What Are the Differences Between the Personal Trainer Notifications?


When people plan on starting their personal training career it usually comes down to one of these four programs. ACE, ACSM, ISSA, and NASM, are the four programs that comprise the top certifications to have. 

Usually, people want to know which program has the best features and how they differ. Because they are alike in so many ways this is going to be a breakdown of each individual program separately to stop confusion. 

There is no definitive right answer because each has its own unique focus, so it depends on the trainer you want to become. When choosing a program it is important to make the right decision the first time because of the money you will be investing in this program. 

Whichever program you choose it is important to get an ace study guide, it will allow you to have a breakdown of each section so you can pass the test the first time. There is going to be a lot of information so sit back and take some notes. First up we have ACE.

What is ACE?

ACE ( American Council on Exercise ) With its patented Integrated Fitness Training Model, the company focuses on individualized training programs for all types of people, including special populations. People who want to work with a variety of clients while improving their health can become certified personal trainers with ACE. 

It is one of the most widely accepted CPT certifications among fitness employers. The ACE organization is structured and transparent. It provides a well-rounded personal training foundation with accessible learning resources and support. 

Right now the Basic price of the package is $849, while the Plus package is $999 and the Advantage package is $1499. When it comes to study materials, ACE has great options for tiers 1, 2, and 3. There is a combination of textbooks, practice tests, quizzes, and access to the final exam in tier 1. There are only two changes in the next two tiers: exercise science and exercise science lessons. 

The ACE final exam will be 150 questions with about 3 hours to finish the test. These tests are tested in approved venues but there recently has been an option to do it remote with a live proctor. The exam focuses on the actual practice of personal training designed to make you act like an actual health coach. The ACE test has a 65% pass rate. 

The average time it takes to become a professional trainer is 3 months with a relaxed schedule and an average income of $41,456. At the end of the day, it is important to get that ace study guide so you can fall into the 65% pass rate. 

What is ACSM

ACSM ( American College of Sports Medicine ) which focuses heavily on clinical populations and chronic disease screening is different from ACE and is a more general resistance training program, improving clients’ functional movement patterns. 

ACSM offers a deeper understanding of exercise science and anatomy rather than ACE. If it is your preference and your goal is to work with your clients in rehab-like settings ACSM is the personal training path for you. 

The content comparison with ACE is almost identical. ACSM goes deeper into the anatomy of the body just in case someone asks you about it. There are things you should know but not that in-depth. You need a basic understanding of the anatomy just in case an occasion arises that you have to answer questions. 

ACSM’s content is way less stimulating and seems more “clinical” than engaging. The quality of ACE’s content is better than ACSM’s. The Exam fee for ACSM is $349 and the retake fee is $175. 

What are ISSA and NASM?

The NASM and the ISSA are two of the best personal trainer certifications out of the four. When it comes to price for each of these certs they have two different ways of pricing. ISSA only has one package with everything in it for $799. NASM has four study packages with all different amounts.

NASM’s self-study is $799, the self-study premium is $1099, the Guided study is $1124 and the all-inclusive package is $1539. ISSA beats the price of NASMs but in turn, does not have as much material to give you.

NASM’s final exam has 120 questions and you need a 70% to pass while ISSA’s is 160 questions and you need a 75% to pass. They also differ in how tests are issued. NASM was until recently a proctored exam and ISSA has always been remote. 

You have an average of 6 months to enroll and complete the program if you do not finish in time you have to re-enroll and this goes for both programs. The average income for ISSA will be $36,235 and $41,598 for NASM. Luckily with these programs, you have 6 months to complete the exam, so you will be able to use that ace study guide for months before the real test. 


Each program has its own pros and cons, but there seem to be no bad choices. It will really depend on the type of trainer you want to become. 

The one thing that might sway people from choosing one practice over another is price. There are a couple of exams and study materials that may be out of people’s price range. 

If you study the ace study guide that they give you, there should be a great chance you pass the exam the first time. 

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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