Clinical Certifications

In This Section:

ACSM Clinical Certifications

ACSM Announces Merger of CEP and RCEP Certifications

Move Raises Bar, Increases Value of New ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist® (ACSM-CEP®) Designation

After significant research and deliberations, the ACSM Committee on Certification and Registry Board (CCRB) has announced its intent to transition to a single clinical exercise physiologist certification exam (ACSM-CEP®) by the end of 2018. The new certification will merge together ACSM’s current Clinical Exercise Physiologist (CEP)and Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist (RCEP) certifications. The new ACSM-CEP® will continue to raise the standard of excellence for clinical exercise physiologist certifications in the industry.

The ACSM-CEP®  will not only provide more value because of its recognized quality, it will better position you among potential employers in the following ways:

  • Employers currently have difficulty differentiating between CEPs and RCEPs in job descriptions or performance goals; and,

  • A single clinical certification would substantially clarify the job role of clinical exercise professionals for certificants, employers and university stakeholders.

For an overview of the current clinical certifications, the new ACSM-CEP® certification, the transition timeline and frequently asked questions, see the information below.

CEP and RCEP through Oct 31, 2018

Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist 

The ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist (CEP) works with patients and clients challenged with cardiovascular, pulmonary, and metabolic diseases and disorders, as well as with apparently healthy populations in cooperation with other healthcare professionals. The goal of the CEP is to enhance quality of life, manage health risk, and promote lasting health behavior change. 

Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist® 

The ACSM Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist (RCEP) is an allied health professional that applies physical activity and behavioral interventions that have been shown to provide therapeutic and/or functional benefit for those with chronic diseases or disabilities. The RCEP provides prevention and rehabilitative strategies designed to improve physical fitness and health across the lifespan.

IMPORTANT: The RCEP exam is no longer offered

ACSM-CEP begins Dec 3, 2018

ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist

New CEP Application Available HERE

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; examples include, but are not limited to, individuals with cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, orthopedic, musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, neoplastic, immunologic and hematologic diseases. The ACSM-CEP® provides primary and secondary prevention strategies designed to improve, maintain or attenuate declines in fitness and health in populations ranging from children to older adults.

The ACSM-CEP® provides exercise screening, exercise and fitness testing, exercise prescriptions, exercise and physical activity counseling, exercise supervision, exercise and health education/promotion, and measurement and evaluation of exercise and physical activity-related outcome measures. The ACSM-CEP® works individually or as part of an interdisciplinary team in a clinical, community or public health setting. ACSM-CEPs® may receive referrals from a referring practitioner to implement exercise protocols. The practice and supervision of the ACSM-CEP® is guided by published professional guidelines and standards and applicable state and federal laws and regulations.

Clinical Exercise Physiologist 2018-19 Timeline:

• Sep 2, 2018: ACSM stops taking RCEP applications
• Sep 3, 2018: ACSM-CEP applications available  
• Oct 31, 2018: final day of RCEP and CEP administrations
• Nov 1 - Dec 2, 2017: CEP, RCEP administrative blackout
• Dec 3 - 31, 2018: *ACSM-CEP operational beta available 
• Jan 1 - Feb 28, 2019: standard setting, psychometric analyses, and final scoring
• Mar 1, 2019: *beta scores released and instant scoring available


  • What are the minimum requirements to take the new ACSM-CEP exam?

  • Do RCEPs have pay for, and then take, the replacement ACSM-CEP certification?