ACE Certifications Reviews - Advanced PT Certs Comparison

This expository review and comparison of all ACE certifications will help showcase the following:

  • The Focus
  • Who is it meant for
  • Who it is not meant for
  • The cost and study materials+much more!

Get on board, and let me use my practical experience of over 10 years with each certification to guide you.

Let’s get started on the ACE certification reviews!

ACE Certifications Reviews - Advanced Certs Comparison 1

Introduction to ACE Certs Reviews

Are you seeking an advanced certification from the American Council on Exercise (ACE)?

There are so many options that there can be confusion about which one to choose.

As a certified personal trainer, what do you want to specialize in? In this article, I will talk about every single advanced certification and the advanced programs created by ACE.

By the end of the article, you will have a much better idea of which ACE personal trainer certification you should pursue to better your career.

Let’s get right into them.

The menu at the top of this page will answer any question related to the personal training certification that you intend to have.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave me a comment here (I’ll respond within 24 hours).

Also, visit the home page for the most recent and popular articles.

If you are not yet a certified trainer, take the quiz to determine which personal training certification fits your style best.

ACE Certifications Reviews - Advanced Certs Comparison 2
ACE Certifications Reviews - Advanced Certs Comparison 3

Are you seeking an advanced certification from the American Council on Exercise (ACE)?

There are so many options that, at times, it can be confusing which one to choose.

As a personal trainer, what do you want to specialize in?

Are you just looking to get continuing education credits, or do you want to specialize and start working with a particular type of client?

In this article, I will discuss every advanced fitness certification and the advanced programs created by ACE.

By the end of the article, you will have a much better idea of which fitness trainer certification you should pursue to better your career as a personal trainer.

Let’s get right into them.

What are the advanced ACE certifications and Programs?

Overall there are four primary certifications from the American Council on Exercise.

One of these four certifications is their general CPT certification.

This is the only ACE certification I will not discuss in this article because it is not a specialization certification.

I suggest you check out my ACE CPT review if you want to know more about that certification.

The three certifications I will be reviewing are the group fitness instructor, the health coach certification, and the medical exercise specialist certification.

The American Council offers six specialist programs on Exercise.

These six are the ACE senior fitness specialist, ACE weight management specialist, ACE functional training specialist, ACE behavior change specialist, ACE youth fitness specialist, and their ACE fitness nutrition specialist program.

The ACE website also offers some additional programs that other fitness agencies create.

I will not discuss these specialist programs because the American Council does not produce them on Exercise.

You will understand the pros and cons of obtaining each ACE certified certification or program.

You will be able to decide which program is right for you for your advancement as a personal trainer.

The 3 Advanced ACE Specialization certifications

What are the advanced ACE certifications and Programs?

The ACE group instructor program is one of the more popular advanced certifications on the market.

Group exercise training has been exploding over the last decade and does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

Classes from YOGA to spin to body pump have entirely taken over the United States as a preferred form of exercise.

There is no wonder why so many people like group exercise classes.

Lots of people don’t like to exercise by themselves.

They prefer to have the motivation and energy that their friends bring them.

Many things go into being a group fitness instructor that you didn’t learn in your general CPT personal training certification, such as the general ACE CPT or NASM CPT.

You will learn how to take control of the class, deliver safe workout sessions to multiple people, make exercise selections, make music selections, and much more.

Check out my full ACE group exercise certification review for more information.

There are also other group exercise programs available.

You can check out the top four here.

ACE group fitness instructor certification is a perfect option if you prefer to be a leader of the class instead of doing one-on-one personal training.

How much does the ACE group fitness cost?

There are currently three different packages available for the ACE group instructor certification.

These range from $249-$449, depending on the type of study materials you want to be included with the package.

Who this certification is meant for?

This certification is meant for people that love group exercise training.

If you would rather be the class leader instead of doing one-on-one personal training, this could be your next advancement as a personal trainer.

There are some benefits to group exercise training. You can make more money per session compared to one-on-one training.

If you have ten people paying only $10 per group session, that’s $100 in one hour.

This a significant increase from your single personal training sessions.

Who this certification is not meant for?

Group personal training might not be for you if you prefer the privacy of one-on-one sessions.

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If you are more of an introvert than an extrovert, this might make you uncomfortable being a class leader.

You can also work more intimately with one-on-one personal training.

You can create specialized programs, and typically your clients will see much better results because they have a program specifically designed for them.

2) ACE health coach certification Review

In my opinion, the ACE health coach certification is a blend of nutrition, behavior, and fitness certifications.

This reminds me of lifestyle coaching that teaches tactics and strategies to help people get moving and change their bad habits into healthier ones.

The health coach certification aims to provide long-term sustainable solutions and behaviors for your clients so they can live longer and healthier lives.

You learn how to facilitate and prepare individuals for changes in their lifestyles.

People can get extremely stuck in their daily routines and bad habits.

Unsticking this ingrained behavior is not nearly as easy as we would like it to be.

The health coach certification teaches you exactly how to go about doing this.

Check out my full review on the ACE health coach certification or my complete guide on how to start off as a health coach.

How much does the ACE health coach certification cost?

Currently, there are two different prices for the ace health coach certification.

The premium edition costs $599. The Standard Edition costs $549.

The more expensive plan offers a payment option where you can finance your certification.

It also provides some additional study material that helps grasp the knowledge and pass the test.

Who is the ACE health coach certification for?

I like to call the Health coach certifications pre-personal training certifications.

Your typical personal training clients already have some self-motivation and good habits to get into the gym and work out with you.

Health coaching is for people that are stuck in a rut and need to be dragged out of it.

If you know plenty of individuals that need help like this, this certification might be perfect for you.

Who is the ACE health coach certification not for?

If you are already working with generally healthy individuals that have decent habits, this might not be the specialization for you.

For example, if you are working with athletes or young adults that want to focus on peak performance training.

This type of advanced certification would not help them too much because they already have good habits.

3) ACE medical exercise specialist  Review

The ACE medical exercise specialist certification lets you empower people with chronic injuries or illnesses to live a more comfortable and healthy life through movement.

The goal of this program is to help your clients alleviate the pain and symptoms that they suffer from with their chronic conditions.

It also gives you insight into how you can stop this pain from occurring altogether.

If you are looking to go down this route, you will be working with many allied health professionals and healthcare providers in developing designed routines.

How much does the medical exercise specialist certification cost?

Currently, there are two different study packages.

The standard package costs $499, whereas the premium package costs $599.

The premium access lets you finance your certification and provides more study materials and practice tests to help you along the way.

Who is the medical exercise specialist meant for?

The medical exercise specialist is a fantastic option if you work with multiple individuals with chronic health problems or pain.

If multiple members in your gymnasium or area are recuperating from a chronic injury, you can open up the market with this specialization certification.

Who is the medical exercise specialist not meant for?

On the other end of the spectrum, if you generally work with healthy individuals or there are not too many people with chronic problems that go to your gym, you might want to specialize in another area.

It is always wise to specialize in an area with a market for your skills.

If you work with ordinary people, I will focus my energies elsewhere.

The 6 advanced ACE Specialization programs

1: ACE senior fitness specialist Review

As the baby boomer population ages, there will be more and more senior fitness specialists to train these individuals optimally.

There are approximately 10,000 baby boomers that retire every single day in the States.

Once retired, they look towards other hobbies and ways to fill their time.

Getting started with exercise is one of the primary things that they begin to focus on.

This is one of the biggest markets for personal training available to personal trainers today.

As a senior fitness specialist, you’ll specialize in clients over 55 years of age.

You will learn how to modify your personal training sessions and exercise to help prevent the deterioration of muscles, preserve bone density, and increase your overall quality of life.

How much does the ACE senior fitness specialist certification cost?

There are currently two payment options; the first one costs $496 and includes a digital copy of the textbook and a hard copy.

The standard version only costs $399 and only includes an electronic book copy.

As a senior fitness specialist, you’ll specialize in clients over 55 years of age.

Who is the senior fitness specialist meant for?

This certification is meant for individuals who have a large market for people over the age of 55.

A simple test you should do is to look around your gym and estimate how many people are over 55.

If you notice that there are a lot of individuals of this age, this could be a massive market for your personal training career.

Suppose you are already working with individuals over 55. In that case, the senior fitness specialist certification will give you a much more in-depth knowledge of the emotional, social, and physical aspects that your clients deal with and how you can modify your workout routines to accommodate them.

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Who is it not meant for?

If you generally work with younger or middle-aged clients, this knowledge will also not apply to your client base.

You would be better off earning a nutrition certification or performance enhancement certification.

2: ACE weight management specialist Review

The population of overweight and obese individuals in the United States has been increasing for decades now.

Approximately $33 billion is spent every single year on weight loss products.

There is a significant need for personal trainers and weight loss experts to help combat this epidemic.

The ACE weight management specialist certification is a fantastic option for individuals primarily working with overweight and obese individuals.

With the Ace weight management specialization program, you will gain the knowledge needed to help clients lose weight through behavior changing strategies, nutrition, and exercise.

You will gain insight into the psyche of clients that are overweight or obese.

You will learn how to relate to the problems they are suffering, offer advice, and create perfect weight loss plans for them individually.

How much does the ACE weight management program cost?

The weight management program currently costs $399.

Who is the weight management specialist program for?

If you are currently working with a significant amount of overweight or obese individuals, the knowledge from the weight management program will be extremely beneficial to you and your clients.

If you are working in an area with a significant amount of overweight individuals, you can offer them your specialized weight loss services.

In multiple cities in the United States, there is a huge market for weight loss specialists.

Who is the weight management specialist certification not for?

If you are typically working with healthy individuals that do not have a body mass index that indicates them as overweight, a different specialization would be a better option.

3: ACE functional training specialist Review

Over the last decade, functional training has become a significant part of the vocabulary of personal trainers.

Effective functional training can help a wide variety of clientele, from patients that are rehabbing all the way to professional athletes.

Functional training taps into the ability to increase joint stability and balance in all planes of movement.

It comes down to moving more efficiently.

This can improve sports performance and activities of daily life and help prevent all types of injuries.

As a functional training specialist, you’ll learn how to assess the lousy movement patterns of your clients and address those concerns so that they can perform better.

You will help increase your client’s stability and mobility so that they can do functional movements efficiently and challenge their bodies without getting injured.

Functional training taps into the ability to increase joint stability and balance in all planes of movement.

How much does the functional training specialist program cost?

The cost of the functional training specialist program is currently $399.

Who is the functional training specialist program for?

The functional training specialist program was designed for fitness professionals who want to learn about efficient movement.

This range of movement efficiency can range from athletes who want a more stable core to perform better to elderly adults that need to focus on stability training to move pain-free on a day-to-day basis efficiently.

This program and the knowledge you will learn from it has tons of application purposes.

Who is the functional training program not for?

This program might not be perfect for somebody in a different direction they want to take their personal training career.

What I mean by this is that the concepts in this certification lightly apply to almost every single personal training client.

But on the one hand, if you want to get into sports performance, a pure sports performance certification is better for you.

If you want to get into corrective exercise, a pure corrective exercise certification is better than a functional training certification.

Functional training does work for both of these practices but does not completely cover one or the other.

4: ACE behavior change specialist Review

The ACE behavior change specialist is a particular certification.

It reminds me of the chapters in the health coach certification about how to change habits and create stronger, healthier ones.

We are all capable of doing great things.

Sometimes we get stuck in a rut or in a bad habit that doesn’t let us reach our health goals or live life to its potential. Its well-known habits are hard to break.

As personal trainers, part of our job is to motivate and teach good habits to our clients.

The only problem is that we were never trained to instruct our clients to build new habits.

This is where the behavior change specialist comes into play.

Ultimately, you will be an expert in coaching good behavior and have an arsenal of tactics to kill old counterproductive habits.

You will help build healthy behavior regarding exercising more, eating clean, or making overall healthy choices.

How much does the behavior change certification cost?

Currently, there are two different prices for the behavior change specialist program.

The e-book plus hardcopy version costs $534. The e-book-only option costs $499.

Who is the behavior change program for?

Most trainers can get fantastic use out of the behavior change program.

As personal trainers, we know our clients already see us as mentors.

Most clients turn to me for all kinds of lifestyle (and other) advice.

The only problem is most people are not qualified to give lifestyle advice, or at least they do not have the tools to efficiently and effectively do so.

Whether you are training athletes, obese clients, kids, or seniors, the behavior change certification can be helpful.

No matter who you are, there’s always some habit you can switch out for a better one.

Who is the behavior change programs not for?

If you have already gone through a health coach certification, you might consider skipping over this because there is a lot of duplicate content through both of them.

5: ACE youth fitness specialist Review

Did you know that approximately 75% of children do not reach their recommended daily physical activity levels?

With the increase in movies, shows, video games, and cellular devices, our children are becoming increasingly sedentary.

Overweight and obesity rates have been rising for the past few decades and show no sign of slowing down.

On top of this, physical education in schools is at an all-time low.

Did you know that approximately 75% of all children do not reach their recommended levels of daily physical activity?

The ACE youth fitness specialist certification is designed to help kids and youth get the exercise they need through training principles that apply to them.

This helps children build healthy habits using physical activity to take these principles and knowledge into adulthood.

How much does the youth specialist program cost?

The e-book and hardcopy version of the youth fitness program costs $480.

The e-book only option costs $399.

Who is the ACE youth specialist program for?

This program is fantastic for people that work with teenagers and kids primarily.

I would say that this is not the majority of personal trainers; there is a market for youth personal training in some cities.

Who is the ACE youth specialist program not for?

If you are like most personal trainers and primarily work with adults and seniors, this certification might not be the one to choose.

6: ACE fitness nutrition specialist Review

As personal trainers, practically 100% of us have given nutrition advice to clients at one time or another and if you haven’t, I don’t believe it.

Sure, as fitness enthusiasts, we have read tons of stuff on nutrition.

This still doesn’t give us the essential qualifications we would need to provide this nutrition advice to our clients.

The fitness nutrition certification from ACE combines nutrition advice with behavior change advice into one unique certification.

It reminds me of a portion of their health coach certification as well.

Nutrition is the other half of the overall successful health and fitness program.

If your client is extremely motivated in the gym but goes home and eats pizza and cake, and doughnuts all day, they won’t see the results that they should.

With a fitness nutrition specialist program, you will tie both ends of the spectrum and be a much more rounded personal trainer.

This also allows personal trainers to sell an additional service.

The personal trainers that are the most successful financially are very good at marketing their nutrition services as an additional service to pay for.

This can significantly help personal trainers become financially successful.

How much does the ACE fitness nutrition specialist program cost?

The e-book and hard copy versions cost $449.

The e-book only version costs $374.

Who is the fitness nutrition program for?

The fitness nutrition specialist program is perfect for any personal trainer who needs to increase their fitness nutrition knowledge and combine it with exercise.

This is for any personal trainer who wants to sell an additional service to their existing personal training clients.

This is a fantastic way to earn more money.

Who is the fitness nutrition program not for?

This certification is not for personal trainers with a strong nutrition and diet background.

This goes for nutritionists or registered dietitians.

An educative piece: Top fitness nutrition specialist certifications

How you can utilize your advanced certification/Program

These ACE advanced specialization certifications can be beneficial in the advancement of your personal training career.

We live in a world where everybody specializes in one way or another.

Think about it this way, if you were sick and had to go to the doctor, would you prefer to go to a specialist or a general doctor?

If you have something wrong with your heart, would you go to a cardiologist or general doctor instead?

Specializing in one area or another can make you stand out from the other personal trainers with general CPT certifications.

No matter which general CPT you possess, your knowledge with specialization training, in addition to a general CPT, is always more valuable.

It lets you market your specific skills and charge more because of your specialized knowledge.

You must utilize this, market your skill sets, and make more money as a personal trainer.

You can make two separate price categories for people interested in your training services.

You can do general personal training priced packages and specialized training from your knowledge of ACE specializations or other advanced certifications.

Certified Personal Trainer Course and NCCA Accredited Exam

Well, that’s about it for my article on the best ACE personal trainer certifications.

I hope I helped you break down each certification and that you can better understand which advanced accreditation is right for you.

I also suggest you take the quiz to see which personal training certification is best for you.

ACE Certifications Reviews - Advanced Certs Comparison 2
ACE Certifications Reviews - Advanced Certs Comparison 3

Suppose you are looking for continuing education credits for ACE, NASM, ISSA, ACSM, NSCA, or others. In that case, any one of these advanced certifications will serve you very well compared to purchasing the bare minimum continuing education.

ACE Specialization

Specializing in any of the best personal trainer certifications can open up doors to the clientele that you did not have before.

It can also open up doors that let you be financially more successful.

Overall I think that ACE has an excellent array of personal training certifications that you can specialize in.

If you want to specialize in sports specific training or strength and conditioning, I recommend checking out the NASM PES certification.

So, which ACE certification will you choose on your journey as a personal trainer? What do you want to specialize in?

What type of clients do you want to work with in the future? How can you better help your current clients reach their goals through specializing?

Leave me a comment down below so we can start a conversation about advanced certifications!

Tyler Read

Tyler Read, BSc, CPT. Tyler holds a B.S. in Kinesiology from Sonoma State University and is a certified personal trainer (CPT) with NASM (National Academy of sports medicine), and has over 15 years of experience working as a personal trainer. He is a published author of running start, and a frequent contributing author on Healthline and Eat this, not that.

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2 thoughts on “ACE Certifications Reviews – Advanced Certs Comparison”

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      The NFPT is a great certification. It is easier than some other certification such as the National Academy of sports medicine, acsm or nsca. It is a pretty decent certification though in a lot of different health clubs accept it as a valid personal training certification.

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