The only major requirement for becoming a certified personal trainer is passing an accredited CPT exam. Although there are many different schools offering these exams, as well as educational courses to help prepare for them, it is a good idea for people to choose a course that has been accredited by a nationally recognized organization, such as the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.
The cost for the certification exam varies from organization to organization, as some offer much more in-depth study materials and courses. However, it is also possible for a person to study for the exam entirely on her own and then simply sign up for the exam with an accredited company.
After passing the exam, a person is then free to apply for jobs at any gym throughout the country. Although it's not always a legal requirement in every state or city, the majority of gyms and fitness centers do not hire personal trainers unless they have passed a certification exam.
In order to sign up for the exam, a person needs to be at least 18 years old, hold a high school diploma or GED and have passed a course in adult CPR that included a certification in using an automated external defibrillator.