I think that it is always great to have some kind of standard or benchmark to determine a person's level of competence. However, it sounds like ACSM has found themselves a nice "cash cow". I am sure that there are other organizations out there that do the same thing, so I have heard that argument. However, I think those other people are working a cash cow as well. There is nothing wrong with making money but it sounds like they have really tried to monopolize the market and cash in on people.
I have looked at their website and I will be looking elsewhere for certification and if asked I will say why. I have been involved in teaching health and fitness classes for over 30 years. I might pay for their certification on one hand. However their not recognizing other continuing education credits, and charging as much as they do for the CEC they offer, well, like I said, I will be looking elsewhere and expounding on the reasons why.