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“The ACE CPT is a very popular first certification. But many go on to pursue meatier certifications once they get their foot in the door.”
(about me)

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ACE Personal Trainer Certification Reviews

Updated: October 2021

The American Council on Exercise (ACE) has been preparing people to become certified personal trainers for the last 28 years. The non-profit organization has enabled over 50,000 people to earn their ACE personal trainer certification.

ace personal trainer certificationACE provides education in all facets of health and fitness. It’s no wonder that ACE has succeeded in carving a strong niche among its rivals in the industry.  Incidentally, the ACE CPT credential was among the the first certifications to earn NCCA accreditation and they have effectively maintained the quality of all the courses they offer.

ACE Personal Trainer Certification enjoys a favorable impression from the industry as well as the customers and organizations across the world. This reputation is the main advantage of choosing the ACE CPT. They are like the McDonalds of the personal training certifications. It may not be the best certification around, but everybody knows what to expect of it.

ace cptLike every program or course there are few cons in this case too.  The ACE personal trainer certification is often ridiculed as being too "lightweight". The ACE exam is noticeably easier than some of the other NCCA Accredited programs which may explain the criticism the program receives. Many newly certified trainers feel that they need to immediately pursue another advanced certification in order to be adequately prepared for the workplace.

Like all the other certs, ACE offers various exam preparation packages that will run you $300-$400.   You can also take the Exam Review workshop course in various cities for an additional $220.  This is often a good investment for people who aren't comfortable learning from dry textbooks.

ace academy eliteRecently added is the Academy Elite program consisting of a 12-week guided study program containing online video lectures, 2 practice tests, custom progress tracking, exam review and access to the ACE Resource Center.  The pre-recorded video lectures every week vary in their duration.  You shall be given reading assignments followed by weekly quizzes that would enable to test your learning capacity and continued retention of what you learn.  In short, Academy Elite would comprise of about 90 hours of a neatly planned and laid out study program.

Advanced Certifications

Once you have gained enough experience as an ACE CPT, you can choose to grow in your profession by applying for their advanced programs like ACE Health Coach and ACE Advanced Health & Fitness Specialist, Group Fitness Instructor certifications.  These specialty training and advanced certifications focus on the unique needs of children, injured or disabled people, and senior citizens. You must earn the ACE CPT before you can take the advanced certifications.


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Eligibility Criteria for the ACE Personal Trainer Certification

You must be:

  • You have to be not less than 18-year old
  • You should have earned an adult CPR and AED certification
  • Though it is not compulsory, it would be preferable if you possess 100 hours of practical experience in health and fitness niche.

ACE Exam Pass Rate

While the ACE CPT exam is easier that other exams, it still only has a pass rate of 65% according to ACE. To pass on your first try, Take our Cert Exam Prep Course and review the ACE exam tips submitted by our readers before taking your exam.


Your ACE personal trainer certification is valid for two years.  During those two years, you have to complete 2.0 CEC’s (Continuing Education Credits) and then put forth your recertification application along with the fees to ACE before the expiry date.  Any delay will attract corresponding penalty fee and if the delay is beyond six months, you might be asked to take the certification exam again! Overall, you should budget about $400 toward recertification classes and fees.

by Katie Donnelly

ACE Certification Personal Trainer ACE Personal Trainer Certification
Certification ACE CPT
Established 1985
Workshop length About 90 hours
Workshop Availability Online
Program Cost $499-$699
Materials cost included
Industry recognition High
Accreditations NCCA
Prerequisites 18 years old, Adult CPR/AED Certificate
Exam Questions 150
Exam Time 3 hours
Exam Cost $399
Retest Cost $319
Exam deadline
Exam locations Major cities worldwide
Time to Complete (Approx.) 3-6 months
Recertification every 2 years
Recertification Cost (Approx.) $400


What do you think about ACE certification?

Here's your chance to have your say about the ACE personal trainer certification. Ask a question, submit a comment, or even rant or rave about ACE.

ACE CPT Reviews

Getting feedback about ACE personal trainer certification from people who have gone through the program is valuable. Click on each tip to read and rate the comments submitted by our readers.

ACE to get my foot in the door... 
I just spoke to a trainer in my gym (NYSC) and asked him what certs they required to be a PT there. He told me that if I went with ACE, being that it's …

ACE curriculum needs improvement 
I just completed the ACE certification. A friend and I studied together, and we were both able to pass the exam after about 3 weeks of study. However, …

Are ACE classroom sessions or webinars worth it? 
I have a college degree, although not in exercise science. I am a professional baseball player and have helped many friends and family members with a …

ACE - 100 hours of practical experience? 
What exactly is the meaning of 100 hours of practical experience? I am a 41 year old male, have coached a variety of youth sports, including a very competitive …

ACE certification credibility 
I am a 35 year old new mom who wants to embark on a new career as a personal trainer. I have a lot of my own gym time and I am very interested in becoming …

ACE personal trainer salaries and jobs 
I taught group fitness classes of all types for over 5 years before becoming an ACE certified personal trainer. I could get as much for teaching a class …

This online course help me pass! Not rated yet
I just my ace certification today! I studied for 9 months. I used the online test from this site within the last month! I am sure i passed due to these …

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