Home Personal Trainer Should I get NASM or ACE Personal Trainer Certification

Should I get NASM or ACE Personal Trainer Certification


The decision to get personal trainer certification can be motivated by a lot of things. If you have a background in kinesiology or sports science, it can be a great addition to your resume. If you have a deep love for fitness and would like to make some money from it, the certification will be the next essential step. While there are a lot of certifications you can choose from, two, in particular, stand out – NASM, and ACE. Your choice should basically be between these two because they are the most widely recognized in the industry, and are both NCAA accredited.

There is a debate on which between the two is the superior one. It attracts different opinions and schools of thought. Here is a comparison between them to give you a vivid picture of what each certification offers.


There are a few prerequisites that you have to meet before you can apply for either NASM or ACE certification. You must be over 18 years of age, and have some hands-on training in CPR and AED with some proof. While these are the minimum requirements, having a high school diploma at least is considered desirable.

Course Details

These certifications, while both founded in the same ideologies, adopt different approaches when it comes to delivery of material. ACE covers all the basics of exercise science and helps to create trainers who can work with people who are new to exercise and fitness. NASM is similarly detailed, though it feels more organized, more elaborate with its course materials- ideal for someone who wants all the technical stuff.

Cost and Recertification

NASM certification course starts at around $699, which includes the exam fee. Their most expensive program, which costs $999 gets you access to all their study material, as well as a free retest if you don’t initially pass. They do give the guarantee of passing if you are serious about the program.

ACE on the other hand, starts at $599, which predictably, only covers the exam fee, and training manual and textbook. The most expensive program costs $799, and this one too offers a free retest.

Both these programs require recertification every two years, with NASM costing $99 and ACE $99.

Which one is best for you?

Cost matters notwithstanding, any of these two is ideal. The bigger demographic of new personal trainers seem to have NASM which speaks volumes. However, some of the most successful in the industry have ACE instead. ACE offers more support, while NASM is more detailed.

The offerings of the two are dissimilar so the recommendation would be to check out the opinions of those who have undertaken both programs and weigh their pros and cons.

ACE: Personal Trainer Certification

NASM: Personal Trainer Certification

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