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ACSM Announces Name Change for Exercise Physiologist Certifications

by User Not Found | Feb 04, 2015

For Immediate Release: February 4, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS—The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) announced today that the names of two ACSM exercise professional certifications will be revised to better represent the scope of practice and expertise of the exercise professionals holding these titles. The new titles, ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist and ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist, will replace ACSM Certified Health Fitness Specialist and ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist, respectively.

“Exercise professionals holding an academic degree have additional knowledge that is not duplicated in other health-related professions,” said Bill Simpson, Ph.D., a fellow of ACSM and chairperson of the Committee on Certification and Registry Boards (CCRB) executive committee that championed the name change process. “Naming these certifications ‘exercise physiologist’ helps the public better understand and recognize the high level of training and education these exercise professionals have attained.”

ACSM conducted extensive research prior to updating the titles of its certifications, surveying certified professionals, fitness industry employers, health and medical partners and the general public. The survey data showed the new names resonated with audiences across the board, with more than 70 percent of all individuals surveyed agreeing with the new titles.

The first organization to certify health fitness professionals, ACSM establishes the exercise guidelines that all other certifications use for training and certification and, therefore, continues to set the standards in the fitness industry. ACSM is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world, and has more than 25,000 certified professionals in 44 countries.

A summary of ACSM’s exercise professional certifications is below:

Past Title

New Title

Scope of Practice

ACSM Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist

No change

  • Required master’s degree in exercise science
  • Certified to work in clinically monitored exercise settings with individuals with cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, orthopedic, musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, neoplastic, immunologic or hematologic disease

ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist

ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist

  • Required bachelor’s degree in exercise science
  • Certified to work in clinically monitored exercise settings with patients with cardiovascular, pulmonary and metabolic diseases and disorders

ACSM Certified Health Fitness Specialist

ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist

  • Required bachelor’s degree in exercise science
  • Certified to train apparently healthy populations and those with uncomplicated medically controlled diseases cleared for independent physical activity
  • Includes fitness management, administration and supervision
For more information, please see FAQ’s or visit the ACSM Certification webpage.

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