Opinion on ACE vs ACSM????
I am thinking about becoming a PT for the first time. I am just 18 years old and mostly planning on doing this for my own personal knowledge and benefit. However, I am about to attend college and realized that there are not a lot of PTs in the area. I was thinking maybe I could get a few jobs and just get experience with that (I'm not going to cheat people out of their money- I'd be cheap and make it clear I was new!). I really would like a program with more of an emphasis on nutrition. I would also like one that showed how to really make exercise programs for people. Also I plan to mostly work with girls (guys would be intimidating to train!)Which would be better for my situation? Any opinions??
I thought I might answer this question for you as I have a unique perspective of your questions considering that I have been fortunate to earn all of the American Council on Exercise credentials as well as the vast majority of ACSM credentials.
I am of the opinion that both of them are valuable.
When choosing a fitness credential, it is important to look beyond the credential itself. It is equally important to ask yourself, how can the organization that I choose to certify myself by:
1. Assist me in growing professionally
2. What resources do they provide for their certified members.
3. What continuing education opportunities does the organization provide for their certified professionals
Madeline, both ACE and ACSM excel in assisting their members grow professionally. Please understand though that growth is dependent upon the individuals desire to grow.
As far as resources are concerned, both organizations have websites that are chock full of information available to the credentialed member as well as the public. Too, should you decided to become a member of the ACSM, you will receive their monthly journal.
As an ACE certified professional you have access to Sports Discus which is an online database where you can research all thing fitness. Also, you can become a member of IDEA and receive their journal on a monthly basis.
Both ACE and the ACSM have annual conventions where you can earn your continuing education credits and continue to learn and grow in the industry.
As far as differences between the certifications, I feel strongly that ACE will serve you better in the long run as they have developed a wonderful model called the Integrated Fitness Training Model which is very effective. Please know that much of the guidelines used in the model are based upon research from the ACSM.
Another point you should be aware of is that the ACSM is a scientific body. Organizations such as ACE utilize their guidlines as references in their textbooks and resources.
With the ACE credential, it is possible that you can prepare yourself by attending a live course that is held over 16 weeks. You will need to contact www.acefitness.org to find the educational provider in your area.
The ACSM offers workshops that prepare individuals for their certifications. The workshops tend to be over a weekend.
You have the option, however, to prepare the for the certifications on your own.
Madeline, I hope this is helpful to you. If you have any other questions, please feel free to reach out to me.
you are asking some very important and relevant questions to the business of personal training. It is mandatory to have a certification in this industry, and many of us have preferences based on their own experiences.
You mention that your first goal is to acquire more knowledge for yourself, and that's where to start. As you frame your question as the alternative between ACE and ACSM, I would definitely recommend that you pursue the ACE Personal Trainer certification. ACSM has long been viewed (and I believe it is) as a more clinically oriented certification, and I find that the weight training part of it is not as comprehensive as others. All certifications have some components about nutrition as part of their program. Both certifications are held in high regard, and both will be a good reference if you seek employment at a health club.
Please keep in mind that obtaining a certification (whichever you choose) is nothing but an invitation to keep learning.
Getting started as a personal trainer can be daunting, and you will most likely start at a healthy club employee. If you choose to go the independent route, keep in mind that you need to set this up as a business with your own liability insurance. You also have to register it with your local authorities as a business.
Who you will ultimately end up training remains to be seen. Trust me, you do not need to worry about training guys. If you mean by 'guys' those up to 35 years old, I found this to be a group most likely to 'know-it-all' and not looking for advice from a young female novice trainer. Once you are a trainer, you can always come back to this site, either look at questions already answered or posting one of your own about marketing.
I did not mean to intimidate you with all that stuff but it is something to keep in mind as you look into obtaining a personal trainer certification.
I wish you the best of luck for your future.
Although the answers above are very in depth, I would have to disagree. If I were you I would go for the ACSM qualification. Although the basic Personal Training certification is just a stepping stone, starting with your foot in the door of the ACSM will help you greatly. Although clients may not know the difference between the two, having the more highly regarded will put you ahead of the curve. Both CPT exams do not require a higher education than high school, but if you want to get a higher certification after finishing college, you can do that through ACSM. Since they are based more on science, as in the anatomy, biomechanics, and physiology of the body overall, ACSM has a higher standard for what the people holding its certifications need to know. I greatly respect this since a ton of people go buy a personal training book, skim it, and can pass the test without having to actually learn that much about the body. If you know WHY the body reacts to doing certain movements, you can explain it to your clients. You also talked about wanting to put an emphasis on nutrition. I believe both exams have a little about that, but again, if you understand the science behind WHY you are telling your clients to eat this and not eat that, you will understand the coming and going "fads" of nutrition and be able to sort through all of that.
Additionally ACSM does not have a cookie-cutter frame for how to train all your clients, because none of your clients are going to be exactly the same, so you can't treat them this way. The best thing about ACSM is that certification holders need to know how to do exercise testing and prescription. You need to be able to see what your clients can do and then prescribe an exercise regimen for them. You will definitely have to understand how to make a program with the ACSM exam.
I got my Health Fitness Specialist cert. from ACSM about two years ago, right before I finished my college degree. (That's the one for medically controlled unhealthy populations) I didn't think the test was too challenging for the HFS certification, but I know a lot of people that didn't pass on their first, or even their second tries, so they resorted to the ACE exam.
Both exams are for men and women, so you don't need to worry about that. If you decided to go into strength & conditioning (and further pursue the CSCS certification) then you would probably be dealing mostly with men, since a lot of women are intimidated by strength training. :( But you could work with all types of athletes, or you could specialize in different sports. The certification is just the beginning. As you build your business you can start helping different types of clients and learning as you go. Also, please know that the ACSM does not go over every single little strength exercise you can do, but just expects you to understand what a few exercises would be working on, both in strength and flexibility. I don't know how ACE does that, but since I have had quite a few different types of training in my relatively short life, this has helped me a lot because I know a lot of exercises from training for volleyball/basketball, yoga, pilates, and just exploring on my own. If you have a good database of strength exercises, and you can be creative with cardio, you'll do great. If you need help in either areas, this website has a ton of great ideas.
It's up to you which program you choose, but you may want to think about where you want to go from there. If you're thinking about going to college for anything exercise/fitness/health related I would go with the ACSM. All of my college professors highly recommended ACSM. Since, like Joanne said, it is used in pretty much everyone else's models for how to exercise, that makes a lot of sense.
I hope this helps! :)
You have asked an important question and gotten some great responses. I happen to have both CPTs. ACE and ACSM were the first two certifications that I worked towards. They are both great! I chose to study for them both side by side.
ACSM does not have a great deal of program design and exercise selection material but it's great from a medical and screening standpoint. A large amount of the exercise guidelines used by ACE are either based on ACSM or NSCA guidelines. If you are willing, I would recommend doing both. With ACE being first because it is newly redesigned in the last year or so the material is more current. I would recommend some sort of live component as well as the study materials on either organizations websites.
As far as emphasis on nutrition...most entry level certifications will be general on their nutrition guidelines (this includes ACE and ACSM). Nutritional emphasis can be gained from advanced level certifications later on down the line or further schooling.
Let me know if you have any further questions.
Great question, and thank you for considering ACE! We understand that choosing a certification provider is a big decision, and we urge you to think about which one will be there for you and maintain its reputation not only today, but also throughout your entire career as a fitness professional. ACE is the only certification organization that has 4 NCCA accreditations, and as a non-profit, our decisions are always made around what’s best for our pros. We’ll continue to look for ways to help our pros save money while ensuring the value of their certification in the marketplace really does last a lifetime. To help you decide which certification organization is right for you, we've compiled some of the most frequently asked about questions related to choosing an organization, which you can view in our Personal Training Certification Comparison Chart: http://www.acefitness.org/getcertified/personal-training-certification-c.... Also, if you haven't heard, we've recently launched Specialty Certifications, which will give you the expertise you need to stand out among your peers and be the "go-to" trainer in your area. These specialties include everything from Sports Conditioning Specialist to Mind Body Specialist. To learn more about these great opportunities to be the expert your clients need, please visit our site here: http://www.acefitness.org/getcertified/specialty-certifications.aspx. Thanks and please let us know if you have further questions after taking a look at our site!
You would cover basic nutrition and hydration recommendations and calculating caloric intake for weight-loss goals with your ACE exam prep, which is the way I ended up going. Reading professional articles like ones found on this site will help you in gaining the knowledge you need outside of your exam prep. I can't recommend one over the other. ACE may get you started a little quicker, but ACSM may take you a little further in the long run, depending upon your goals.
First off, any NCCA is accredited certification is an acceptable certification and will allow you to practice as a personal trainer.
I believe what you need to ask yourself is "How far do I want to go?"
If you are looking to get into the science behind health and fitness and are looking to help develop the fitness industry as integral part of the medical profession, then the ACSM is the option you want to choose. They are on the cutting edge of health and fitness initiatives, such as "Exercise is Medicine", and were a major part of the UN adopting a resolution promoting the use of physical activity / fitness programs in the battle against non-communicable diseases. They also maintain associations with a vast number of fitness professional groups.
If you are looking to stay within the confines of the fitness business model, then ACE would be more advantageous, due to the programs they have which support individualized business concerns. You can always get the ACE certification (or any NCCA accredited certification) and become a ACSM member (without taking their certification), if you are unsure of your present direction.
Since you stated that you are looking at nutrition as an important focus of your studies, you may also want to look toward the ISSN (International Society of Sports Nutritionists) for membership opportunities.
As a student, many of these organizations offer student memberships to assist in developing fitness professionals (who are well rounded in many different aspects of health and fitness), not just personal trainers.
I hope this helps...Good luck in your future !!
If you then want to get an additional certification I would suggest Ace Lifestyle and Weight Management Coaching certificate
The way the obesity rate is rising this would be a win win combination
I am ACSM-CPT certified and my friend is ACE certified. We have had many discussions and the general concensus is they are both valuable. ACE actually uses the information/research/standards of the ACSM. My argument is that my knowledge is much for in-depth, requires more critical thinking and is definitely more rooted in clinical background. I like it as I like to figure things out, or at least have the tools to figure things out.
I feel that with ACE things are laid out more simply and the cost is something that attracts a lot of trainers.
One error my friend constantly remarks on is that the ACE cert is good enough for people in this area. I have worked at other gyms and seen what that does to standards of training. In my mind, ACE is a wonderful tool to get started but it is not the end goal... it should be and really only is the jumping off point. Maybe in the future, as you move forward in your career you might encounter another gym that I have trained at where the standards are higher. The trainers I worked with really do only see the smaller certs as jumping off points or niche points.
In the end, the most important certification is the one that you are comfortable with and that is useful to you! There are many reputable organizations which are accredited and researched based (two integral values) so I am positive you will make a good decision based on what is right for you.