The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of fitness trainers and instructors is expected to grow by 24 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. – and that means many more career opportunities for you. But only if you’re certified. Fortunately, NETA has been teaching and certifying fitness professionals for over 40 years, so we not only know what it takes, but how to simplify the whole process. Here are five simple steps to begin your career as a Certified Personal Trainer.


There are plenty of organizations offering professional certification. How do you know which one is best for you? First, we strongly suggest you choose an organization accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. NCCA accreditation is considered the gold standard in the health & fitness industry, and something the best employers have come to expect. So, make sure you look for the official NCCA–accredited program seal when choosing your certification partner; not all organizations have earned this distinction.

Of course, the overall cost of your certification is always a factor — including study materials and travel. Not–for–profit organizations (like NETA) can provide excellent value by offering both training and exams for less than most agencies charge for the exam alone. We also let you select study materials based on your specific needs, schedule you exam at a conveniently–located test center, and offer among the lowest recertification fees of any NCCA–accredited program.

Perhaps most importantly, investigate the level of professional support you’ll receive after your initial certification. Does the organization offer a broad spectrum of continuing education to keep your certification current? NETA provides hundreds of live events, interactive online learning and home study courses to help you grow into a healthy career.


Everyone learns differently and you may be a quick study, but we recommend candidates begin self–guided study for the certification exam at least 45 days in advance. It’s also critical to choose a training organization that supports you and allows you to prepare in ways that suit your personal learning style — including local live workshops, virtual live webinars and self-paced online modules. NETA is proud to offer all of these educational formats plus unequalled live support and guidance from our full team of well–qualified master trainers.

We’ve also developed industry–leading educational materials to help you grasp the most complex concepts and accelerate professional learning. The Fitness Professional’s Manual was developed as the primary resource to prepare you for the certification exam and includes over 350 pages divided into 25 chapters. The Fitness Professional’s Workbook features more than 100 activities and a 50–question practice test to help guide you through the Manual.


You’ve participated in training sessions and studied hard, so you’re ready to sit for the exam. As always, the best training organizations — like NETA — make it easier by providing options. For instance, you can register for an on–site review workshop that concludes with the proctored exam or simply register to take the proctored certification exam at any of over 500 Comira Testing Centers across America.


After you pass the exam, you’ll receive your official certificate and wallet card via US mail. If you earned your certification through NETA, both of these will feature the NCCA-accredited program seal, so be sure to display and carry them with pride. Your profile will also be added to the NETA Directory of Certified Exercise Professional so potential clients and employers can find and contact you with opportunities. In addition, you’ll be eligible to receive a variety of special offers and consideration, including discounts on professional liability insurance.


The best training organizations do more than just prepare you for a position as a fitness professional; they make finding a job that fits you perfectly easier. That’s why NETA has established strategic relationships with some of the most successful and respected employers in the country. You’ll find links to some of these in our Employment Opportunities page. and can even submit online applications to accelerate your career.

Obviously, the summaries above are just a starting point, so we’re happy to answer any questions you might have regarding your career. Please don’t hesitate to contact our career counseling team at 800.237.6242 or neta@netafit.org