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Certified Personal Trainer

90,000 certified health and fitness professionals. 35 million lives moved.

ACE At A Glance
Get People Moving as an ACE Certified Professional

Choose your certification and get started from home today!


Personal Trainer

Get people moving with the most up-to-date Personal Trainer Study Program. The standard for Personal Trainer Certification.

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Group Fitness Instructor

Get your community moving and positively affect more lives with an NCCA-accredited Group Fitness Instructor Certification.

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Health Coach

Fight inactivity-related chronic diseases and move people to adopt healthy lifestyles with an NCCA-accredited Health Coach Certification.

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Medical Exercise Specialist

Help those recovering from injury or disease get moving and get healthy with an NCCA-accredited Medical Exercise Specialist Certification.

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Stay Connected

Get access to the latest health and fitness insights, tools and special offers to keep your career moving.

Professional Resources

Specialist Programs

Gain the knowledge and skills to take your offerings to the next level—and make a greater impact on special populations.

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Online Courses

Expand your expertise! Choose from hundreds of courses in a wide range of topics. Complete at your own convenience and earn valuable CECs.

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How Certification Works

Brian Greenlee

Brian Greenlee

Director, Credentialing

Becoming an ACE Certified Professional can help you start or advance your career in health and fitness. A certification demonstrates to potential clients, employers and your community that you hold the knowledge and skills you need to safely and effectively lead others toward long-term, healthy change. Once you’ve decided to become certified, your first step is to choose a program. You’ll find hundreds of certification options, but only a select few (including all four ACE Certifications) are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA)—the gold standard for accreditation of quality certifications in healthcare, fitness, health coaching and other professions.

After you’ve chosen a certification program that best suits you, you’ll choose a study program based on your learning style and needs. Once you’ve studied for and passed your exam, it’s time to think about your career path. You may choose to work in a health and fitness club or run your own business; and you may want to work with seniors or youth. ACE has several tools and resources to help you get started and we’ll be here to support you every step of the way, no matter where your journey takes you.

Certification 101

How to Choose a Certification

Scott Thompson

Scott Thompson

Education Services Supervisor

In order to determine which primary certification is best for you, it is important to identify your career goals and the service that you aim to provide. If you would like to get certified to lead one-on-one or small-group training sessions, the ACE Personal Trainer Certification would be the best fit. However, if you aspire to design and lead all formats of group exercise, the ACE Group Fitness Instructor Certification is the optimal choice. The ACE Health Coach Certification is designed for individuals who seek to obtain the behavior change, physical activity and nutrition coaching skills needed to promote long-term, healthy change. ACE also offers a Medical Exercise Specialist Certification that enables individuals to work alongside healthcare teams and help clients with multiple health issues.


How to Schedule an Exam

Sue Chandler

Sue Chandler

Exam Registration Manager

You can easily register for an ACE computer-based certification exam on our website, or by phone, fax, email or mail. Don’t forget that all candidates must hold a current CPR/AED certification with a live skills check (online-only courses not accepted) that must be valid through the chosen exam date. Eligibility requirements for the ACE Health Coach and Medical Exercise Specialist exams must be met through the ACE advanced certification pre-approval process prior to registration. Please note: health coach candidates that already hold another current ACE Certification do not require pre-approval.

Ready to register?

Online: click here
Phone: 1-800-825-3636 ext. 783, M-F 7 a.m.–5 p.m. PST
Fax: 858-576-6564
Mail (download the form here):
    American Council on Exercise
    Attn: Exam Registration
    4851 Paramount Dr.
    San Diego, CA 92123

Schedule an Exam

What Kind of Study Support is Available

Chris Gagliardi

Chris Gagliardi

Head Study Coach

ACE Answers is here to help you prepare for your ACE Certification Exam, every step of the way. Our self-serve resource center offers a wide range of online study materials that provide you with additional support as you prepare for your certification exam. Whether it’s our interactive Facebook page, live webinars, virtual study groups or video demonstrations, you’ll find all the tools and information you need at ACE Answers.

ACE Answers

Why Accreditation is Important

Todd Galati

Todd Galati

Sr. Director, Science & Research

Accreditation provides quality assurance that a program, organization or institution has met and maintains predetermined national or international standards. In the United States, there are separate accreditations for education, certification and facilities; each with different purposes, meanings, criteria, standards and time limits. Accreditations are awarded by non-governmental organizations that set and uphold standards of quality agreed upon by members of the accrediting body and professional community.

Many employers in fitness, healthcare and other professions require employees to hold accredited certifications. In addition, certification and licensure programs that have education prerequisites typically require that the diploma or degree be earned from an accredited educational institution.

All four ACE certifications are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), the gold standard for accreditation of quality certifications in healthcare, fitness, health coaching and other professions. By earning and maintaining NCCA accreditation, ACE is positioning its certified professionals to gain recognition as legitimate members of the healthcare continuum, providing more opportunities for people to receive services from well-qualified exercise professionals and health coaches.


How Continuing Education Works

Scott Thompson

Scott Thompson

Education Services Supervisor

Individuals who possess ACE certifications are required to earn a minimum of 2.0 continuing education credits (CECs) every two years in order to keep their certification current (2.0 CECs equates to 20 hours of course instruction). Continuing education is a great way to build expertise and better serve clients, as well as stay up-to-date with industry knowledge and trends. ACE offers a variety of continuing education options, such as specialist programs, online courses, webinars and one-day workshops. There are hundreds of ACE approved courses offered by trusted providers in the industry, too. Continuing education offerings that have not been formally ACE approved but are applicable to an ACE certification can be submitted for credits by completing an online petition.

Online Courses

How Recertification Works

Brian Greenlee

Brian Greenlee

Director, Credentialing

To ensure that your credential remains current, you need to earn 2.0 continuing education credits (CECs) and complete the recertification process every two years. Continuing education programs should focus on increasing your knowledge, skills and abilities as they relate to your certification(s).

Continuing education requirements are meant to ensure that ACE Professionals continue to:

  • Stay abreast of current research in the field of health and fitness

  • Develop new knowledge in specific content areas

  • Master skills and techniques in the field of health and fitness

  • Further develop professional judgement and ethics

In addition, ACE Certified Professionals are required to maintain a current adult CPR/AED certification during their renewal cycles.*

The bi-annual recertification fees support the administrative, disciplinary, regulatory and professional development activities required of the American Council on Exercise to retain accreditation by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies and the European Health & Fitness Association; membership in the United States Registry of Exercise Professionals; advocacy efforts; and professional resources and benefits.

* International ACE Certified Professionals are only required to maintain current adult CPR.


How to Choose a Specialist Program

Lauren Shroyer

Lauren Shroyer

Director, Product Development

Choosing to pursue a Specialist Program to meet your continuing education requirements is a great way to gain a deeper level of understanding in a particular discipline. When selecting a program, first consider the types of clients you enjoy working with. By applying the specialist designation to your resume, you will attract more clients from that population. If you enjoy working with the over-50 crowd, the Senior Fitness Specialist program would be a great match for you. On the other hand, if your desire is to round out the great fitness training you already provide by learning how to help clients build a well-balanced dietary foundation, the Fitness Nutrition Specialist program might be right for you. Additionally, having multiple specialist designations will enhance your value among your clients and can boost business. For instance, becoming a Weight Management Specialist and a Behavior Change Specialist will perfectly position you to attract clients who are serious about their weight loss efforts and are ready to make lifestyle changes.

Specialist Programs

What Type of Continuing Education is Available

Jacque Crockford

Jacque Crockford

Exercise Physiology Content Manager

ACE offers a variety of educational opportunities to suit all types of learners and interests. If you’d like to receive specialized education in a particular area of health and fitness, take a look at our Specialist Programs, which provide you with up to 25 hours of continuing education. For those looking for an affordable, convenient and fun way to grow their career, the CEC Club offers unlimited access to over 100 of our online courses. ACE also publishes a monthly online magazine called Certified, which includes articles on fitness trends, newly released research on relevant topics and business education to keep you at the top of your game. If learning in a live setting is more your speed, join one of our highly educated ACE Master Trainers at an in-person workshop. If you’d like more flexibility in your learning, e-credits and magazine quizzes are quick ways to consume your continuing education.

Because our mission is to get people moving and we strive to empower all people to live their most fit lives, we also have several free options for enhancing your knowledge of health and fitness. Peruse our ACE Healthy Living Blog or ACE Insights Blog for workout and nutrition tips and consumer-friendly fitness advice. To learn from one of our ACE subject matter experts in real time, sign up for a free ACE LiveClass or webinar and enjoy great education from the comfort of your own home.

Specialist Programs
Workshops & Events
CEC Club
Online Courses
Magazine Quizzes

What courses are approved by ACE

Anthony Wall

Anthony Wall

Director, Strategic Partnerships

ACE professionals are required to recertify every two years to maintain their certification. To do this they must complete 2.0 continuing education credits CECs (20 hours). We accept continuing education that helps our professionals grow their skills and abilities relevant to their certification. Our professionals must also hold a current CPR and AED certification.

We provide a variety of continuing education courses to assist in fulfilling the CEC requirement. We also accept submittals for courses from third party continuing education providers for review. We approve courses from a broad range of topics, with over 3,000 courses approved in 2017.

All third party continuing education courses must be submitted online through an ACE business account. Each course application goes through a review process by a continuing education reviewer. The course author and course instructor must meet specific criteria. Additionally, an approved course must fall within the scope of practice for ACE professionals. Once a course has been approved it is assigned a CEC number—the number an ACE professional records in their “My ACE” account once they have completed a course.

All courses are approved for one calendar year. ACE approved courses are listed on our Trusted Provider page.

ACE Approved Courses

Why ACE Collaborates with Like-Minded Organizations

Tom Richards

Tom Richards

Director, Corporate Engagement

At ACE, our mission is to get people moving. We embrace that mission wholeheartedly, and are thrilled to play a role in fighting the dual epidemics of physical inactivity and obesity. But we know that we can’t accomplish our mission alone. We are always looking for partners who share our passion and vision for creating a healthier world through physical activity.

The ACE Community Investment & Engagement Initiative collaborates with like-minded organizations to facilitate the creation and sustainability of community environments that foster health equity and support affordable, accessible, safe and effective physical activity opportunities.

We believe that these environments include:

  • Community leaders, advocates and well-qualified fitness professionals who are responsive to the needs of the community

  • A wide variety of physical activity opportunities available to persons of all ages, cultures and abilities

  • Public health messages relating to physical activity and behavior change to improve well-being and health equity in all communities

  • Safe and inclusive infrastructure (e.g., recreational facilities, public parks and green spaces, sidewalks, bicycle paths, complete streets, streetlights, public transportation, etc.) where people can engage in positive movement experiences in all communities

  • National and local policies promoting community-based physical activity

Business Partnerships

What Culture is like at ACE

Ava Matuseski

Ava Matuseski

Human Resources Manager

We are truly a mission-driven team that has a passion for health and fitness. Our employees are strong believers in not only inspiring others to achieve long-term, healthy change; but also in maintaining their own health and wellness, and in making a difference in our local community. Many of our employees are ACE Certified and offer free on-site fitness classes and wellness activities, and participate in volunteer outreach programs. We are a like-minded, vibrantly fun, actively positive, energetically collaborative, passionately thoughtful and highly dedicated team. You won’t find a group of people more committed to influencing others to become the best versions of themselves than the ACE team.

Our Team

How ACE Carries out its Mission

Amanda Riddle

Amanda Riddle

Marketing Communications Manager

At the American Council on Exercise, our mission is to get people moving. We believe in the power of movement to bring families, communities and coworkers together. We believe that even a little movement every day can play a big role in turning the tide on physical-inactivity related diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. That’s why, as the leading nonprofit exercise professional and health coach certification organization, carrying out our mission is in everything we do, from empowering our fitness professionals to help others live healthier lives; to advocating for greater access to high quality physical activity and science-based health and fitness resources in all communities; to elevating the role of physical activity in healthcare. For every step we encourage someone to take—in their career, in their community or in improving their own health—ACE has helped make the world a healthier and more active place. Find out more about all of the ways we’ve made movement our mission by reading our Impact Report.

Press Room

How ACE Advocates for the Profession

Sheila Franklin

Sheila Franklin

Director of Government Relations

ACE advocates for public policy solutions that enhance access for all Americans to the people, places and other resources needed to be physically active. We seek to position well-qualified exercise professionals and health coaches as a valued and recognized resource for leadership and expertise in physical activity and lifestyle in their communities through the development of relationships with policy makers, appropriate state and federal government departments including and adjacent professional organizations and profession.

Our nation needs a more prevention-centered way of caring for the health and wellness of its people, and safe, supervised physical activity must be a cornerstone. ACE is readying exercise professionals and health coaches to contribute to the national response to the physical inactivity, obesity and chronic disease epidemics. We are working to influence stakeholder attitudes toward prevention and elevate well-qualified exercise professionals and health coaches to become a valued and trusted member of the healthcare community that provides the leadership and expertise to support the adoption of healthy, active lifestyle behaviors.


Why Choose ACE

Scott Goudeseune

Scott Goudeseune

President and CEO

As the leading nonprofit health and fitness certification organization, our mission is to get people moving, because we believe physical activity can play a major role in preventing and reversing the epidemic of chronic, lifestyle-related diseases spreading the globe. That’s why we advocate for greater physical activity for all people. It’s also why we strive to set the highest industry standards, elevate the careers of health and fitness professionals, and do everything we can to help people worldwide make movement their mission.

We believe the physical-inactivity epidemic must be faced in areas that are far beyond the reach of the traditional fitness industry. A far more inclusive approach is required—which is why we actively collaborate and facilitate partnerships with policymakers, fitness industry leaders, community organizations and the healthcare industry. We are determined to expand the healthcare continuum and integrate ACE Professionals, so activity can be prescribed to prevent inactivity related diseases.

Through these wide-ranging collaborative efforts, as well as through our NCCA-accredited certifications, continuing education, and science-based health and fitness information, we are investing in our mission to get people moving—so that everyone, everywhere has the opportunity to lead an active, healthy and fulfilling life.

About ACE
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Partners In Our Mission of Movement

Get certified online with Live Remote Proctoring

Take your exam from the comfort of your home! For a limited time, we are pleased to offer you the option to take your ACE Certification Exam through a Live Remote Proctor.