Here are some of the more common certifications in the Group Fitness Industry. None of these links is meant to be an endorsement — they are only provided for your reference.
ACE is the original and probably best-known certifying body. Getting ACE certified includes 2 major steps: 1- preparation and 2- taking the test. Step 1 will cost you anywhere from $30 to $350 depending on which study materials you purchase. I did not see any certification workshops for group fitness available on their website, but you can correct me if I am wrong about this. Then, to actually earn the certificate, you have to pass the test. The testing fee for a first-time candidate for the group fitness cert is $249.
AFAA is one of the most recognizable certifications in the industry. They have been around forever and teach solid skills and useful continuing education. Their primary cert if $299. If you can wait until September and live near an APEX city (check their site AFAA APEX to find out) they’ll be offering certification workshops for $99 one weekend only. This is by far the best deal out there.
FiTOUR is really good deal for group fitness instructors. Their certifications are very inexpensive, and they do not require you to earn CEUs to stay certified. However, because it is so easy to be certified through FiTOUR, they are not as respected as a credential. I recommend FiTOUR as an inexpensive way to earn CEUs, because they are accepted by both ACE and AFAA. You can also use FiTour as a cheap way to get started in group fitness, although you will want to be AFAA or ACE certified to be taken seriously by most employers.
I don’t think you should teach indoor cycling without being Johnny G certified, but that is just my opinion. Johnny G invented the indoor cycling program and it is Spinning that is responsible for the indoor cycling craze. That’s not to say you can’t teach without this cert, you just can’t teach at licensed Spinning facilities without it.
NETA used to be NDEITA. They are not as well known, but they do put on a workshop for you to attend in order to be certified, which I find more comforting than online study and test courses. They are also soon-to-be NCCA accredited. According to NETA, you can “Get certified with the most thorough one-day certification in the industry. Beginning instructors with little or no experience gain insight into the basics of teaching group exercise. Classroom review of required textbooks and demonstrations in a relaxed atmosphere. “