What Are The Most Affordable Group Exercise Certifications?

* Check out the certifications black Friday sales 2019.

Yesterday a friend told me that her daughter 
recently certified in the fitness industry. The organization she studied through charged her an astonishing $1000 for the certification. As a fitness professional, I was dumbfounded to contemplate what she learned to warrant such a high fee. It certainly isn’t necessary.

Over thirty years in the fitness industry have taught me a thing or two. I now know that cueing, creating movements that flow and working with different fitness levels in one class takes a lot of time and practice that you will not learn through a theoretical certification course.

My experience also shows me that the best teachers are continuous learners who stay up-to-date with changing industry practices. They conduct research and read academic journals relating to fitness trends and health findings. The best teachers don’t just teach, they also learn from other teachers, visiting their classes, buying their books and videos and observing their skills.

I believe the most affordable and relevant group exercise certifications are those listed below:

NETA(National Exercise Trainers Association) 
NETA is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) and offer group instructor and personal training certifications in conjunction with specialty certificates such as Pilates, Yoga and Wellness Coaching. 

Prices for a group certification:
$245 early bird special
$299 standard
$309 on-site 

AFFA(Aerobic Fitness Association of America) 
AFFA is a prestigious organization established in 1983 offering group and personal training certifications in addition to a large number of specialty courses.

Prices for a group certification:
Onsite $299 but this doesn't include textbooks, study guides and etc.
Online $299 but right now there is a sale for $199

ACE(American Council on Exercise)
ACE, like AFFA, is a reputable organization that has been established since the 1980s. They offer a wide range of certifications including group fitness, personal training, advanced health and fitness specialization, and ACE health coaching. Being ACE certified myself I can personally account for the need for prerequisite knowledge in fitness and/or science in order to complete the testing. I would recommend AFFA or NETA for those without the requisite knowledge.

ACE Cost:
Standard $299 (inclusive of study materials and testing) Premium $499 (includes all materials) (finance plans offered) 
*I recommend the premium package at ACE due to the inclusion of study guides and practice tests.

NETA, AFFA, and ACE are all fantastic organizations and stand as evidence that it is not necessary to spend in excess of $500 to become a group fitness instructor. Follow your passion to be a fitness professional without stressing about the place at which you studied. Your future clients will be more interested that you are certified than what agency certified you.
Do you teach fitness classes? Have you ever wanted to teach fitness classes?

Check out another great post: Would You Hire A Fat Personal Trainer?


  1. I'd love to get the RRCA coaching certification, not because I want to coach, but because I want to learn more.

  2. I love it when people who work beyond just personal finance are into personal finance and can write awesome posts like this - how else would someone find the best frugal options for group exercise certifications. So awesome.

  3. This is such an awesome post - I've always been curious about being a group exercise instructor, but the expense always made me forget about it. It's good to know there are reputable and affordable training programs out there!


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