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NETA Personal Training Certification Review: Pros & Cons

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NETA Personal Trainer Certification Review

The National Exercise Trainers Association (NETA) is a highly respected organization known for quality certification programs and hand-on learning experiences for personal trainers.

Today Insurance Canopy takes a deeper look at what NETA’s personal trainer certification program entails and how a NETA certification may benefit you.

What Is The National Exercise Trainers Association (NETA)?

NETA is a non-profit organization focused on educating fitness professionals through accessible and affordable certification programs. For more than 45 years, they have worked with over 160,000 fitness professionals. NETA uses industry insights and ideas, science-based research, and career resources to help improve your experience as a trainer, and the experience of your future clients.

About NETA Personal Trainer Certification

Committed to offering some of the best programs on the market, NETA is one of three organizations who have both their personal training and group exercise certifications accredited by the NCCA. Their personal trainer certification combines traditional study materials with hands-on experiences to help you go from instruction to application with ease.

An online trainer sits on her training mat in a private studio as she checks in with an online client from her phone.

Pros & Cons of NETA

NETA-01 NFPT-01 ACSM-01 NSCA-01 AFAA-01 NAFTA-01 FItness Mentors-01 ISSA-01 NASM-01 ACE-01 NAFC-01
    NETA      NFPT     ACSM     NSCA     AFAA     NAFTA     Fitness Mentors     ISSA     NASM     ACE     NAFC
Qualify 18 years of age
High school diploma or GED
18 years of age
High school diploma or GED
Adhere to NFPT’s Code of Conduct
18 years of age
High school diploma or GED
CPR/AED certified
18 years of age
High school diploma or GED
CPR/AED certified
18 years of age
Valid photo ID
CPR/AED certified
Virtual testing equipment
18 years of age
High school diploma or GED
CPR/AED certified
First Aid certified
valid photo ID
18 years of age
High school diploma or GED
CPR/AED certified
18 years of age
CPR/AED certified
High school diploma or GED
CPR/AED certified
18 years of age
High school diploma or GED
CPR/AED certified
Valid photo ID
18 years of age
High school diploma or GED
CPR/AED certified
Costs Self-Study Workshop: $599
Self-Study Standard: $549
Exam only: $499
Standard: $299
Premier: $349
Exam only: $199
Member Price: $299
Non-Member Price: $399
Exam only: $349
Member Price: $300
Non-Member Price: $435
Certification program: $499
Textbook: $79
✗ No prices available Starter: $399
Plus: $699
Pro: $899
Ultimate: $1,499
Fast track: $99
CPT: $994.30
Fitness Coach: $999.60
Elite Trainer: $1,256
Master Trainer: $1,749.70
Self-Study: $899
Nutrition Bundle: $1,798
CPT Essentials Bundle: $2,397
Exclusive Bundle: $3,295
Basic: $675
Plus: $745
Advantage: $975
Self-Study: $499
Self-Study Plus: $649
Exam only: $149
Length 30–45 days of prep 60–90 days of prep 3 months of prep 6 months of prep 3–9 months 60–70 hours of prep for GEI 3+ months of prep 2–6 months of prep 4–25 weeks of prep 3–6 months of prep 2–3 months of prep
Accredited ✓ GEI only ✓ by NBFE
Specialty Certs ✗ CPT only
CECs / CEUs 20 CECs every 2 years

–6 CECs must be from NETA
–$75 fee
2 CECs every year

Flexible options:
45 CECs every 3 years

–Option to retake and pass CPT exam
–$45+ in fees
1–6 CEUs every 3 years

Flexible options:
15 CEUs every 2 years

–$99 fee
–Optional one-time $399 fee + CEU discounts
15 CEUs every 2 years

–Limited information
–Varies by the program
–Workshops available
2 CEUs every 2 years

–$99 fee
–CPR/AED certification
2 CEUs every 2 years

–CPR/AED certification
–No fee for ISSA CEUs
2 CEUs every 2 years

–CPR/AED certification
–One-time Recertify for Life available
–Renewal fees
2 CEUs every 2 years

–$129 fee
–CPR/AED certification
–CEC Power Pass available
2 NAFC credits every 2 years

–20 hours of NAFC CECs
–Compete a recertification application
Pros ✓ CPT is good for 2 years.
✓ Hands-on experience through workshops.
✓ Accessible for those without a degree.
✓ Programs cover a wide range of fitness and health topics.
✓ Self-taught curriculum.
✓ CPT is good for 1 year.
✓ Receive materials to help you start and run a PT business.
✓ Free and low-cost CEC courses.
✓ No fee to submit recertification.
✓ Free online retest for the exam.
✓ Specialty CECs.
✓ CPT is good for 3 years.
✓ Known for a robust focus on special education certification.
✓ Best for trainers planning to work with clinical populations or special needs clients.
✓ Free CPT Facebook group.
✓ CPT is good for 3 years.
✓ No fee or limit to the number of times you may attempt the exam.
✓ Known for a good curriculum and practical application for real-world use.
✓ Best for trainers looking to enter the field of strength and conditioning.
✓ CPT is good for 2 years.
✓ The program is fairly priced.
✓ Subsidiary of the highly regarded NASM.
✓ Good for trainers wanting a self-paced course.
✓ Best for understanding group and general fitness.
✓ GEI is good for 2 years.
✓ Good for trainers looking to get certified in Group Exercise Instruction (GEI).
✓ Largest provider of CECs in the world.
✓ Best for trainers wanting diverse and affordable specialty CECs/CEUs.
✓ CPT is good for 2 years.
✓ The exam is easier than other programs. Only a 70% is needed to pass.
✓ Large focus on online fitness.
✓ Free resources and study materials for other CPT tests available.
✓ Best for virtual trainers.
✓ CPT is good for 2 years.
✓ Online CPR/AED certification.
✓ Unlimited exam time and 90% of people pass.
✓ Free retests on the CPT exam.
✓ Job placement guarantee.
✓ International recognition.
✓ CPT is good for 2 years.
✓ Most specialty courses and certifications are for CEUs.
✓ State-of-the-art digital learning platforms.
✓ NASM is highly recognized and respected.
✓ Comprehensive course materials and diverse specializations.
✓ CPT is good for 2 years.
✓ Certification bundles available.
✓ Known for a focus on behavior change and a client-centered approach.
✓ Great for new and experienced trainers.
✓ Online learning offers flexibility.
✓ CPT is good for 2 years.
✓ Job placement guarantee available in the Plus Program.
✓ Earn dual certifications.
✓ Count CECs to multiple certification renewals.
✓ Course material is hyper-focused and detailed.
Cons ✗ Study materials are limited.
✗ The exam-only option is expensive and lacks study materials.
✗ Less emphasis on advanced fitness concepts.
✗ Mostly geared toward first-time trainers.
✗ Only focuses on personal training.
✗ Lack of in-person teaching and experiences built into the curriculum.
✗ Separate costs for study materials and exams.
✗ No practice exam.
✗ Study materials range from $435 to more than $1000.
✗ CEU recert process can be confusing.
✗ Limited to a single option.
✗ Not as widely recognized as other associations.
✗ Materials may not fully prepare you to pass the test.
✗ No CPT is available, but there are some PT-focused CECs.
✗ Limited information about the programs is available.
✗ Not as recognized as other programs.
✗ A small list of CECs and niche career focuses.
✗ The ultimate plan may not be worth the cost.
✗ Not all programs are NCCA accredited but are by the DEAC.
✗ Some of the most expensive CPT programs available.
✗ The proctored exam can be a challenge for some.
✗ Requires a significant time investment to understand materials.
✗ Costly plans.
✗ Business skills and nutrition training courses aren’t included in the most basic program package.
✗ Not certified in the UK by REPs.
✗ Curriculum is only self- taught, which may not be best for all learning styles.
✗ Courses start at an intermediate level, not a beginner level.

It’s important to know if a certification is right for your needs as a trainer. After looking at NETA personal training certification reviews, course curriculum, and additional benefits, we’ve created a list of pros and cons.


  • You have the option to include live workshops as part of your learning experience, so it’s not all strictly online materials.
  • NETA’s personal training certification is NCCA accredited.
  • A free practice exam is available to help you better prepare for the certification test.


  • There is a lack of extensive study materials when choosing the self study option.
  • Not all study materials are congruent with the curriculum.
  • If you only wanted to take the exam, the personal trainer test only option is almost double the cost of the other test only programs—plus you don’t receive any study materials.


In order to enroll in the NETA personal trainer certification program, you must be at least 18 years of age and hold a current CPR/AED certification.


Because everyone’s schedules and learning styles vary, NETA offers two different personal trainer certification packages. The first option utilizes live workshops to give trainers hands-on experience in a classroom setting, while the second option is a self-guided learning program. The NETA certification costs are as follows:

  • Option 1: Self Study + Live Workshop
    • Early Bird (scheduled more than 30 days in advance): $549
    • Standard: $599
  • Option 2: Self Study
    • Standard: $549

There is a test only option that is sold separate from study materials and workshops. It costs $449 to only take the personal trainer certification exam.

Specialized Certification Programs

Many fitness professionals like to specialize in different areas of health and wellness. This type of expertise requires additional learning and certification. NETA’s Fitness Specialty Certifications is an advanced credential program that can help you open the door to new fitness careers and increase the amount of clients you can work with.

NETA’s specialty certifications are:

  • Barre Connect
  • Nutrition Coach
  • Indoor Group Cycling
  • Intermediate Indoor Group Cycle
  • Youth Fitness
  • Kettlebell
  • Advanced Kettlebell
  • Pilates Mat
  • Advanced Pilates Mat
  • Pilates Reformer
  • Senior Fitness
  • Wellness Coach
  • Yoga Foundations
  • Yoga – 200 Hour Teacher Training
  • Corrective Exercise Specialist

Continuing Education & Recertification

NETA’s personal trainer certification is valid for two years. In order to renew your credentials, you must complete 20 continuing education credits (CECs), have a current CPR/AED certification, and pay a $45 recertification fee. Six of your 20 CECs must be earned through NETA while the rest may be completed from another accredited program.

personal trainer monitoring workout

How NETA Certification Benefits You

Insurance Canopy feels NETA is best suited for personal trainers looking to train groups or classes. This program can help give group personal trainers the knowledge and tools they need to work with smaller, private groups, or larger, event-style groups. You will learn how to connect with those you train and lead multiple individuals toward their fitness goals.

NETA cares about seeing trainers find success in their careers, even after certification, which is why they help students access tools and resources like personal trainer insurance. However, NETA currently only partners with one insurance company. It’s important to research your insurance options as a trainer since every facility and contract may have different insurance requirements.

Insurance Canopy’s personal trainer insurance policy challenges the coverage offered by NETA’s suggested partner 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 get a policy, customize your coverage, and instantly access a Certificate of Insurance. And for as little as $159 a year, our annual coverage for full time trainers just can’t be beat.

Your high quality certification deserves a high quality coverage plan to match it. Discover how you can protect yourself as a trainer and save money with Insurance Canopy today.

Frequently Asked Questions About NETA Personal Trainer Certification

To be NETA certified, you must complete an online education program and pass an exam focusing on topics such as exercise science, nutrition, weight management, and fitness basics.

NETA CPT certification costs range from $549 to $599 depending on the plan you choose. You can also opt for a test only option for $449, but this plan does not include any study materials.

Yes, NETA is NCCA accredited in both their personal trainer certification and group exercise certification programs.

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