A personal training certification will not make you successful. Getting certified is merely getting your foot in the door—no more, no less. The truth is that you are what will make you successful (along with all of the other resources on this site, of course). Ready to make a difference in your personal training career? Read on.
First, please note that thePTDC is in no way affiliated with any personal training certification so you can be assured that the following is 100% unbiased. We are an independent blog dedicated to the improvement of the fitness industry and the success of the trainers who work within it.
Now the main thing you should realize is that personal training is unregulated, so guess what? Your 90-year-old grandma who could barely remember where she left her glasses two minutes ago could be a personal trainer. And that buddy of yours who makes fun of you for going to the gym while he sits at home watching re-runs of Baywatch can also be a personal trainer. Basically, anybody can call him or herself a personal trainer if there are no regulations around it.
–> IN THE U.S.? We also have Top Personal Training Certifications: United States.
In Canada, you have a few main options: Canada Fitness Professionals (CanFit Pro), Certified Personal Trainer’s Network (CPTN), and Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology (CSEP). The pros and cons aren’t immediately clear. The main thing is that a top personal training certification is helpful for launching your career. To help you figure out the differences, I later provide a chart comparing them all in terms of the specifics.
But before you make a decision, read the following.
So Who Cares About a Personal Trainer Certification in Canada?
Your clients certainly don’t.
In fact, they don’t know squat about squats, which is why they are coming to you. You can have a whole song and dance about how great your certification is, but if you can’t deliver what’s most important to them—results—they couldn’t care less. Remember, clients want only two things: to look good and to feel better.
So, it doesn’t matter how many certifications you have or which one you got you need to be able to deliver on your promise of results. To that end, a good personal trainer has combined the knowledge to be able to figure out how to help individual clients be their best, and passion to provide a high-quality service–no matter how difficult the client may be. As you probably now realize, a piece of paper doesn’t give you either of these qualities. At best, you have the bare minimum requirements to show someone that you might know something.
–> Want to improve your skills as a personal trainer? Find out how.
Personal training certifications are the bridge to a job because most personal training positions and gyms won’t even look at you without one. In most cases, it doesn’t matter which certification you have (unless the certification is owned by the same company that owns your gym, then you’re stuck).
Make sure that the certification you get can be applicable to more than one place.
Being Certified Doesn’t Mean That You’re Qualified
If you think a personal training certification will prepare you for training clients, you are in for a rude awakening. I’ve yet to come across a certification program that adequately prepares trainers.
The fact is that no matter how much you study, you still have to build up your practical experience in various situations. Textbook situations are almost always different from real-life situations. To try to replicate them in a school setting is very expensive. In truth, certifying bodies in Canada are businesses (and a very profitable one). After all, it would be a pretty tough sell for a company to advertise a $5,000 personal trainer certification that lasts two years when another place sells it for $200 in a weekend.
And so what if you’ve been working out for a long time? Certainly, you’re impressing no one if all you do is read fitness magazines.
Sure, such first-hand experience is important for fitness, but here’s the kicker: Your knowledge from both instances apply only to you, but are you only training yourself and paying yourself for results? Of course not.
When you become a personal trainer, you’ll be training many other folks—with different personalities, life circumstances, schedules, dislikes, and most importantly, no knowledge of fitness. That last point is important because if you can’t have empathy for a client who doesn’t know what you know, it’ll be difficult for you to be successful. In fact, I think this is so important that I’ve dedicated the entire first chapter of my book, Ignite the Fire: The Secrets to Building a Successful Personal Training Career, to discussing it).
Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know” to your clients as long as you follow it with “I’m going to find out” click to tweet
So What Do You Do?
Let your passion dictate your education and never be stingy with investing in your continual education and pursuit of knowledge. Save your money by avoiding expensive certifications and instead put it towards DVDs, books, workshops, conferences, mentorships, and internships. This is how you become qualified–-with knowledge, not with a piece of paper.
Above all, don’t rush into something just because someone else found success in that niche or field. There mare many education paths to take for personal trainers, and it’s up to you to find and follow your own.You must look for every opportunity to educate yourself and develop your own system that works for you and your clients. Thousands of different systems and methodologies will get your clients results. That’s both the best and worst part of being a trainer.
The Benefits of Personal Training Certifications
Okay, so there are some benefits to having a personal trainer (I’m not a complete downer on them).
A certification is a system. Some are highly specialized, in fact. It simply means that somebody has taken the time to think through the methodology and put everything together. Hence, certifications are a quick way for you to learn and establish a baseline of knowledge that can help propel you forward. Ask questions and ask them often.
One of my favorite things to do was always ask the instructor what outside materials they would recommend for me to better understand the concept. It’s one of the ways that I developed the massive reading list of the best books for personal trainers.
So What Personal Trainer Certification Do I Recommend?
My opinion has always been that certifications are only a stepping stone. One certification doesn’t prepare you for your job better than another one does.
So, my best recommendation is to look at getting the personal trainer certification that works for you. That means choosing one that offers the smallest barrier in terms of cost and time, and go get it!
Please don’t take my recommendation the wrong way. I just never cared about made up letters behind my name and neither did my clients. I’ve spent $10-15,000 a year on continuing education while I was a personal trainer just so I could study whatever interested me, regardless of whether or not it had a certification tag at the end of it.
Ultimately, my advice to you is to study hard and strive to always get better. Never settle. Invest in yourself. Education will not come cheap, yet you shouldn’t be cheap about it. At the same time, don’t just do something because you think the made up letters behind your name mean something or will impress anybody.
Do I Get CEUs For That?
In order to be re-certified, certifications require continuing education units (CEUs), or also known as continuing education credits (CECs).
If you’re struggling to fulfill your CEU requirements, you are not taking your career very seriously or haven’t taken time to understand the system. Almost every personal training certification allows you to petition CEUs for outside and unsanctioned events. This means that any event you attend counts towards your requirements whether they say so or not.
So, attend a seminar if you think it will help you or your clients. Please don’t think twice about going just because they haven’t applied to count as CEUs with your certification. Go because you want to learn, not for a piece of paper.
Top Personal Trainer Certifications: Canada (comparison)
Now we compare the Canadian certifications in this handy, one-of-a-kind chart below. If you live in the United States, we did a sister post comparing the American certs. You can check it out here.
Please note that I don’t promise 100% accuracy from this chart. It is meant to give an unbiased comparison. For all up to date info on certs visit the website listed or call the organisation directly.
What to Do Next?
Becoming a confident and profitable personal trainer is just like learning to drive. It’s one thing to pass the test and be let out into the wild, but it’s another thing to be confident and effective every single day.
Whether you’re just doing research, just got certified, or have been certified for a year or two and still feel you haven’t reached your potential, then you will find untold benefit in the “From Certification to Qualification” program.
This 10-part audio series will blow away the cobwebs of confusion, leaving clarity on how to fast track towards your personal and professional potential. This is stuff that you won’t get in any certification.
Learn more here:
–> From Certification to Qualification