The Cooper Institute

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


Get Certified


Updated: 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

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 content areas to a typical job situation.

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.

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

Exam Content Area Percentage of Exam Questions* Minimum Recommended Study Time


Screening and Assessment

  • Health and Medical Screening
  • Fitness Assessment


(21 questions)

16 hours

Goal Setting and Programming

  • Fitness Goal Setting
  • Program Design


(21 questions)

16 hours

Exercise Science

  • Anatomy and Biomechanics
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Safe Exercise Practices
  • Nutrition


(49 questions)

37 hours

Professional Responsibilities

  • Standards of Practice
  • Business Management


(9 questions)

7 hours

What You Need To Register

Please Note: Register under the name shown on your photo ID and CPR card. These documents must match the registration name or you will not be admitted to the exam. Exam fees are non-refundable 24 business hours before the exam time.

Exam Registration & Prices

The Cooper Institute Certified Personal Trainer (CI-CPT) exam in standardized format is available in Pearson VUE professional testing centers across the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Brazil, the Virgin Islands, and U.S. Military Testing Centers worldwide.

Tour the Testing Center

Exam Price: $350
Retest Price: $195*

*Call CI at 972-341-3200 for a discount voucher before scheduling a retest with Pearson Vue.

Choose your exam date, time and location!

Call 1-877-383-2901 or

Register Online

Transfers and Cancellations

Exam fees are non-refundable for transfers and cancellations requested within 24 hours of your scheduled exam appointment. Exam fees are non-refundable if you do not show for your exam appointment. Call 1-877-383-2901 to change or cancel an exam date.

A confirmation email will be sent shortly after you register with the testing center. If you do not receive an email confirmation before your exam date call 877-383-2901. The confirmation email contains important information about your scheduled exam session.

Exam Day Information

Items required for entry to the exam (no exceptions are allowed):

  • Current valid government-issued photo identification (with birth date). Must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Current adult Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) with hands-on training. Online CPR courses are not accepted. International CPR is accepted from a recommended CPR provider in the country your exam is administered. See the CI-CPT Candidate Guide for more details.


The name on both documents must match the registration name. For example, if your ID documents have your legal first name on them but you registered under a nickname or middle name only, your documents will not match and you will be unable to take the exam. The exam fee is not refunded.

A confirmation email will be sent shortly after you register with the testing center. If you do not receive an email confirmation before your exam date call 877-383-2901. The confirmation email contains important information about your scheduled exam session.

Click on a question below to view the answer.

Quality Assurance Position Statement

Because of the varying certification choices and quality assurance options, it is important for you to know what we value as you make your choice of where to obtain certification.

We value each person's certification experience and provide  educational resources as a pathway to certification.

We support third-party independent accreditation for certification programs that support:

  • The identification of the scope of practice for health and fitness jobs
  • The identification of related knowledge, skills, and applied techniques needed to effectively perform the job
  • The development and use of standardized testing processes to assess proficiency to do the job

Credentialing Certification vs. Knowledge-Based Certification

As you may know, certification can refer to two different types of programs:

  1. credentialing certification
  2. knowledge-based or curriculum-based certification

The main difference is that a credentialing certification program is based upon a job analysis for a job or profession. The purpose of a credentialing certification exam is to measure whether the person taking the exam has the knowledge, skills, and ability to apply the information that is needed to perform a job. A knowledge-based certification is based upon learning objectives. The purpose of a knowledge-based test is to measure how well the educational objectives have been met.

The Cooper Institute Certified Personal Trainer (CI-CPT) is a credentialing certification. It is based upon the job analysis for an entry level Personal Trainer. This means you have the choice of how to obtain the knowledge, skills, and application abilities that are needed to perform the job of Personal Trainer. The Cooper Institute and other respected sources provide exam preparation resources for personal training.

The exam will assess both if you know scientific and factual fitness knowledge and if you are able to apply the knowledge to typical Personal Trainer job situations. After you earn the credential you can use the initials "CI-CPT" after your name.