AFAA Personal Trainer Certification: A Review

AFAA Personal Trainer Certification: A Review

Next Insurance Staff
By Next Insurance Staff
Feb 18, 2018
4 min read
Once you've made the exciting decision to follow your dreams and become a personal trainer, you will need to find the right personal trainer certification program to make your dream a reality. There are many different programs available today, each with its own unique prerequisites, costs, teaching style and specialization opportunities. Here we will take a closer look at the Athletics & Fitness Association of America (AFAA)  and what their personal trainer certification program offers. Whether you are new to the personal trainer industry and are just looking to get started in your business, or you have an existing business and are looking to improve your knowledge and skills, AFAA Personal Trainer Certification may be the best choice for you.

About AFAA

The Aerobics & Fitness Association of America (AFAA) was founded in 1983 to provide skills, training and experience to trainers and exercise instructors. In 2016, the organization changed its name to the Athletics & Fitness Association of America - keeping the same initials, AFAA. Since the organization was founded more than three decades ago, it has certified more than 350,000 people in 73 countries. It upholds Basic Exercise Standards and Guidelines to ensure safe fitness at all times and published the first nationally standardized guidelines for professionals in the fitness industry. Its Group Fitness Instructor program is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

The Program

The AFAA Personal Trainer Certification is an online program that can be studied at your own pace, with the caveat that it must be completed within one year of enrollment. According to the AFAA website, the program focuses on:
  • The Human Body and Exercise Physiology
  • Behavior Modification and Communication Skills
  • Fitness Screening, Health Assessment and Injury Prevention
  • The Basics of Nutrition and Weight Management
The online course includes 14 online video lectures, along with a downloadable study guide. There are sample test questions to help prepare you for the exam which you will take online. Once you pass the exam, and show proof of a current CPR/AED certification, you will receive your AFAA Personal Trainer Certification.


When you take the exam, you must show proof of a current hands-on CPR/AED certificate. You can get that certificate through your local Red Cross chapter.


The AFAA Personal Trainer Certification course costs $499. This includes the course material, study guide, examination, subscription to American Fitness magazine (for American applicants) and a one-year membership to the AFAA.

Special Certifications

AFAA runs live interactive workshops to give you extra skills and training to take your business to the next level. There are also a wide range of other course available, which combined with your AFAA Personal Trainer Certification will give you specialty skills in unique market niches. If you are looking to expand your business or open up specialty options for your clients, it's worth considering these. Some of these certification courses include:
  • Exercise Design for Seniors
  • Golden Hearts: Senior Fitness Training
  • Group Exercise: The Practical Way
  • Midlife Fitness for Women
  • Perinatal Fitness
  • Prehab vs Rehab
  • Sustaining Mobility and Movement
  • Essential Injury Prevention Bundle


Your AFAA personal trainer certification must be kept up-to-date. You must complete your required number of Continuing Education Units (CEUs), showing a total of 15 contact hours within two years of your certificate date. At least two of those hours must be from an AFAA course. The fee for a two-year certification is $99, but the most common option is the Recertify for Life package which costs $299. If you buy this package, you will still need to complete 15 CEUs every two years and apply to renew your certification every two years.

AFAA Personal Trainer Certification and Your Business

Completing your AFAA course and getting your certification is the first step in opening up your own personal training business. You will then be ready to find your niche, and the setting where you plan to work with your clients. Make sure you have all your personal trainer insurance organized before you begin so that you can work as much as you want and push your clients to achieve their best without having to worry about damages, injuries or misunderstandings. Wishing you lots of good luck and success in your journey!
AFAA Personal Trainer Certification: A Review


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