National Credential
Credential: Certified Personal Trainer (NASM-CPT)  In-Demand resource  GI Bill resource  NCCA resource
Credentialing Agency: National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)

The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) is an entry-level health and fitness credential for professionals wishing to assure stakeholders (such as potential employers or consumers) of their competency level. It is a goal-specific program designed for individuals seeking physical training professionalization aimed at optimal results, accurate assessments, and developing and modifying exercises in a safe and effective manner that is adaptable to any client. The CPT-NASM requires comprehensive knowledge of human movement science, functional anatomy, physiology and kinesiology, as well as functional assessment and program design. Candidates must have current Emergency Cardiac Care (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) certification prior to taking the exam.

More information can be found on the certifying agency's website.

Renewal Period: 2 years

Certified Personal Trainer (NASM-CPT)

The following Army Occupations provide training and/or experience that contributes to attaining this credential:

Personnel Category Occupation Occupation Type Related As Promotion Points Skill Level Star Proponent Funded Gap Analysis
Enlisted 68F Physical Therapy Specialist MOS other          
Enlisted 68W Combat Medic Specialist MOS other          
Enlisted Soldier Common Core MOS some          
Enlisted P5 Master Fitness Trainer ASI most          
Enlisted W1 Special Operations Combat Medic (SOCOM) ASI other          

Army Table Legend

Related As

The military occupations shown in this table are related to this credential in one of four ways: Most, Some, or Other.

Most: This credential is directly related to most of the major duties associated with the military occupation (at least 80%). Note that the credential may require additional education, training or experience before you are eligible for it.

Some: This credential is related to some tasks associated with the duties of the military occupation (related 80% to at least one or more critical tasks but less than 80% of all of the entire military occupation). Note that the credential may require additional education, training or experience before you are eligible for it.

Other: This credential is related to this military occupation, but is more advanced or specialized and therefore will likely require additional education, training, or experience.

Promotion Points Promotion Points icon

This credential has been approved for promotion points for this MOS towards promotion to Sergeant and Staff Sergeant. Clicking the Promotion Points icon will open a link to the promotion points fact sheet.

Skill Level Designation

Skill Level I: This skill level consists of all Soldiers in the ranks of Private (pay grade E-1) up to Specialist (pay grade E-4). Time in Service (TIS) is generally between initial entry and four Years of Service (YOS). This skill level is Entry-level positions requiring performance of tasks under direct supervision.

Institutional training:

  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level I
  • Basic Leader Course (BLC)

Skill Level II: This skill level is obtained when promoted to Sergeant (paygrade E-5). TIS is generally between 4-8 YOS. Positions requiring performance of more difficult tasks under general supervision; and in some instances, involving supervision of Soldiers in SL1.

Institutional training:

  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level II
  • Advance Leader Course (ALC)

Skill Level III: This skill level is obtained when promoted to Staff Sergeant (paygrade E-6). TIS is generally between 8-12 YOS. Positions requiring performance of still more difficult tasks and involving first line supervision of Soldiers in SL1 & SL2.

Institutional training:

  • Senior Leader Course (SLC)
  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level III

Skill level IV: This skill level is obtained when promoted to the rank of Sergeant First Class (paygrade E-7). TIS is generally between 12-18 YOS. Positions requiring relatively detailed knowledge of all tasks specified for a given MOS, normally involving first-line supervision of Soldiers in SLs 1, 2, and 3, and involving managerial duties.

Institutional training:

  • Master Leader Course (MLC)
  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level IV
  • Senior Enlisted Joint Professional Military Education (SEJPME) I Course

Skill level V: This skill level is obtained when promoted to the rank of Master Sergeant (paygrade E-8). TIS is generally between 18-22 YOS. Positions requiring direct and indirect leadership roles with expertise in company and battalion-level operations and competency across a given CMF, serving as members of a staff at every level in the Army, with a full understanding of the allocation of resources and their utilization in order to accomplish Army functions and missions.

Institutional training:

  • United States Army Sergeants Major Academy (USASMA)
  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level V

Skill level VI: This skill level is obtained when promoted to the rank of Sergeants Major (paygrade E-9). TIS is generally between 22-30 YOS. Positions requiring organizational leadership roles with multi-dimensional expertise in units and teams on division, corps, and Army staffs, integrated with Joint, Interagency, Intergovernmental, and Multinational (JIIM) partners with a full understanding of the Force Generation process, operations at all echelons, and how the Army runs.

Star Credential Star icon

Star credentials are MOS enhancing, as designated by the Proponent. MOS enhancing credentials are directly related to an MOS or ASI, are taught either partially or completely as part of a Program of Instruction (POI), and improve the MOS technical proficiency.

Proponent Funded Funded icon

This icon indicates credentials which Soldiers may have funded through their MOS proponent. Some proponents offer credentialing opportunities in conjunction with military training and/or as part of MOS development beyond the training base.

Gap Analysis Has Analysis icon

A detailed analysis comparing the credential requirements to the military occupation has been completed. Click on the gap analysis icon to view the analysis page.

Certified Personal Trainer (NASM-CPT)

Eligibility Requirements ()

Note: This credential may have multiple options for becoming eligible. Listed below are the minimum requirements based on the minimum degree required. To view other options, see the Eligibility tab.

  • Credential Prerequisite: CPR and AED
  • Experience
  • Education: High School Diploma/GED
  • Training
  • Membership
  • Other
  • Fee

Exam Requirements ()

  • Written Exam
  • Oral Exam
  • Practical Exam
  • Performance Assessment

Renewal Period: 2 years

  • Continuing Education
  • Exam
  • Continuing Education OR Exam
  • Fee
  • Other

National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
1750 E. Northrop Blvd.
Suite 200
Chandler, AZ  85286
Phone: (800) 460-6276
Fax: (480) 656-3276
Contact Page

Certified Personal Trainer (NASM-CPT)

Candidates must have current Emergency Cardiac Care (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) certification prior to taking the exam

Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent.

The Certified Personal Trainer (NASM-CPT) credential has the following other requirements:

  • Candidates must be at least 18 years of age.
  • National Academy of Sports Medicine exam enrollment must be paid in full.

Certified Personal Trainer (NASM-CPT)

Candidate must attempt the certification exam within the first 180 days from the original date of enrollment, or purchase of an examination retest.

  • Basic and Applied Sciences and Nutritional Concepts (17%)
    • Concepts and structures of anatomy including nervous system, muscular system, skeletal system, cardiorespiratory system and endocrine system
    • Functions of exercise physiology
    • Functional biomechanics
    • Principles of human movement science
    • Principles of motor development
    • Macronutrients
    • Micronutrients
    • Hydration concepts
    • Recommendations and guidelines for caloric intake and expenditure
    • Units of energy measurement
    • Dietary reference intakes
    • Portion sizes, meal timing and frequency
    • Crash/fad/myth diets
    • Common nutritional supplements including possible risks, benefits, uses and effects
    • Food and supplement label reading
    • Factors that may influence weight management physiology
  • Assessment (18%)
    • Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q) assessment
    • Essential elements of personal, occupational, and family medical history
    • Medical risk factors (such as previous injuries or surgeries, chronic pain, diseases, medications)
    • Elements of a lifestyle questionnaire (such as sleep, stress level, smoking, alcohol)
    • Cardiorespiratory assessments (such as 3-minute Step Test, Rockport Walk Test, VO2MAX).
    • Physiological assessments relevant to CPTs (such as resting heart rate, blood pressure)
    • Kinetic chain checkpoints during static posture assessment (ankles, knees, lumbo-pelvic-hip complex, shoulders, head)
    • Applicability of assessments from other health professionals (such as blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose)
    • Body composition assessments (such as skin fold calibers, circumference, bioelectrical impedance)
    • Performance assessments (such as 1-repetition maximum, vertical jump, long (broad) jump)
    • Types of movement assessments (such as Overhead Squat, Single-leg Squat, gait)
    • Body composition calculations (such as fat mass, lean mass, waist-to-hip ratio)
    • Considerations and modifications for performing assessments with special populations (such as seniors, youth, prenatal)
    • Standards for assessments and outcome expectations for special populations (such as youth, seniors, obese)
    • Indicators that client’s condition is out of scope and requires referral
    • Criteria for reassessment (such as time lapsed, change in goals, lifestyle change)
  • Program Design (21%)
    • Flexibility training methods (such as self-myofascial release (SMR), static, active-isolated, and dynamic stretching)
    • Resistance training systems (such as single set, multiple set, super set, pyramid set, circuit training, vertical loading, horizontal loading)
    • Resistance training methods (such as stabilization, strength, power) and modalities (such as machines, body weight, free weights)
    • Cardiorespiratory training methods (such as zone/stage training, interval training, steady state)
    • Core training methods for core-stabilization (such as plank, bird dog, bridge), core-strength (such as, reverse crunches, ball crunches, cable rotations) and core-power (such as soccer throw, rotation chest pass, medicine ball pullover throw)
    • Balance training methods for stabilization (such as single-leg balance, single-leg balance and reach, single-leg windmill) strength (such as single-leg squat, single-leg deadlift, lunge to balance) and power (such as single-leg box hop-up, single-leg box hop-down, multiplanar single-leg hop)
    • Proprioceptive manipulation (such as closing eyes, nodding head, single-leg stand)
    • Plyometric (reactive) training methods for stabilization(such as squat jump with stabilization, box jump-up to stabilization, multiplanar jumps with stabilization) strength (such as butt kicks, tuck jumps, squat jump) and power (such as Box run steps, ice skaters, proprioceptive plyometrics)
    • Speed Agility Quickness (SAQ) training methods (such as resisted sprints, cone drills, agility ladder drills)
    • Exercise progression/regression
    • General adaptation syndrome
    • Principle of specificity
    • Principle of overload
    • Principle of variation
    • Periodization concepts (linear, undulating)
    • Acute variables (such as sets, repetitions, exercise selection, progressions, FITTE principle)
    • Risk vs. reward of different modalities and exercises
    • Overtraining, rest, and recovery
    • Current trends (identification of) and their applicability to individual training programs
    • Types of fitness technology (such as heart rate monitors, performance trackers, calorie counters) and their uses and benefits
    • Considerations for exercise program design for special populations (such as seniors, youth, prenatal)
  • Exercise Technique and Training Instruction (22%)
    • Proper set-up and technique of: Flexibility training methods, Core exercises, balance exercises, plyometric  exercises, speed, agility and quickness exercises, resistance training exercises, warm-up protocol, and cool-down protocol.
    • Kinesthetic, auditory, and visual cueing techniques
    • Safe training practices
    • Application and modalities of exercise regressions and progressions
    • Safe, effective, and professional spotting techniques
    • Proper breathing techniques during exercise
    • Kinetic chain checkpoints
    • Physical and medical signs, symptoms, or contraindications that require training modifications
  • Client Relations and Behavioral Coaching (12%)
    • Communication components
    • SMART goal development
    • Goal expectation management
    • Behavior change strategies
    • Psychological responses to exercise
    • Barriers to behavior change
    • Client expectation management
  • Professional Development and Responsibility (10%)
    • Professional and ethical guidelines and standards and codes of conduct
    • Business fundamentals
    • Marketing concepts and techniques
    • Sales concepts and techniques
    • Equipment maintenance and safety considerations
    • Professional limitations of personal trainer
    • Requirements for maintaining professional credentials
    • Resources regarding rules and regulations applicable to CPTs
    • Credible resources of information regarding health and fitness education
    • Opportunities for professional growth through education and/or other professional experiences

There are a number of resources available to help you prepare for the Certified Personal Trainer (NASM-CPT) examination:

An additional resource is Safari Books Online, a searchable digital library that provides online access to thousands of books, training videos and conference sessions. See the Educational Resources page here on COOL to learn how to get free access.

Testing for this credential is handled by PSI. The test centers are located in the U.S.

To find out more, use the following links on the PSI website:

For more information on the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) testing process, visit the agency website.

Certified Personal Trainer (NASM-CPT)

Renewal Period: 2 years

The Certified Personal Trainer (NASM-CPT) credential has the following recertification information:

  • The CPT-NASM is valid for two years. Certification holders must maintain current CPR and AED certifications and earn 2.0 CEUs (20 hours of Continuing Education Units).

    Additional information can be found on the NASM website.