WITS Certification Questions and Answers

WITS stands for World Instructor Training Schools and is one of the organizations that certifies personal trainers. They have been around since at least the 90s when I first heard about them. Lately, I’ve been asked a lot of questions about WITS—is it a good cert, do gyms accept WITS etc. —but since I’ve never obtained this certification, I thought the best way to tell you about it would be to interview people who have gone taken the WITS cert themselves. So, I interviewed 3 random people who have went through the WITS program at different locations and times. I’ve kept their names anonymous at their request and I’ve divided this interview into question and answer format to help you quickly get to the answers you want. If you are WITS certified, feel free to add your comments at the end, in case I missed anything. Here is where I list reviews on other fitness certs.

 

WITS Certification Questions

Where did you take the WITS certification?

Everybody said they took their certification classes at community colleges.

My experience is that WITS classes are often held at local community colleges. If you get circulars for colleges, the classes are usually located in the health and wellness and/or personal development sections.

 

How much did the WITS certification cost?

The cost of a WITS cert can vary depending on where it’s offered.For example,one person said the program was$585 while another told me it was $475. Another person I interviewed paid $699. These differences are likely because of the deals that WITS has with different colleges.

 

How long did each class in the course last?

Classes usually meet every Saturday for 6 weeks. The classes usually ran 7 hours. The mornings are used for working form the book and the afternoons consisted of practical issues such as how to do fitness assessments and learning strength machines etc. I was told that every week a different topic was covered.

 

Was the teacher of the class a personal trainer?

Yes. All stated that their teacher had personal training experience.

 

Did the teacher explain the material in easy to understand language or did he/she repeat what the book said?

All 3 people responded that their instructors basically read from the book. Keep in mind that this does not mean that all WITS instructors do this. One person mentioned that the powerpoint presentation used by the teacher might be a “company issued PowerPoint.” I’d imagine that this might make some sense if the final exam etc. is standardized ―and I assume it is. Using a standardized approach ensures that everybody teaches the same thing.

 

What book did WITS use in their course?

The book was called the Fitness Professional’s Handbook by Howley and Franks.

Tip. This is a very good textbook used in many colleges. I own a copy myself.  See the resource page of this site for many other good books I own and recommend.

How long does the WITS certification last?

2 years.

 

What do you need to do to maintain the WITS certification?

People need to obtain 10 cec’s (continuing education credits) and pay a recertification fee of $50.

 

Did WITS use a series of tests during the course or only 1 big test at the end?

One person reported having quizzes that were mostly oral with some written.

 

What was a passing grade for the WITS test?

The final exam was 70% on the written test. People needed at least 70% on each of the 5 parts of the practical exam.

 

WITS Test Questions

Was there a comprehensive final exam for WITS?

Yes. There was a comprehensive written final. People needed at least 70% to pass the final exam.

 

Was the test essay, T/F, multiple choice etc?

Multiple choice.

 

How long did it take you to find out if you passed?

People indicated that they knew within 30 days.

 

Was the internship part the final grade?

Everybody indicated that the internship was not factored into the final grade.

 

Do you feel you needed to think during the final exam?

Yes. One person said that the test had several trick questions but could not recall what topics the questions were related to.

 

How many questions on the test?

100 questions.

 

Did the WITS final exam have a time limit?

It was 2 hours.

 

WITS Practical Questions

Where did the practical portion of the final exam occur?

The test was at the college gym.

 

What were the parts of the practical?

One person indicated that these were the 5 areas on the practical portion:

  • 2 sections devoted to fitness assessments
  • 1 Warm-up section
  • Demonstrate stretches for 5 different muscles
  • Upper body exercises: demonstrate exercises for 2 muscle groups
  • Lower body exercises: demonstrate exercises for 1 muscle group

 

What was the WITS practical like?

Students were given a scenario. One of the fellow students acted as your client while the teacher observed and took notes. People then took turns being the trainer/client.

Note. Some people said the teacher for the practical (and final exam) was not the same as the person who taught the 6 week class.

 

Did you learn that day if you passed the practical?

No. The results of the test came within 30 days. People needed at least 70% in all sections to pass.

 

Did you learn what questions you missed on the final?

No.People did not learn what questions they missed.

This is normal when it comes to fitness certifications. Most organizations will not tell people which questions they missed on a test. 

 

WITS Internship Questions

Was there an internship for WITS?

Yes. There is a 30 hour internship, People have to complete the internship within 1 year of taking the course. At least 3 of those hours need to be devoted to actually working with a client.

 

Did WITS help you obtain the internship?

Two people indicated that they received a list of gyms in the area that accepted WITS interns. There were also guidelines in the workbook to follow and forms for the gym to fill out. If a gym is not on the WITS internship list, people can request to have that gym added.

One person added that her instructor offered to help with getting the internship (kudos to that teacher!).

One person related the story that the gym she interned at (Anytime Fitness), had never worked with WITS before and felt that when it came to the part where the intern needed 3 hours to work with an actual client, that she was at a loss as to how to do it within the guidelines of the gym.

Note: To me, this sounds like a problem with that particular Anytime Fitness Franchise and not WITS. I believe the gym should have instructed the intern on how they do things.

 

WITS Personal Trainer Testing Tips

How did you prepare for the WITS final exam?

People said they studied assessments, warm ups, quizzes and chapters in the book where they felt they were weak.

 

Did the teacher offer any advice?

People indicated that the teacher may give ideas about what you might expect to see on the final exam. The teacher might not know however what the test consists of until the end of the program.

It’s also possible that the person who issues the final exam is not the same person as the teacher of the classes. Two of the people I interviewed noted that final exam teachers were not the same as the person who taught the class. The same may also be true for the practical exam too.

 

What were the major areas of material on the WITS exam?

Exercise physiology, exercise prescription, anatomy, bio-mechanics and nutrition. One person described it as “hard core science.”

Note. This is VERY common for all personal trainer certification programs. All personal trainers must know science.  My book Personal Fitness Training Beyond The Basics explains that science so you can understand it. Trust me…

 

Did you made any mistakes when preparing for the final exam?

One person stated a study partner would be a good idea. Another person said not studying enough was a mistake.

 

Did you need a calculator for the WITS exam?

No.

 

Was the test taken on a computer?

The written test was taken on paper. Multiple choice and true and false.

 

Random Questions

 

List 3 things you learned from the WITS cert that you did not know before you took the class

One person mentioned calculating target heart rates and VO2max calculations. The other person mentioned things like related to muscle fibers and how they work, sources of energy, and oxygen uptake.

 

Did the WITS classes cover anything about marketing or interviewing for a job?

No. There is a section in the book about legal issues and laws.

 

Tip. Books about PT marketing and sales that I like include:

1. Personal Trainer Sales Education Handbook

2. Promoting Personal Training With Integrity

3. The Business of Personal Training in Health Clubs

 

Did any gym tell you they did not accept WITS? If yes, what reasons did they give?

No person I interviewed told me they ran into gyms that did not accept WITS.

This is good news. I occasionally have heard that some gyms might not accept WITS certifications. My personal speculation is that this may be because big box gyms sometimes hire salesman (who don’t know fitness) as managers.

Also, some people might accept the organizations that they hear mentioned over and over again. This name is usually “NASM.” See my review of the NASM TV commercial for more insights  on them.

 

Was the WITS Cert Good?

All of the people I interviewed stated that overall, they were disappointed with the WITS personal training class they attended. Keep in mind that I only interviewed 3 people for this review so that may not reflect the feelings of others who have gone through the program.

Feel free to share your personal thoughts below so others can learn from you and your experiences.

Most of their frustration seemed to stem from the instructors who taught the course and to a lesser degree, the lack of guidance with the nature of the internship. I’m sure there are very good WITS instructors out there, so this review is not meant to be a defaming of the organization by any means. Personally, I like WITS and have been complimentary to WITS in the past and have always felt that going to school for several weeks was a advantage that WITS has over other personal trainer organizations such as NASM.

What do you think?

Comments

  1. Mike says

    I looked at taking that course but after reading mixed reviews, I am still thinking of going with ISSA

  2. Judy says

    I received my PT cert from WITS as well at a local community college. At the time, the internship was only 20 hours, which I obtained on my own at a YMCA, but I did not think there was enough hands-on time with clients. I have no criticisms about the classroom instruction. The instructor used the book but didn’t read from it and added from his own experience.

      • Judy says

        Not at the moment, but I keep my certification current and have trained people on my own. I don’t have enough flexibility to work at a fitness facility right now. I need to keep my full time job for the salary and benefits.

  3. Peter Spaziano says

    I was certified by WITS about a year and a half ago. I enjoyed the experience of the instruction. I feel very good about my cert. I am now working as a PT at the local YMCA and love it.

    • Joe Cannon says

      Peter, thats great and I’m glad you are doing well at the YMCA. I think Ys and JCCs are both great places to work!

  4. Lana says

    I obtained my certification through WITS this year and interned at a local gym that Did Not know about WITS but was willing to give me a shot. They realized quickly that I knew my stuff and hired me. I kid you not that I studied a lot and the instructor was excellent and has many certs. She could not veer off for too long for she did have to follow the guidelines of the course.

    At the beginning of each class she reiterated studying the Anatomy section for it could be the make or break it. Many scenarios on the final that contained Anatomy.

    I started with ACSM on my on and felt it was too heavy and would get confused. This class is the same but breaks it down for the basic trainer with an instructor that can answer questions.

    • Joe Cannon says

      Lana, that’s fantastic and I am so glad you had such a positive experience – and equally glad you were hired quickly by the gym you did the internship with. :)

  5. Raphael says

    I really enjoyed my certification course. The instructor was more than qualified. In fact she had a masters in exercise physiology. She went above and beyond for the class and mainly spoke using clinical terms so that we may get used to using those terms. One thing you might have missed was I was required to get my cpr certificated before I received my certification.

  6. Judy Leahy says

    I wanted to comment that the WITS renewal fee has increased this year to $75.00. Previously it was $50.00, still significantly higher than what AAAI-ISMA charges. I can understand the higher cost for their fitness certification, but to charge that much to have their staff review the courses and issue a renewal certificate doesn’t seem right to me. I could pursue another certification for less if I felt like going through the testing again.

    • Joe Cannon says

      Vic, I think it depends. Do you think you will work at a gym? If then, then Id say yes. Gyms often require a personal training certificate. They vary in the organizations they accept. Here is my review of how to be a personal trainer for more information on this.

      If you think you will be self employed, then it may not be neceesary although do ask personal trainer liablity insurance companies for better insights. They also may require you to have a cert even if you have a college degree. Im not sure about this so that is why I recommend it.

      I can tell you that a certification may be a good thing regardless if find yourself not needing it to get a job. I have a MS degree in exercise science. Very little of it was about “personal training.” I think the value of the cert is that it helps people apply the science of exercise and health.

  7. Michelle says

    I just became certified through WITS this summer/fall. I really enjoyed the program. Yes, the classroom section does follow slides/power points. The instructor did make the comment that that is what they have to do. You are given a workbook for lecture and lab, which basically the classes/slides just follow the workbook page by page.

    The six week Saturday program is really 5 weeks, as the testing for your certification is done on the 6th and final Saturday. I was able to do my internship at the gym I have been a member of for quite a few years, a gym which was not on the list they provide.

    One of the reasons I choose WITS was for the internship aspect. I felt it would be a great way to network and start to get to make connections in the field. In fact, I have kept in touch with the instructor.

    I’ve worked in the medical field for nearly 20 years and am looking to switch careers. I only started working out consistently and with a trainer about four years ago, but I loved how much better it made me feel and just the positive/ inspiring attitudes in that are found in that field. That’s why I decided to become certified myself. Hoping I can help people feel better about themselves as my trainer helped me.

    I have not found a job at a gym yet. Some of the gyms I’ve talked to have not heard of W.I.T.S, so I do have to enlighten them a bit. When the internship aspect is mentioned, I notice they seem to perk up a bit. I’ve also heard trainers say if they’d known about or been able to do an internship during their certification process they definitely would have.

    So, I would recommend them. I do plan on getting certified through ACE as well, just because that is one of the well known ones. I figure it can’t hurt to get another certification.

    I would also like to add that W.I.T.S seem to give to plenty of opportunity to get your continuing education, some of them free. I just got my certification in October and have received monthly emails for a free CEU opportunity. They are hour long webinars and then just pass the quiz afterwards (email it back to them within the designated time) and you get your credit.

    • Joe Cannon says

      Michelle, thanks for writing and sharing your insights on WITS. I really appreciate it as I know others here do as well. Keep me posted on your ability to get a job. Id think with your cert and background in the medical field, that you probably will be snatched up pretty quickly by a health club.

      Happy New Year! :)

      • Michelle says

        I am happy to report that I took the ACE personal trainer exam on Wednesday and passed! Also, a month ago I landed a part time position at a YMCA Wellness Center that opened across the street from the hospital I work at.

        So far, I have only been able to be a wellness coach and work “floor time” as my manager wanted me to pass the ACE before I could personal train (he had not heard of WITS). So far so good! And I like that there is no “hard sale” of products or sessions at the Y.

        • Joe Cannon says

          Michelle, that is fantastic! Congrats on passing the ACE exam! I also like the YMCA for the same reason as you! Much success and keep me posted on how things are going :)

  8. Paige says

    This article does help, as do the comments. I was on the fence about taking WITS at my local community college or taking ACE or ACSM online. I believe that I will end up with ACE, just because I like the packages they offer better along with the fact that they are a powerhouse in the industry.

    I have called around to gyms in my area inquiring about the internship and they replied that their customers want a certified trainer, not an intern. That’s just my personal choice based on the fact that I am a self-paced learner.

    My biggest issue with ACSM is just the lack of study tools and help provided. After doing my research and making my spreadsheet, ACE is the best choice for me.

  9. Proud WITS Instructor says

    I’m and instructor for WITS and so maybe I can give you a different perspective.

    First I have a Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Science and a Professional Master of Physical Therapy. I have over 15 years of experience working in outpatient orthopedics and sports medicine. I also taught group fitness for over ten years and have worked as a personal trainer in multiple settings.

    In additional to my University education, I have completed additional training and certifications in Youth Fitness, Group Exercise Fitness, Pre-Post Pregnancy, Cycle Reebok, Personal Training and over 600 hours of professional continuing education for Physical Therapy spanning everything from advanced nutrition to yoga as a therapeutic tool. I am also completing an advanced certificate in Sports Nutrition through Western Carolina University.

    I was honestly surprised by the scrutiny I received during the hiring process. In addition to submitting my educational background, I was required to submit several references (which were actually checked.) WITS also requires their instructors to go through an online version of the course (the entire 5 week course–last week for students is testing–as well as supplemental administrative videos, which includes passing quizzes and tests.

    Furthermore, WITS has offered me several opportunities to complete additional training through them, which to me is to their benefit.

    This is an entry level certification, which is meant to serve as a starting point for trainers…not an end point). WITS has taken great pains to standardize the experience, but I imagine that some instructors are better than others. We are required to follow a power point presentation, although we are encouraged to supplement with our own personal experiences. There is a lot of material to get through, but I always feel as if I have time to expand on a topic. They provide a manual which contains all the power point slides and notes as well as quizzes, detailed info about the internship requirements and process, lab manual and expectations/grading sheet for the practical.

    They also provide a sample test online for students. The test is 100 questions, and it is hard. They tell students up front they will be expected to spend 2 hours outside of class for each hour in class. The practical covers health screening, blood pressure/vitals, fitness assessments to include 3-minute Step Test, Push-up Test, Sit-up Test, Flexibility Screening, YMCA Bench Press. Several other assessment are covered but not required for the practical. We also cover basics of cardiovascular programs, strength programs, flexibility programs, warm-up, safety, spotting, common training errors, program customization among other things. At this point there are 6 week and 9 week versions of the course.

    The text book is comprehensive and well-structured and probably goes into a little more depth than someone lacking a science background is comfortable with, but this is not a flaw of the book or the course.

    In addition to obtaining 70% on the exam (which is actually tough…they are tough questions that require a real understanding of concepts being tested), they also require that students achieve 70% on each of 5 separate sections for the practical. If students fail they have an opportunity to retake for a fee. Students must also complete a 30 hour internship and show proof of CPR certification.

    WITS also offers a supplemental online version of the course discounted to 75 dollars. Students can miss one class/practical but no more in order to sit for the exam.

    The courses are usually held at a community college and for this reason attract students with a range of backgrounds and interest. This is both a strength and weakness of the course, as not everyone fully intends to work as a personal trainer…some people simply want to learn more about personal fitness. Gym facilities can also vary depending on the college hosting.

    As far as WITS not being known or recognized? My feeling is that this is sad. WITS really is trying to take the personal fitness certification to the next level by providing practical training and a more rigorous testing protocol. I have nothing but good feelings about what they are trying to accomplish and have accomplished, and I am proud of my work with them. I can not guarantee that this course is for everyone. I’m sure a lot depends on the instructor and the student’s expectation/needs, but I fail to see how what they are trying to do does not raise the bar compared to a home/study alternative.

    WITS is also big on feedback and ask students to evaluate their entire experience. They give students a chance to comment on the course and the instructor. I can’t speak for their customer service as a student but have found them responsive as an instructor. Recently, I have seen that although they do not tell students what questions they got wrong they do provide info about content areas. For example, as part of the testing results you will learn that you got a 60% on the nutrition area and 90% on legal area kind of thing.

    I offer to stay in contact with all my students. I make recommendations for internships (though this is really the responsibility of the student) and I will go as far as contacting them if I feel that I have a future opportunity that they might be interested in. My experience is that most students are happy/satisfied with the process as a whole. I base this on the course evaluations I read and the ongoing relationships I have with past students.

    • Joe Cannon says

      Proud, Thanks for writing and sharing your unique experiences as a teacher for WITS. I’m positive that everyone reading your comment has benefited greatly from them.

      You have a fantastic background. If you want to share your name or website and the areas you teach, I’m sure people would appreciate that also.

    • Michelle says

      Study the workbook they handed out on the first day. And their website has a practice test you can buy, $6 or something like that. You get the questions and answers. If nothing else you will get a feel for how the format of the test will be.

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