Which Certification is Right for You: A Comparison of ACE and NASM Personal Trainer Programs
Selecting an ideal certification program is vital for those seeking a career as a personal trainer. This article highlights two prominent options – ACE and NASM – within the industry for aspiring professionals looking forward to making headway in this sphere. A certified personal trainer possesses fundamental skills required for aiding clients’ fitness aspirations and is presented with opportunities for progress along their professional journey. We’ll now assess these programs’ features comprehensively so that you can determine which one suits your objectives better.
Overview of ACE and NASM
ACE and NASM, two highly esteemed organizations in the fitness industry, have established themselves as authorities in providing quality education and certifications to fitness professionals over several decades of operation. A common comparison in the fitness industry is NASM vs. ACE certification, with the former regarded as more challenging due to its emphasis on corrective exercise and biomechanics.
Both ACE and NASM are highly respected and recognized by fitness industry employers. However, some employers may prefer one certification over another, depending on their specific requirements and preferences.
NASM and ACE Program Requirements
To qualify for ACE certification, candidates must have a high school diploma or its equivalent, a current CPR/AED certification, and either a bachelor’s degree in a related field or an ACE-approved personal training certification. On the other hand, NASM requires a high school diploma or equivalent, a current CPR/AED certification, and a current NASM-CPT certification. NASM also accepts degrees in related fields but does not require them.
The duration to complete each program may vary depending on an individual’s study habits and schedule. ACE offers both self-study and in-person options, with the self-study program taking approximately 80-100 hours to complete, while the in-person program can take around 4-6 months. On the other hand, NASM’s self-study program takes an average of 10-12 weeks to complete, while its guided study program takes around 16 weeks.
Both programs require exam fees that range from $249-$399, in addition to ongoing continuing education requirements to maintain certification. ACE’s self-study program costs approximately $599, while its in-person program can cost upwards of $1,399. In comparison, NASM’s self-study program costs around $799, while its guided study program costs around $1,199.
Exam Content and Format
ACE and NASM present certification examinations that evaluate an individual’s aptitude and proficiency in healthcare, fitness, and exercise science. The contents of the exams differ marginally; ACE encompasses a more comprehensive range of topics, whereas NASM emphasizes corrective exercise techniques. Furthermore, the exams’ formats differ slightly; ACE administers a computer-based test, whereas NASM provides both computer-based and paper-based options.
In terms of difficulty level and pass rates, both exams pose a challenge and require a considerable amount of preparation and study. However, ACE’s pass rates generally outperform NASM’s. ACE’s pass rate hovers around 65%, while NASM’s pass rate is approximately 64%.
Regarding the types of questions that may appear on each exam, ACE is more inclined towards knowledge-based questions. At the same time, NASM comprises more scenario-based questions that test individuals’ ability to apply their knowledge in real-world situations. ACE questions may include anatomy and physiology, exercise program design, and nutrition. In contrast, NASM questions may cover injury prevention, corrective exercise, and program design for specialized populations.
Continuing Education and Recertification
Continuing education is crucial for fitness experts to remain informed of the latest trends and research in the field. Individuals with ACE certifications must complete 20 hours of continuing education every two years. They can obtain these hours by attending workshops, seminars, online courses, or conferences. NASM certifications require that individuals complete 2.0 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) every two years, equivalent to 20 hours of continuing education. Individuals can acquire CEUs through NASM courses, workshops, or conferences.
To renew their certifications every two years, both ACE and NASM certification holders must undergo recertification. Individuals must complete the necessary continuing education hours for ACE certifications and submit a recertification application. Similarly, NASM certification holders must meet the mandatory continuing education hours and pass a recertification exam.
Failure to fulfill the continuing education and recertification requirements can seriously harm fitness professionals. Individuals who do not satisfy the necessary continuing education hours for ACE certifications risk losing their certification and must retake the examination. Likewise, NASM certification holders who still need to meet the recertification requirements may have their certification revoked.
Regarding fitness coaching certifications in today’s market, two names are synonymous with trustworthiness – ACE & NASM. Both programs emphasize the same fundamental pillars of fitness: anatomy, exercise science, and program design. It is worth noting that ACE has a reputation for guiding individuals into careers geared towards working with general population clients. At the same time, NASM offers specialization in corrective exercise and athletic performance.