So, you want to be a personal trainer, and you’ve concluded, through diligent online research, that ACE is the one you want to go with. But you want to know: What is the easiest way to achieve an ACE certification and how long does it take? The answer to this question really depends on you. Do you already meet the ACE requirements? Do you have time set aside to study? Do you have the motivation to push through when things get hard? Depending on your learning style, your level of dedication, and where you are in life, we can help you determine how long it’ll take to get an ACE certification and provide tips that’ll make the process easier.
ACE Certification Timeline: Checkpoints
The process of obtaining an ACE certification is fairly linear. Unless you have a few hiccups along the way — and unless you quit before the process is over — you should get an ACE certification in a reasonable amount of time. Let’s go through the checkpoints together to see if you have to stop along the way to reset.
Do you meet the prerequisite requirements?
To be considered for an ACE certification, you have to meet certain requirements: have a high school diploma or GED equivalent, be CPR/AEP certified, and have a government-issued ID. Do you meet these requirements? If not, this will add to your timeline. It takes about three months to get your GED, just three hours to get CPR/AED certified, and about 4 to 6 weeks to get a government-issued ID.
Can you afford the study packages?
To help you succeed, ACE has its own set of study packages that you can purchase. The exam costs are included in all three study package options, which means you won’t have to worry about it later — but it also means you have to pay more upfront. Can you afford to pay between $450 to $1,200? The prices fluctuate based on seasonal specials, so it’s possible to pay less, but you may not receive the same quality of study materials. If you’re not able to pay for the study packages now, you’ll have to set aside time to save up.
Do you have the materials that can make studying easier?
The study materials in ACE study packages are digital. You can purchase physical textbooks in some of the higher packages, but the practice quizzes and lesson notes are online. Do you have a reliable wifi connection? A reliable laptop? Do you read well on your phone or would you prefer to review your ebook texts on a tablet? If you have a poor wifi connection or a laptop that lags, it can take even longer to get your ACE certification.
Do you have a lot of free time?
We know you’re busy: You likely have a full-time job, relationships to nurture, and a workout routine to maintain, just to name a few responsibilities. The idea of “free time” may make you chuckle a little. But it’s important to set time aside for studying, to find the time for it if getting ACE certified is a priority to you. If you have a major assignment looming at work that has you working late into the evenings, then now might not be the best time to start your studies. This will add a little to your timeline if you have to put studying off.
Did you pass the exam?
Let’s say you did have time to study, and you were diligent, going through the study packages and reading the textbooks. It’s possible still for bumps to show up in the road at this point. Even if you know the material, you may have testing anxiety, you may second-guess yourself, or you may even just misunderstand the format of the questions. In any case, it’s possible that you won’t pass the exam the first time you take it. If so, this will delay your timeline.
Do you have time to study for the exam again?
If you didn’t pass the exam, you’ll need to study for it again — more diligently this time and with new techniques. The way you studied before didn’t warrant the response you were hoping for, so it’s important not to fall back into the same routines. Do you have time to study for the exam again? Do you have time to research different studying methods? If not, it’ll take you a bit longer to get ACE certified.
Can you afford to retake the exam?
Retaking the exam is considerably less expensive than the study packages, but even still, it’s money that you may not have expected to spend. If you’re not in a place to pay for the make-up exam, then you’ll need to set time aside to save and prepare.
ACE Certification Study Tips and Tricks
The ultimate answer to: What is the easiest way to achieve an ACE certification
You achieve an ACE certification when you take and pass the exam (which you can only do if you study hard, pay your dues, and meet the prerequisite requirements). “Easy” is sort of a subjective term. We’re going to give advice on how to pass the exam. You don’t have to do all of them, if you’re looking for something easy, but we’re not sure that approach will help you pass. We will, however, also be offering tips on how to make studying easier, so we hope that helps!
Take full advantage of the study package
The study packages are there for you to use in full. Doing so will make it much more likely for you to pass the exam the first time (shaving some time off of your timeline in the process). Depending on the package you purchase (Basic, Plus, or Advanced), these are the ACE study resources you’re getting:
- Digital copies of the 3 textbooks
- Physical copies of the 3 textbooks
- Practice tests
- Practice quizzes
- Answers to review
- Video tutorials
- Personalized tutoring sessions
You paid for it; you might as well use it!
Read the books
Reading the books during a time you can focus and retain the information is going to be your best bet for passing the ACE certification exam. If you’re worrying about remembering all the information in all 3 textbooks, that’s going to keep you from remembering anything. You’re just training yourself to recall your anxiety. Instead, read the books as you would one you’d read for pleasure: front to back. The parts that are interesting to you will stick with you. The parts that aren’t — well, that’s what the other study materials are for!
Join study groups
Studying can be a pretty lonely activity. But you’re not alone! So many others are also studying for the ACE exam, and they’re looking for study partners. Join online study groups, so you can post questions, concerns, and comments. The camaraderie can make it easier to press on.
Utilize free online resources
After reviewing the study materials included in your packet, you may find that you need a little extra help. We’ve all been there! There’s no shame in that. Actually, it shows that you’re willing to work hard to learn a new skill, and that’s a great asset!
Here are some free online study resources, to answer your question, “What is the easiest way to achieve an ACE certification”:
- StudyBlue: An online flashcard system that allows you to peek at other user’s flashcards to make sure you’re studying the right material.
- Quizlet: An online flashcard system that’s designed to switch between “traditional” flashcards and online quizzes.
- Wolfram Alpha: An online system that will answer any science-related question you have — perfect for people who are studying anatomy and health concepts.
The Easiest Way to Get a Personal Trainer Certification
If you’re really looking for an easy way to become a personal trainer, consider getting certified through Strong Education. Our focus is on helping the underserved special needs population. You’ll learn how to modify exercises based on your client’s physical ability and cognitive ability to follow directions. Furthermore, you’ll learn how to navigate emotional meltdowns with your clients as they happen and how to make them less likely in the future. When you help someone with special needs develop a lasting exercise routine, you’re not just helping them build strength and confidence. You’re also triggering neuroplasticity, which improves cognitive function and awareness.
The courses are all online and can be completed in just 8 hours. Through a mixture of reading and video materials, you can get a feel for a day in the life of a special needs personal trainer, helping you feel more prepared for the work to come. Courses are just $449 each and the text is included in the cost.
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.