Update 9/5/20. The personal trainer certification issued through The National Council for Certified Personal Trainers (NCCPT) is something I’ve been wanting to review for a long time. Thanks to Rodney Harris, an NCCPT personal trainer graduate, I am now able to do that. Rodney left a comment about the NCCPT certification in my review of Online Personal Trainer Certification Organizations. I reached out to Rodney and asked him to do this interview, which I think you will find helpful. If you have any questions, leave a comment below.
JC. Why did you choose NCCPT over other certs?
RH. I chose NCCPT over other certs because it was affordable. I purchased the program on Groupon while there was a promotion on there. The price was $160 at the time and the regular price for their program is $499.
JC. What is the name of the NCCPT textbook?
RH. I’m not sure the name of the textbook I never had anything shipped. All my studying was online and downloadable chapters.
JC. Did you use any other NCCPT study materials?
RH. Online videos and downloadable chapter materials. Videos and Downloadable chapters as well as a downloadable study guide that I had to fill out with the answer sheet.
JC. Did you get the study books from NCCPT or elsewhere online?
RH. I downloaded chapters from the NCCPT website.
JC. How much was the test?
RH. Once you purchase the program, the first test is free and part of the package.
JC. How much were the books and other study materials you used?
RH. All study material was included with the price I paid.
JC. How long did you study before you took the test?
RH. I started studying in June off and on, so it took me 5 months. I didn't study everything in the beginning prior to taking my first test. if I did It would have taken me less time. I would say no more than 6 weeks of consistently studying the materials.
JC. What was the NCCPT personal trainer test like? How many questions? Was it multiple choice, T/F, essay etc?
RH. The test was fine and seemed like a simple test until I failed lol. You basically can take it from home. The test is 140 multiple choice questions that included true and false questions. No essay questions.
You have a proctor monitoring you so you cannot get up until your done so it’s important not to drink too much or eat heavy prior to the test because you can’t get up.
JC. Does the test cover special populations (how to work with arthritis, heart disease, etc)?
RH. Yes, it does.
JC. Was there an internship?
RH. No there isn’t.
JC. What was the hardest part of the test for you?
RH. Anatomy and exercise application. You really have to know your information on these two chapters. Exercise physiology also.
JC. Was the test open book?
RH. No, it wasn’t. You can only have scrap paper, a pencil, and a calculator (not from a phone.)
JC. How long do you have to take the test? Is it timed?
RH. Yes. They give you 2 hours to complete the test.
JC. How much to retake the test if you fail it?
RH. $100 but they will usually give you a discount anywhere from 25%-50% to take it again.
JC. Did you take the test at home or did you have to travel to a testing center?
RH. I took the test from home.
JC. If you take it at home, how do they verify that it’s really you taking the test?
RH. There is a proctor who verifies that you have your photo id and your CPR/AED card. You can also obtain your CPR/AED card from an affiliate of theirs the American Safety Training Institute for a discount price.
JC. Did you find out immediately if you passed?
RH. You find out your score immediately after submitting your test.
JC. How long does the NCCPT cert last?
RH. The Cert last for 2 years.
JC. How do you get recertified with NCCPT (how many CEUs do you need?)?
RH. You need 2.0 CEUs which you can obtain through NCCPT or through other organizations.
JC. Does NCCPT help you find a job?
RH. Yes, they do have online services that help you find a job within 90 days that you have to pay for. If you don’t get a job within 90 days they have a money-back guaranteed policy.
JC. Does NCCPT offer any ongoing help after you get certified – newsletters, articles on their website, etc?
RH. Yes they have tons of information on their website. Most of it is you being proactive and searching for the information yourself. They do send you emails such as readiness quizzes that you can use to help you prepare for the exam and emails you get after you pass in order to obtain CEUs.
JC. Have you applied to gyms? Do gyms accept NCCPT?
RH. I applied to gyms prior to me obtaining my cert. Blink fitness accepts any cert to my knowledge so I applied there first. NCCPT has on their website. In the FAQs section of the NCCPT website, they state that that Equinox, LA Fitness and Gold’s accept the NCCPT certification.
JC. Have you found any gyms that did not accept NCCPT?
RH. Right now just New York Health and Racquet Club did not accept NCCPT. I haven't applied to many gyms yet. Richies Gym in Brooklyn also acknowledges the NCCPT cert. Any independent trainer must show proof of their certification before training in the gym for insurance reasons.
JC. Who do you think the NCCPT cert is best for?
RH. Anyone really but if you're looking for something affordable, at home, I would mostly recommend it to up and coming personal trainers but anyone would benefit from the program.
JC. Are you doing training now? Do you think NCCPT prepared you to be a personal trainer?
RH. I have been training since January 2014. Yes it has helped me and it still is, Now that I have passed I can really study each and every section and apply it to my training. An example is that I started studying a section on Multiple Sclerosis and a week later picked up a client with that condition. It prepared me to train her.
JC. I noticed that NCCPT is an affiliate of the National Board of Fitness Examiners (NBFE). Was there anything about the NBFE on the NCCPT test?
RH. No, there wasn't anything on the test about the NBFE.
JC. Did any gyms give preference to NBFE certifications?
RH. I'm not sure of any gyms that have preferences on this. My certification does have the NBFE logo on it so I guess that's a plus.
JC. Does NCCPT offer other certs besides personal training?
RH. Yes, they have nutrition, Group instructor, Yoga instructor just to name a few.
Here is NCCPT on Groupon for those who want more information.
JC. Any advice for people thinking about the NCCPT certification?
RH. Read the chapters, fill in the study guide and watch the videos if you're not sure about something just from reading it which will give you more understanding. This will save you a lot of money and time. Also, take the practice quizzes so you have an idea of what's on the test.
JC. How can people contact you?
RH. I have a profile on TrainersVault.com where people can contact me.
I’ve been certified by the NCCPT for years and after 20 years in the fitness industry I can honestly say it’s the most thorough certification one can get as a personal trainer. I took the group ex and yoga cert as well. It’s a lot to learn, but I’m a better trainer for it, definitely worth the time and effort.
Kris, thanks for sharing. I’m really glad to hear you are so happy with NCCPT.
John Platero says
By the way, the NCCPT Final exam for the Certified Personal Trainer credential can only be taken at a testing center. It can not be taken online. IN 2013, the NCCPT had a certificate of personal training that was allowed to test online. Note the verbiage…. certificate of personal training — not Certified Personal Trainer. The NCCPT no longer offers the certificate of personal training so the only way a student can get the personal trainer certification is to take their final exam at a testing center.
John, thanks for that. As requested I have removed the comment and all reference to it. I really appreciate your prompt assistance.
John Platero says
Thank you Sir!
John, thank you so much for reaching out and giving this clarification. As I said I was not able to confirm those allegations. Would you like me to remove that comment or leave it up along with your rebuttal?
I was told you needed a Bachlor Degree in Kinesiology/Personal Trainer to be really accepted in the physical health field. As one who is a teacher, can these courses in Nutition be recognize as legit or should I go for another BS degree in Nutrition, not to teach it, but to share it along with my BA PE degree. ?? I don’t want to get sued !
Joe Cannon says
Hi Paula, I think this can be a complicated question. I always take knowledge over degrees and certs. Yes, while someone with a degree might be taken more seriously in some circles – and may in theory, have more knowledge – degrees and knowledge dont always mean the same thing. For example, I have a MS degree in exercise science. That degree didn’t prepare me to be a personal trainer. there was no “personal trainer” class I had to take. While I did learn a lot it wasn’t all applicable to the “real world” if that makes sense.
I’ve met trainers who did not have a college degree who were very smart. All they had was a certification. That, coupled with a thirst for ongoing education would put them ahead – in my view – of someone who had a degree but who did not continue to stay educated.
As for nutrition certifications, what you can do and cant do may vary from state to state so it might be wise to go to your state reps office and ask them to do some research on what you can do. Ask them a question like “are there any state laws that stipulate that only someone with a formal nutrition background – such as an registered dietitian – can educate people about nutrition?” In other words “Do I have to be an RD to help people with their nutrition/weight loss issues?” In some states there might be regulations while in other states there might not be.
Regardless, I’m a big fan of personal trainers networking with dietitians (and other professionals) to field difficult questions that traienrs might not be able to answer satisfactorily. For example, while we all know fruits and vegetables are good, what if someone taking a blood thinner mediation (or any medication) asked if there are any foods they should avoid? In cases like this, an RD would be the best person to answer this question. You can find RDs in your area by going to EatRight.org and putting your zip code into the “Find an RD” box.
Some gyms you work in might have rules about what trainers can say about nutrition too.
For what its worth, it comes to personal trainers and nutrition, the only big pitfall I would be cautious of is recommendation dietary supplements. In fact, I doubt if your liability insurance would cover you if you did this. Here’s my review of trainers and supplements for more on why this is.
Overall I think if you stick to “eat more fruits and veggies and limit calories if you need to lose weight” I doubt you would ever be sued. While a certification in nutrition can always be a tool for your fitness tool-belt, for advanced questions I like to refer those to the people who are best qualified to help.
Does that help?
I agree 100% with Scott above. A lot of gyms (But especially hospital based ones) won’t hire you as a trainer unless you have a NCCA accredited PT cert. Whatever the reason, the NCCA carries a lot of clout in the industry. I strongly recommend anyone getting into personal training to obtain a cert accredited by the NCCA (ACE, NASM, etc).
Joe Cannon says
Hi Tom, thanks for your impute. Its true the NCCA does wield a lot of influence in the fitness industry. I believe its about leveling the playing field, hoping to ensure that all have the same level of knowledge. I still dont feel that means NCAA accredited certs are better but I understand how it might be a barrier to entry to those working in a health care situation.
Ncccpt I got on groupon and then the text book was $ 70.00 and the girl that helps me is Adele and her face book is Adel at Nccpt she is very help full hardest 2-8-10 are supposedly the hardest.
Adele Rosales says
Thank you Rhonda!
Dan Bagley says
We’ve been researching to find bona fide programs in “Certified” Personal Training. In researching accreditations, it should be noted that it is not “NCAA” but instead NCCA (see http://www.credentialingexcellence.org/p/cm/ld/fid=121). NCCA lists a number of accredited Personal Trainer Programs. This group is the accrediting body for many fields in health care and other industries. Hope this helps others with their research.
Joe Cannon says
Dan, actually it is NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association). Here is a page from the NSCA site where NCAA is specifically referenced: http://www.nsca.com/Education/Articles/NCAA-Raises-Certification-Standards/
I’ve never heard of NCCA. What does NCCA stand for? I found several names when I searched online.
It stands for the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. They certify many of the personal training certs and are highly looked upon.
Joe Cannon says
Scott, thanks. I’ve heard of those types of businesses. Honestly, I don’t put much faith in most companies that certify the certification organizations. There are several of them out there so who is the best? Right now, I would not pay more for a certification that was “certified” by one of these companies.
Usually I would agree, but many gyms look for certs that are certified by them. If you’re starting your own business, it means nothing and you can find a cheap one that has great information like the ACTION cert. It is also NCCA, but many places do not accept it.
Joe Cannon says
Scott, that is so interesting.
I noticed that the Groupon is still active so maybe I’ll enroll too.
But I have a question , They say that they are NCCA Accredited , But the NCCA logo isn’t on their website. Is there a reason for that or…?
Good Luck 😉
Joe Cannon says
Reza2Kn, glad to help you! I don’t think it matters that NCAA isn’t on the NCCPT website. If they say they are NCAA accredited, then I believe them.
Ok Thanks Joe.
I enrolled in this course as well 😉
Definitely will check your website on a daily basis from now on 😀
Joe Cannon says
Reza2kn, thanks I hope it works out for you. keep me posted on how things go 🙂