Should I stick with AFAA, there is a workshop in my area soon, but I get so nervous about the practical part of the test. I know ACE has only the one test, but cost more for premium package and no review workshop. Also I have the 2002 Fitness Theory & Practice and I wonder how much difference there is between the 2002 and the 2010 book?
I have always liked to check out what different certifiying organizations are doing and how they present and approach their material. I do like the ease of renewing my two certifications with ACE. And I do like what ACE is doing in our industry. I would recommend having at least one certification from ACE. It does have wide acceptance in the industry. And I would recommend having at least a group cert and a personal trainer cert.
I have been certified by quite a few accrediting bodies, and ACE and NASM seem to be the most highly regarded. NASM covers everything, and I love how in depth they go into the stages of training, with the OPT model.(In fact, I have to get re certified because I took a few years off…and I did a quickie online cert to tide me over…If I were knew to the industry, I would know just the basics…and probably have trouble finding a job. NASM is accepted everywhere. I had an employer require that I get NASM within 90 days of being hired. It’s a challenging cert to get, but well worth the time, money, and effort. I hope this helps.
Oops! I forgot to mention, you might also look at how much time you have, and whether you want to start small and grow into fitness, or if you’d rather study a little longer for something that will get you farther.
For me personally, ACE PT has been great. I thought it was all that I’d ever need to have. But then I applied at a place where every trainer had NASM, which is perceived as a notch higher than ACE in many circles. I did end up getting the job because of some other specialty certs that I had and they needed, but it made me run out and buy all the materials for NASM. If I’d just done NASM in the first place, I could have saved about $600 rather than paying for ACE first and then NASM later.
There are several things to consider when making your choice. I’ve held group-ex through AFAA and now hold PT through ACE. I have the most current group-ex books from AFAA, ACE, and ACSM. If I were going to re-do my group-ex cert, I’d do ACE for the money savings of multiple certs by the same provider or I’d do ACSM.
Where do you want to work? Find out what certifications those places want you to have.
How readily available are the continuing education courses for the cert you want? One of the reasons I left AFAA was because they never came to my area to do CEC workshops, and I didn’t care for their online CECs the one time I took them. AFAA requires you to have at least one AFAA CEC course provided directly by AFAA in order to renew your certification. ACE does not have that requirement.
What future trainings do you want? Will your basic certification open doors to those further certs? For example, I’m really interested in PTA Global’s advanced personal training curriculum. Not accessible with AFAA, but it is accessible with ACE.
Is budget your main consideration? AFAA sells its basic certification through APEX for a discounted price a few times a year, making it a great cert for the budget-challenged. If you don’t want to do fitness as a career, you just need a basic cert to get hired somewhere, this might be the way to go, especially if funds are tight. For me, I wanted ACE for the doors it opens so I was willing to pay more money.
What’s right for you is just that – right for YOU. Consider making a list of your fitness goals and priorities. Then, look into ACE, AFAA, ACSM, etc.