ACSM Releases Updated Code of Ethics for Certified Professionals

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ACSM Releases Updated Code of Ethics for Certified Professionals

May 23, 2023
One of the annual responsibilities of the ACSM Committee on Certification and Registry Boards (CCRB)  Executive Committee (EC) is a review of operating policies. This review ensures that the CCRB is consistently evaluating its certification practices and meeting industry best practices.  As such, the CCRB Ethics Committee compared the revised ACSM Member Code of Ethics to the Code of Ethics for ACSM Credentialed Professionals (ACSMCP). Both documents were in alignment. Minimal changes were approved by the CCRB EC in May 2022.

ACSM Certification Code of Ethics 

Approved revisions by the CCRB Executive Council, May, 2023
APPROVED by the CCRB Executive Council, May, 2005
APPROVED by the ACSM Board of Trustees, June, 2005 


This Code of Ethics is intended to aid all certified and registered American College of Sports Medicine Credentialed Professionals (ACSMCP) to establish and maintain a high level of ethical conduct, as defined by standards by which an ACSMCP may determine the appropriateness of conduct. Any existing professional, licensure or certification affiliations that ACSMCPs have with governmental, local, state or national agencies or organizations will take precedence relative to any disciplinary matters that pertain to practice or professional conduct.  Any expulsion, suspension, probation or other sanction imposed by the government agency on any ACSMCP is grounds for disciplinary action by the College. 

This Code applies to all ACMCP's, regardless of ACSM membership status (includes members and non-members). Any cases in violation of this Code will be referred to the ACSM CCRB Executive Council and the CCRB Ethics subcommittee, and if appropriate the ACSM Committee on Ethics and Professional Conduct as well. 


Responsibility to the Public 
ACSMCPs shall be dedicated to providing competent and legally permissible services within the scope of the Knowledge and Skills (KSs) of their respective credential. These services shall be provided with integrity, competence, diligence, and compassion. 

ACSMCPs provide exercise information in a manner that is consistent with evidence-based science and medicine. 

ACSMCPs respect the rights of clients, colleagues, and health professionals, and shall safeguard client confidences within the boundaries of the law. 

Information relating to the ACSMCP/client relationship is confidential and may not be communicated to a third party not involved in that client’s care without the prior written consent of the client or as required by law. 

ACSMCPs are truthful about their qualifications and the limitations of their expertise and provide services consistent with their competencies. 

Responsibility to the Profession 
ACSMCPs maintain high professional standards. As such, an ACSMCP should never represent themself, either directly or indirectly, as anything other than an ACSMCP unless they hold other license/certification that allows them to do so. 

ACSMCPs practice within the scope of their knowledge, skills, and abilities. ACSMCPs will not provide services that are limited by state law to provision by another health care professional only. 

An ACSMCP must remain in good standing relative to governmental requirements as a condition of continued Credentialing. 

ACSMCPs take credit, including authorship, only for work they have actually performed and give credit to the contributions of others as warranted. 

Consistent with the requirements of their certification or registration, ACSMCPs must complete approved, additional educational course work aimed at maintaining and advancing their knowledge and skills. 

ACSMCPs must maintain high professional and scientific standards and should not knowingly collaborate with or support anyone who violates these fundamental principles. 

ACSMCPs must safeguard the public against those whom do not demonstrate the highest ethical conduct in their professional work.  

Duty to report code of ethics violations  

ACSMCPs have a duty to report when there are reasonable grounds to suspect unethical conduct or harassment at an ACSM location or sponsored event or a violation of this code of conduct related to any ACSM activities.  

Process for receiving complaints and investigating ethical breeches or harassment charges  

ACSM has an online portal for reporting violation of this code of ethics by a member, ACSMCP, or associate at an ACSM sponsored event or activity. Access the form here.

All reported allegations will be reviewed by the CCRB Ethics Committee. The committee may determine the need for more facts before rendering a decision regarding additional investigation. ACSM will maintain anonymity where possible to ensure a proper resolution of all reports of misconduct. 


Candidates applying for a Credentialing examination must comply with all eligibility requirements and to the best of their abilities, accurately complete the application process. In addition, the candidate must refrain from any and all behavior that could be interpreted as “irregular” (please refer to the policy on irregular behavior). 


Candidates and certificants may be disciplined or lose their certification or registry status for conduct which, in the opinion of the Executive Committee of the ACSM Committee on Certification and Registry Boards, goes against the principles set forth in the Code of Ethics for ACSM Certified and Registered Professionals. Such cases will be reviewed by the ACSM CCRB Ethics subcommittee, which may include a liaison from the ACSM Committee on Ethics and Professional Conduct, as needed, based on the ACSM membership status of the ACSMCP. The ACSM Ethics subcommittee will make an action recommendation to the ACSM Committee on Certification and Registry Boards Executive Council for final review and approval. 

The CCRB EC shall maintain a record of all appeals, take appropriate action regarding the appeal in a timely manner, and document the actions taken. Candidates or certificants who perceive a lack of due process may appeal to the CCRB EC. 

An appeal to the CCRB EC must be made in writing signed by the appellant, addressed to the CCRB EC and received within thirty (30) days of the date of a decision. The written appeal must identify the applicable rules or circumstances that are the basis for the appeal. 

Under circumstance of an appeal, the CCRB EC shall form an ad hoc CCRB Ethics Appeal Panel. The CCRB Ethics Appeal Panel shall consist of three (3) CCRB EC members appointed by the Chair of CCRB and the National Director shall serve as Secretary in a non-voting capacity. 

The CCRB Ethics Appeal Panel shall examine the appellant’s claim, review the recommended corrective actions recommended by CCRB Ethics and Professional Conduct Subcommittee, verify that all measures of due process have been met by the appellant and the CCRB Ethics and Professional Conduct Subcommittee. The CCRB Ethics Appeal Panel must operate under conditions of confidentiality and manage all appeals so as resolution is done in an efficient and timely manner. All decisions by the CCRB Ethics Appeal Panel are final. The CCRB EC may report on the status and outcome of appeals in accordance with ACSM confidentiality policies. 

Any member of the CCRB Ethics Appeal Panel with a potential conflict of interest must recuse themselves from a specific appeal where a conflict is apparent. The CCRB Chair shall then appoint an alternate to the CCRB Ethics Appeal Panel. 

File an Ethics Complaint