Online Personal Trainer Certification

Insider tips for choosing and succeeding in the right school and career

School Surprises

"More Engaging Than I Thought...
I was surprised that I was able to engage with my peers from a mostly online program. I was also surprised at how effective the professors were over the internet" (Personal Trainer; 2014)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Maryland, female
School: Studied Sports Medicine at Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland; completed Associate degree in 2011

"Less Rigorous Than I Expected...
I was surprised at how easy the coursework was, and at how little oversight the college provided to ensure that I, myself, completed the coursework, and that it wasn't completed by someone else. The testing system was also a lot easier than I expected, in that it was primarily open-book. I had expected a more rigorous learning experience." (Dog Trainer; 2014)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Michigan, female
School: Studied Animal Behavior at Animal Behavior College in California; completed Certificate degree in 2011

"Just As Good As A Classroom Setting...
I was a student at UCSD Extension where we have both in-seat and on-line classes. Our on-line classes are typically 7 weeks for a 3 credit hour class and most in-seat classes are either 7 or 15 week classes. Our school is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). We had major and specific classes we have to take. When we take them and how many classes per semester is up to us. We also have the option to take either in-seat or on-line classes, the credits and the textbook are the same. Our lectures are non-audio and we read the lectures just like our textbooks. The best part of the on-line classes is the discussion boards. We use Blackboard learning system for our classes. Most of my classes typically had 2 to 4 discussion questions that we have to answer each week (based on our chapters) and they are put on to a discussion board where we comment on each other's postings. I learn a lot more from the interaction than any other function of the school. Especially in a school like mine where many of the students are already working in the field. We also had group projects and one or more papers per session. I had to log onto the discussion board 5 days per week to receive credit. The assignments are posted at the beginning of the week and we have until Midnight on specific days to get the work done. I typically take 2 classes per 7 week session and spend between 15-30 hours per week on an average for my classes (between reading, research, writing papers, and posting to the discussion boards). But I typically do more work than the average student, because I figure if I'm going to pay for the classes I want my money's worth in learning that topic. Other students may only spend 3 or 4 hours per week on the study time, but their grades will reflect it as well. Overall I would say my online experience has been just as good as the classroom standard." (Personal Trainer; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Personal Trainer at UCSD San Diego Extension in California; completed Certificate degree in 2008

Best School Tips

"Understand The Technology...
Understand everything about the online program and how to use the online study tools!" (Personal Trainer; 2014)

"Success Depends On Your Learning Style...
Depending on your learning style, online classes can be good or bad. If you know you would struggle in a certain subject (like Math), I wouldn't recommend online as that is better suited for a classroom with more hands on experience." (Personal Trainer; 2013)

"Seek Outside Opinions...
To get the most from this program, beyond just completing your coursework, be sure to consult with experts in the industry to get their points of view as well. They might be able to provide more "real-world" tips that weren't provided in the written material." (Dog Trainer; 2014)