January 19

Top 7 Group Fitness Certifications: The Ultimate Guide To Choosing The Right One For You

Are you a fitness enthusiast who wants to help others achieve their health and wellness goals?

Group fitness certifications can be the perfect way for you to turn your passion into a career.

Becoming certified allows you to lead group exercise classes – from aerobics, HIIT, circuit training, spin classes, dance-based workouts, and more – in settings ranging from gyms to community centers.

These certifications equip you with essential teaching skills and knowledge of safety protocols, and they also give trainers access to valuable networks that will improve job opportunities.

In this post, we discuss some of the best group fitness certifications available so that those interested in becoming professionals have all the information they need at their fingertips.

Let’s dive in: 

How Can We Define Group Fitness Certifications/ What Is A Group Fitness Certification?

A specific personal trainer certification called a group fitness instructor certification will equip you to teach exercise and group fitness sessions. Having sessions online allows fitness instructors to assist people to stay in shape from a distance, which makes group fitness a continually popular trend for gyms and trainers.

You can find employment stability in a range of professional prospects by obtaining a group fitness certification from an internationally renowned organisation. In their search for qualified personal trainers they can rely on, employers for strength-building, cardiovascular, and yoga programs look for certificates from approved organisations. Some schools even provide internship placements or job assurances to ease the move into a formal training career.

These certificates also enhance the fitness experiences of your clients. In order to make your courses as effective as possible, group fitness certification programs offer practical and safe tactics, including establishing programming and choosing the right music. Along with imparting useful anatomical knowledge, they assist you in developing communication skills to inspire and provide feedback to your clients.

You must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or equivalent, be certified in adult CPR and AED, and be 18 years old to qualify for any group fitness certification. The majority of programs demand a hands-on evaluation of your CPR certification, and some universities have additional prerequisites like first aid instruction. In order to keep their certifications valid, certified personal trainers must also frequently recertify.

Which Group Fitness Certifications Are Best?

Are you eager to know about the best group fitness certifications to have? Do you want to have a clear idea of which group fitness certification is best?

Listed below are the top 5 group fitness certifications that can do wonders for you:

#1 ISSA Group Fitness Certifications

ISSA group fitness certifications

The NCCA and the DEAC have recognised the International Sports Sciences Association as a legitimate online group exercise academy. Despite being relatively young, its certification program has been a favourite among many trainers and their companies.

The NCCA and the DEAC have recognised the International Sports Sciences Association as a legitimate online group exercise academy. Despite being relatively young, its certification program has been a favourite among many trainers and their companies.

ISSA sets itself apart from other programs by promoting 12 various training modalities, from kickboxing to muscular conditioning. In order to safely design and lead programs for all fitness levels, you will study the science underpinning instructing group exercises in each category.

It’s one of the best group fitness certification programs that cost $33.29 per month, lasts shorter than six months, and is available as part of a fitness trainer package with other programs at a lower price. The course offered by ISSA includes online quizzes, an always-updated textbook, and unrestricted support from a group of education specialists. A free certification exam is also included; however, you can buy it individually.

The accompanying approved test can be studied for at your own leisure; most students finish in eight to ten weeks. The test is available online, allows you to utilise any study materials you have, and can be taken all at once or over the course of several sessions. You can retake the exam with ISSA, but you will need to pay an extra proctoring charge. It's interesting to note on the website that purchasing the training materials is not a condition for eligibility.

Additional insights gained from the ISSA-GEI include the following:

  • Performing secure fitness evaluations
  • Developing procedures for a variety of clients efficiently
  • Various kinds of classes (i.e., Flexibility, endurance, strength, or cardiovascular fitness)
  • Selecting the ideal equipment for your particular class and goals
  • Growing your business by promoting yourself as a group exercise instructor

#2 Fitness Mentors Group Fitness Certifications

fitness certifications for personal trainers

Fitness Mentors offer a DEAC-approved virtual group fitness instructor certification that may be completed entirely from the comfort of your own home. The key selling point of the curriculum is that it teaches you how to run successful online fitness courses while providing many of the same benefits as attending in-person group exercise programs.

Two different programs are available from Fitness Mentors, both of which are delivered solely online. A digital textbook, video, audio lectures, programming templates, business-building projects, a support group, and the actual exam are all included in the $499 FM V-GFI package, including the certification itself.

If you want lifetime personal mentorship to help you expand your online business through lead generation and conversion, you can upgrade to the Virtual Business Accelerator plan for an additional $199.

One must achieve a score of 70% or higher on the 50-question multiple-choice online exam to pass. You'll have three tries at the end of the program, and if you need more, you can pay $50 to take the test again.

#3 ACE Group Fitness Certifications


The American Council on Exercise developed the group fitness certification in order to educate personal trainers on how to manage programs for a number of participants simultaneously effectively.

It carries accreditation from both the NCCA and the European Health and Fitness Association, and its members include over 13,000 people who have successfully earned their accreditation. This certification body is also a nonprofit organisation.

The ACE curriculum instructs aspiring fitness instructors to create sessions suitable for students of varying ages and fitness levels. The basics of leading a group fitness class are covered, such as the selection of music and the development of an exercise program, but you'll also learn about your legal and professional obligations as a class leader and gain insight into effective methods of inspiring your students.

ACE, which is probably one of the best group fitness certifications, offers three different levels of online education: the $291 Basic Package, the $389 Plus Program, and the $486 Advantage Program.

You can take advantage of a virtual classroom equipped with video lectures, interactive exercises, and tests as part of the Basic package.

In addition to a digital guide and one sample exam, this website also features ACE Answers support from certified group instructors who are available for further guidance.

In addition to the features found in the Basic plan, participants in the Plus plan will also receive a hard copy of the group fitness manual and two additional practice exams.

The most expensive plan, called Advantage, provides extra practice tests, a larger digital classroom with additional study materials, and a voucher to retake the ACE exam in the event of failure.

Within six months of purchase, you can register for and take a certification exam online for any of the three programs. You can take the exam any time after this window closes, giving you plenty of time to prepare.

To become an ace group fitness instructor, see link above. 

#3 AFAA Group Fitness Certifications

The NCCA has accredited the Athletics and Fitness Association of America, an organisation that places the highest emphasis on group exercise.

It features a secondary focus on nutrition in addition to traditional subjects like class design, exercise science, and instructional strategies.

Four different group fitness packages are available for this group fitness certification program, or you may pay $249 for a solitary exam.

The basic course, digital textbook, instructional videos, sample tests, and exam are all included in the $299 (or $23 a month) program. The self-study program adds a job guarantee and costs $349, or $27 a month, but if you don't find employment within 90 days of passing your exam, you'll get your money back.

A hardcover textbook and coaching support are included in the $419 (or $34 per month) premium self-study program from AFAA, which also allows you to retake your exam.

The ultimate all-inclusive package costs $908, or $78 per month, and qualifies you for life while including an additional virtual fitness coaching course.

You can take the exam in person or through a live remote proctor, depending on your state's rules. You have 120 minutes to respond to 120 multiple-choice questions, and a passing grade of 70% is required.

The AFAA allows you to keep access to the study materials for a full year so that you can use them once you start teaching, even though your exam is only valid for 180 days after your first purchase.

#5 ACSM Group Fitness Certifications

group fitness certifications for fitness professionals

Although the American College of Sports Medicine's curriculum is not accredited, its certifications are nonetheless useful because it is a reputable fitness organization that offers one of the best group fitness certifications. It demands more of its members than other groups do.

The course content is designed to help you design effective training programs for any client by focusing on group exercise's health science and kinesiology aspects. You'll be able to help your classes reach their fitness objectives by using a wide range of workout equipment and techniques that you'll get to try out for free.

Exam retakes cost $155, regardless of whether you are an ACSM member or not. The exam cost is $239 for members and $299 for non-members. ACSM does provide textbooks and online practice questions; however, they are not included in the following rates for studying:

  • Textbook resource: $77.99
  • Guidelines for prescription drugs and exercise testing: $50.99
  • Book of review: $53.99
  • Online tests: $69.99 for three months of access

The website also allows users to download a topic outline for the certification exam and plan webinars and in-person seminars. The books are, however, only sold in hard copy.

#6 NETA Group Fitness Certifications

personal training course

Over the past 33 years, NETA has assisted over 130,000 fitness professionals despite not being the most well-known certification body out there.

They also offer a number of specialised certificates like those in barre, Pilates, and senior fitness.

Through efficient yet secure procedures, NETA undoubtedly gives beginning personal trainers a solid base and goes above and above with advice for small-group training.

The curriculum places a much stronger emphasis on cueing, timing, and music choice for your class instruction.

You can get your group fitness certifications in one of two ways through NETA. The first choice is to take the test right after completing a one-day workshop. The second choice is the test-only option, which requires you to take the test at a testing center run by Comira.

The NETA Group Exercise certification can be paid for in one of two ways, which are as follows:

  • Discount: $299
  • Regular: $349

You can only take advantage of the Early Bird discount if you register at least 30 days before the workshop. While the workshop and proctored certification exam are included in these prices, the study guides are not.

#7 NASM Group Fitness Certifications

nasm group fitness certifications

NASM have a wide variety of fitness certifications including some popular group fitness certifications. The are well established and provide fitness professionals with the knowledge and tools to be successful. 

With over three decades of experience providing the best certifications in the fitness industry, NASM have earned a reputation for science-based strategies and learning innovations.

They have personal training certifications, group fitness certifications, certified nutrition courses, and the list goes on. The have something for everyone. 

NASM run fantastic deals year round, so check them out. 

Why Become A Group Fitness Instructor

Listed below are some ingenious reasons to become a group fitness instructor. However, it is mandatory to have top group fitness certifications to find your feet in this domain.

Let’s discuss a couple of reasons in detail:

Career Expansion

In your role as a group fitness instructor, you will be exposed to a wide variety of people. It's a great way to meet other individuals who share your interest in fitness, and it may also help you create relationships, your professional network, your reputation, and your credibility.

If you're skilled at what you do, you may make a name for yourself and your business in a relatively short amount of time. You can become an influential person in your field, which can lead to a lot of wealth and recognition. Participating in a fitness class with a group can help you advance in your job.

Career expansion is one of the many reasons we strongly encourage readers to strive for the best group fitness certificates to advance in their fields.

Reasonable Earning Opportunities

Several factors, including education level, location, and fitness certifications, influence how much a personal trainer earns. Sometimes it's hard to keep track of time when you're a personal trainer, and you can only take on so many customers at once.

Group exercise teachers make a solid career, personal trainers can always work part-time, and group fitness instructors can increase their income, save time, and assist their clients in achieving their fitness goals all by teaching group courses.

Unleash Your Fitness Craze

Group fitness is the place to be if your goal in life is to inspire others with your dedication to your own fitness and the health of the group as a whole.

One of the perks of being a group fitness trainer is the extensive number of individuals you get to inspire and motivate. They respect you as an authority figure and a potential mentor.

You are their supporter and collaborator while they make positive changes in their lives. It's an honor and a huge responsibility to take on this role.

If you help your customers, you'll see a positive change in their mental and physical health and a positive change in your own health.

However, to have such knowledge and command, getting some of the best group fitness certifications is recommended to make a name for yourself.

You Are Paid To Exercise

How about we tell you that you can make money while exercising? Yeah, it’s doable.

A career as a group exercise instructor is engaging and fun. You get to work and get paid doing what you love. It makes you money in addition to assisting you in maintaining excellent health and pursuing your passion. You get to advance your knowledge and abilities in a job you enjoy, which will ultimately increase your influence as a teacher.

There are numerous advantages to working as a group fitness instructor. The work pays well and enables you to give back to the community by encouraging people, reducing stress, and motivating them to achieve their goals.

There are numerous advantages to working as a group fitness instructor. The work pays well and enables you to give back to the community by encouraging people, reducing stress, and motivating them to achieve their goals.

Pro Tip

List your group fitness certifications (and fitness insurance provider) on your websites about me page, so potential clients know that you're fully qualified and insured. It can make all the difference to a client deciding to work with you. 

Wrapping Up

Group fitness classes are a great way to stay in shape and have fun while doing it. With so many different types of classes available, there is sure to be something for everyone.

If you're considering becoming a group fitness instructor, the first step is getting certified. Once you have your group fitness certification, you'll be able to teach classes at gyms, community centers, and more.

There are many different fitness certifications available, and the top ones are discussed in this post, so be sure to do your research before picking one.

The best group fitness certifications will depend on your goals and what type of class you want to teach.

Are you ready to get started?

Let’s strive to get your group fitness certificate sooner than later.

All the best!


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