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Fitness Certifications

A Complete Guide to ACE Personal Training in 2021

The ACE personal training program makes for a one-stop-shop for anybody looking to start a career in the personal training field. Now, to be clear, this is not a sponsored article from ACE and we have not been paid in any way by ACE to tell you about the benefits of taking the ACE personal training route.

We found this an important topic to cover because there are an overwhelming amount of options to choose from when you set your sights on becoming a personal trainer. Some certifications and programs are not globally recognized. Some do no guarantee you a job upon graduating. Others do not even teach you the basic business skills you will need to get a head start on generating revenue for yourself.

The ACE personal training program is well worth your time and money for a few reasons:

  • Materials are robust with information
  • Caters to different learning styles
  • A supportive community of people and resources
  • Accredited by iCREPS and EuroActive
  • Post-certification perks

With all that said, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of ACE personal training!

ACE Personal Training Materials and Course Breakdown

Overall, the ACE personal training program takes a holistic approach to certify as a personal trainer. This means that students of this course will have a well-developed understanding of how to approach almost any client and help them meet their fitness needs. Clients seek out training for a wide variety of needs ranging from simple fitness goals to overcoming the effects of health conditions.


Students must hold a high school degree or a GED, must be at least 18 years old, must be CPR/AED certified, and have a current, signed government ID.

The ACE Pro Plans

The higher the purchase tier, the more resources you will have access to… obviously. However, any of these tiers prepare you to take the exam and certify as an ACE personal trainer.

Basic – $849

At this tier, you are limited in a few key ways. For one, the basic tier only provides one practice test. Seeing as the ACE personal training certification uses one of the most difficult tests in the industry, you might want to consider access to more practice tests.

With this plan, you will only have access to the digital textbook and digital trainer study companion. For those of you who appreciate and prefer to read from physical books, this may not be the best choice.

Plus – $999

With the Plus plan, you’ll have access to two practice tests and hard copies of both texts.

The biggest difference between this tier and the basic plan is the additional Exercise Science 101 course. This course is invaluable as it gives you a detailed overview of the basic anatomy and physiology needed to understand the proper assignment of exercises.

ACE Answers (Plus) is another benefit of this program tier. This feature of the program details and provides support to students through live question and answer webinars. Receiving live help is practically unbeatable when it comes to testing for your career certification! Not only that, but it also includes everything from ACE Answers (Basic):

(From ACE)

  • Answers to common study questions
  • Video demonstrations and lectures
  • Exam preparation articles
  • Facebook study groups
  • ACE Exercise Library
  • Tools & calculators
  • Career forms

Advantage – $1,599

Obviously, this package will leave you feeling quite prepared to take the tests with its abundance of resources. You will have access to 4 practice tests and an audiobook of the primary textbook. Listen while you workout!

ACE Answers will also include a dedicated study group so that you can turn to your peers for support. This study group is a led discussion by an ACE representative to encourage students to take a deep dive into the concepts they are learning. Consider it a college class on personal training based around the discourse of the topics presented.

The Dedicated Advantage Team is basically your personal training service for this exam. Essentially, you will have a dedicated tutor to help answer your questions and fill in the gaps in knowledge along the way.

All Learning Styles are Noted and Used

Learning styles in the ACE personal training program

No matter what kind of a learner you are, you will be able to understand and retain the information provided in these courses. Through visual diagrams, auditory explanations, and written text, all the bases are covered so you can best understand the pertinent information.

In the Advantage plan, you will receive access to the audiobook version of the textbook so you can listen anywhere and anytime. For the overachievers, this is a great option to really drive in that information any time you can.

ACE Personal Training Community and Resources

ACE personal training community and resources

ACE takes a very active role in asking innovative questions about fitness and exercise science. Through many studies conducted by universities and researchers, ACE largely contributes to the development of new fields of thought around topics in health and wellness. Here you will find their page dedicated to ACE-sponsored research in various scopes of exercise science.

ACE-sponsored research sets the standard for public knowledge on all things health and fitness. In playing that role, ACE also delivers the most innovative knowledge to its students first and foremost. With yearly updates to their curriculum, their continuing education credits keep already certified trainers in the loop.

Outside of continuing education credits, members of the ACE community have free access to monthly publications with insights into the industry and the science.

The Test

ACE personal training test

As a result of Covid, for a limited time, students can take the test online with a remote proctor. For those of you who love to do things from the comfort of your home, this is maximally convenient.

The test is 150 multiple choice questions and you will have three hours to complete it. The exam is scored in a total of 800 points, and a passing score is 500. This equates to a score of 62.5%.

You can reschedule the exam for $149 before midnight of the day before your test date.

If life happens, then you will be able to cancel the exam 30 days in advance and will be refunded 50% of the cost.

If you fail your exam, you can purchase a retest voucher when you purchase the initial program. Otherwise, you will be able to purchase a retest for $249.


NCCA accredits the ACE programs assuring the highest standard of fitness education.

Got your certification in the U.S. but growing fond of the idea of moving abroad? A benefit of certifying through the ACE personal training program is that you do not have to worry about recertifying elsewhere in the world.

ICREPS and EuroActive both accredit ACE programs. Both of these accrediting bodies play an important role in governing the fitness industry in multiple countries throughout Europe and across the world. This will save you time, money, and stress in the case that you want to continue working in the health and wellness field upon moving outside of the US.

Not only that, but this also opens the doors for reaching personal training clients around the world right from the comfort of your home. One of the most difficult areas of personal training is acquiring clients. Therefore, having accreditation from ICREPS and EuroActive means that you will be recognized as a professional to a larger body of potential clients.

Long Term Benefits

As mentioned before, ACE gives you the resources you need to succeed right out of the gates. However, the long-term benefits of ACE personal training extend beyond the library of tools ACE provides.

You will have a profile in national registries for personal trainers, thus opening your opportunity for exposure to new clients. Your profile will be featured in the US Registry of Exercise Professionals and Find Your Trainer national database. Not only will these listings aid in acquiring clients, but they will also aid in finding employment.

ACE partners with insurance companies to provide members with access to liability insurance at a reduced cost.

Members will also have a say in the legislature that affects the personal training industry. ACE advocates for national policy regarding the growth and support of this industry. As a member, you will have invaluable insight into the development of policy and be a part of the decision-making and discourse.

Continuing education credits through ACE are all accredited and are consistently updated with industry-leading knowledge.


ACE certified personal trainers are well prepared to take on any client and are given the resources they need to succeed in the long term. Therefore, if you’re looking for a place to start, then ACE is a great program to consider.

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