The Cooper Institute

Founded in 1970 by the "Father of Aerobics"
Kenneth H. Cooper MD, MPH


Get Certified


Learn About The Certification Process

Read the CI-CPT Candidate Guide for complete details on the certification process and credential.

You'll find helpful information on:

  • Eligibility
  • Preparing for the Exam
  • Exam Registration
  • Exam Day Requirements
  • Exam Results
  • CI-CPT Renewal

Exam Preparation

Research has shown that CI-CPT exam candidates increase the probability of passing the CI-CPT exam by 123% when using 3 or more preparation resources.

In addition to the Personal Trainer Education course, the most useful resources reported by exam candidates are:

Exam candidates with on the job experience in health and physical activity and completion of relevant college course work have higher rates of success. As with any goal or objective, the more time and effort you put into achieving the objective the more likely you are to achieve that objective.

Are You Ready?

  • Readiness to take the exam can only be decided by the individual candidate.
  • Exam questions will ask the candidate to both recall facts and to apply knowledge from all exam domains to a typical job situation.

Cooper Institute education is not required to be eligible for the exam. Educational resources are for learning and knowledge purposes. Educational resources do not teach you how to take the exam. You should gain a level of familiarity with the information to effectively process the knowledge and apply it to a job situation.

View sample exam questions.

Exam Information and Resources

For those new to the field, a minimum of 75 hours of independent study is recommended. An additional 10 hours of role play (that is, simulated personal trainer scenarios) is recommended to help in applying factual information to typical job situations. To be most effective, each practice scenario should require the application of knowledge elements from multiple domains.

Resources listed can help you obtain the knowledge, skills, and abilities that are needed to perform as a personal trainer. Other reputable resources exist and candidates should not feel limited to only these resources listed. No guarantee is made with regard to the use of these resources and exam performance.

Exam Domain Percentage of Exam Questions* Minimum Recommended Study Time Suggested Resources**

1 Personal Training Education (PTE) offered by CI – 4 1/2 day live and online courses available. Recommended if you do not have an exercise science-related degree, and/or if you are new to the field and have no/limited experience or formal training. Course fee includes Principles of Health and Fitness textbook.

2 Personal Trainer Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSA) available at

3 Extracted from the Principles of Health and Fitness textbook

* Other reputable resources available nationally may also be used to further knowledge in the field.

Core Knowledge

  • Kinesiology: Anatomy and Biomechanics
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Basic Nutrition and Weight Management
  • Human Behavior


(30 questions)

23+ hours

Health and Medical Review; and Fitness Assessment

  • Health History Review
  • Current Health Conditions Review
  • Health-Related Fitness Appraisal


(20 questions)

15+ hours

Fitness Training: Design, Implementation, and Evaluation

  • Fitness Goal Setting
  • Safe and Efficient Exercise
  • Program Design: Cardiorespiratory, Strength, and Flexibility
  • Program Evaluation


(40 questions)

30+ hours