AFAA and NASM Online Group Training Course


I completed one of AFAA’s (American and Fitness Association of America) online courses (e-AFAA) last week as part of my continued education and because I wanted to check it out!

AFAA is one of the few companies I have found that offers online training courses. Unfortunately, AFAA CEUs (continued education units) only count towards AFAA certifications and certificates. Therefor, the CEUs I earned for this online course will not count towards my ACE Group Exercise certification. 

Before I took the course, I researched online reviews to try and find out the credibility of AFAA’s online courses and the satisfaction rate…I did not find much. I think the online course series are still relatively new…

AFAA offers a wide variety of  ‘live’ and ‘on demand’ online courses. The ‘live’ courses require you to sign up for a particular day and time to take the course, while the ‘on demand’ option allows you to watch the video, read the outline, and take the quiz at your own time and pace.


I wanted to take NASM’s Group Training online course because I have the opportunity to start doing some small group training soon and I figured it would be a great to expand my knowledge. I also know NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) is a respected organization and I wanted to be sure I got the most out of the course!

Since I have my Group Exercise certification and am studying for my Personal Training certification through ACE (American Counsel on Exercise), I wanted to see the differences in NASM’s model for training versus ACEs. There were a few slight differences between the two, but generally the same theme: progress clients through stability, cardio, and strength stages as they are ready.

I chose the ‘on demand’ option because it was extremely convenient – I didn’t have to wait for the scheduled course date and could start watching the video right away. I also liked the ‘on demand’ option because I could pause the four hour video for breaks and work at my own pace.

From my experience, I will give you a break down of pros and cons of the AFAA online course below:


– Flexibility in training – can work at your own pace, pause video for breaks, re-watch video again later, take text when you are ready

– A printable pdf. was also available that outlined the important points of the four hour video.

– I personally enjoyed watching a video and learning by listening and seeing the live demonstrations. I learn better by listening and seeing than reading a text book. I think I learned and retained more in the video than I would have by reading the 60 page pdf. alone.

– The material presented was very informative, relative, and up-to-date.


– As I mentioned, AFAA’s courses do no carry over the CEUs (continued education units) to other well-known companies (such an ACE)

– This was not a certification, but simply an online course/workshop. I encountered this same set up when I took the G.E.A.R Indoor Cycling course through AFAA a few months ago. This was an in-person course, but it was not a certification. We were told we could call it a certificate but not certification.

– The quiz was so easy I kind of thought it discredited the course a bit. There were only 15 questions and you could use your notes! I guess because this is not a certification, the quiz was not as intense as I was expecting…although I spent some time studying after watching the video and I was ready for more of a challenging test, so was a little disappointed by how easy it was!

– For not being a certification, the course cost $129, which I feel is a bit pricey…

– Being an online course, I am not sure if you can call it a certificate or what, if any, rules there are to that. I am also not sure of the credibility it will hold if used as a way to show credentials for a job.

SweatPink shoe laces

After teaching a class…wearing my SweatPink shoelaces🙂

All in all, I enjoyed the course. I felt it presented some new information, was a great refresher on other topics, and I enjoyed learning by watching a video.

If used strictly for continuing your education and knowledge base, I think it is a great option. However, if you are new in the fitness industry and/or are looking to acquire accredited certifications, I would not recommend going through AFAA.

While AFAA is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), is a member of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE), and has been granted full status with the National Board of Fitness Examiners (NBFE), they do not meet NCCA-accredited certification standards. So if you are AFAA certified, you have to get your continued education units through AFAA alone. And unfortunately, any CEUs you receive from AFAA do not carry over for any other certifications you may have through another accredited organization.

Below is a list of NCCA-accredited fitness education, training, and certification organizations:

American Council on Exercise (ACE)
American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
The Cooper Institute (CI)
International Fitness Professionals Assn. (IFPA)
National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
National Council for Certified Personal Trainers (NCCPT)
National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC)
National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF)
National Exercise & Sports Trainers Assn. (NESTA)
National Exercise Trainers Association (NETA)
National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT)
National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA)
Training and Wellness Certification Commission (TW-CC)

(source: IDEA Health and Fitness Association)


If you are a certified instructor or trainer, which organization do you have your certification though? 

Have you ever taken an online course and do you think they are credible?

Do you think AFAA certifications are as credible as NCCA-accredited organizations?

4 thoughts on “AFAA and NASM Online Group Training Course

  1. I found this very interesting as I am thinking about eventually getting certified. I’ve done a bit of research, but will most likely wait until I move to the US to do anything.

    My Masters was all done online through the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Because it is a nationally accredited university with a good reputation, I feel that it is credible.

    • Hi Katie, yes I would def. recommend an NCCA-accredited organization for a major certification like personal training or group ex – I am really happy with ACE, but I know there are some other really good ones too! My brother got his bachelors online, I think many people are doing that now a days and getting great educations.

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