Personal Trainer for Special Populations Certification

Gain evidence-informed guidance on designing and implementing effective fitness programs for persons living with a chronic disease, condition or impairment. Examine functional capacity and employ adapted exercise prescription to improve quality of li

Payment Plan Options

Take advantage of simple and flexible payment options with a payment plan through Affirm or a credit through PayPal.



Transform Lives Through Fitness

Over 133 million Americans (or 45% of the United States) are living with at least one chronic condition. This segment of our society needs qualified personal trainers with specialized knowledge, skills, and abilities to train these individuals safely and effectively.

You can help create lasting positive change in the lives of people living with disease and seize the opportunity to tap into a new and uniquely challenging fitness landscape.

The AFPA Personal Trainer for Special Populations Certification program provides evidence-informed guidance on developing exercise programs significant in the treatment and prevention of disease. Additionally, this Special Population Fitness Certification program discusses exercise specific to: physically impaired individuals - those with limited mobility and wheelchair users; individuals living with cardiovascular, metabolic, or pulmonary diseases; elderly people; individuals with intellectual disabilities.

What Can I Do As a Personal Trainer for Special Populations?


As an AFPA Certified Personal Trainer for Special Populations, you will have the ability to:

  • Analyze and implement exercise management programs for over 30 different chronic diseases, disabilities, and dysfunctions
  • Employ exercise protocols within the realm of personal training for:
    • Metabolic syndrome
    • Stress and anxiety disorder
    • Multiple chronic conditions
    • Fibromyalgia
  • Examine and integrate a physician’s recommendations into your personal training exercise program for clients
  • Identify safe, effective, and targeted rehabilitation exercises for sports medicine protocols
  • Apply rehabilitation techniques for various sports injuries including muscle, joint, and bone injuries and dysfunctions


Join over 119,000 AFPA certified professionals worldwide.

With a 26-year legacy of accredited expertise, AFPA is a frontrunner in health and specialized fitness programs. We’re proud to offer the best variety of flexible, affordable, and accessible programs on the market.
  • afpa-opthion-img1.png
    Study Anywhere At Your Own Pace

    Enjoy the freedom to study on your own time from anywhere in the world.

    Study guidelines and schedules are provided to help keep you on track. Take the test online when you’re ready!

  • afpa-opthion-img2.png
    Affordable and Flexible Payment Options

    Get certified without breaking the bank.

    Our certifications cost significantly less than degree programs, so they’re affordable programs with minimum financial risk.

    Financing options are available for all AFPA certification programs.
  • afpa-opthion-img3.png
    Kickstart Your Career with Included Client Resources

    Support doesn’t stop once you’re certified.

    You get access to career-shaping resources that will help ensure you get a head start in your career as a Certified Senior Nutrition Specialist.

  • afpa-opthion-img4.png
    All Learning Materials Included

    Your tuition covers everything.

    Course Textbook
    All Assignments
    Case Studies
    Online Final Exam

  • afpa-opthion-img5.png
    Business Resources Included

    Upon enrollment, we provide you with exclusive resources to help you establish, optimize, grow, and build your nutrition business.

  • afpa-opthion-img6.png
    Unlimited Student Support

    Call, email, or chat with our educational advisors as often as you need before, during, and even after enrollment.

What You’ll Get:

  • All course materials
    • Comprehensive course textbook
    • Course assignment
    • Case studies
  • Online final exam

A Look Inside The Curriculum:

The Personal Trainer for Special Populations Certification instructs trainers how to determine the functional capacity in persons with chronic diseases or conditions, as well as physical and mental impairments.

By understanding the limitations for various populations and knowing how to modify exercise to meet their needs, you’ll be prepared to design and implement effective fitness programs that will produce optimal results while slowing or preventing exercise intolerance.

Clinical Exercise Programming – Assessing and Evaluating Current Functioning

Start by examining basic physical activity and exercise recommendations for persons with chronic conditions. Topics also include:

  • Art of exercise medicine: counseling and socioecological factors
  • Approach to the common chronic conditions – exercise assessment and programming
  • Chronic conditions strongly associated with physical inactivity – obesity, diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, back pain, osteoporosis
  • Chronic conditions very strongly associated with tobacco
  • Cancer - management and effects of exercise response
  • Significant sequelae related to common chronic conditions – depression, lower limb amputation, frailty

Developing Programs for Cardiovascular Conditions

Assess how to provide appropriate exercise prescriptions for individuals with cardiovascular diseases and disabilities. Topics include:

  • Chronic heart failure
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Pacemakers and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators
  • Valvular heart disease
  • Heart transplantation
  • Aneurysms
  • Chronic restrictive pulmonary disease

Understanding Disease, Neurological Impairments, Mental Illness, and Other Chronic Conditions

You will analyze and implement exercise management programs for over 30 different chronic diseases and impairments. Areas of study include:

  • Asthma
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Chronic kidney and liver disease
  • Acquired immune deficiency syndrome
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Hemostasis disorders
  • Stroke, brain trauma, and spinal cord injuries
  • Peripheral neuropathy, myopathy, and myasthenia gravis
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Depression and anxiety disorders

Exercise Modifications

Learn core progressions, creative exercise options, and modifications for clients that have difficulty or discomfort with traditional movement or holding certain ranges of motion. You’ll cover how to modify appropriately so as to protect the integrity of the client’s progress.

"The course has been very powerful in changing my life. Having a prior fitness background, this course has added a lot of tools that will be very helpful to clients, family, friends, and myself."

Mitchel K.

Verified Buyer

Is This Program Right For Me?

You’re looking in the right place if you:
  • Communicate effectively. Having above-average interpersonal skills gives you an edge when it comes to motivating and relating to special populations.
  • Are interested in working with clients one-on-one and guiding them toward making lasting, meaningful changes to enhance their lives
  • Desire the freedom and flexibility that comes with running your own specialized personal training business
  • Are looking to change careers and align yourself on a professional path that is deeply satisfying and financially rewarding
  • Want to get the best education without constraints on your schedule, lifestyle or bank account

Are There Payment Plans?


Pick the loan that fits your budget and make payments over three, six, or 12 months. Our payment plans offer instant approval and are safe and secure.

Learn more

Do I Qualify?

To enroll in the Special Population Fitness Certification program, you must:

Exam Requirements:

  • You need a minimum final exam grade of 85% to pass.
    A $75.00 retest fee will apply.

After successful completion, you will earn the title of “Certified Personal Trainer for Special Populations” on your certificate.