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  • Group Fitness Certification Comparison

Group Fitness Certification Comparison

ACE vs. AFAA? NETA vs. ACE? To help you decide which organization to go with for your Group Fitness Instructor Certification, we’ve decided to put all the information we could find on the table. Our goal is to help you make the most informed decision you can. Do your research to make sure you are obtaining your certification from a respected and credible organization. The one you choose will play a large part in how you serve your clients in the future.

How are ACE and AFAA Group Fitness Certifications different?


Group Fitness Certification Organizations

  • ACE

  • ACSM

  • AFAA

Organizational ModelNon-ProfitNon-ProfitFor Profit
Certification Accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA)YesNoNo
Member of Coalition of the Registration of Exercise Professionals (CREP)™YesYesNo
Certification Accredited by the European Health & Fitness Association (EHFA)YesNoNo
Currently Certified Group Fitness Instructors (NCCA-accredited certification)13,73000
Currently Certified Fitness Professionals 1includes non-NCCA Accredited certifications 60,00025,0001Not Publicly Known
Eligibility Requirements
18 Years of Age or OlderYesYesYes
CPR/AED 1requires practical skills component Yes1Yes1Yes
High School Diploma or EquivalentYesYesNo
Exam Price 1price dependent on exam method or member vs. non-member rate, 2exam cannot be purchased without study materials $249$219-$2791N/A2
Exam Format
Proctored by 3rd PartyYesYesNo
Time Allowed3 hours2.5 HoursNot Publicly Known
Number of Questions150100Not Publicly Known
Computer-Based Exam OptionYesYesYes
Study Material Packages
Price Range$299-$499$115- $800$299 - $731
Option to Include Exam VoucherYesYesN/A
Voucher Expiration 1from purchase date unless otherwise stated 6 months1 yearN/A
Study Assistance
Dedicated Student Resource StaffYesNoNo
Phone or Email AssistanceYesNoYes
Study Model
Online ContentYesYesYes
Live WorkshopsNoYesYes
Webinars (Live or Recorded)YesYesYes
Additional Study Resources Available
Online Courses or ToolsYesYesYes
Flash CardsYesNoNo
Practice Tests or AssessmentsYesYesYes
Study GuideYesNoYes
DVD or CD MaterialsNoNoYes
Additional Reference TextbooksNoYesYes
Curriculum Taught at Colleges or UniversitiesYesYesYes
Professional Benefits
Certification Widely Accepted by Fitness FacilitiesYesYesYes
Career Tools
Employment Listings AvailableYesNoYes
Client Search FeatureYesYesNo
Client ResourcesYesNoNo
Business Forms or DocumentsYesYesNo
Liability Insurance DiscountsYesYesYes
Product DiscountsYesYesNo
Industry Resources
Access to industry researchYesYesNo
Expert BlogYesNoNo
Fitness NewsYesYesYes
Organization Conducts or Sponsors Industry ResearchYesYesNo
Continuing Education Information
Recertification Fee 1price dependent on recertification completed online or by mail and number of certifications held $49- $1391$55 - $85$85
Time Frame2 years3 years2 years
Number of Hours Required204515
CECs From Other Providers AcceptedYesYesYes
Additional Certifications
Personal Trainer CertificationYesYesYes
Advanced CertificationsYesYesNo
Specialty CertificationsYesYesYes
Available Course Formats
Self-paced/Home StudyYesYesYes

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Group Fitness Instructor Certification study materials

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Take the first step in becoming an ACE-certified Group Fitness Instructor by choosing a program of study materials to help you prepare for the exam. Our two options feature a variety of study aids – from flashcards to online practice tests.
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