25 years ago, ACSM was the only “Gold Standards” of certification because they were one of the first organizations to do research and instructor training. In college settings, it’s still one of the gold standards and most of my kinesiology professors are ACSM certified. Today, in some colleges settings, NSCA and NASM are the some of the main organizations that included. Most people I know are either AFAA and/or ACE certified.
Today, there is over 1,000 certifying organizations including college, in-houses fitness clubs and specialty. I lover the see all the diverse that has evolved but sadly, many of them are not accepted for employment.
I think it’s easier to focus on what organization are accepted for employment. As a a fitness supervisor, i always though it was great to see how fitness professional receive their GREAT EDUCATION. I do believe that all certifying organization should have a committee of degree and very experience professionals to create and enhance the curriculum.
When I started working on this field over 25 years ago, education and experience was no required. There was “on the job training” if you were available to work. WOW….times have change.