NASM Fitness Certification Reviews

When it comes to personal trainer certification, there are three exams that dominate the market: NASM, ACE, and ACSM. When deciding which program to choose, individuals should bear in mind their career goals, how highly regarded a particular certification is over another, as well as the various specializations the programs offer.

What is NASM? Is NASM a Good Certification?

NASM stands for the National Association of Sports Medicine. They are highly regarded when it comes to producing quality personal trainers. The NASM program will provide you with a solid foundation to prepare you to train the majority of people you encounter, including modifications for various health and mobility conditions. The program will help you to design well informed workouts to target specific areas for improvement. Most gyms will accept a NASM certified personal trainer (CPT), so it is a good choice if you plan on ultimately working in a gym.


The American Council on Exercise (ACE) program is widely considered to be the easier of the three exams as it has the highest pass rate. Because of this, some gyms will not accept trainers who are only ACE certified. Some reviews online indicate otherwise, but if you want to be sure to obtain a job at your local gym, consider NASM instead.


The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) certification is often considered the most difficult to obtain. It is also the only one of the three discussed here that requires a college degree in a related field for some of their exams such as the ACSM Certified Health Fitness Specialist. The other primary difference between NASM and ACSM is the clientele focus. NASM hones in on the average American going to the gym. This most often means they are sedentary, potentially have health problems, and are not in peak physical condition. The ACSM is tailored more toward working with highly skilled or professional athletes. Ultimately, your career aspirations should determine which certification you choose.

Additional Fitness and Nutrition Certifications

Many CPT programs offer additional specialization certifications once you pass the initial exam. These include MMA conditioning, group personal training, fitness nutrition, and more. The primary purpose of these is to expand your clientele and skills to help you advance your career.