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AFAA Personal Training Certification Review: Pros & Cons

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Workout equipment is placed on a blue background with the words "AFAA Personal Trainer Certification Review" written over top of the image.

When it comes to finding an affordable, quality fitness instructor program, the Athletics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) is a preferred choice.

So, what do they have to offer for personal trainers like you? Let’s take a deeper look at what these programs are and how you can get certified with the AFAA.

What Is The Athletics & Fitness Association Of America (AFAA)?

The AFAA is an educational program for new and returning health and fitness professionals. They offer certification programs to allow trainers to learn more about a given field and learn more about specialized topics.

AFAA believes that by giving trainers a strong educational foundation, they can help trainers better connect with and understand their clients. For over 35 years, it has been AFAA’s goal to help advance the lives and careers of fitness professionals—and allow that to help them improve the lives of their clients.

About AFAA Personal Trainer Certification

Being the first to release nationally standardized guidelines for fitness professionals, the AFAA prides itself on having a robust, trustworthy curriculum for personal trainers. AFAA certifications cover topics such as anatomy, exercise physiology, behavior modification, communication skills, fitness screening, injury prevention, and the basics of nutrition and weight management.

A young man sits on the floor of a fitness room in his home with his back resting against the side of a couch. He is reading his weekly curriculum on his phone for his personal trainer certification.


To enroll in the AFAA Personal Fitness Trainer certification program, you must:

  • Complete your program within 1 year of enrolling
  • Show a valid government issued ID
  • Hold a current CPR/AED certification
  • Have access to virtual testing equipment (webcam, microphone, internet connection)


Depending on the type of fitness instructor career you want to pursue, there are a few different types of certification packages available. The most popular AFAA certification costs are as follows:

*These prices do not account for any discounts or sales.

Specialized Certification Programs

AFAA recognizes that some trainers may specialize in different areas of expertise or want more niche educational courses. These specialized certifications are an advanced credential program that can help to supplement your knowledge. AFAA offers:

  • Group Fitness (CGFI)
  • Indoor Cycling (G.E.A.R.)
  • Personal Trainer
  • Nutrition Coach (NASM–CNC)
  • Sunrise Yoga

Continuing Education & Recertification

Like most other certifications, you will need to renew your AFAA certification every two years. This requires you to complete 15 continuing education units (CEUs) and comes with a $99 recertification fee.

However, the AFAA offers a unique lifetime recertification. You will still need to complete your 15 CEUs every two years, but you only have a one time charge of $399. For professionals who plan on making a career in health and fitness, this is a great opportunity to save time and money. Plus, you get a discount on AFAA continuing education courses, workshops, and more!

Pros & Cons Of AFAA

After looking through AFAA reviews and AFAA certifications, we have created a list of the pros and cons we found. Let’s take a look at what the AFAA can offer personal trainers like you.


  • The AFAA is NCCA accredited, so you know you can trust the education you receive.
  • They are a subsidiary of NASM and host some of their certification programs through them.
    AFAA is a low cost program that doesn’t lack in quality, making it a great alternative.
  • You have the option to recertify for life, which could potentially save you a lot of money throughout your career.


  • The curriculum covers mostly fundamental topics, it doesn’t target super niche trainer certifications.
  • The AFAA is not as widely recognized as other associations.
  • Some online AFAA reviews suggest the test questions are not based on study materials or practice exams, making the test harder to pass.
Two online yoga teachers sit on gray yoga mats on the ground inside a private studio. They are on their phones networking with each other to grow their online training businesses.

How AFAA Certification Benefits You

Insurance Canopy recognizes and recommends the AFAA as the best certification program for group fitness instruction. If you’re a personal trainer who prefers working with small groups, such as private family or friend sessions, or large groups, like at corporate events or health centers, then this program is sure to give you all the education and tools you need to succeed.

The AFAA does a great job of helping trainers know their next steps after certification. They even help teach you the importance of having insurance, since accidents will not be completely unavoidable during your career. However, the AFAA only recommends one type of personal trainer insurance policy. Not every trainer is the same, and not every insurance policy offers the same coverage options and limits.

Insurance Canopy rivals the AFAA’s suggested policy with a lower price, higher limits, and a plan made to be customized to your needs as a trainer. Our online application makes it easy to buy a policy, tailor your coverage options, and instantly download a Certificate of Insurance. And for as little as $129 a year, our coverage can’t be beat. Just like the AFAA, we know how to offer a high quality product without the heavy price tag.

Frequently Asked Questions About AFAA Personal Trainer Certification

Yes, the AFAA’s Certified Group Fitness Instructor program (CGFI) is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

An AFAA certification is an educational program to receive knowledge and skills in a chosen field of health and fitness from the Athletics & Fitness Association of America. AFAA certified instructors can receive valuable and hands-on training from experts in the fitness industry.

15 CEUs are required for AFAA renewal every two years, with at least two of those units being completed through AFAA.

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