If you've decided you want to become a personal trainer, you’ve already made one hard decision, but you still have plenty of choices to make before you’re ready to get to work. One of the most important decisions will be where to get your Personal Trainer certification. There are plenty of programs out there, each with its own study materials, features, costs and recertification requirements. Here we’ll go through the American Council on Exercise (ACE) program. That way, you can decide if ACE personal trainer certification is right for you. You can also take a look at our AFAA certification review
, our NASM certification review,
our AFPA certification review
, our NFPT certification review
and our NSCA certification review
for help making this decision.
ACE was founded in 1985 to educate individuals on fitness and movement. Since then, it has certified 70,000 health and fitness professionals. They focus on preventative care, weight loss, strength and fitness training, and setting accessible health goals. ACE offers a range of certifications, resources, continuing education (including free webinars, live workshops and specialist programs) and support. It is accredited by the NCCA - National Commission for Certifying Agencies.
The ACE Personal Training Certification is based on the ACE Integrated Fitness Training (IFT) Model which offers a customized and individualized approach to movement. The personal trainer program requires around 80-100 hours of study which is generally completed over a 3-4 month period. You must register for your exam within six months of purchasing the course material, although you can sit the exam at a later date. There are three programs to choose from:
- Standard - A self-guided study program which includes a manual, a manual study companion, and access to personalized assistance from study coaches.
- Premium - This includes the standard study program, as well as comprehensive assistance and a client consultation online course.
- Premium Plus - This course includes the standard and premium features, as well as a retest voucher, a fitness match online course, and a free financing payment plan.
To be eligible to take the ACE Personal Trainer Certification exam, you must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Hold a diploma from high school or the equivalent
- Have a current CPR/AED certificate with a live skills test
- Have a current government-issued photo ID
You can choose the program that suits you, both from a learning style point of view and from a cost perspective. There are three programs with three different prices:
- Standard - $699
- Premium - $799
- Premium Plus - $899
There are sales available and you could be lucky enough to pick up these course at a discount, with the Premium Plus course costing as little as $599. Check sites like Groupon
for discount codes.
ACE offers a number of specialty courses that will allow you to master specific skills so that you can work with unique sets of clients. These may be appropriate if you want to work with special groups; for instance, if you're a parent, working with pregnant women may be particularly appealing.
These courses will also help you broaden your knowledge so you can offer a more comprehensive service to the people you work with. Some of the many specialist programs offered through ACE include:
- Fitness Nutrition - Allows you to offer relevant and practical nutrition advice.
- Senior Fitness - Improve quality of life in seniors by preventing muscle deterioration.
- Weight Management - Helps overweight and obese clients manage their weight in a sustainable way.
- Sports Conditioning - Work on balance, strength, agility and speed to help athletes improve their performance.
- Youth Fitness - Instill health values in young people through safe training programs.
- Cancer Exercise - Help clients through treatment and long-term recovery.
You’ll need to recertify your ACE personal trainer certification every two years. To do this, you need to earn 2.0 CEUs (Continuing Education Units), which is the equivalent of 20 hours of study. You must also make sure that your CPR/AED certificate is up-to-date. Recertifying on one certification costs $129, but the more certifications you want to recertify on at once, the cheaper it becomes.
ACE Certification and Your Business
Once you have taken the ACE Personal Trainer Certification exam and you’re certified, you will be ready to set up your business and start work doing what you love. Find the right setting for your sessions, whether they are group sessions or one-on-one. You might like to consider a gym, a private studio, your client’s home, or a fitness center. Next on your agenda must be to find personal trainer insurance. This will help protect you and your business in case of an accident, an injury or a misunderstanding that could result in you being sued. By having comprehensive personal trainer insurance
at the right price, you can put your worries aside to offer the best service possible to your clients.