There are gazillions of certifications out there it seems, some better than others. The largest ones of course would look like they are better because they are sooo well known and recognized. But lets remember that marketing is just marketing. (Metabolife! just for one example) and it controls how we think about pretty much everything.
I know most personal trainers will agree (especially since we think for ourselves every day, right?) that the industry in general is really growing and with that growth more requirements are needed in our trainers. Which means that trainers need to know more than what a three day course and test can teach us. We are definitely required to do our continuing education and that is great too, but bodies are amazing and very complex.
If your burning desire is not bodies and helping/teaching people to be their best then you may be doing a disservice all around. Because you will then not be fully "into it" and learning to share all that there is to share. Be honest with yourself because there are a lot of trainers out there who get certified and train for many other reasons than the only right reason (to be the cool guy with muscles, etc, etc).
And the trainers who really love this are getting a bad name from those who just don't care. I have seen some ridiculous things occur during "training sessions" that can cause injury, that have caused injury (permanent!) or trainers that aren't even watching -- just staring off into space while they count reps!
As the industry of preventative maintenance through exercise and eating right grows, it's exciting to see that we are now getting "standards" and the bar is raising. I am not by any means trying to put any certification company down, but some are out there for money way more than the industry, .and I know, business is business but I choose to make my business about the real business -- the people.
I absolutely agree it is such a rewarding position.I love helping people reach their health goals and feel amazing. Nothing else compares!