The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has developed a new examination and certification to review and validate the knowledge and abilities of personal trainers. The new exam and credential will allow many more members of the general public to have access to fitness professionals with valid certifications from a reputable source, allowing ACSM’s world-class and evidence-based influence to spread at the grass-roots level.
ACSM considers the implementation of the new ACSM certified Personal Trainer™ program to be a key strategy in addressing the rising rate of obesity in the U.S. and other countries as well as the large number of people who not engage in a sufficient level of physical activity. Through this new certification, ACSM also hopes to enhance public safety, as many individuals rely on personal trainers as a primary source of health and fitness advice. The influx of ACSM professionals will help alleviate existing confusion among the public and employers about what constitutes a quality/credible certification.
To become an ACSM certified Personal Trainer™, a professional must demonstrate critical knowledge similar to the requirements for ACSM’s existing certifications. Those certifications are based on the most rigorous examinations that exist, and individuals who pass are among the best-prepared professionals in the field. The new certification, however, will allow professionals who have not attained a bachelor’s degree to be certified by ACSM.
"One third or more of the personal trainers currently interacting with the general public have not earned a college degree,” said Steven J. Keteyian, Ph.D., FACSM, Chair of ACSM’s committee responsible for certification programs. “This, coupled with the industry’s astonishing potential for growth, represents a tremendous opportunity to improve the public’s health. We need to ensure that these individuals have the knowledge that will enable them to provide not only safe instruction but also highly effective guidance to clients and the public.”
The additional certification will enhance and complement ACSM’s existing product line, which includes the ACSM Health/Fitness Instructor, ACSM Exercise Specialist, and ACSM Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist. ACSM will now be able to position well-trained and properly prepared professionals along the entire continuum of the health and fitness industry, from health clubs to outpatient medical clinics.
“Those who become ACSM certified Personal Trainers™ will not only possess, but demonstrate mastery of the core knowledge that will enable them to deliver exercise counsel safely and effectively within a well-defined scope of practice,” said Mike Niederpruem, ACSM National Director of Certification and Registry Programs. “They will not hesitate to refer individuals to other exercise professionals whose training and preparation have equipped them to deal with more complex health issues and risks.”
ACSM includes the world’s foremost experts in exercise physiology, cardiology, sports nutrition, biomechanics, public health, and all medical and scientific disciplines relevant to the fitness professional. ACSM will be organizing an array of services and information to assist personal trainers in their education and continued professional growth.
Through an exclusive partnership with the electronic testing company Pearson VUE, ACSM will provide computer-based testing for the new ACSM certified Personal Trainer exam. The exam will be the first in the industry to offer “on-demand” testing and immediate results notification. Candidates can be examined at a date and time of their choosing at any of Pearson VUE's 3,700 authorized testing centers around the world. Candidates will receive a printout of their exam results, broken down by content area, which includes their pass/fail status.