The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) provides training and a certification exam for personal trainers. Those who seek to become an NASM Certified Personal Trainer have a variety of options in preparing for the NASM certification exam.
The NASM CPT certification program includes a number of study options. The actual exam is rather expensive, coming in at $599 at the time of this writing in August of 2011. That NASM exam purchase does come with a bonus online NASM practice test.
While the practice exam that comes with the test purchase is valuable in giving you an idea of what to expect on the actual NASM certification test, it certainly is not enough to provide you with the substantive knowledge necessary to pass the test. To learn the nuts and bolts of how to provide services as a personal trainer, you will either need to attend a school or buy some NASM training products.
The National Academy of Sports Medicine typically partners up with existing training schools (like technical schools) to provide an education for personal trainers. Some of these programs actually offer a degree or certificate in personal training and will specifically prepare you for the NASM exam. You can find a map in the Resources section at the end of this article that will lead you to a personal-trainer school near you.
However, the problem with personal-trainer schools is that they are naturally going to be more expensive than simply studying on your own. Whether you should attend a school, also depends on whether you feel you need the additional credibility of a degree or certificate in personal training. Depending on your personal situation, that might not even be valuable to you. To others, it may be very important in getting started in a career as a personal trainer.
Another factor to consider is how good you are at self-study. NASM will let you take the exam whether or not you have completed personal-trainer school. In fact, it offers several test study guides and even a live workshop.
The CPT Pro package offers a textbook, NASM study guide, and other related training tools that will help you get ready for the NASM exam. The CPT Premier also adds a live workshop. As of August 2011, the Academy has a special for the CPT Pro for $699 and the CPT Premier for $799. That means that you pay $100 extra (over the price of the NASM test) for the NASM study guide and other prep resources and $200 extra for the physical study guides and the live workshop.
Tip: First, contact some of the personal-trainer schools. See what kind of tuition and fees you are looking at for getting your NASM certification through that route. You can then compare to the training packages offered directly by the National Academy of Sports Medicine and decide which route is best for you in preparing for this physical-trainer certification test.
NASM Personal Trainer Schools Locator
NASM Exam and Test Preparation Product Offers