Which online PT certification is best for you?

We created this essential quiz to help you choose the perfect certification for YOU based on your goals, learning style, and more.

Welcome to Trainer Academy’s ultimate breakdown of the best personal trainer certifications and courses. 

In this article, you’ll learn about:

  • The top 6 personal trainer certifications you can take online
  • The top 3 courses to become a personal trainer online
  • The differences between them and how each can improve your business 

By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly which online certification is for you and how an online course can help your business boom! 

With that said, let’s begin. 

We highly recommend that you take our helpful quiz to find the best online PT certification for you.

Exclusive TA Offers

Most Popular Cert
3 Certs for 1
Great Option
Save 25%
Best Cert for you?
Get Free Trial
Good Option
50% off
Good Option
50% off
Good Option
50% off

Best Personal Trainer Certifications to Take Online

The digital age has made everything more accessible, including becoming a certified personal trainer

Unlike in the early 2000s and 2010s, when most things were still paperbound, education has moved online. 

There’s no need for clunky textbooks and hundreds of flashcards, and the certification programs have realized that. 

Although the delivery is different, the information remains the same.

In these certifications, you still learn how to assess clients, motivate clients to live healthier lives and program for other goals and abilities. 

Unlike training clients online, which we’ll cover later, taking an online personal trainer certification is still a requirement to work with clientele in gyms. 

Choosing which certification will best suit you is challenging, but we’ve compiled a list of the top 6 programs to become a certified personal trainer online

International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)

The International Sports Sciences Association personal training certification was one of the first to be offered entirely online. 

Before their NCCA accreditation, the ISSA CPT was accredited through the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), which is commonly used to accredit colleges and universities offering online learning. 

Certification Overview

The ISSA CPT offers students some of the best fitness education online. 

The curriculum develops an understanding of fitness training, nutrition, coaching, and the business of personal training. 

Unlike many certifications that focus mainly on exercise science and program design, the ISSA understands that fitness professionals need to know how to build a sustainable business for a long career in the fitness industry. 

The fully online education helps decrease the exam cost and necessary materials, making it an excellent option for newer personal trainers. 


The ISSA was originally accredited through the DEAC, the gold standard for delivering online education. 

More recently, though, their certifications are accredited through the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). 

Accreditation is essential for certifications as it lets the student know that what their buying has gone through the necessary steps to provide the best information possible. 

If you find an online certification that isn’t accredited through either of these organizations, you should probably avoid them.


The International Sports Sciences Association is highly transparent with its certification offerings. 

Their base offer of just their personal trainer certification costs students $69/month for 12 months for $828. 

This gives students access to the online personal trainer program and a success coach who provides mentoring and study tips to pass your exam. 

The ISSA offers certification bundles where you can get up to 3 certifications for a discounted price, like their nutritionist or group fitness instructor certifications.

In fact, if you want to become a nutrition coach, then definitely explore the ISSA Nutritionist certification.

The ISSA Nutritionist is one of the best nutrition certifications overall, falling in line with the NASM CNC nutrition certification.

However, if you want to go this route, then I do recommend that you compare NASM vs. ISSA and the ISSA Nutritionist vs. NASM CNC.

You save money, but you come out with a better understanding of how to coach and train clients. 

Since this is a fully online certification, study materials will be provided through a digital platform. 

The study materials included with the ISSA CPT are:

  • An online textbook
  • Personal trainer practice exams
  • An online workbook and student forum
  • Audio and video lectures
  • The certification exam
  • A free website

One of the standout benefits of choosing the ISSA is their free website offering for new trainers. 

In a world where your brand is one of the most critical things becoming certified and having a website can set you apart from the crowd.

Certification Exam and Recertification

If there is anything you need to know about a personal trainer certification, it will be about its exam. 

If you cannot pass, there’s no point in investing time, money, and effort into a certification. 

The ISSA CPT has a pass rate of 90% and produces quality trainers. 

The ISSA CPT does have an open book exam which can help with the stress of test-taking, but an open book exam doesn’t mean it’s easy. 

Unlike other certifications that require recalling information, the ISSA wants you to understand the details and challenges of being a personal trainer. 

To pass the exam, you must know and apply the information you’re learning. 

This sets new trainers up for success in the field because they’ll know how to approach situations with clients rather than rattling off anatomy and physiology facts. 

There is no time frame to take the exam, allowing you to invest time and understanding of the material. 

Personal trainer certifications also require students to recertify with continuing education to ensure they’re still learning and growing. 

The recertification period for the ISSA CPT is every 2 years. 

After that, the cost for recertification is between $20 and $99, depending on your continuing education credits.  

The ISSA requires 20 continuing education hours to be completed every 2 years.


  • NCCA Accreditation 
  • The exam requires students to apply the information they have learned
  • Inexpensive certification with an affordable payment plan
  • High pass rate
  • Heavy emphasis on business education and a free website provided


  • The open book exam may attract low-quality trainers 
  • Self-paced with no deadline for the exam can cause you to put it off

Closing Thoughts

The ISSA CPT is one of the top certifications in the market. 

It’s affordable, provides trainers with a well-rounded education, and has the top exam pass rate in the industry. 

The business education from the ISSA provides new trainers with a head start in building their own businesses. 

While some certifications provide exercise science and programming information, the ISSA wants new trainers to succeed long-term in the industry. 
Providing a jump start on branding and business allows personal trainers to stay in the fitness industry long-term and make a difference in more lives.

The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)

Regarding personal trainer certifications, few top the NASM CPT for reliability and expertise within the fitness industry. 

When applying for personal trainer jobs, you’ll find the NASM CPT is requested most often.

Certification Overview

The National Academy of Sports Medicine is one of the most popular certification organizations for personal trainers. 

NASM has over 30 years of certifying and educating fitness professionals, and their personal trainer certification is sought after by most gyms. 

NASM has made its certification 100% online with the recent shift into online learning. 

All of the study information you need can be accessed from your computer; however, you can still purchase a physical textbook. 

NASM offers four different study packages: basic, standard, plus, and premium, which vary in price and what you receive as a student. 

Like the ISSA, NASM offers payment plans to make their certification affordable for new trainers. 


The NASM CPT is accredited through the NCCA, ensuring that your learning material is relevant and up to date. 

Again the NCCA accreditation is the most prestigious certifying body you should look for when choosing a certification. 

Study Materials and Cost

Often, the cost and study materials can determine which certification you choose. 

NASM Personal fitness training textbook cover with a journal, sharpie, and highlighter

The NASM CPT has multiple offerings catering to different people. 

Their Basic option costs $899, or you can make a monthly payment of $44, making it more doable for trainers who have not started in the industry yet. 

The most popular option is the Plus package which costs $1,599 or $83 per month. 

NASM routinely offers discounts on their certifications and occasionally will provide an additional certification.

Make sure you check every few weeks to get the best deal! 

The study materials that are included in the Basic option are

  • The NCCA accredited certification exam
  • Online learning platform
  • Practice exams, quizzes, and various handouts
  • Chapter videos, audio summaries, and an exercise technique library
  • A virtual coaching specialization designed to help you build an online business.

The basic plan offers everything you need to succeed in becoming a personal trainer. 

However, if you want more resources, like a physical textbook, access to certified NASM fitness trainers, and a job guarantee, you probably want to consider their plus plan. 

The better the study materials mean more success in passing the personal trainer exam. 

Also, I recommend the NASM study guide and NASM practice test.

Exclusive TA Offers

Most Popular Cert
3 Certs for 1
Great Option
Save 25%
Best Cert for you?
Get Free Trial
Good Option
50% off
Good Option
50% off
Good Option
50% off

Certification Exam and Recertification

The NASM CPT exam will offer some amount of difficulty. 

The exam consists of 120 multiple choice questions ranging from exercise science to the psychology of behavior change. 

Considering you can take the entire certification online, the exam is now something you can do in the comfort of your own home. 

The exam will be proctored via webcam, meaning it is not an open-book exam. 

The exam has a 64% pass rate which is above half but not by much. 

You’ll have to put time and effort into your studies to ensure a passing grade. 

To keep your certification up to date, you’ll need to recertify every two years. 

NASM prides its trainers on the cutting edge of education, so you’ll need to earn 2 CEUs every two years, including your CPR/AED certification. 

NASM offers members the option to recertify for life for a one-time fee of $399. You’ll receive a few benefits with this option, including: 

  • 30% discount on NASM certifications
  • Live workshops
  • Free shipping on certification packages
  • Presale offers

It’s something to consider if you have some spare cash unless you don’t mind completing continuing online continuing education courses and paying a fee every two years. 


  • NCCA Accreditation 
  • Online exam and study materials
  • Most accepted personal training certifications at gyms
  • Well rounded education 


  • Limited reach outside of the United States
  • Expensive study packages

Closing Thoughts

You really can’t go wrong when choosing the NASM CPT. 

NASM offers a well-rounded education, top-of-the-line study materials, and an online platform allowing you to study and take your exam in your home. 

If you’re looking to get your foot in the door immediately after you pass your exam, you’ll have no better chance than with a NASM CPT in hand. 

The focus on corrective exercise allows you to get started with adult clients right away. 

You can even move into training athletes and expand your knowledge with other certifications they offer.

The American Council on Exercise (ACE)

The American Council on Exercise is the best online personal training certification for excelling in the general population clientele. 

Unlike ACE’s popular health coach certification, their CPT will prepare you for training clients on the gym floor.

Certification Overview

The ACE CPT is one of the leading certifications with a client-centered approach for personal trainers. 

The ACE CPT is now offered entirely online and self-paced, with most students passing their exams within 6 months. 

The ACE CPT provides personal trainers with the knowledge to progress clients through exercise programs and impact their health and well-being. 

If you’re looking to empower clients with a healthy lifestyle-based approach, the ACE CPT is right up your alley. 


The ACE CPT is accredited through the NCCA, the gold standard in personal training accrediting bodies. 

Study Materials and Cost

ACE offers students three different options when it comes to study packages. 

They have the Basic, Plus, and Advantage plans, which provide students with various resources. 

The Basic plan will cost students $979, the Plus costs $1,149, and the Advantage costs $1,729. 

ACE does offer payment plans, and you can often score discounts on all of these packages making them more affordable. 

ace cpt certification textbook with notebook and pen

Inside the various study packages, students will be provided with the following: 

  • Access to ACE University
  • The ACE NCCA Accredited Exam
  • A digital textbook, study companion, and ACE Answers
  • Up to 4 practice exams (depending on the package) 

If you decide on the Plus or Advantage packages, you’ll receive more materials, including an Exercise 1-on-1 course, access to 1-on-1 support, and even live study webinars.

Trainer Academy does offer premium ACE study materials, so if you’re looking to cut costs on the training package, you can check those out! 

Read through the ACE study guide and test your knowledge with its respective ACE practice test.

Certification Exam and Recertification

The ACE CPT exam is offered entirely online from the comfort of your home.

It is proctored via a webcam like the NASM exam, so it is not an open-book test. 

There are 150 questions on all topics, and you’ll need 500 points to pass the exam. 

As with most personal training certifications, you will need to recertify every two years. 

To recertify with ACE, you’ll need 20 hours of continuing education credits, and you must pay the recertification fee. 

ACE provides students with plenty of inexpensive but informative continuing education classes. 

You can also earn continuing education by renewing your CPR/AED certification. 


  • Become an expert in training the general fitness population 
  • Well-rounded education focusing on the holistic side of training
  • Inexpensive continuing education courses
  • NCCA Accredited


  • Generally accepted certification, but not as prestigious as NASM, see NASM vs. ACE for more details
  • Focuses more on health coaching than exercise science, anatomy, and training

Closing Thoughts

The ACE CPT is an excellent choice for personal trainers who tend to be on the holistic exercise side of training. 

This isn’t to say that you cannot become a well-versed, evidence-based personal trainer, but ACE does focus its curriculum on health and behavior coaching. 

Still, your chances of earning a job at a gym increase exponentially with an ACE CPT behind your name! 

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)

The American College of Sports Medicine is a non-profit certification organization founded in 1954. 

The American College of Sports Medicine was founded to provide sports medicine and fitness trainers with practical information. 

The ACSM has a long history of evidence-based education, providing trainers with a background in exercise science research. 

Certification Overview

The ACSM CPT is a respected certification because of the ACSM’s long history of research. 

A trainer with the ACSM CPT will likely be able to work wherever they want because of the practical and scientific knowledge you’ll learn throughout your certification. 

You’ll have to study hard for this certification, even though the ACSM CPT does have a pass rate of 69%.  

The ACSM has moved entirely online, offering you the opportunity to take your exam from the comfort of your home. 

The shift to at-home tests makes the ACSM exam less intimidating since you’re in a familiar location. 


The ACSM CPT is accredited through the NCCA, giving them the appropriate badge of honor. 

Study Materials and Cost

The ACSM CPT has a challenging exam meaning the study material you get will be extremely important. 

Unlike most certifications, the ACSM does not provide bundles. 

You’ll have to purchase the exam and study materials separately, costing you more money.

The exam cost is $279 for ACSM members and $349 for non-members. 

They also have a retest price of $175. 

ACSM CPT textbook cover with a journal and study materials ready to go to the left

Below are the following items you can get access to

  • The ACSM CPT Prep Course – $270
  • ACSM Resources for Personal Trainers Textbook – $79.99
  • ACSM Guideline for Exercise Testing and Prescription Textbook – $51.99
  • Online Practice Questions – $110.48
  • Online Flash Cards – $51.99
  • Online Facebook Study Group – Free

As you can see, all of these materials quickly add up in costs. 

There are available third-party options that can save you money and prepare you just as well for the exam. 

I would check out our Trainer Academy MVP Study System, which will reduce your study time while increasing your chances of passing the exam! 

Certification Exam and Recertification 

As mentioned previously, the ACSM does have a pass rate of 69%, but it will still require preparation. 

The ACSM exam consists of 150 questions, with only 120 counting towards your final score. 

This doesn’t mean you get to just skip 30 questions and still pass.

The 30 questions are experimental questions for newer exams, and the ACSM doesn’t tell you which questions are scored or unscored, meaning you still have to try on every question. 

You also receive 165 minutes to complete your exam. 

The ACSM exam is broken down into four different domains, each testing you on a different skill set of being a personal trainer. 

These domains include client assessment, programming, leadership skills, and the legal aspect of being a personal trainer. 

Unlike the previous certifications, the ACSM has a 3 year period for recertification. 

However, you’ll need to complete more continuing education hours, which the ACSM requires 45 for their CPT. 

The ACSM does offer quality continuing education credits in the form of online learning, fitness training seminars, and their international summit. 


  • Gain a certification with a research and evidence-based background
  • Be a part of a long staining and reputable organization
  • 3-year recertification period
  • NCCA accredited certification


  • Expensive study materials need to be bought separately
  • More emphasis on special populations versus program design and resistance training

Closing Thoughts

The ACSM CPT is a reputable certification that will increase your chances of being hired as a personal trainer. 

The ACSM is a reputable organization that has provided countless advancements in the fitness industry. 

Suppose you know much about exercise technique and program design but are looking to understand the science of behavior change and working with special populations. 

In that case, this is the certification for you. 

The ACSM prides itself on its research and scientific foundations but can lack in its preparation for brand new trainers. 

Either way, you can’t go wrong when choosing the ACSM CPT!

The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)

The NSCA is the leader in strength and conditioning and has undoubtedly made an impact with its personal trainer certification. 

The National Strength and Conditioning Association personal training certification provides its trainers with industry-leading science and name recognition that is difficult to top. 

While most gyms will recognize the NSCA for its CSCS, their personal trainer certification should not be overlooked. 

Certification Overview

The NSCA focuses mainly on sport performance 

Its CPT has recently brought its industry-leading knowledge to fitness instructors and group fitness trainers. 

Passing the NCSA’s CPT means you have the knowledge to create fitness programs, assess clients, and provide expert exercise techniques. 

You’ll need your CPR and AED certification and a high school diploma like most fitness certifications

The major downside of the NSCA’s CPT is that you cannot take the final certification exam from home. 

You can study and prepare for your exam online; however, you must still attend a testing center. 


The NSCA CPT is accredited through the NCCA. 

Study Materials and Cost

The NSCA CPT textbook showing the cover along with a journal, highlighter, and sharpie

The NSCA has three different study package options. 

  • NSCA CPT Essential package – $242.10 for members and $297.90 for non-members
  • NSCA CPT Essential Plus package – $454.50 for members and $513.00 for non-members
  • NSCA CPT Digital package – $152.00 for members and $201.40 for non-members

The exam price for members is $300 and $435 for non-members. 

The essential and essential plus packages come with a textbook and the study guide, which can be valuable for your preparation. 

In contrast, the digital package has just the personal trainer study guide and online practice questions. 

Practice questions will always be a valuable resource to have as they show you how the NSCA likes to ask their questions. 

Not having a textbook can hurt your chances, but it isn’t 100% necessary. 

Please check out the Trainer Academy MVP Study System if you’re looking for high-quality study materials that won’t break the bank!

Exclusive TA Offers

Most Popular Cert
3 Certs for 1
Great Option
Save 25%
Best Cert for you?
Get Free Trial
Good Option
50% off
Good Option
50% off
Good Option
50% off

Certification Exam and Recertification 

The NSCA CPT exam is broken into four different domains: 

  • Client consultation/fitness assessment
  • Build proper exercise programs
  • Technique of exercise
  • Safety, emergency procedures, and legal issues

Each domain will have between 25-35 video or image questions to assess your skills and knowledge as a personal trainer. 

As of 2019, the pass rate for the NSCA CPT is 72%. 

The NSCA requires recertification every two years and asks trainers to complete 20 hours of continuing education. 


  • Name recognition of the NSCA
  • Highly scientific and evidence-based curriculum 
  • A high pass rate for a personal trainer exam
  • NCCA Accredited


  • Expensive and little variety in study package options
  • You can only take the exam in person

Closing Thoughts

You can’t go wrong if you choose a certification from the NSCA. 

You’ll be in high demand when applying for jobs, you’ll feel confident in the education you receive, and you’ll have access to excellent continuing education credits. 

The NSCA CPT will still be a challenge, and you’ll need to prepare hard for the exam, but with the right amount of studying and appropriate materials, you should feel confident passing your exam!

Want to become a strength and conditioning coach?

Then I highly recommend the CSCS study guide and CSCS practice test to get the gist of its content.

The NSCA-CSCS is one of the best strength and conditioning certifications.

The National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF)

The NCSF personal training certification is newer in the certifying world as it was established in 1996. 

The NCSF is still a widely accepted personal trainer certification and is an excellent option for new personal trainers.

Certification Overview

Although the NCSF certification is still relatively new, it has impacted the fitness community. 

With over 300,000 fitness professionals certified in 160 countries, the NCSF truly has an international reach. 

The NCSF also has relationships with some of the bigger gyms in the fitness industry like LA Fitness, Gold’s, and Equinox. 

The NCSF exam can be taken online, making it more appealing. 


The NCSF exam is accredited through the NCCA. 

Study Materials and Cost

The NCSF personal training textbook showing the cover and with a learner preparing to use a journal, highlighter, and pen

The NCSF offers 4 different certification bundles within a relatively tight budget. 

Like most certifications, they offer discounts periodically, but below are the outlined prices: 

  • Home Study – $699
  • Home Study + – $799
  • Workshop – $799
  • Workshop Plus – $899

The difference between the home study and the workshop options is you can work with expert instructors during live workshops to build the skills necessary to succeed as a personal trainer. 

The workshop option is not one we often see, so it’s essential to give this option your attention. 

The NCSF also offers payment plans on all their certifications and various packages for multiple certifications. 

The study materials include:

  • A digital textbook
  • Instructional videos and lesson notes
  • Review quizzes and question answers
  • A 16-hour workshop if you choose the workshop program 
  • One year of NCSF membership 

The study materials are good, but the workshop option sets this certification apart from others. 

Certification Exam and Recertification 

The NCSF online personal trainer certification exam consists of 150 health, fitness, exercise prescription, and programming questions. 

In 2019 the NCSF exam had a pass rate of about 78%, making this one of the more straightforward exams to pass. 

As always, don’t let a high pass rate keep you from studying! 

NCSF-certified personal trainers will be required to recertify every two years with 20 hours of continuing education credits. 

This is pretty standard across the industry. 

They also require you to stay up-to-date on your CPR/AED certifications. 


  • Live workshops can prepare you better as a personal trainer
  • Payment plans and discounts offered 
  • High Pass rate
  • Relationships with large gyms


  • Study materials don’t offer the best industry information 
  • Newer certification means it doesn’t have as good a reputation as other big-name certifications

Closing Thoughts

The NCSF CPT is an excellent option for new and international personal trainers. 

The aspect that stands out is their live workshop study option which can provide new trainers with real experience before they ever set foot on the gym floor. 
Choosing this option can make up for the lack of information provided in the textbook and study information, as experience can provide a better understanding of the fitness industry.

Best Personal Trainer Certifications for Being an Online Trainer

Now that we’ve touched on 6 of the top personal trainer certifications you can take online, it’s time for us to change our focus to online personal training programs. 

The difference in these sections is the first 6 certifications we looked at are programs that certify you as a personal trainer. 

These certifications are also offered online, making them convenient and cost-effective. 

The following 3 programs we will evaluate instead prepare you to build an effective and lucrative online training business. 

Let’s then take a look at these programs!

Fitness Mentors Certified Online Personal Trainer (COPT)

Fitness Mentors have been educating personal trainers for years, and they’ve taken their guidance and created an online fitness coach certification. 

Certification Overview

Although primarily an information and education platform, Fitness Mentos has turned to certify in-person and online personal trainers. 

The education platform they’ve built over the years online has allowed them to shift into educating personal trainers further and advancing their careers. 

Inside their online personal trainer certification, you’ll learn how to successfully build your online training empire and do it in a way that provides you more time and money. 

This certification is also accredited through the Distance Education Accrediting Commission. 

Unlike the personal trainer certifications mentioned above, this won’t teach you how to train clients but how to deliver your programming and coaching effectively. 

Certification Cost and Study Materials

The Fitness Mentors Certified Online Personal Trainer program typically costs $999. 

Fitness Mentors often run discounts on their certifications, so you can occasionally find it for around $699. 

They also offer another option that includes live mentorship for an additional $199. 

Inside the Online Trainer study materials, you’ll find 

  • A digital textbook
  • The online personal trainer certification test
  • Video and audio lectures
  • Assignments to push your business forward
  • Business templates
  • An online support group

Fitness Mentors also provide the option to do a payment plan making this program more affordable. 


  • Heavy emphasis on the business side of online training
  • Completely self-paced and online
  • Created by an organization that was founded on educating personal trainers
  • Recognized by the National Board of Fitness Examiners


  • It doesn’t certify you as a personal trainer
  • Online fitness is quick to evolve, making some information irrelevant

Closing Thoughts

The Fitness Mentors Certified Online Personal Trainer is an excellent choice for certified trainers to build their business online. 

Whether you’re looking to transition entirely online or do a hybrid approach, the Fitness Mentors COPT can provide the blueprint to building your online empire. 

ISSA Online Coach Certification

The ISSA is the original organization to begin delivering personal training certifications online, so it’s only fitting that they also have an online personal trainer certification course. 

Being one of the first to deliver distance education, the ISSA has perfected its online education. 

Certification Overview

The ISSA Certified Online Coach has you covered every aspect of taking your training business online. 

You’ll learn how to pick the best online coaching platform for you, branding, social media marketing, and selling techniques designed to get your clients ethically. 

Whether you’re training clients through a platform or doing virtual coaching, the ISSA will provide you with everything you need to succeed!

Certification Cost and Study Materials

The ISSA Certified Online Coach can cost up to $800, but you can usually pick it up for 4470 OR $39.28 per month for 12 months with the regular discounts offered. 

Inside your certification, you’ll receive 

  • The online textbook
  • 84 tutorial videos
  • 8 business templates
  • The online certification test
  • A free professional website

The ISSA over-delivers with its support, providing you with a professional website and unlimited education support. 

As an online personal trainer, your online presence and brand are vital to your personal trainer salary and success, and having a website can set you apart from other online personal trainers. 


  • Free Professional website with completion of your certification
  • Extremely affordable with regular discounts
  • Expert delivery of online education due to the ISSA’s history in delivering online programs
  • Plenty of study materials and resources to use once completed


  • Focuses primarily on business rather than delivering online training
  • Online fitness is quick to evolve, making some information irrelevant

Closing Thoughts

The ISSA has again provided trainers with an excellent course with their Certified Online Trainer course. 

The ISSA provides trainers with vital business information that is hard to find elsewhere while ensuring their trainers are ethically getting clients. 

In the world of online training and education, it’s challenging not to choose the ISSA for all of your education. 

The Personal Trainer Development Center Online Trainer Certification 

The PTDC Online Trainer Certification is the original online personal training course. 

Created by Jonathan Goodman, the PTDC separates itself as personal trainers made it for personal trainers. 

This aspect of the certification is essential as all of the material has years of evidence to back up its information. 

Certification Overview

The PTDC Online Trainer Certification through the Online Trainer Academy is on a new version that makes things much more straightforward. 

Everything has moved entirely online, including their textbook, making things much more affordable. 

The certification is broken into four modules, including

  • Getting Started
  • Business Structure
  • Client Care
  • Marketing

These modules build on the previous one to get clients, set up systems, and develop your online training business. 

Certification Cost and Study Materials

The PTDC offers two different payment options: pay in full for $779 or four monthly payments for $249 each. 

Unfortunately, the monthly payments do increase the program’s entire cost, but it might still make it more affordable. 

The materials you get when signing up for this certification are

  • An online textbook
  • Access to the Student Success Center
  • 80 video lessons
  • Over 45 scripts, templates, and legal forms
  • Social media content
  • Certification test
  • A 90-day money-back guarantee

 Like I said earlier, the program is broken into four modules, but you’ll have access to a fifth, which is all about business skills. 


  • Created by online personal trainers
  • It will help you build your online business with an easy-to-follow curriculum
  • Self-paced and completely online
  • They provide business and legal paperwork templates, saving 


  • No information on developing fitness programs
  • More expensive than other options

Closing Thoughts

The PTDC Online Trainer Certification is one of the best resources for trainers taking their business online. 

The Online Trainer Certification was created by trainers who have experience with online personal training. 

The PTDC is another organization created to provide personal trainers guidance and advice on building their business. 

If you’re looking for a high-quality certification from a quality organization, this may be the one for you. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Become A Virtual Personal Trainer?

You can get started as a virtual personal trainer today. You don’t need a personal training certification or an online training certification, although they will provide you with a valuable base for training clients online. All you need is clients and a method for program delivery and communication.

Do Online Personal Trainers Make Money?

Personal trainers make money, with the average yearly salary falling between $41,000 and $48,000. These numbers can increase with more education and certifications and offer other income sources like online or membership base. 

Is It Worth It To Be An Online Personal Trainer?

Online training is set to be a 60 billion dollar industry by 2027. If you’d like a piece of that pie, it’s best to get started now and build up your brand and reputation!

How Do I Create An Online Workout Program?

Workout programs can be created in many ways, including online software, excel spreadsheets, or even the notes app on your mobile phone.

How Do Online Fitness Coaches Make Money?

Online fitness coaches make money by providing coaching, programs, accountability, motivation, and behavior change to online clients.

How Many Clients Does the Average Online Personal Trainer Have?

An online personal trainer who is entirely online will tend to have an average of 10-30 online clients before it becomes too much for them to provide quality services. This can still amount to a comfortable living as a personal trainer.

What Does Online Coaching Look Like?

Online coaching has many variations. You can provide 1-on-1 virtual coaching, coaching via online software, memberships, and hybrid options. Your days won’t always look the same, but you’ll have more time on your hands than an in-person trainer.

How Do I Create A Successful Online Fitness Business?

Successful online trainers often find a niche like a women’s health online personal trainer or working within a specific age range. This allows for a clear marketing message to attract clientele. You can also run online personal trainer classes to expand your reach.

How Can I Grow My Online Fitness Business?

Growing your online personal training business is challenging. Still, by providing actionable information online, being consistent on social media, and continuing through the tough times, you’ll be able to grow your online coaching business effectively.


More personal training certifications are moving to online delivery every year.

Their reach and the quality of information prove that online learning has come a long way. 

There are also fantastic certification programs that teach you how to build your online business as a personal trainer, expanding your reach and increasing your income. 

These certification programs are not the same and should not be treated as such. 

You can take fitness certifications online to verify yourself as a personal trainer. 

These will provide you the base to train clients and get a job at a gym. 

Online training certifications were created for personal trainers to build their business off the gym floor and reach more potential clients.

Leave a Comment

Trainer Academy - Staff of certified fitness experts

Trainer Academy

All Posts

The Trainer Academy Editorial Process

Here at Trainer Academy, we take pride in providing the most up-to-date and correct information. That is why we have a rigorous editorial process to fact-check and review all content on our site. We only provide up-to-date and accurate information that comes from relevant and trustworthy sources. If you would like to learn more, check out our editorial process here.

Which Certification is best for you?

See if our exam pass guarantee study system is right for you!


Try The CSCS MVP For Free 🤓

See if our exam pass guarantee study system is right for you!


Try The ACSM MVP For Free 🤓

See if our exam pass guarantee study system is right for you!


Try The ACE MVP For Free 🤓

See if our exam pass guarantee study system is right for you!


Try The NASM MVP For Free 🤓

See if our exam pass guarantee study system is right for you!


Try The ISSA MVP for free 🤓

Find out if our study system is right for you!


Try the NSCA MVP for free 🤓