Accreditation from a third-party, independent organization that explicitly accredits certification programs is an important part of determining whether a program is credible. Since 2003, ACE has maintained accreditation from the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) for our Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor, Health Coach, and Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist certifications. In 2012, we also earned accreditation from the European Health & Fitness Association (EHFA) for our Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor programs.
The NCCA serves as the independent accrediting body of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE). Originally formed in 1977 as the National Commission for Health Certifying Agencies, the NCCA establishes standards of excellence for certification programs and awards accreditation to programs that meet the standards. As of 2012, the commission has awarded accreditation to over 300 programs from more than 120 organizations including credentials for registered dietitians, athletic trainers, registered nurses, medical assistants, occupational therapists, financial planners, crane operators and fitness professionals.
For many employers, a certification from an NCAA-accredited program is an easy way to identify a qualified candidate from an unqualified one. Within the fitness industry, the International Health and Racquet Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) and the Medical Fitness Association (MFA) both recommend club owners and medical fitness facilities hire professionals with NCCA-accredited certifications.
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NCCA Accreditation Standards
When determining whether a program meets standards for accreditation, the NCCA takes a number of factors into account. Those factors include whether the exam process is fair and unbiased; whether the exam accurately measures the minimal competence required for an individual to enter a profession; whether the public is protected from unqualified or ineffective practitioners; and whether the organization has the means to support its professionals. Aside from NCCA, the only other organization for possible consideration as a credible accreditation organization for certifying agencies in fitness and other industries within the United States is the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
Just as the NCCA sets standards for certification programs in the United States, the European Health & Fitness Association (EHFA) sets standards throughout Europe. Using a standards council comprised of industry experts, employers, academics and practitioners from across Europe, the nonprofit promotes best practices at nearly 10,000 health and fitness clubs in 27 European countries.
In 2012, ACE became the first U.S. certification provider to earn approval by the EHFA Standards Council. The designation means ACE-certified Personal Trainers and Group Fitness Instructors are eligible to join the European Register of Exercise Professionals (EREPS), the principle resource for hiring qualified health and fitness professionals in Europe.
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For more on accreditation and issues surrounding continuing education, view our list of FAQs.
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