Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Ok...Here's one for ACE


Hey John,
I came across your website from the jpfitness.com forums. You responded to a post back in 2007 to a somebody who wanted advice on studying for the NSCA-CPT exam. The person didn't seem to like your advice much, but you seem really knowledgeable and straight forward about certifications. So... I figured you'd be the best person to ask for some advice!

I currently do not have experience in personal training, but have always been interested in the fitness industry. Anyways, I have a BS degree in dental hygiene (I know, totally unrelated field) and have taken university courses in Anatomy & Physiology, Human Biology, Physiology & Nutrition. Do you think I will be able to grasp the material better? or still be completely lost?

And since I have no background experience, I know you believe in getting an entry level cert. first, such as ACE. I don't know how true it is, but I've been hearing a lot that the ACE cert. is not fully respected by most trainers, and when they hear you have ACE, it's a joke. Perhaps it's a west coast thing?


Thanks so much!-Christina


Hi Christina,

Thanks for checking out my posts and website. I think, based on your current level of knowledge and education, that you can grasp the material better then most people. The question is...how long has been since you have been in these courses...3 years, 5 years, 10 years? I think with any certification, you will receive the textbooks and be required to study--just like any other course. With your prior education, I think you will pick up the info quickly.

Secondly...ACE (American Council on Exercise) is widely accepted but I have always thought it was a good "foot in the door" cert. People still laugh at it, but ACE has really beefed up their course since I originally took the exam 9 years ago. It really depends on what you want to do with this certification? Do you want to work part-time in fitness? Do you want to leave your dental hygienist position and become a full-time trainer? If you choose the latter, than I would recommend a more advanced certification like NASM. Again, it really depends on what type of 'career depth' you are looking for. ACE is fine if you want to work a couple hours a week training clients. But if you want to work 30-40 hours, then go for a more advanced certification. Your fee rates and salary will be reflective of your qualifications depending on the facility you choose to be employed by, or the type of clientele/community you work with (if you work on your own).

For instance, it is like obtaining an Associates degree...today AS degrees don't really mean much, but they represent some college education (2 years). A bachelors degree represents "more" college education (4 years) and the pay scale and "worth" is a bit on the better side. A Masters degree is an "advanced" degree and represents even more education (6 years) and puts you at the forefront as a trusted and educated professional. Certifications work the same way. Right now, in my opinion, the best "employable" certs are NSCA, ACSM, NASM, and ACE.

If you check out my book, "Secret Skills of Personal Training", I ALWAYS advocate getting your foot in the door and gaining experience. If an entry level cert, like ACE, allows you to do that, than you are already a step ahead of gaining more experience. You will find that experience is always a better teacher than a book. I hope this helps!

(That was my gift to ACE. Hope you enjoy your holiday with friends and family! See you back here on Friday!)


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