Certified Personal Trainer Level 1

Overview (Certified Personal Trainer Level 1)

A properly designed and implemented certification program gives the professional and consumers an assurance of competency. The fitness industry in particular is an ever changing profession with new research and data coming out all the time. Safely directing a client as a Certified Personal Trainer or fitness professional needs a validation of knowledge that has been reviewed by other subject matter experts in the profession. The certification will give the candidate a solid reputation, credibility and confidence to do the job successfully.

CPT Level 1 Registration Form

Certification Scope

Certification as a W.I.T.S. Certified Personal Trainer — Level I demonstrates entry-level fitness specific competency and a commitment to consumer safety by individuals who help to improve the health and fitness for clients ranging in age, health, and fitness status through the development and implementation of fitness programs required for practice in the service industry in the United States. Individuals who earn the CPT – Level I designation are qualified to implement personalized exercise programs to clients that have no special medical conditions nor specialized physical limitations that would require advanced knowledge or skills.

Candidate Handbook CPT Level 1


Certification Council

The W.I.T.S. Certification Council (“Council”) was established in 2016 to promote the highest standards for fitness professionals through the development, implementation, coordination, and evaluation of all aspects of the certification and certification renewal processes. The Certification Council is an independent and autonomous governing body for the Personal Trainer Specialist I certification program.


The Council is solely responsible for essential decisions related to the development, administration, and ongoing maintenance of the certification program. The Certification Council ensures that all application and eligibility requirements, examination development and administration, recertification requirements, and all certification program policies and procedures are directly related to the purpose of the certification program.

Certification Council Members

Summary of certification activities

*Chart of Certification Activities*


W.I.T.S. adheres to principles of fairness and due process and endorses the principles of equal opportunity. In administering the certification program, W.I.T.S. does not discriminate or deny opportunity to anyone on the basis of race, color, creed, age, gender, national origin, religion, disability, marital status, parental status, ancestry, sexual orientation, military discharge status, or source of income. All candidates for certification will be judged solely on the published eligibility criteria determined by the Certification Council.



Candidate Handbook CPT Level 1

Information regarding the complaint process will be available to the public via the W.I.T.S. website or other published documents. A complete copy of this policy will be made available to any individual upon request.

In order to maintain and enhance the credibility of the W.I.T.S. certification program, the Certification Council has adopted the following procedures to allow individuals to bring complaints concerning the conduct of CPT Level-I certificants to the W.I.T.S. Certification Council.

In the event a certificant violates the W.I.T.S. certification rules, requirements, and/or policies, the W.I.T.S. Certification Council may reprimand or suspend the individual or may revoke certification.

Grounds for Sanctions

The grounds for sanctions under these procedures may include but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Any restrictions, such as revocation, suspension, probation, or other sanctions of the individual’s professional license, where applicable;
  • Violation of established Certification Council rules, requirements, and/or policies;
  • Conviction of a felony or other crime of moral turpitude under federal or state law in a matter related to the practice of, or qualifications for, services provided by a CPT Level-I;
  • Gross negligence, willful misconduct, or other unethical conduct in the performance of services for which the individual has achieved CPT Level-I certification;
  • Fraud, falsification, or misrepresentation in an initial application or renewal application for certification;
  • Falsification of any material information requested by W.I.T.S.;
  • Misrepresentation of CPT Level-I certification status, including abuse of logo;
  • Cheating on any certification examination.

Actions taken under this policy do not constitute enforcement of the law, although referral to appropriate federal, state, and/or local government agencies may be made about the conduct of the certificant in appropriate situations. Individuals initially bringing complaints are not entitled to any relief or damages by virtue of this process, although they will receive notice of the actions taken.



Complaint Submission

Complaints may be submitted by any individual or entity. Complaints should be reported to W.I.T.S. Certification Council in writing and should include the name of the person submitting the complaint, the name of the person the complaint is regarding, along with other relevant identifying information, a detailed description of factual allegations supporting the charges, and any relevant supporting documentation. Information submitted during the complaint and investigation process is considered confidential and will be handled in accordance with W.I.T.S. Certification Council’s confidentiality policy.

The W.I.T.S. Certification Council is not obligated to return any documentation submitted for the complaint and investigation process

It is strongly encouraged that the candidate read this handbook thoroughly to assure satisfaction before applying.

Candidate Handbook CPT Level 1


Eligibility Criteria

W.I.T.S. has developed requirements for eligibility to ensure that the application process is fair and impartial for all applicants. All candidates for certification must meet all the eligibility requirements established by the Council in effect at the time of their application for certification. Candidates cannot earn certification without passing both the written and practical certification examinations.

Each eligibility requirement has been established to ensure that entry-level individuals certified by W.I.T.S. have an acceptable level of knowledge and personal training practical skill needed to demonstrate personal training-specific competency and a commitment to consumer safety in addressing health and fitness challenges and to assist people of all fitness levels reach their personal fitness goals. In establishing these requirements, the Certification Council acknowledges that a combination of both work education, training and demonstrated knowledge are essential for individuals earning the CPT-Level I credential.

All candidates must meet the following criteria to earn the CPT-Level I credential:

*A live, hands-on skills assessment verified by a qualified CPR instructor is required.

Application Requirements

W.I.T.S. provides an online application for the certification examination process. Applicants begin the registration process by completing an online application at www.witseducation.com/fit/certification/national-test-eligibility-requirements-exam-forms. Online applications are downloadable and may also be submitted via USPS.

All applications must be received by W.I.T.S. a minimum of 35 days prior to the requested test date.

An applicant may submit required documentation to W.I.T.S. either electronically, faxed, or USPS.

W.I.T.S.is not responsible for documentation submitted on behalf of a candidate and will not return documentation. Originals should not be remitted.

Preparing for the Examination

Exam development

The Certification Council provides oversight for the development and ongoing maintenance of the CPT-Level I certification program. The W.I.T.S. examinations are developed and maintained in a manner consistent
with generally accepted psychometric, educational testing practices, and national accreditation standards for certification programs as described below.

Studying for the examination

As a certification organization, W.I.T.S.’s role is in developing and administering certification examinations to determine the qualifications of candidates for certification. W.I.T.S does not require, provide, or endorse any specific study guides, review products, and/or training courses. Candidates may prepare for certification examinations with any educational materials they choose. Purchase of review materials is not a requirement for testing, nor does use of any review materials guarantee a passing score on a certification examination.

Exam Content Outline

The content for the examinations are determined based upon the exam blueprint and content category weights developed from the Job Analysis Study. The final exam content outlines and corresponding content weights are outlined below and also published on the W.I.T.S. Website at CPT Level 1 National Test Eligibility Requirements & Exam Forms


Written Examination

Domain 1: Functional Anatomy and Biomechanics — 38%

Domain 2: Client Assessment — 16%

Domain 3: Exercise Prescription —11%

Domain 4: Muscular Fitness — 4%

Domain 5: Cardio Respiratory 4%

Domain 6: Flexibility — 3%

Domain 7: Business of Personal Training —24%

Practical Examination

Part I: Assessments — 21%

Part 2: Warm Up — 8%

Part 3: Flexibility — 39%

Part 4: Upper & Lower Body Exercises — 32%


WITS CPT FINAL Test Specifications


All W.I.T.S. certification examinations are prepared and offered in English only. Special accommodations requesting translation dictionaries and/or extra time on the examination are not permitted.


Taking the Examination

Testing sites

All W.I.T.S. certification examinations are offered during established testing windows. The written examination is offered in a paper-based format. The practical examination is a performance-based format. W.I.T.S. delivers certification examinations at authorized testing sites located across the United States. Colleges and other post-secondary settings with testing centers that offer paper-pencil or internet based testing in a controlled, proctored environment serve as testing sites. Practical examinations may also be administered at authorized fitness centers.


To gain admission at the test site to take a W.I.T.S. examination, all candidates are required to present a valid, government issued, photo identification. The candidate’s name on the identification card must match the name on the candidate’s application form. A candidate will not be admitted to a test site without proper identification and if his/her name does not appear on the official W.I.T.S. Exam Roster for that test location and date. The name on the identification must match the name printed on the official exam roster.



Frequently Asked Questions

This section is to help you get some essential answers to some of the more requested questions to our group.

  • Should I take a review course of purchased study materials? How you prepare for the exam is up to you. The Certification Council does not require, provide, recommend or endorse any specific courses or exam preparation tools. The courses offered by W.I.T.S. are optional!
  • How do I apply for Certification? Here is a link to register: W.I.T.S. Certified Personal Trainer Test Out Registration
  • Do I have to pass both exams? Yes to be recognized as a CPT Level 1 you must pass both the written and the practical skill competency exams
  • What happens if I only pass one exam? You will have to set up a retest for either exam that you did not successfully pass. The cost is $125.00. Here is a link to assist you. CPT Level 1 Retest Registration Information
  • Can I get a copy of the exam that I failed? We will not release the exam or any portion of it under the circumstances. To do so would be a violation of our security procedures. Access to the examination is carefully controlled and limited to only those individual who must have access for the purpose of examination development and quality control.
  • If I did not pass the exam when can I retake it? A minimum of 4 retest dates are secured every year to meet the demands to retest in a effective efficient fashion in locations around the USA.
  • How much does the certification cost? The 2 certification exams [written & practical skills] have a fixed price of $450 to test out.  If you take the actual college course the testing is included.
  • Does my certification expire? The certification must be renewed with 20 continuing education credit hour courses every 24 months.


Maintaining Certification


The W.I.T.S. Certification Council requires the continuing professional development of its certificants to ensure that individuals who hold the CPT Level-I credential maintain an ongoing commitment to learning, keep pace with developments in the field of personal training, and strengthen their knowledge and skills. The mandatory recertification process provides certificants with the opportunity to demonstrate the retention, reinforcement, and expansion of their knowledge and skills.

W.I.T.S. supports the ongoing professional development of CPT Level-I certificants and the maintenance of certification by:

  • requiring reasonable and appropriate continuing educational and professional activities;
  • enhancing the ongoing professional development of certificants;
  • encouraging and recognizing individualized learning opportunities; and
  • providing a standardized, objective and straightforward process for attaining and recording continuing educational and professional activities.

The recertification cycle ensures that:

  • certificants demonstrate currency in job-related skills within an appropriate period;
  • certificants maintain high standards of clinical quality;
  • the two-year recertification requirement of the Adult CPR/AED certification is maintained; and
  • certificants uphold the commitment to the Code of Ethics.

To ensure that certificants supplement and reinforce their knowledge in appropriate subject areas, only those continuing education courses directly related to the fitness field and approved by W.I.T.S. or the International Association of Continuing Education and Training (IACET) will accrue toward the 20 hours of continuing education credits.

Candidate Handbook CPT Level 1

Recertification Requirements

CPT Level-I certificants are required to recertify every two (2) years by earning 20 hours of continuing education credits, signing the Code of Ethics, and submitting a current copy of the Adult CPR/AED certification. Recertification includes submission of a completed recertification application and recertification fee.

Expiration date
W.I.T.S. certification expires on the last day of the month two (2) years following the date of certification.
For example, if an individual is certified on May 15 certification will expire on May 30.
Applications for recertification must be submitted at least 30 days prior to the date on which the
certification expires for us to return your updated certificate on time.