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Which Certification is Right for You?

ACSM develops and administers four core health fitness certification programs, each with a unique population and/or programming focus.





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Group Exercise Instructor

The ACSM Certified Group Exercise Instructor (ACSM-GEI) possesses a minimum of a high school diploma and works in a group exercise setting with apparently healthy individuals and those with health challenges who can exercise independently. The ACSM-GEI develops and leads safe and effective exercise programs using a variety of leadership techniques to foster group camaraderie, support and motivation.

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Exercise Physiologist

The ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist® (ACSM-EP®) works with apparently healthy clients and those with medically controlled diseases to establish safe and effective exercise and healthy lifestyle behaviors to optimize both health and quality of life. The ACSM-EP® has a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and is usually self-employed or employed in commercial, community, studio, worksite health promotion, university, and hospital-based fitness settings.

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Personal Trainer

The ACSM Certified Personal Trainer (ACSM-CPT®), possessing a high school diploma or GED at minimum, works primarily with apparently healthy individuals to enhance fitness. The ACSM-CPT® also works with individuals who have stable health challenges and are cleared to exercise independently. They assesses behavior adaptation readiness and offers guidance in the development of realistic, client-centered goals related to health, fitness and wellness. 

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woman conducting a Vo2 Max test

Clinical Exercise Physiologist

The ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist® (ACSM-CEP®) is an allied health professional with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in exercise science or equivalent and 1,200 hours of clinical hands-on experience or a master’s degree in clinical exercise physiology and 600 hours of hands-on clinical experience. ACSM-CEPs® utilize prescribed exercise, basic health behavior interventions and promote physical activity for individuals with chronic diseases or conditions.

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