NASM vs ACE: Does It Really Matter Which Certification You Get?
In this article, I will be reviewing NASM vs ACE. Which are two of the best certification programs to help get you started in your career as a personal trainer.
But the first question I have is, why do you want to be a personal trainer?
Let me guess…
The thought of you working behind a desk is just too much to bear. So searching for a career as a personal trainer, where you get to wear cool fitness gear is your way of avoiding that.
But before you can even get a taste of that dream life, you’re going to have to figure out which certification program is the best to get started with.
But does it really matter?
If you’re looking to get hired by a gym, then you should know that they really don’t care which program you get certified with, as long as it’s accredited by the NCCA.
Once you’re able to get the certification process done, then you should be able to find employment at any gym or studio that is looking for a trainer.
Because once you starting working for a particular gym, they will pretty much teach your their process of how you should train clients.
So which certification program should you go with?
As you continue to read, I will break down which program will best prepare you to pass the exam to become a personal trainer. And since I hold certifications in both, I have an idea of how both programs work.
Comparison Charts: ACE vs NASM Certification
Before we get into the meat of which program would be best to get certified with, below is a chart comparing both NASM and ACE programs. It’s a great way to get a visual of what each program has to offer.
|Easy To Follow||X|
|Starting Package Price||$699||$699|
|Exam Re-test||Yes for All Inclusive Package||Yes for Premium Plus Package|
|Practice Exams and Quizzes||Yes||Yes|
|Job Guarantee||Yes for All Inclusive Package||No|
|Learn More||View Available Packages »||View Available Packages»|
NASM vs ACE With Verdict
When I first decided to get certified as a personal trainer, I asked a lot of my friends which program I should go with. I was amazed to hear them all mention this program as the one to go with. And with good reason, as it is becoming a very popular program to go with.
If you are someone with zero experience when it comes to personal training, I found that NASM is a good program to get started with. They teach you how to help clients progress through their training routine.
By creating programs designed to help those with muscle imbalances. This is good for beginners since many other programs like to have their clients skip important steps that are crucial to the development of training.
There isn’t a gym or studio that isn’t familiar with this certification program. It is well known in the fitness industry as almost every gym accepts it when looking to hire trainers.
They focus more or general population, which will allow you to choose topics you want to specialize in. topics like youth fitness, strength training, or senior citizens. Whatever you’re interested in, you will find that ACE can provide that training for you.
If you’re looking for to specialize in a particular topic, ACE probably won’t be able to fully prepare you for it. But like I said earlier, whatever gym you decide to join will most likely train you the way they want.
Edge Goes To: ACE
You get 6 months from the time you sign up for the program to take and pass the exam. This gives you more than enough time to study and get ready.
As someone that doesn’t consider themselves to be a really good test taker, I found myself ready to take the exam in 3 months, but took it in four just to make sure.
During my time of studying for the exam, for me 6 months felt like a really long time. So as long as you’re really focused and put in the time, NASM does a really good job of getting you prepared. Especially being someone that hates taking tests.
You also get 6 months to complete the program as a personal trainer. But unlike NASM, you just have to register a date to take the exam in six months, but you can take it after the six months if you’re not ready.
This is definitely helpful for anyone that really struggles with taking tests. But I think the majority of people that sign up, are ready within the allotted time.
Edge goes to: Tie
Like I mentioned in the previous section, I really don’t consider myself a good test taker. But I must admit that NASM does a really good job of giving you all the necessary tools to help get you prepared.
Of course you should expect to get a text book, but you also get things online help, practice exams, and live workshops. I knew how much I struggled with tests, so I made sure to take full advantage of everything they had available.
Looking back now, I feel I may not have needed to use all those options, but I’m glad I did.
Now keep in mind that some of these tools are dependent on which package you choose. Like the live workshop is part of a higher package.
You are given a text book and a personal trainer manual to help you study, but you also get online help as well. I found the book to be an easy read as it gave pretty good detail into what you should expect when it comes to being a personal trainer.
Their online feature was helpful as well. After reading each section in the text, there were assignments that had to be completed as you went through the training process. You will find that these tools are crucial to getting you prepared for the exam.
Not having a workshop was probably a deciding factor for not going with ACE at first, but to save you the trouble and money, you probably don’t really need it.
Edge goes to: NASM
There are 120 questions you are given, but only 100 of them actually count. Unfortunately they do not tell you which one’s don’t count. So you have to take every question seriously and answer them to the best of your ability.
Although I felt really prepared taking the exam, I felt the same as every other exam I’ve ever taken in my life. Questions seemed like they had more than one answer, and I even had to go back to check on a few.
But I did get the pass mark which was a great relief. Also, you don’t get to find out which questions you got right or wrong as you only get a pass or fail. But to be honest, all that matters is you being done with it.
Since I was getting certified as a Youth trainer, I was able to take the exam online. There were two sets of tests I had to take, with each test having a total of 50 questions each.
I found that being able to take the exams online was pretty easy since I had the actual book available with me to go back and review.
So when it comes to taking the actual exam to become a certified personal trainer, you should expect to take a bunch of practice exams to help get you ready.
Edge goes to: NASM
The Importance of Being Certified By an Accredited Program
There are a lot of schools out there that claim to offer personal training programs, but very few are approved by the NCCA. The reason why it’s important to make sure you find a credible program is, if you are planning to get hired at a gym or studio, they usually accept certificates that are approved by the NCCA.
So if you are looking for a less expensive way to get certified, then make sure that whatever fitness facility you are planning to work with, accepts your certification. Otherwise, you would be wise to get certified by a highly accredited program like NASM and ACE.
Key Differences Between an Ace and Nasm Certification
Having an Ace Certification tends to be very well known within the fitness industry. Most commercial and private gyms accept this type of certification for anyone looking to start their career. I would consider this certification more for the general population as they cover so many fitness topics but don’t really specialize in any.
As For Nasm, they have received a lot of attention and have quickly become a very popular certification to get. Most fitness establishments consider this a very reputable certification. They are more designed to help those with muscle imbalances. By giving trainers the tools to help progress their clients through stages of fitness development.
If any program has increased in popularity when it comes to CPT programs, NASM is definitely one of them. I may be a bit biased in my review of this program since this is the program I got certified with, but it’s for good reason.
They made preparing for their exam very simple and structured. Their training program gives you the very basics to help better your understanding of how to progress clients through their fitness training.
They are also very highly regarded when it comes to certification programs.
How much does NASM cost?
NASM offers four different packages that start off at $699, which gets you the basic tools like a book and some online tools.
Their full package at regular prices is $1999 which includes a job guarantee, free retest, and an associate personal trainer experience. Check their site for deals and promotions as you may be able to get a reduce rate…Read Full Review
Ace Certified Training Program is one of the most trusted in the fitness industry. With ACE, you can expect to be given all the necessary tools to be successful as you start your fitness journey.
They provide easy to understand material that will help you excel in whatever fitness niche you choose to go with.
If you are a beginner, then this is definitely a great program to join. They also offer many programs for continuing education or if you’re just looking to get certified in other fitness categories like youth fitness.
How much does the ACE program cost?
ACE certification programs offers three packages that often change so it’s always good to check their site for promotions. Their packages are:
- Standard at $699
- Premium at $799
- Premium Plus at $899
Packages usually come with training materials like manuals, practice exams and support to help you with any issues you may have…Read Full Review
What’s Trending: ACE Vs NASM 2017
NASM Or ACE Certification – Which Is The Tougher Program?
Just so you know, I got certified as a trainer with NASM, and got certified as a youth trainer with ACE. So even though I am not officially certified as an ACE personal trainer, I do have some idea of their exam taking process.
So after researching for months which program to join, I eventually decided to go with NASM since so many people recommended it to me. I also liked that they gave you 6 months from the time you signed up to take the exam.
Being someone that doesn’t consider themselves all that great at taking tests, I thought that was enough time for me to study and hopefully pass the exam. I found going through the program very helpful as everything seemed easy to follow.
For me personally I was ready to take the exam in 3 months, but decided to wait till month 4 just to make sure I had everything down. I passed on the first try even though I wasn’t sure if I was doing well during the test taking process.
But I guess that’s how everyone feels when taking a test right?
When it came to taking the exam with ACE, although I found taking their test to be quite simple, I somewhat found their program to be a bit difficult to follow. NASM seemed more up to date with their site and gave me more than enough tools to help me with the learning process.
It only took me a couple of weeks to pass the test, even though it was for a youth certification. But I feel that with NASM, they provided up to date tools to help you with learning how to become a certified trainer.
ACE or NASM – Which Should You Choose?
Although NASM has an edge when it comes to trends within google search, both training programs are highly accredited when it comes to personal training. Most fitness facilities will accept either certifications so you can’t go wrong with either one.
As someone that got certified as a personal trainer with NASM, and got my Youth Fitness certification from ACE, the training for NASM was very helpful. NASM also offers a live workshop which was very helpful in understanding the material.
Either way, both programs are highly regarded in the fitness industry.
Alternative to Becoming a Certified Trainer
Being a certified personal trainer is hard. Your best chance of making any real money is by going independent. Because as you know, working for a gym pretty much gives you pennies, and even if you do go independent, you have to find the space to train.
And let’s be honest, you only make money when you’re training. But we all know that you can’t do that forever. There has to be an end game to your career right?
So what’s the alternative?
How about creating a fitness website where you’re making money even while you sleep. You can create a website like this one you’re on right now, and help more people with less effort.
If you’re interested in learning how to build a website and help thousands of people get healthier, then check out the link below. If not, you can always try your luck at getting certified, and hope to land a spot where you start off with good pay.