An ACE certified personal trainer is just a fitness trainer who has been certified through ACE, the American Council of Exercise. Anyone who is willing to pay for one of their study packages, learn the material, and pass the exam can become an ACE certified personal trainer — but is it worth it? What’s the average ACE personal trainer salary? Let’s explore:
ACE Trainers, ACE Fitness
Becoming an ACE certified personal trainer is different from becoming a personal trainer in general because of the clout ACE has among the fitness community. This is one of the best programs you can choose if you want to become a trainer, group fitness instructor, or health specialist. It’s arguably the best one out there, although NASM (the National Association of Sports Medicine) certainly gives them a run for their money.
With this in mind, ACE personal trainers could make more money than personal trainers who have been certified with a different organization. But is there truth to this assumption?
ACE Certification Reviews
In a recent blog, we listed a range of reviews for NASM (including reviews with 1 to 5 stars to give our readers a chance to see why exactly NASM customers were disappointed or satisfied). We at Strong Education are fans of both NASM and ACE, so just to be fair, we’re including reviews in this blog as well:
Richard T. (5 Stars on Yelp)
“Having worked in the Sports Media and Fitness industry for over 15 years, I would have to say that the American Council On Exercise offers one of the most accessible, respected, and recognizable accreditation’s for Personal Trainers and Exercise Instructors in the world. I have never come across a gym or fitness facility, either nationally or internationally, that did not recognize an ACE certification.”
Anthony D. (1 Star on Yelp)
“Kinda disappointing that ACE sidelines the costs for remaining ACE certified. Of course we should be taking CEUs. But paying $199 for 2.5 CEUs through ACE and then paying another $125 to ACE just to re-certify is tough to swallow. That’s over $150 per year just to be an ACE certified trainer. And that’s AFTER paying the pretty steep price tag for the initial certification itself. ACE… very few of us are getting rich with this certification. Give us a break.”
Jaysyn L. (Recommends ACE on Facebook)
“I have been a Personal Trainer for 19 years. A.C.E. was my first Personal Training Certification 19 years ago, and I just recertified with them 19 years later. It is obvious that they stay up to date with the latest advances in Exercise Science, Medicine and Nutrition and are by far the best Certification on the Market. The material is complex, but when your dealing with someone’s body and health it shouldn’t be easy. A.C.E. still found a way to make learning fun and I loved the Course Outline, Study Materials, Videos and Flash Cards, as well as the Community and Staff. A.C.E. is a Family and they treat you as such.”
Moon M. (Does Not Recommend ACE on Facebook)
“Not happy with the customer service. Contacted them several times before I put my order today. The course description mentions ebooks are included, which you won’t be able to access if you don’t go online on your account and can not save a PDF. Basically you don’t own the ebook even though you paid for an e-book. And they never inform you about these. There are many misinformation. I don’t understand how they are even allowed to do this. The materials in the account are so confusing, they actually decide for you how and in what order you should go through them. You can not even open the next chapter before going through the one before and mark it as read. Customer satisfaction means NOTHING for this company.”
David J. W. (Recommends ACE on Facebook)
“I’m taking the ACE Fitness Nutrition Specialist course and finding the course’s design, materials and customer service to all be of a very high quality. Additionally, I admire the fact that ACE has 3rd party Accreditation through the NCCA and ISO. I hope that through continued improvement in standardization and quality assurance, Personal Training will come to receive the respect and recognition attributed to traditional medical professions.”
ACE Personal Trainer Salary
The average salary of an ACE personal trainer is $52,537 per year. For a professional that doesn’t require a four-year degree, this salary is nothing to sneeze at. We got this number from the ACE Salary Report for Health and Fitness Professionals, which does include salaries from other membership affiliations. However, we believe that their survey recipients (those they have the most access to) will be mostly ACE personal trainers, meaning the results will be skewed in their favor. You can see in the next section that the average salary of personal trainers according to other sources is quite a bit lower.
How Much Does a Personal Trainer Make 2020
At the very end of 2019, we published an article that detailed the average salary of personal trainers in each state. As we’re only two months into 2020, these numbers still stand true. The national average salary for personal trainers (regardless of their membership affiliation) is a little less than $46,000 per year, nearly $10,000 less than the average salary for ACE personal trainers. The national range for personal trainers, with no membership association, falls between $37,000 and $53,000 in the United States.
You can read the full article here to see the average salary of personal trainers in your state: What’s the Average Personal Training Salary?
How to Make More Money as a Personal Trainer
You can make more money as a personal trainer by showcasing your unique personality, staying present and active on social media, networking in the right places, getting a specialized certification and finding the right clients for you.
Find Your Personal Brand
You have to set yourself apart from the competition to make more money as a personal trainer. The first way to set yourself apart among other personal trainers is to realize how you’re different as a person. What makes you, you? What is it about the way you talk that’s different from everyone else? What are you passionate about? How can you weave that into your personal training career?
Stay Active on Social Media
Once you have your unique brand voice on retainer, use it on social media as often as possible. Staying active on social media will keep you top of mind among prospective customers. Post videos of yourself working out. Post pictures of what you’re eating. Give shoutouts to clients who have come a long way. Respond to comments! Comment on other people’s pictures! Go for engagement, not just likes and follows.
Network with the Right People
They say that when it comes to getting your dream job, it’s “about who you know,” and for better or worse, that’s the truth. You’re much more likely to get a job if you know someone at the company you’re applying to, especially if you know someone who is directly responsible for hiring. If you want to become a personal trainer at a particular gym, country club, or association, join some personal training, health, or fitness groups (online and in person).
Find the Right Clients
Not every person you come into contact with is going to be a good fit for you as a client. It sounds counterintuitive — like, “Why not? If they have money and want to improve their fitness, how can they be a bad client?” — but some people just aren’t going to have the right mindset to grow under your coaching. If you have unsatisfied customers, these could lead to bad reviews, which could cost you new clients in the future. Look for people with the right mindset, in the right area, with the right income.
Your personal training certification — whether you choose ACE, NASM, or any of the other top contenders — is not the end-all, be-all credential you’ll hold in your career. Honestly, the more “decorated” you are with certifications, the more desirable you’ll be to prospective clients. A valuable strategy is to get certified in areas that will broaden your clientele, which will lead to more money in the long-run.
Strong Education can help you get certified in special needs personal training, as well as special need group fitness instruction. While taking our online courses, you’ll learn how to work with many different types of disabilities, both physical and cognitive, so you can help a wider range of people. Sign up today!
Strong Education teaches personal trainers, parents, and professionals how to adapt fitness and nutrition for children, adolescents, and adults with autism, Down Syndrome, and other disabilities through our online special needs certification course.