If you’re looking, we also did a personal trainer certification comparison for the United States.
ThePTDC is in no way affiliated with any personal training certification so you can be assured that the following is 100% unbiased. In fact we have been offered generous sums of money from certain organizations and turned it down. After reading the following you will understand why.
A personal training certification will not make you successful. It is a foot in the door, that’s all. In Canada the main bodies are CPTN, CSEP, and CanFit Pro. At the bottom of this post I have a chart comparing them all in terms of the specifics. Before you make a decision read the following.
Personal Training is Unregulated
Know what that means? That means your 90 year old grandmother is a personal trainer. It also means your obese best friend who makes fun of you when you go to the gym while they sit at home beating every update of Angry Birds is also a personal trainer. Anybody can call themselves an unregistered term. As an interesting aside PT is registered but by physiotherapists so it is illegal for you to call yourself a PT unless you are a designated physiotherapist.
So Who Cares About a Personal Trainer Certification in Canada?
Your clients don’t. They haven’t heard of your certification and will nod their nod when you extol the benefits of it that you read from the brochure. What they care about is feeling and looking better.
A good personal trainer is somebody who has the combined knowledge and passion to provide a high quality service. A piece of paper doesn’t give you either of these qualities. A piece of paper gives you a baseline credential and you should treat it as such.
Personal training certifications are a means to get your foot in the door. Most gyms won’t hire you without one but it really doesn’t matter which one you have (unless of course the certification is owned by the same company that owns your gym, then you’re stuck).
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 surprise. I’ve yet to come across a program that adequately prepares trainers for one simple reason:
You must have tons of practical and varied experience. To do this in a school setting is expensive. Certifying trainers in Canada is a business (and a very profitable one). It would be a pretty tough sell for a company to advertise a $5,000 personal trainer certification that lasts 2 years when another place sells it for $200 in a weekend.
So what if you’ve been working out for a long time? And who cares if all you do is read fitness magazines.
Your research up until now has been focused on how to make your workouts better or heal from your injuries. Unless you’re only going to be training people who are exactly like you then it’s going to take some work learning other methods.
So you must get in and get dirty. Don’t be scared to tell your clients you don’t know. Just make sure to follow it up with “but I’m going to find out”. Research incessantly for the first couple years and you will soon find what niches interest you and which ones do not.
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. Stop following somebody else’s template. Remember what I said about personal training being unregulated above? Well that also means that anybody and their dog can certify trainers for anything, as anything.
Save money on expensive certifications and put it towards DVDs, books, workshops, conferences, mentorships, and internships. This is how you become qualified – not with a piece of paper.
Do I Get CEU’s For That?
If you’re struggling to fulfill your CEU (or CEC) requirements come recertification time you have serious problems or haven’t taken time to understand the system. Almost every personal training certification allows you to petition CEU’s for outside / unsanctioned events. This means 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 because they haven’t applied to count as CEU’s with your certification. Go because you want to learn, not for a piece of paper.
It’s a stepping-stone, nothing more. There mare many education paths to take for personal trainers and it’s up to you to find and follow your own. 1000s of different systems will get your clients results. It’s both the best and worst part of being a trainer.
You must look for every opportunity to educate yourself and develop your own system that works for you and your clients.
The Benefits of Personal Training Certifications
A certification is a system. No matter how specialized it is somebody has taken the time to think through the methodology and put it together.
It therefore is a quick way for you to establish a baseline of knowledge to direct your efforts moving forward. 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?
I don’t recommend any in particular. I’ve yet to come across a certification that prepares you better for your job than any other one. As a stepping stone, my recommendation therefore is to look at getting the best personal trainer certification that works for you. Choose one that offers the smallest barrier in terms of cost and time, and attain it!
Please don’t take my recommendation the wrong way. I am somebody who spent $10-15,000 a year on continuing education while I was a personal trainer. I studied what interested me regardless of whether or not it had a certification tag at the end of it or not. I never cared about made up letters behind my name and neither did my clients.
Study hard and always get better. Invest in yourself. Just don’t do it because you think the made up letters behind your name mean something or will impress anybody. With that being said, below is a comparison of the Canadian personal training certifications.
Top Personal Trainer Certifications: Canada (comparison)
The goal of this short post is to simply compare the Canadian certifications as I have never seen an easy to reference chart like this in one place. 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 on the loose, 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