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Certification 101


How to become a Certified Personal Trainer

With a rising interest in achieving healthier lifestyles, due in part to greater awareness about the obesity and chronic disease epidemics, more people are being drawn to careers in health and fitness. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, between 2018 and 2028, employment in the field is expected to increase by 13%. If you're interested in becoming a Certified Personal Trainer, here are a few steps to make the process seamless.


Step 1

Do your research and choose a study program

Once you've decided that becoming a personal trainer is right for you, the first step is choosing a certification program. Consider a certification accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), renowned as the gold standard in health and fitness. All ACE Certifications are accredited by the NCCA.

After choosing the best certification program for you, it's time to get your study materials. The NEW & IMPROVED ACE Personal Trainer Study Program is designed for all learning styles by delivering content through digestible text, charts, graphics and videos as well as online activities, practice tests and on-demand study support to reinforce the material. The learning experience is self-paced, typically taking 80-100 hours over 3-4 months and is centered around ACE University, our intuitive learning platform. In addition, you will have access to ACE Answers study support to assure you are well prepared for your certification exam.

Curious what our study programs are like? Get your FREE course preview.


Step 2

Register for your exam

For a limited time, you can take the Certification Exam FROM HOME!

Learn More

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.

  • Exams are proctored through Examity, the world's leading solution for learning validation
  • Remote proctored exams are available for Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor, and Health Coach Certifications only
  • Remote proctored exams are conducted in English only
  • Upon completing your exam registration with ACE, you will have 60 days to take your remote proctored exam
  • Upon completing your exam registration with ACE, you will receive an email from Scantron with the simple steps to choose your exam date and time
  • Anyone with current exam vouchers or exams that have been cancelled may register for a remote exam at no extra cost
  • Anyone without an exam voucher may register for a remote exam at our standard exam fee rate
  • To register for a remote proctored exams, simply select that option at time of registration

Costs associated with registering for an ACE Personal Trainer Certification Exam are conveniently included in each of our study programs. You are required to register for your exam within 6 months after purchasing your materials (though you can select a date beyond that deadline).

Prior to registering, make sure you meet all prerequisite requirements for your exam, which includes holding a current CPR/AED certification with live skills check. Please note that purchasing ACE study materials is not required in order to register for the exam.


Step 3

Pass your exam and get your dream job

Once you successfully pass your exam, you will officially be an ACE Certified Personal Trainer. You'll have access to exclusive resources aimed at helping you launch your career, including professional discounts on equipment, liability insurance and more. You'll also receive your certificate and a wallet ID card to verify your credentials to potential clients and employers.

There are a lot of factors that go into finding the right career path as an ACE Certified Personal Trainer. First, you'll need to determine which setting you want to work in and where, such as a health and fitness club, specialty studio, medical fitness facility or even out on your own and online. Whichever career path you pursue, ACE has a number of tools to help you get started. For more information, see our programs & benefits or log in to your My ACE Account once you earn your certification.


Where ACE Certified Pros work

The value of earning an NCCA accredited ACE Certification is demonstrated by the success our ACE Certified Professionals enjoy. Many who hold this highly-respected certification have gone on to change their community and the world in a wide range of health and fitness companies nationwide, such as 24 Hour Fitness, Anytime Fitness, Town Sports International, Koko FitClub, Crunch, Steve Nash Fitness World and Sports Club, Orangetheory Fitness and Active Wellness to name a few.

24 Hour Fitness
Anytime Fitness
Orangetheory Fitness
Town Sports International
Koko FitClub
Steve Nash Fitness World & Sports Club
Active Wellness

Step 4

Define your specialty

It's important to note that you can't be everything to everyone, no matter how great you are at your craft. You must have a clear idea of your target market to connect with clients who will be a good fit for your services. ACE has created a series of Specialist Programs to help you focus your expertise in specific areas like sports performance, fitness nutrition, weight management and behavior change. Although anyone can pursue the education in a specialist program, only those who hold NCCA-accredited certifications will be recognized as ACE Specialists. To find out which area you should pursue, consider the needs in your community, what you are most passionate about and your preferred training style.


Step 5

Maintain Your ACE Certification

In order to maintain the high standards set by the NCCA, ACE Professionals (and others in the industry) are required to earn 20 hours of continuing education credits (2.0 CECs) every two years. Establishing and enforcing that standard helps us validate that professionals continue to enhance their competence to safely and effectively lead people to change. To fulfill those renewal requirements, ACE offers a number of diverse opportunities to help you build your expertise.


Personal Trainer Requirements

To be eligible for the ACE Personal Trainer Certification Exam, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Have completed high school (or the equivalent).
  • Hold a current CPR/AED certification with a live skills check.
  • Present a current government-issued photo ID with signature (driver's license, passport, military ID).

Questions? Contact us at (888) 825-3636, ext. 782.