured by most of the fitness magazines. For more information email johnplatero@verizon.net or visit smartfitness.com. 


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