The AAAI/ISMA Master Personal Trainer certification is one that I enjoy teaching very much because it allows me to help trainers learn the information and tricks of the trade, so they can work effectively with people who have health issues. The class is very different than the regular personal trainer class I also teach for AAAI/ISMA. Because I know there is sometimes confusion about who the class is good for and how its different, I've listed a series of questions, along with their answers, to help people better understand the benefits of this critical certification program. I also want to expose a myth some people have told about too. Leave a comment below if you have a question I didn't address. Also see the AAAI/ISMA Personal Trainer Cert review.
How Is The Master Trainer Class Different?
The focus in the Master Trainer class is how to work with people who have health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes etc. This is different information that is taught in the introductory fitness trainer class.
See the AAAI Personal Trainer review for more on that class.
Is It Different Than The Level 2 Cert?
The Master Personal Trainer class is sometimes called “Level 2.” So, they are the same thing. Sometimes, the name Level 2 is used to differentiate it from the introductory personal trainer class that AAAI/ISMA also offers (that class is sometimes called Level 1).
I really want to say though that the introductory class (level 1) is anything but introductory. It contains critical information personal trainers need to be familiar with. I recommend people take that class before the Master Trainer class.
Do I Have To Take The Level 1 Class First?
The material covered in both the Level 1 and Level 2 courses are, for the most part, very different than each other. Because of that I recommend those with no official exercise science background, take the level 1 trainer class first.
That said, currently AAAI does not mandate prior CPR/AED certs.
By official exercise science background, I mean someone who has a college degree in exercise science or related area or someone who has taken many colleges classes in this field.
To be certified as a AAAI/ISMA Master Personal Trainer you will have to be familiar with basic concepts and information that is covered in the Level 1 course. If you are not familiar with this information, your chances of passing the Master Trainer course are significantly reduced. Your chances of being a successful personal trainer are signification reduced too.
What Is The Required Textbook?
AAAI/ISMA recommends the book Advanced Personal Training, which I wrote. You can get the book directly from AAAI when you register
for the class. You can also order the book directly from me
Study that book before class.
Where Is The AAAI Master Trainer Class Offered?
The class is offered at a variety of colleges and fitness centers throughout the US including the conferences that AAAI/ISMA holds each year in Baltimore, Atlantic City and Cape Code.
For a full list of locations see the AAAI website.
To see the classes I teach, see the classes page of my website.
Is It a 1 or 2 Day Class?
Generally, the Master class is 1 day. People study before the class. A test is given at the end of the day. Sometimes, the Master Personal Trainer class is offered at fitness centers, like LA Fitness. When this happens, the class is sometimes offered as a 2 day course.
Day 1 includes the material from the Level 1 class (including a test at the end of the day). On the 2nd day, the material in the Master class is covered. This is also followed by a test.
When offered in as a 2 day course, people must study and pass both exams to be certified as a AAAI/ISMA Master Personal Trainer.
If I Pass the Master Trainer Class, Do I Have To Take The Level 1 Course?
I'll be honest. I think it depends. If you have read several books about exercise science or taken college classes or have a degree in exercise science, I'd say you might not. For everybody else, I highly recommend you take the level 1 class – and do it before you start training people.
I want you to be successful and I don't want you to end up accidentally hurting people. That's some of what your going to learn in the Level 1 class. Even if you don't take the exam, at least pay for the class and sit in on it and learn. Your clients deserve someone who knows what they are doing.
Is There A Practical?
Generally no, although if the class is held at a fitness center, the instructor may take advantage of this and use the equipment in ways to help the class better understand how to modify exercise to accommodate peoples health issues.
How Long Should I Study?
While it depends, for most people, I don't think 1 week is enough. I recommend at least a month of studying. Remember, this is about learning information that will help you help others. I studied for at least 6 months before I took the NSCA CSCS exam – and I had a college degree in chemistry and biology under my belt.
Will The Class Cover Everything I Need To Pass?
Absolutely not. Nobody teaches to the test. That would be irresponsible. There is more to being a qualified fitness trainer than passing a test. That's why you need to study before walking in the door.
Can I Ask Questions In Class?
Absolutely yes! The class is your time to ask questions and hopefully learn more about the material.
What Should I Bring To Class?
I would bring pen and paper to take notes. If you will be taking the test and are easily distracted, I also tell people to bring ear plugs.
How Should I Dress?
Dress comfortably. Classes usually run about 8 hours so you might as well be comfortable.
The Gym Manager Told Me I Didn't Have To Study
If that is what you heard, the gym manager doesn't know what she/he is talking about. If some fitness manager– told you to just show up, pay for the class, don't study and that if you pass, they will hire you, they don't care about you.
- They don't care that you spent your hard-earned money and failed a test.
- They don't care that they sent you into an environment with no guidance.
- They don't care if you succeed or not.
- They don't care that they set you up for failure.
This is NOT the gym you want to work at. Places like these will toss you aside as soon as you can't get clients or keep them.
So why do some fitness managers say this? Because, they are just a cog in the business, under pressure from their boss to get fitness staff to help them make more money and get their bonuses.
I know stuff like this goes on at some fitness centers. I've heard the stores more times than I care to.
I wish I could stop it.
What I'm telling you is just one of the many scams that go on in fitness centers. Click the link to see other scams.
Can I Take Notes In Class?
Yes, of course. I hope you do. I encourage you to take notes! Hopefully this will help you will learn information that's not in the book.
Can I Record The Class?
No. Audio and/or video recording of classes is prohibited. This is true for all AAAI/ISMA classes.
Can I Use My Notes During The Test?
No. People cannot use notes or textbook during the exam. This is another reason to study before the class.
Is There A Master Trainer Practice Test?
AAAI/ISMA Does have a Practice test that has 300 questions. You can use that to help you prepare for the Master Trainer cert.
Will The Master Trainer Class Recertify Me?
Yes, the Master Personal Trainer class can be used to recertify in personal training, group fitness, holistic health, yoga or any other AAAI/ISMA certifications. You do not have to take the Master Trainer test to recertify. Just attend the class.
See the AAAI re-certifiation post for more information.
How Long Does The Test Last?
The exam lists 60 minutes.
How Long Until I know If I Passed?
The person who teaches the class, grades each exam and sends the results to AAAI/ISMA who then issues certifications. Generally it takes about 2-3 weeks to get an official conformation if you passed or not.
What Happens If I Fail The Test?
AAAI/ISMA is pretty liberal about retesting. If you fail the Master Personal Trainer exam, you have an entire year to retake the class and test again for only $30. That is a LOT less than most other organizations. The only stipulation is the class has to be one that is offered at a fitness center (LA Fitness, YMCA, JCC, RetroFitness, etc).
You can retest at classes offered at a college if you prefer, but the college will charge you fill price when you register with them. At any other location though it will be only $30. Check the AAAI/ISMA website for a list of every location you can retest for only $30.
Can I see The Questions I Got Wrong?
No. This is generally true for any fitness certification you take, no matter what the organization.
After I Pass, Am I Really A Master Personal Trainer?
I don't think anyone really becomes a “master personal trainer.” That's because we can all learn something we didn't know before. The more we know, the closer to master level we get. See the What Is a Master Trainer Review for more on this topic.
What Should I Take After I Pass?
After you have successfully completed the level 1 and Master Trainer class (Level 2), your education does not end there. In this business, learning never ends – and that's for me too! I want you to be successful, so I recommend you take the course on Fitness Marketing. There you will learn many different strategies and tips to help you get clients – and keep them – no matter if you work in a gym or are self employed.