things you should know about ace certification

ACE Certification: 5 Things You Should Know About ACE Certification

things you should know about ace certification

You stumbled across this blog because you’re interested in the ACE certification, but you feel like you should do a little research first. Getting a nationally-accredited personal training certification is a big commitment, in terms of both time and energy, so we agree that research is the right move here before purchasing the study materials and registering for the exam. Here are 5 things you should know about ACE certification:


1. What ACE Stands For

We don’t just mean that you should know what the acronym stands for, although that’s also important. (It’s “American Council of Exercise,” by the way.) We think you should know what the ACE stands for as a nonprofit organization. The number one mission of the ACE organization is “to get people moving.” But that’s not all the ACE stands for: They hope to decrease the number of diseases related to sedentary lifestyles by 2035 by education personal trainers and “health enthusiasts.”


The ACE organization also lists the following as their core values:

  • Honesty & Integrity
  • Ingenuity & Passion
  • Collaboration & Connection
  • Access & Inclusiveness
  • Continuous Learning & Development

If you feel that these values and goals align with your personal vision for the future, then maybe an ACE certification is right for you!


2. The ACE Certification Prerequisites

Before taking the ACE certification exam or even purchasing the studying materials, it’s important to know if you’re eligible for this certification at all. In other words, have you met the prerequisites?


The requirements you have to meet before getting ACE certified are:

  • Being 18 years old or older
  • Having a high school diploma or GED equivalent
  • Being CPR/AED certified
  • Having a government-issued ID

If you’re not 18 yet but will be soon, or you’re on your way to a high school diploma but don’t have it yet, then you’re not ready to register for the ACE certification exam. However, you could study for the exam until you’re eligible to be ACE certified. It could make for a smooth transition!


3. The ACE Certification Exam Format & Contents

To make a passing grade on the ACE certification exam, you have to study — and study the right materials. In a similar fashion to the SATs and ACTs, you’ll need to know the format of the exam as well as the subject matter of the exam.


ACE Exam Format

You’ll be given three hours to complete the exam, which is comprised of multiple-choice questions. There are 125 “scored” questions and 25 “experimental” ones. The exam is given on a computer-based format.

The ACE certification exam is graded on a scale of 200 to 800, where 500 is a passing score. Don’t worry if you don’t pass the first time! You can retake it for just $199, no matter which ACE certification you’re trying to get (unless you’re taking the exam internationally, in which case, it’ll be $299).


ACE Exam Contents

The contents for the exams are updated every five to seven years to make sure the fitness professionals are getting the most relevant information in their field. Each ACE certification exam has its own study guide, in which “domains” and “task assessments” are lined out. You can download these study guides for free on the ACE website.

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4. What You’ll Learn by Getting the ACE Certification

This one may seem like a no-brainer, which is exactly why we felt inclined to include it. When you do something that puts demands on both your time and your energy, you’re going to learn more than what’s in the textbook. You’ll learn about your discipline level, your mental endurance, the strength of your own tenacity, and more.

The ACE personal training textbook itself will go over the integrated fitness training model, which will teach you how to adjust postures and exercises to meet your clients’ individual needs. (We’re a big fan of this.) The textbook breaks down the integrated fitness training model into four phases.


The four phases of the Integrated Fitness Training Model:

  1. Stability, Mobility & Aerobic Training
  2. Movement & Aerobic Training
  3. Strength & Endurance Training
  4. Performance & Power Training

5. What You Can Do With an ACE Certification

Before getting an ACE certification, you want to make sure that this will propel you into the career you’re envisioning. An ACE certification can prime you for specialized fitness careers, depending on the certification you receive through the program.


ACE has four different education avenues:

  1. Personal Trainer
  2. Group Fitness Instructor
  3. Health Coach
  4. Medical Exercise Specialist

The personal training certification empowers you to do freelance fitness training or full-time training with a gym. The group fitness certification can make you a prime candidate for gyms that offer group classes or specialized workout facilities. The health coach certification can present you as an authority in the health and fitness community, giving you the credentials to write your professional opinion and findings from your experience. The medical exercise specialist is for those who are interested in integrated exercise with medicine. (This certification could compliment another medical certification.)


Special Strong Certification: ACE-Accredited, NASM-Accredited

Another way to launch yourself into your new career as a personal trainer is to differentiate yourself with a specialization. Strong Education offers special needs personal training certification courses at an affordable rate. You simply sign up for the online course, take it at your leisure, then take the final exam at the end of the course, and you’re automatically presented with a certificate. Similar to the ACE certification program…


We have four training courses to choose from:

  • Special Strong Private Training Certification – Level 1
  • Special Strong Private Training Certification – Level 2
  • Group Fitness Instructor for Special Needs Certification
  • Special Strong Adapted Video Library

Whether you’re interested in becoming a personal trainer, a group fitness instructor, or a health coach, a specialization in special needs can help you reach more clients and serve the ACE mission “to get people moving.” Sign up today!


Strong Education teaches personal trainers and service providers on how to adapt fitness and nutrition for children, adolescents, and adults with autism, Down Syndrome, and other disabilities through our online adaptive special needs certification course.

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