ACE Certification

Certification Standards

ACE's certification programs are among the most respected in the fitness industry. The ACE certification exams and study materials have been developed by leading experts (researchers and practitioners) in the fitness field. In 2003, the American Council on Exercise was granted accreditation for all of its certification programs by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). ACE is now only one of two certifying organizations in the entire fitness industry whose programs have been accredited.

Earning an ACE certification tells clients and employers that you have acquired the knowledge necessary to provide a safe and effective exercise regimen, and that you are committed to upholding the most exacting professional standards in the fitness industry.

ACE currently offers four fitness certifications:

The Personal Trainer Certification is designed for trainers providing any form of one-on-one exercise instruction.


The Group Fitness Instructor Certification is for those providing any form of group exercise instruction.


The Lifestyle & Weight Management Consultant Certification demonstrates the requisite knowledge and skills to develop sound, balanced weight-management programs that bring together the three critical components of nutrition, exercise programming and behavior modification.


The Clinical Exercise Specialist Certification
is an advanced certification that demonstrates the ability to work with individuals who have special needs and have been cleared by their physician to participate in exercise programs.


Specialty Certification: Peer Fitness Trainer Certification Program
— This certification is designed specifically for firefighters and emergency medical technicians, and is administered exclusively through the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF).
Am I eligible for certification?

The following eligibility requirements have been adopted for our certification exams:

You must be at least 18 years of age.


You must hold current adult CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) certification and it must be current at the time of the exam.


Although it is not required, candidates for the Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor certifications are strongly encouraged to have a minimum level (approximately 100 hours) of practical experience in the health and fitness field.


In order to take the Lifestyle & Weight Management Consultant Certification exam, you must hold a current ACE Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor or Clinical Exercise Specialist Certification, or equivalent.


In order to take the Clinical Exercise Specialist Certification Exam, you must have 300 hours of work experience designing and implementing exercise programs for apparently healthy individuals and/or high-risk individuals, as documented by a qualified professional. You must also have a four-year (bachelor's) degree in an exercise science or related field OR a current ACE Personal Trainer Certification or other approved certification (ACSM, NSCA, NASM).

ACE recommends you allocate three to six months to study for the exam, depending on your background. You may prepare yourself in any manner of your choosing and are solely responsible for your own exam preparedness.

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