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The ACE Certification Exam

It's what gets you the respected credential.

Register For Your Exam

To earn an NCCA-accredited ACE Certification, you must pass the ACE Certification Exam. The exam is specific to the ACE Certification you seek. Each exam assesses if you meet the level of competence necessary to earn that certification. Prior to taking the exam, you must meet certain prerequisites. After passing the exam, you will earn a respected credential that can set you on a compelling new career path.

The exam experience

ACE Certification exams are administered at over 800 proctored testing centers in over 110 countries. Exam dates, times and locations can be found in our exam scheduler. Each ACE Certification Exam consist of 150 mutiple choice questions. All candidates must earn the passing point of 500 or greater to earn the mark of certification.

Candidates must meet the following eligibility requirements in order to register for and take the ACE Certification Exam.

Eligibility requirements vary based on the certification program.

  • Must be at least 18 years old at time of registration
  • Must hold an adult CPR and AED certificate with live skills check. Online CPR/AED courses not accepted. *AED only required in USA and Canada
  • Must present a current government-issued photo ID with signature (driver's license, passport, military ID)
  • Must have completed high school (or the equivalent)
  • Must register at least 10 days prior to the exam. Special accommodation exams require a minimum of 15-30 days
  • Must be at least 18 years old at time of registration
  • Must hold an adult CPR and AED certificate with live skills check. Online CPR/AED courses not accepted. *AED only required in USA and Canada
  • Must present a current government-issued photo ID with signature (driver's license, passport, military ID)
  • Must have completed high school (or the equivalent)
  • Must register at least 10 days prior to the exam. Special accommodation exams require a minimum of 15-30 days
  • Must be at least 18 years old at the time of registration
  • Must hold an adult CPR and AED certificate with live skills check. Online CPR/AED courses not accepted. *AED only required in USA and Canada
  • Must present a current government-issued photo ID with signature (driver’s license, passport or military ID)
  • MUST SUBMIT PROOF of ONE of the following:
    • Current NCCA-accredited certification† in fitness, nutrition, healthcare, wellness, human resources or a related field
    • An associate degree or higher from an accredited college or university in fitness, exercise science, nutrition, healthcare, wellness or a related field
    • Completed health coach training and education program approved by the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaches (NBHWC)†† ; or
    • A minimum of two years of documented work experience in coaching, leading, designing, implementing or facilitating one or more of the following: behavior or lifestyle change, exercise, wellness, nutrition or physical activity
  • Must register at least 10 days prior to the exam. Special accommodation exams require a minimum of 15-30 days

A list of NCCA-accredited certification programs can be found at: credentialingexcellence.org
†† A list of NBHWC-approved training and education programs can be found at: nbhwc.org/approved-program
Note: Candidates must submit supporting documentation of current NCCA-accredited certifications, degrees and/or work experience prior to registering for the ACE Health Coach exam.

  • Must be at least 18 years old at the time of registration
  • Must hold an adult CPR and AED certificate with live skills check. Online CPR/AED courses not accepted. *AED only required in USA and Canada
  • SUBMIT PROOF of:
    • A bachelor's degree in exercise science or a related field at the time of exam registration.
    • 500 completed hours of work experience designing and implementing exercise programs for apparently healthy or high-risk individuals, as documented by a qualified professional.
  • Present a current government-issued photo ID with signature (driver's license, passport, military ID) on exam day.
  • Must register at least 10 days prior to the exam. Special accommodation exams require a minimum of 15-30 days

What to expect after taking your exam

If you pass the exam (Congrats, you did it!)

Exam candidates who receive a passing mark can immediately print a Proof of Certification letter from their My ACE Account. The official certificate and card will be mailed to each candidate, along with a welcome packet within 4-6 weeks from the exam date.

ACE Certifications are valid for 2 years. To maintain your certification, you must complete 2.0 (20 hours) of ACE-approved Continuing Education Credits (CECs), hold a current CPR/AED with live skills check and pay the recertification fee.

Visit the ACE Career Center to jumpstart your career.

If you did not pass the exam (Don’t worry, we’re here to help!)

Exam candidates who do not receive a passing mark are eligible to retake the exam.

If a retest voucher was purchased along with a study program, an email notification will be sent informing you that the retake voucher has been added to your My ACE Account. The voucher must be redeemed for registration within 60 days. The exam itself may be scheduled beyond the 60-day registration window.

If a retest voucher was not purchased along with a study program, you may retake the exam at a discounted rate of $199 US/Canada or $299 International, for a period of one year from the first exam attempt.

A retake exam can take place as soon as 10 days from the first attempt, but it is recommended to schedule the retake within a realistic timeframe based on how close or far away you were from the passing point.

Visit ACE Answers for helpful study tools, blogs and live webinar events.

ACE Certification Exam FAQs

Computer-Based
(U.S. and Canada only)

Personal
Trainer

Group
Fitness
Instructor

Health
Coach

Medical
Exercise
Specialist

First Time

$399

$249

$399

$499

Retake

$199

$199

$199

$199

2nd ACE Certification

$199

$199

$199

$199

Computer-Based Format
(International)

Personal
Trainer

Group
Fitness
Instructor

Health
Coach

Medical
Exercise
Specialist

First Time

$399

$349

$399

$499

Retake

$299

$299

$299

$299

2nd ACE Certification

$299

$299

$299

$299

Different testing locations have different schedules. For most locations, the earliest you can register for an exam is 10 days prior to your chosen exam date. Please keep in mind that date frequency and availability may differ from site to site.

Candidates with a special testing need will be accommodated as best as possible. Candidates requesting testing accommodations may not register online. All Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) candidates must submit proper documentation to support ADA requests. This documentation must be submitted, along with a completed registration form, at least 15-30 days prior to the requested exam date. Please contact ACE Exam Registration at 800.825.3636, Ext. 783 for further assistance. The confirmation process for CBT exam registrations with special accommodations.

Requires approval through the third-party contracted testing centers. The confirmation process for these types of registrations results in a confirmation email to be received roughly 24 to 72 hours after the registration is initially processed. On occasion, special accommodations cannot be made on the requested exam date or at a specific location. In this instance, a member of the ACE Exam Registration Department will contact the candidate for alternate testing locations, dates, and/or times.

Vouchers must be redeemed within six months of the purchased date and cannot be extended. Note that this six-month timeframe is a redemption deadline, not an exam completion date.

All four ACE Certification programs have competency-based assessments comprised of multiple-choice exams, with 125 scored items and 25 experimental items that make up the entire credentialing exam. Candidates are given three hours to complete an ACE Certification Exam.

Exam content outlines for ACE Certification programs are updated each time ACE conducts a role delineation study for the certification program, which occurs on a five-year rotating basis for the ACE Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor and Health Coach Certification programs and every five to seven years for the ACE Medical Exercise Specialist Certification program. This is a critical step to ensure that professional certification programs stay relevant and current, with examinations that reflect the composition and focus as established and validated through the role delineation study.

Exam content outlines serve as blueprints for the development of each exam for a given certification program. ACE Certification Exam content outlines are typically divided into major areas of responsibility called Domains. Each Domain represents a logical grouping of Task Statements that detail the job-related functions under each domain. Each Task Statement has associated knowledge and skills deemed necessary to perform the task in a practical setting. Detailed exam content outlines with complete knowledge and skill statements for each ACE Certification program can be found in Appendix B of the manual for that program and at: ACEfitness.org/fitness-certifications/certification-exam-content.

All four ACE certification programs have competency-based assessments comprised of multiple-choice exams with 125 scored items and 25 experimental items that make up the entire credentialing exam. Candidates are given three hours to complete an ACE multiple choice exam for any of the four ACE certification programs.

ACE Certification Exams are scored according to procedures accepted by the American Psychological Association, the American Educational Research Association and the National Council on Measurement in Education. The candidate's score is derived from the number of questions answered correctly and is then converted to a scaled score ranging from 200 to 800 points, with the passing point set at a scaled score of 500 points. Candidates who earn a scaled score of 500 or more points will be awarded the ACE Certification for which they tested.

For more information, please review the Certification Exam Candidate Handbook.

You may reschedule your ACE exam up to 11:59 p.m. PT the day before your exam date for a rescheduling fee of $149 US/Canada and $299 for International exam sites. The rescheduling fee applies to changes in the date, time or location. Candidates that "no show" and do not reschedule prior to the given deadline will be subject to first-time exam fees for a new testing date.

To reschedule your exam, login to your My ACE Account, select My Scheduled Exams and Results link found under the My Exam Information area. Click on "Reschedule Exam Date." Proceed through the online registration process, paying the fee upon check out. You are only eligible to reschedule once. Candidates that have special testing accommodations, may not reschedule online and must contact ACE Exam Registration examregistration@acefitness.org or 888.825.3636, Ext. 783 to reschedule.

Exceptions to the reschedule fee will be considered on a case-by-case basis for documented serious illness or bereavement of immediate family member, natural disasters, military obligations (with orders), jury duty and other emergencies that coincide with the scheduled exam date.

Please note: Work conflicts, child care issues, failure to have transportation and lack of readiness to take the exam do not fall under the above exceptions.

In these instances, candidates must contact ACE Exam Registration prior to the day of their exam and provide supporting documentation for review. examregistration@acefitness.org or by calling 888.825.3636, Ext. 783 to reschedule.

Exam cancellations must be made outside of 30 days from your confirmed testing date for a 50% refund of the exam fee paid. Rescheduled exams or exams placed with an exam voucher are not eligible for refund. Registrations placed for exams within 30 days of the testing date cannot be refunded.

Ready to register for your ACE Certification Exam?

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