How Long Is ACSM Good for and What Is the Cost Incurred?

How Long Is ACSM Good for and What Is the Cost Incurred

So, you’re officially starting your personal trainer career? Congratulations on this step! You probably know by now that there are many ways to get involved, like volunteering at your local gym or YMCA. When it is time to further your career by getting a certification, there are several other things to consider – including the program you choose. Among all of your choices, getting certified with ACSM is a great option to go with.

Becoming an ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) Certified Personal Trainer will allow you to help make an impact on the lives of those who wish to improve their health. It also provides an understanding of health and fitness at an advanced level. 


How long is an ACSM certification good for and what is the cost incurred?

If you’re considering a career in fitness and health, an ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) certification will probably be on your radar. Whether this is the next definitive move in your professional journey, or you’re just sifting through potential options, it’s natural to have some queries regarding the certification process.

One of the crucial questions you might have is about the validity period of an ACSM certification. Understanding the duration for which your certification is valid is crucial in planning your career path, as it determines when you need to pursue continuing education or recertification to keep your credentials current.

In addition to this, you would also need to understand the costs involved. Knowing what expenses are associated with obtaining and maintaining an ACSM certification is crucial for budgeting and financial planning. The total cost may include the exam fee, study materials, and possibly a workshop or review course. Also, there’s the re-certification fee to consider, which you’d need to pay periodically to keep your certification active.


About ACSM

ACSM was founded in 1954 by a group of physicians and physical educators, to establish a community of professionals who have similar goals, understandings and the desire to learn more about their field in health and fitness. Today, there are over 50,000 international members and certified professionals, and it serves over 70 careers in the sports and medicine industry, including personal training. It remains the longest-running certification program among all others.

Members of ACSM have the opportunity to further their education through programs, seminars and more. Note: when it comes to renewing ACSM certification, this continued education is extremely important to have.

What are the Benefits of an ACSM Certification?

It is important to have credentials and certification in order to move forward in your career. There are three key things to note about ACSM certification specifically that will help you achieve your career goals.

  • Respect: This goes for you, your clients, and your fellow health fitness professionals.
  • Credibility: The credibility of ACSM certification stands out to employers, universities and other institutions in the health and fitness field.
  • Knowledge: ACSM offers constant educational opportunities for personal training and fitness in general.

These factors are important on a personal level of course, but it is important to keep in mind that they will also help your business thrive! 

Another thing to note about ACSM is that the coursework is customizable. Difficulty with an increase only as you improve your skills, making it a great option for those who do not do well in traditional school settings.

Did we mention there are also opportunities for retail discounts? That’s a benefit of this certification for sure.


How to Get ACSM Certified

So how do you go about getting certified? In order to get an ACSM certification, you will need a few prerequisites under your belt. These may seem basic, but to be eligible, you must have the following three things:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Have a high school diploma, or the equivalent 
  • Be up to date on adult CPR/AED certification (with practical hands-on skills component)

Once you have met these requirements, you can begin preparing for your exam with a helpful guide, workshops and webinars, online practice questions, and more online resources (there is even an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer Study Group that you can join on Facebook). 

You must take a course before you can take the exam, which, as we mentioned before, is customizable to your skill level. The course can cost between $75 and $175, depending on membership and other fees. When you are ready to take the exam, ACSM will help point you in the right direction for registering and for scheduling your test.


What Are the Fees Involved With ACSM Membership and Certification?

Like any certification program, there are some fees to consider for an ACSM certification. If you choose to become a member of the organization, it will lower the cost of your exam. 

There are three different kinds of memberships to consider. Student memberships cost a yearly fee of $10, while Alliance memberships are $99/year, and Professional memberships are $240 annually. You can use this guide as a tool to determine which membership is right for you.

If you decide not to become an ACSM member, the exam fee is $349. ACSM member candidates only pay $279. If you end up needing a re-test, that fee is $175. (Should you need to re-test, you are able to do so 15 days after a failed attempt).

When to Renew Your ACSM Certification

ACSM personal trainer certifications must be renewed once every three years. There are two options you can use In order to renew your certification: 


Option A

  • CEC Credits: present four qualifying continuing education credits/units.
  • CPR Certification: you’ll need to be up to date with this.
  • Pay the Recertification Fee: depending on the time of year, this can range from $25 – $75


Option B

  • Retake the Certification Exam


Total Cost Incurred for ACSM Certification 

Once you have decided that ACSM certification is the route for you, it is time to get your budget in order. For the prerequisites we have mentioned, along with optional membership and exam fees, you will be looking at a minimum fee of about $425 for the first three years of being certified.

Remember that part of getting your certification is also about budgeting your time! Completing the course and obtaining the authentication may take you between 10 and 12 weeks, depending on your pace and the exam availability. Rest assured, the ACSM certification program is invaluable to your career as a CPT. 

The Privilege of ACSM Certification

Earning certification from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) is a privilege that opens doors to numerous benefits. ACSM, a globally recognized authority in sports medicine and exercise science, provides professionals with a mark of excellence. Holding an ACSM certification signifies a commitment to the highest standards of knowledge and expertise in the fitness industry. This credential enhances professional credibility, fostering trust with clients and employers. ACSM-certified individuals gain access to cutting-edge research, educational resources, and a supportive community. Moreover, ACSM’s reputation adds value to career opportunities and promotes continuous growth through ongoing learning and development. The privilege of ACSM certification extends beyond personal achievement, positively impacting both professionals and the communities they serve.

Make Your ACSM Certification Even More Specialized

To really stand out, we recommend tagging another specialization onto your ACSM certification. Strong Education opens the door for another great opportunity: getting specialized in special needs personal training, which can be done entirely online. Our certification program teaches you how to work with a variety of disabilities, and how to handle behavioral challenges. If you’re interested in standing out even more among your competition, sign up here.


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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