Continuing education is a great way for personal trainers to expand their knowledge and capabilities. With more experience and training, a personal trainer can define their niche and provide specialized services to a wider range of paying clients. With so many options, how do you accurately compare programs that provide personal trainer CEUs?
In today’s IFG deep dive, we’ve done the legwork for you to look at three of the top programs offering CEUs to help you find the best for your fitness career.
What Are CEUs with Personal Training?
Continuing education units (CEUs) are provided with the completion of a particular training course. Certified personal trainers (CPT) are generally required to be recertified every few years or so and will almost always need to have completed a certain amount of CEUs in that timeframe. For example, with the NASM CPT, you are required to be recertified every two years and will need to have 1.9 CEUs plus a current CPR/AED cert to do so.
Continue education choices for trainers are quite numerous with many great options from reputable programs to choose from. CEU courses cover a wide variety of topics, including everything from nutrition and weight loss, to expanding sports performance. Programs do vary in price so it's a good idea to do a little background into the course of study to decide if a particular program is really going to give you the best bang for your buck.
Some topics may be exploratory, where you’re trying something totally outside your current wheelhouse or they can be focused on advancing a particular group of services. When it comes to success as a personal trainer, building your personal brand within a niche of specialization goes a long way. CEUs also help you remain current on best-practices in fitness instruction as well as expanding other knowledge, skills, and abilities.
Deciding on a Course of Study for Personal Training Continuing Education
Look at different CEU options, you will begin to notice that you have a lot of different choices. So how do you hone in on one particular program? Our comparison below is going to run through some of the top hitters in personal training CEU programs today which can give you a better picture of what each has to offer you.
The important thing is to keep in mind how a particular program is going to bring a benefit. After all, investing time and money into achieving CEUs should produce a return or else there isn’t much value there.
So, going in to your training CEUs comparison, ask yourself three key questions:
- What is the purpose of completing this CEU course? Are you going to use this knowledge to advance your career? Launch a new service offering? Seek new clients? Define what you want to get out of the course ahead of time so that you can see which program best aligns with your aspirations going forward.
- What is your ideal client? Honing on a particular market segment is going to help you decide which CEUs might best work for that population of individuals. With hybrid and online personal training becoming more abundant, you aren’t as tied to a physical location as trainers once were. You can define your niche, educate yourself accordingly, and become an authority in that space. Bonus alert, with an IFG personal trainer insurance policy, you can access whole libraries of curated content to help you define your niche and advance your career in fitness.
- What excites you about this course? Let’s face it, if you don’t find the information engaging and informative, you probably aren’t going to get a whole lot out of a training CEU course. Make sure that you actually have an interest in a particular course, can envision how you will put the knowledge gained to use, and will get the top value for your investment.
Looking at different factors like these can help you make a more informed decision based on your unique career path and future goals in the fitness industry.
All CEUs Are Not Created Equal
A tricky part of the CEU comparison is that each program counts CEUs a little differently with how they apply to their individual recertification requirements. CEUs are generally based on contact hours, where a contact hour within an approved course of study counts towards an equivalent number of CEUs.
The easiest course would be to obtain your certification and your CEUs from a single provider so that hours are never in jeopardy of not applying. Akin to transferring from one college to another, these programs won’t always apply CEUs the same way and you may find you’ll need additional courses to satisfy the requirements of a new program if you switch.
Personal Trainer CEU Comparison
We’ll run through our picks for the top three leading programs from our CEU comparison to give you a great birds-eye view for each program. There’s a plethora of options with each provider so our comparison highlights breaks down the leaders from categories today’s trainers are looking for in a quality CEU course.
One of the most important aspects of any program is seeing that the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) has accredited the course of study. This important accreditation adds clout and credibility to the certification you earn from the course.
- Cheapest Personal Trainer CEUs: ISSA - as low as $9.95 for individual courses, ACE - as low as $13.97, NASM - as low as $33
- Largest Diversity of Trainer CEU Courses: ACE Fitness & ISSA with literally hundreds of courses (for comparison NASM currently has 67 courses)
- NCCA-Certified: NASM & ACE Fitness
NASM CEUs for Trainers
National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) has a list of different CEU courses available. Choose from specialization courses like corrective exercises, performance enhancement, or nutrition or take entire personal trainer certification courses. NASM is well-known and well-respected in the fitness industry so you can be sure that your certification is going to be taken seriously.
NASM CEU courses are also extremely thorough and informative with interactive textbooks, videos, quizzes, and practice exams to prepare you for the online final exam. These courses allow you to earn CEUs and obtain or renew certifications simultaneously. Prices range from individual CEU courses like “Speed, Agility, and Quickness Training” for $33 all the way up to $1,889 for NASM’s certified personal trainer all-inclusive program.
Bonus, IFG has partnered with FiTOUR to provide discounted NASM-approved CEUs. Double-bonus, members of FiTOUR also get a discount on personal trainer liability insurance.
ACE CEUs for Trainers
ACE Fitness is another stalwart in the industry and their continuing education platform is pretty impressive. With courses broken up into 16 different topics, like Active Aging, Exercise Science, or Weight Management, each topic then has dozens of related courses. We loved that you can take both fitness and practice-related courses a la carte, such as “Overcoming the “I Hate Change” Mentality” for just $19.95. Standalone courses like these were some of the cheapest in our comparison.
With ACE, you can also get course bundles that combine several different courses into one general topic. For example the “Helping Clients Manage Disease through Exercise” course bundle is $39.95 and includes three different courses surrounding creating exercise regimes for clients who have specific conditions such as cancer or diabetes. The bundles represent a great value for taking several related topics of study at once. The ACE personal trainer certification program by itself also offers a good value, with the most expensive option being $899 for full certification.
ISSA CEUs for Trainers
The International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) is another program almost every trainer has heard of. ISSA has an incredible amount of different certification and CEU courses to help you meet your annual requirements or find a brand new certification to branch out into. We loved that ISSA had monthly payment plans for their certification courses, as well as access to a la carte courses. Some of the courses even include bonuses like a free professional website which is cool for getting your fitness services online.
The most expensive CEU bundle we saw on ISSA was $399 for their “Nutrition and Professional Development Bundle”. With this course, you get 10 of ISSA’s top CEU courses altogether and will earn a full 20 CEUs that fulfill all of ISSA’s recertification requirements so you can knock everything out all at once.
A downside of ISSA is that they are not listed as an accredited program on the NCCA website, nor do they list this among their accreditations and affiliations.
What it Takes to Achieve Success as a Personal Trainer
Propelling your career in fitness, CEUs represent a fantastic opportunity to stay current, learn new skills, and develop your career. Making sure your career is covered through it all, personal trainer insurance allows you the freedom to pursue whatever specialization you desire without fear of an unforeseen event sidelining your career.