Tips for Successfully Preparing For Your ACE Certification Exam

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In 2019, there were approximately 370,000 group fitness instructors and personal trainers employed in the United States. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, that number is expected to grow 15% by 2029. This trend is understandable. Regular physical activity is one of the most significant things you can do to improve your quality of life. Physicians are prescribing exercise for both chronic disease prevention and disease management. Mental health experts are recommending exercise to improve mood and reduce stress, and more and more employers are implementing worksite wellness programs to improve the health and fitness of their employees and to safeguard their bottom line. Qualified health and exercise professionals will be pivotal in ushering our society into a healthier and more active version of itself.

If you are thinking about a full- or part-time career in health and fitness, you have likely already looked into the process of earning an accredited certification. Holding a nationally recognized certification will improve your job opportunities in the health and fitness industry and will enhance your credibility. Moreover, obtaining your certification will establish a framework for life-long learning and professional development. Pursuing a health and fitness certification can be extremely rewarding, but it can also be daunting. You will need to make time to study and master content that may be unfamiliar to you. Developing a game plan now can set you up for future success. Here are a few tips to help you successfully prepare foryour ACE certification exam.

1. Order Your Study Materials and Create a Study Schedule

Establishing a structured study schedule will be paramount to your success. ACE recommends that you give yourself three to four months to study and prepare for your certification exam. You may need more or less time depending on your unique situation. For example, a candidate with an academic background in exercise science may move through the anatomy and physiology materials more quickly than someone without such a background. A candidate with ample discretionary time may find it easier to commit to daily study sessions than someone with several competing priorities. Previewing study materials and speaking to other certified health and exercise professionals can help you decide what an adequate study schedule might look like for you. ACE’s certification study programs include access to ACE University, where you receive step-by-step guidance throughout the exam preparation process. Study programs also include your textbook, practice tests, a study companion and other exam preparation resources. You can preview one of ACE’s certification study programs here.

2. Get Practical

Applying theoretical knowledge to real-world fitness settings is one of the best ways to begin developing your health and fitness skill set. Learning that the quadriceps muscles extend the knee through your studies is important. However, transferring this information to a setting in which you are able to effectively teach a group of exercisers how to properly execute a squat to strengthen the quadriceps muscles is the related practical skill that you will need to develop. Consider finding an exercise professional to serve as a mentor as you work to put theory into practice. You could shadow a personal trainer for a day or teach the warm-up and cool-down portions of a mentor’s group fitness class. These practical experiences will boost your confidence as you prepare for your certification exam and your new career in health and fitness. For more tips and additional resources check out ACE Answers.

3. Register for Your Personal Trainer or Group Fitness Instructor Exam When You Are Nearing the End of Your Studies and Feeling Confident

Once you have decided that you are ready to make this investment in your health and fitness career, register for your certification exam. Registering for a specific exam date will help you to establish a clear and concrete goal that you can begin to work toward. Before registering, be sure you meet the following ACE certification eligibility requirements:

  • You must be at least 18 years old at time of registration.
  • You must have completed high school (or the equivalent).
  • You must hold a current adult CPR/AED certificate with a live skills check.
  • You must present a current government-issued photo ID with signature (e.g., driver license, passport, military ID).

Earning your certification is just the beginning. Your ACE credential will open up a world of possibilities, and the career that follows will likely impact more lives than you could ever imagine. Enjoy every minute of the journey.

Check out the ACE Certification Exam Guide for more tips and advice on passing your exam!

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