Nutrition, Fitness & Health Online Certificate Programs


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Personal Fitness Training

Professional Certificate Program

Register Online

The Online Professional Certificate in Personal Fitness Training (PFT) is an interactive, comprehensive Web-based Certificate program with an optional field internship elective course will allow students from around the world to fit courses into their busy work and home schedules, go online wherever they are, and complete the certificate within five months or have up to two-years if necessary.  Content and curriculum within each course in the program is designed to present the student with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to implement a unique medically-based fitness model for their future or current clients.  Students will learn how to apply their client’s health history, goals, and abilities integrating exercise science curriculum and practical training techniques into a systematic model that teaches students to progress their clients through different training levels and phases. 

The program is offered in partnership with the American Council on Exercise® (ACE), IDEA Health & Fitness Association, National Posture Institute (NPI), and Personal Fitness Professional (PFP).  ACE provides graduating certificate students a preferred discount on the ACE Personal Training Certification Exam and study materials.  NPI provides graduating students with a registration discount for their Online Certified Posture Specialist Program. 

IDEA has provided content/curriculum in the program; in addition, students receive a complimentary 6-month membership to the digital edition of IDEA Fitness Journal.  PFP is providing students with a 3 year free subscription, which includes 9 print issues per year, a monthly e-newsletter, access to their digital magazine and an interactive website with blogs, polls, articles and much more.  In addition, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), the credentialing agency for the American Dietetic Association (ADA) has approved the Certificate in Personal Training program for 50 Continuing Professional EducationUnits (CPEUs), the Advanced Certificate program for 30 CPEUs, and the Optional Field Internship Course for 10 CPEUs for both Registered Dietitian (RDs) and Dietetic Technician-Registered (DTRs). 

Who Should Attend

The Certificate Program is designed to supply essential educational pathways and career opportunities to those seeking to start a career in the emerging fitness/health industry, for established fitness professionals who desire advanced education, and for allied health and medical professionals from all fields seeking to broaden their careers to become full or part-time personal trainers/fitness instructors.  According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau publication Occupational Outlook Handbook, overall employment for personal trainers is expected to increase 44% from 2002 to 2012.

Program Requirements

To earn the certificate you are required to complete all five core courses.  The five core courses are offered in an OPEN ENROLLMENT FORMAT, meaning you can register AT ANY TIME, and once logged in, you are provided 8 full weeks of unlimited access for each individual course you registered for with no penalty for finishing early.  Typically the program can be completed in as little as 18 weeks, but you must complete the requirements within two-years. 

Students may also elect to register for the advanced certificate program courses. Students that have completed the core Certificate may then register for the advanced certificate which requires three additional courses.  The advanced certificate is designed for students interested in furthering their personal training education by incorporating specialized resistance training, functional movements, and nutritional programs for their clients in partnership with RDs.

Workplace Advantages and Benefits

  • On-going guidance, instruction, and interaction from instructors that hold either a Master’s or Ph.D. degree in exercise science, biomechanics, exercise physiology, kinesiology, physical therapy, nutrition or an exercise science-related degree.  Our instructors will support their students and become valuable resources and mentors well after they graduate.
  • Optional Personal Training Internship Course:  Students have three internship options. They may elect to intern at a partnered internship site, a facility of their choice located anywhere in the U.S. or internationally (with program coordinator/instructor approval), or at a facility a student may already be working.
  • A professional certificate from an accredited institution.
  • College courses provide CECs or CEUs for personal trainers and allied health/medical professionals seeking re-certification, re-licensure, or career advancement.
  • Networking opportunities with industry experts.

Award of the Certificates:

  • Professional Certificate in Personal Fitness Training: complete all five core courses within a period of two years
  • Advanced Certificate in Personal Training: complete the Professional Certificate and all three Advanced Certificate core courses within a period of two years
  • Complete and receive a passing grade of (C- or above) in all courses:  which includes quizzes, exams, written/research projects, and class assignments

Why Online Learning?

  • Learning occurs in a user-friendly environment and is accessible to participants with little or no computer experience.
  • Online courses give you the knowledge and tools you need to stay ahead in today’s rapidly changing professional marketplace.
  • Online education allows students to access their courses from anywhere there is an Internet connection even if you are traveling for business or on vacation.
  • Flexibility: Students can attend class in the comfort and convenience of their own home, office, library, or internet café and complete assignments after breakfast, during lunch, late at night, while on vacation, or any time that is convenient for the student.  
  • Cost-effective: expenses related to facilities, travel, and non-productive time is reduced.

Continuing Education Credits

For a complete list of the organizations and associations that have approved this program for continuing education, CLICK HERE


For an online demo go to

For program information contact:
Ken Baldwin, M.ED, ACSM-H/FI

Ken Baldwin, M.ED., is the Program Coordinator and an instructor for the Professional Certificate in Personal Fitness Training Program.  He is the former Chair of IDEA’s National Personal Trainer Committee and Chair of the Senior Fitness Subcommittee for the Massachusetts’s Governor’s Committee on Physical Fitness and Sports.  Ken is the Senior Editor and lead author for the American College of Sports Medicine - ACSM’s Resources for the Personal Trainer Manual (2nd Ed.) and textbook.  He continues to serve on national committees for ACSM, AAHPERD (AAPAR), and the Medical Fitness Association (MFA).   He has been honored with numerous awards including IDEA’s Personal Trainer of the Year Award, presented at the IDEA International Personal Training Summit.  If you have questions about the certificate program and courses, you may contact the Program Coordinator at

Ken Baldwin, M.ED, ACSM-H/FI
Program Coordinator
Professional Certificate in Personal Fitness Training
IDEA Personal Trainer of Year Award Winner
Email Address:

Melissa Halas-Liang, RD, MA, CDE

Melissa Halas-Liang, MA, RD, CDE is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, Certified Nutrition Support Dietitian and holds a Masters degree in Nutrition Education.  Melissa has the Certificate of training for Childhood and Adolescent and Weight Management.  She has over 10 years of diverse experience in nutrition management, nutrition counseling, clinical trials, teaching, media and writing and currently serves as Co-President elect of the Los Angeles District of the California Dietetic Association.  She provides a unique approach to health and wellness across the entire lifespan.  For the past seven years, Melissa has provided on-line education at universities to health professionals and the general public. She provides community lectures on children and adult nutrition and enjoys motivating her audience through encouraging small steps to healthier lifestyle changes while creating a fun approach to living.

Certificate Course Descriptions

Course 1: Introduction to Exercise Science-Level I...... $249
Instructor: Ken Baldwin, M.ED, ACSM-H/FI
In this course, students gain an understanding of musculoskeletal and functional anatomy and the effects of exercise placed on joint structures during exercise movements. Emphasis is placed on learning about proper body alignment, joint range of motion (ROM), basic biomechanics, and kinesiological principles to the development of safe and effective exercise programs. 

Course 2: Introduction to Exercise Science-Level II...... $249
Instructor: Ken Baldwin, M.ED, ACSM-H/FI
This course is designed to teach the personal trainer how the muscular, skeletal, and cardiorespiratory systems function with and without exercise conditioning. Additional topics include energy metabolism, neuromuscular function, and the physiology of exercise in relation to training programs and environmental considerations.  
Course 3: Health Risk Profiles and Fitness Assessment Techniques ...... $249
Instructor: Ken Baldwin, M.ED, ACSM-H/FI
This course teaches students how to assess and evaluate cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular testing techniques, joint ROM, flexibility, body-fat analysis, blood pressure, and body measurements based on ACSM guidelines. Topics include client screening procedures, medical and health history intake forms, identifying high-risk clients, determining the appropriate test, conducting the test, and evaluating the results.                                                                                                             

Course 4: Business Administration and Management Aspects for Personal Trainers ...... $249
Instructor: Ken Baldwin, M.ED, ACSM-H/FI
This course gives personal trainers a solid background in developing or starting a personal training business and prepares them for financial management, marketing strategies, and business plan development. Techniques for effective management include standards and guidelines, facility/studio personnel management, and operational issues from a small personal training (PT) studio to managing a PT department at a large health facility. 

Course 5: Designing Exercise Prescriptions for Normal/Special Populations ...... $249
Instructor: Ken Baldwin, M.ED, ACSM-H/FI
This course teaches how to develop an exercise prescription in relation to health implications for normal/special populations related to age, medical condition, and fitness level. Topics include cardiac conditions, diabetes, physical disabilities, HIV and AIDS, asthma, sensory impairments, pregnancy, and program design for children to senior populations. This course is designed as a research-based class with emphasis on designing a step-by-step process to creating individualized exercise  programs.

Optional Elective Course
Optional Field Internship in Personal Training ...... $299
Instructor: Ken Baldwin, M.ED, ACSM-H/FI
Prerequisite: 5 Core Courses and CPR Certification
NOTE: This course is an optional course and is not required to receive the Professional Certificate.  Learn to work with professionals in the fitness and health industry for a hands-on experience working with members at fitness facilities and health centers.  Students intern for 60 total hours in this course.

Advanced Certificate Course Descriptions

Course 1: Nutritional Analysis and Management ...... $249
Instructor: Melissa Halas-Liang, RD, MA, CDE
Students will study the basic nutrition principles and how to apply them when designing structured nutritional programs for clients in collaboration with registered dietitians and nutritionists. The focus will be on vitamin, mineral, and supplement knowledge; the effects of nutrition on the exerciser and non-exerciser; strategies for successful weight management; and recognizing normal to disordered eating patterns. 

Course 2: Functional Flexibility, Core, and Balance Training ...... $249
Instructor: Ken Baldwin, M.ED, ACSM-H/FI
Students will study principles and techniques for evaluation and implementation of exercise prescriptions that include instruction in flexibility, core, and balance training.  Students will learn how the beginning phases of an exercise program are based upon the starting point/level of the client based upon performance of initial assessments, neurological ability, and individual goals.  In addition, students will learn to implement the Sequential Exercise Training (SET) Model to enhance posture, body alignment, stability, proprioception, and awareness to more complicated exercise movements or functional movements.

Course 3: The Science and Biomechanics of Resistance/Weight Training Techniques ...... $249
Instructor: Ken Baldwin, M.ED, ACSM-H/FI
This course teaches an educational systematic approach to teaching resistance/weight training movements. The practical application of anatomy, physiology, and body alignment is introduced to analyze weight training techniques, exercise equipment, and the risk/benefit analysis of a specific exercise chosen. Equipment modalities reviewed include stability balls, exercise bands, free weights, body weight, and commercial strength equipment.   

Student Testimonials

Read below for what our past students have to say about the Online Certificate in Personal Fitness Training.

“I love these on-line courses. It allows me to be flexible with my time and the pace of the course is perfect. I recommend on-line courses to anyone who has the desire to continue to learn and improve themselves”. C. Parkin, California

“The online Personal Fitness Trainer program is a great way for working fitness professionals to add to their educational credentials.”   J. Holland, Texas

“The first two classes in Module One have inspired me to help others become more fit.  They have provided a strong foundation to become more knowledgeable in the fitness industry.  I am looking forward to the next classes.”  N. Putney, Florida

“This program opened a new career path for me that is exciting, timely, and rewarding.”  J. White, Rhode Island


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