The 8 Cheapest Personal Trainer Certifications

A couple of years back, personal trainer certification programs, such as ACE, used to be quite expensive. And as a result, most fitness enthusiasts who would have loved to pursue a career in personal training were forced to give up on their dreams, due to the high costs of personal trainer certifications.

Fortunately, the rise of online personal trainer certification programs has considerably reduced the cost of delivering the courses. And today, you can easily find an affordable personal trainer certification program. So, funding should no longer hold you back, if you are looking to become a certified fitness coach.

In this article, we will walk you through some of the cheapest personal training certifications available on the market today. And from there, you can choose a certification program that aligns with your budget and personal preferences. So, which are the most affordable personal trainer certifications? Let’s take a closer look.

Woman coaching guy doing push ups.


ACTION-CPT certification is currently the cheapest personal training certification program in the fitness industry. It takes approximately 10 weeks to complete this study program. The program is available in three different packages. These are the Basic CPT Plan, Professional CPT Plan and the Platinum CPT Plan. The Basic CPT Plan starts at around $99, the Professional CPT Plan costs $149 while the Platinum CPT Plan starts at $249, which is way below what most of the other certification programs cost.

And as much as the ACTION-CPT personal trainer certification may be cheaper than the majority of the other providers, it doesn’t mean the quality of the certification is poor. It will equip you with the skills and knowledge required to become a professional fitness coach. You will learn how to create custom training programs for your clients, guide your clients on nutrition, conduct group fitness sessions, and create additional revenue streams. And most importantly, this certification is NCCA-accredited. With the ACTION-CPT personal trainer certification, you can become an NCCA-accredited fitness coach for as low as $100.


Launched in 1988, the National Federation of Professional Trainers or NFPT is one of the oldest personal trainer certification programs. In 2005, this personal trainer certification program received its NCCA accreditation, having met all the accreditation requirements.

The NFPT-CPT comes with two study packages – the Standard Package for $239 and the Premier Package for $349. You also have the option of registering for the certification exam only for $199, making it one of the most affordable personal trainer certifications on the market.

As for the program, you will learn various topics such as human anatomy, exercise physiology, motivation and programming, human physiology, communication skills, injury management, legal issues, assessing and implementing exercise programs and the characteristics of wellness, among others.

Whether you decide to sign up for its packages or you simply opt to register for the exam online, the NFPT-CPT offers a budget-friendly means of becoming a certified fitness coach.


The National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association (NESTA) has been around for more than 30 years. Since its launch in the 90s, this organization has certified approximately 60,000 personal trainers and fitness coaches, who can be found in almost all parts of the globe. It’s also an NCCA-accredited certification program, which is the gold standard in the industry.

With the NESTA CPT program, you will learn how to assess the fitness, health and skill levels of different clients accurately, to help design realistic goals for them. This program will also teach you how to design workout programs for your personal training clients, depending on their goals and needs.

You will also learn how to demonstrate and instruct different workout routines. Furthermore, this personal trainer certification program will equip you with skills on how to sell personal training to gain new clients.

So, how much does the NESTA-CPT program cost? The cost will depend on the package you choose. The available packages include PFT Basic for $349, PFT Plus for $399 and PFT Complete for $477. But, regardless of the package that you choose, you can see that the prices are on the lower side.

It’s also worth mentioning that the entire program is 100% online. So, if you are looking for a cheap online personal training certification program, then you should check out the NESTA-CPT certification.


The National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF) personal trainer certification is one of the most respected in the industry. This NCCA-accredited organization has a presence in more than 160 countries. As it stands, this organization has certified more than 280,000 fitness professionals.

Some of the units covered in this personal trainer certification include health and physical fitness, exercise physiology, nutrition, functional anatomy, training instruction, weight management, programming considerations as well as considerations for special training clients.

Its personal trainer certification program starts at around $419, with the most expensive one going for $539. So, if you are in the market for inexpensive personal trainer certification, then NCSF-CPT is a worthy consideration.

This organization has established strong partnerships with some of the leading fitness centers and health clubs in the country like 24 Hour Fitness, LA Fitness, Equinox, UFC Gym, XSport Fitness, Blink Fitness, Crunch and YouFit Health Clubs, just to name a few.

With NCSF-CPT, you are not only getting an affordable fitness trainer certification but you will also be exposed to more job opportunities, thanks to the organization’s strong partnerships with health clubs and fitness centers.


The American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer Certification (ACSM CPT) is a renowned personal trainer certification program, with a membership of approximately 50,000.

This NCCA-accredited organization offers a comprehensive personal training certification program, where you will learn a wide range of skills, needed to launch a successful personal training career.

It’s also one of the inexpensive personal trainer certification programs. Registering for an exam will cost you approximately $349 if you are a non-member while ACSM members will pay $249. It’s important to note the study materials are offered or sold separately. Either way, ACSM provides a budget-friendly means of getting certified as a personal trainer. Furthermore, its personal trainer certification is widely recognized in the fitness industry, thus making it easier to land a job.

6. NETA Personal Trainer Certification

The National Exercise Trainers Association or NETA as it’s commonly known in the fitness industry, is yet another option for prospective personal trainers, looking for inexpensive personal training certification.

Some of the topics covered in this personal trainer certification program include exercise physiology, biomechanics, kinesiology, and anatomy. You will also learn how to conduct health and fitness assessments, as well as exercise programming. Also, the NETA personal trainer certification course covers principles of nutrition and weight management, dynamics of communication as well as behavioral change.

The cost of becoming a personal trainer with NETA will depend on the package you choose. Currently, the organization has two packages – a self-study package and a two-day live review workshop and a Premier Plus personal trainer certification study package. The self-study package goes for $449 while the Premier Plus package costs $499.


If you are shopping for a cheap online personal trainer certification, then the International Fitness Professionals Association (IFPA-CPT) is worth a look. While the course is offered entirely online, it’s fully comprehensive, meaning it will equip you with everything you will need to succeed as a personal trainer or fitness coach.

You can opt for the exam-only package, which is currently going for $299. This package also comes with 100 practice exams, which will help you to prepare for the exam adequately.

And like other reputable personal trainer certification providers, the IFPA-CPT is also NCCA accredited. And while it may not be as widely recognized as some of the other affordable personal trainer certifications in this list, it provides a good starting point to launch your career. As mentioned earlier, this certification is entirely online, meaning you can sit the exam from almost any location, as long as you have the technology to do so.

8. National Pilates Certification Program

If you are a Pilates enthusiast and you are looking to become a professional Pilates teacher or personal trainer, then it’s highly advisable to become a certified Pilates trainer. And the National Pilates Certification Program is one of the most affordable in the industry.

The National Pilates Certification Program is NCCA-accredited. With this certification, you can opt to open your own Pilates studio or work in a Pilate studio as an instructor. The exam will cost you around $295. The study materials are sold separately. You can opt to purchase them or not, depending on your skills, knowledge or the experience that you have in Pilates.

9. Wrapping It Up

The high cost of personal trainer certifications has been one of the biggest hindrances, for fitness enthusiasts looking to become certified personal trainers. But thanks to the rise of online courses, this is no longer a challenge. Currently, there are several NCCA-accredited personal trainer certifications, going for less than $500. And this is an affordable range for most people, who would have otherwise been locked out in the past. So, you simply need to choose a personal trainer certification from our list, pass the exam and start your personal training career.

Jay Bats

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