Degree Requirements Exercise Physiologist | ACSM Certification

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Degree requirements for the ACSM Exercise Physiologist Certification (ACSM-EP)

The academic eligibility requirement to take the ACSM-EP exam is a baccalaureate degree or higher from a regionally accredited college or university with a major in exercise science, or equivalent. Candidates are eligible to take the examination in the last semester of their degree program.


An equivalent major refers to the completion of a degree which includes, at minimum, the following:

A minimum of 21 semester or 28 quarter hours of exercise science courses that clearly identifies the following content:

  • Exercise Physiology (this should be, at minimum, a 3.0 credit stand-alone course, or equivalent)

  • Strength and Conditioning (course[s] should include principles of strength and conditioning, not simply a 1 credit hour activity course on strength training.)

  • Applied Kinesiology or Biomechanics

  • Anatomy and Physiology (this could be either a combined course or separate courses)

  • Exercise Testing and Prescription (course[s] should include exercise testing and prescription for healthy populations and special considerations such as children, older adults, pregnancy, diseased populations, etc.)

  • Special populations (course[s] should include pathophysiology on a range of conditions, including CVD, pulmonary, metabolic, older adults, pregnancy, etc.)

  • Health Risk Appraisal (course[s] should include information on risk stratification or classification given a variety of health conditions.)

*There is no petitioning process for non-exercise science based degree programs nor consideration made for past experience. You must meet the above criteria.