Are fitness certifications worth it, worthless, or does it
depend? Niki & CJ walk you through how to consider the value of a
fitness certifications as a barbell coach or personal trainer.
Are Fitness Certifications Worth It?
Personal trainers and barbell coaches have proliferated as the
health and fitness industry grows. Fitness certifications also
abound, and you can probably find a personal training certification
for any niche or skill you would want to learn. Are they worth
It depends. Thinking about certifications practically and
personally, ask yourself "Do I need this certification?" This
shifts the focus to YOU, your needs, and your situation.
This question also tends to relate to two other questions that
new coaches tend to think (even in subconsciously). Am I ready to
coach, and do I have permission to coach?
If you can provide value to a lifter, you can coach, and we've
talked and written about coaching spouses and friends first, what
that might look like, and how to not suck as a coach.
Regarding permission, the personal training industry does not
require a legal certification. You may coach our of your garage. If
you're looking to coach at a gym, you may need a certain
Many fall into the trap of trying to collect certifications
but failing to coach. We love and encourage academic study and are
not anti-certification, but if you want to coach you must
Furthermore, your appreciate and the value of the
certification becomes clear when you begin to coach (do I need to
know this? does this help me)? As you learn the academic side, you
have more to bring to the platform.
Which Personal Training Certification Should I
Will this certification get you clients? Will this
certification improve your
Is an employer or potential employers requiring
You might not know the answers to this. Consider getting one
of the study guides or books meant to help prepare you for one of
the more common certifications. Start reading it as you coach
people. Does the information provide you useful information?
Examine what type of information you're finding valuable - maybe
there is a certification that focuses more on those areas.
Are Fitness Certifications Worthless?
The incentive of a credential can help motivate one to study
and learn. Furthermore, a certification can provide a standard from
which employers - gyms and online coaching companies - can evaluate
Similar to the personal training industry in general, you have
to sort through much chafe to get to the wheat. Fitness
certifications signal to employers and potential clients you have a
baseline level of knowledge. They may be required to get personal
Lastly, some may get you clients (or prevent you from getting
clients). This is rare in either case, but if a certain brand is
well-known and that certification is considered valuable and
hard-to-get, you may get clients looking for a coach with that
Oppositely, if a brand gets associated with something such as
getting clients injured, you may find yourself having to defend
that brand or dealing with similar questions about the brand's
Are fitness certifications worth it? It depends, and this
episode helps you weigh the costs and value of certifications to
decide which fitness certification is right for you.