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A Guide to Launching Your Career as a Fitness Professional

                american Council on exercise             ®
Your Career Checklist
Congratulations on becoming an ACE-certified Fitness Professional! You’ve worked diligently and we commend
you on this major accomplishment. Now you are prepared to start the next part of your journey: launching your
career as a practicing certified professional. This guide will help you plan a successful fitness career during
your critical first years.

❑ PurChaSe LIabILIty InSuranCe
As a practicing professional, it’s your responsibility to ensure you and your clients are protected;
                                                                                                             tIP: Get discounted liability
therefore, we recommend you maintain a liability insurance policy at all times. You expect to be
                                                                                                             insurance! We’ve negotiated
covered by your employer’s insurance but that’s not always the case. Be protected wherever you               special rates exclusively for you
train – in a gym, your home, a client’s or even outside.                                                     as an ACE pro. Learn more at

❑ CoMPLete your onLIne ProfILe LIStInG
Complete your free online profile listing to make yourself visible to employers, other professionals         tIP: Login to
and potential clients through ACE’s searchable online database, Find an ACE Pro. Setting up your             to access the ACE ProSite,
profile also enables us to tailor educational recommendations to your interests and career goals.            then click on My Profile Listing.
                                                                                                             Tell your story, upload a photo
                                                                                                             and discuss your training
❑ MaP out a Career PLan                                                                                      philosophy so peers, potential
Setting long-term goals, outlining a vision and planning your continuing education are critical              clients and employers get to
                                                                                                             know you.
for your personal and professional success in the fitness industry. Consider the following questions
to help get you started:

•	 In what type of environment do you want to work?                                                          tIP: Make sure your continuing
                                                                                                             education supports your goals,
•	 How much money do you expect to earn?                                                                     interests and long-term plan.
                                                                                                             Log on to
•	 What do you want to be known for? (area of personal and professional interest)
                                                                                                             to access the ACE ProSite,
•	 What are your strengths and weaknesses?                                                                   then click on My Career Plan
                                                                                                             to begin using this complimen-
•	 What areas do you need to develop?                                                                        tary resource that recommends
•	 What core skills can you learn to get you off to a quick start?                                           education supporting your
                                                                                                             career direction. You can also
•	 How will you build your client base?                                                                      download a worksheet to help
                                                                                                             with your planning.
•	 Do you want to specialize in a certain area?

                                                                                                       American Council on Exercise | Get Started
FINdING                                                                     PLANNING FoR PERSoNAL
EmPLoYmENT                                                                  + PRoFESSIoNAL GRowTH
❑ DeterMIne your IntereStS                                                  ❑ DeveLoP your founDatIonaL SkILLS
There are numerous opportunities available to the newly certified           As a new fitness professional, you may wonder where to begin.
professional looking for their first job. Answer the following ques-        What courses provide the greatest level of foundational knowl-
tions to help narrow down your options and determine where                  edge for a successful career? What kind of skills do you need
you’re likely to experience the greatest satisfaction:                      to attract employers and begin building your client base? It’s
                                                                            important to note that there are skills not measured on the exam
•	 What is my area of interest?
                                                                            that are, in many cases, critical to achieving success. While some
   (e.g. sports performance, weight management, youth, post
                                                                            new professionals aggressively pursue education in the areas of
   rehab, special populations, older adult, youth, group exercise)
                                                                            exercise science and programming, we strongly recommend be-
•	 In what type of setting would I like to work?                            ginning your fitness career by looking for educational opportuni-
   (e.g. commercial fitness facility, community center, hospital-           ties that will assist you in developing the often overlooked but
   based wellness center, YMCA or JCC, corporate wellness                   essential skills such as communications, business, marketing, sales
   facility, sports performance center, studio, in-home, outdoors)          and financial management.
•	 With what type of clients would I prefer to work?
   (e.g. general public, special populations, youth, older adults,
                                                                            ❑ Get SPeCIaLIzeD
   sports professionals)
                                                                            As is typical in most professions, individuals who develop an area
                                                                            of specialization are often able to more effectively promote
  tIP: Help build your client base by joining the aCe trainer Program.
                                                                            themselves and the services they offer, usually at a higher rate.
  You’ll gain access to America’s fastest growing population segment,
  the 50+ market, individuals who are redefining our expectations of age,   Some areas of expertise that are currently in demand include
  vitality and life. Learn more at                 the following: older adult fitness, post rehab/special populations,
                                                                            weight management, sports performance, management, youth
                                                                            fitness and mind-body.
❑ beGIn your Career SearCh
Make sure your resumé is current and your ACE online profile
listing is fully complete, then begin using a variety of means                Pro tIP: Available only at,
                                                                              the ACE ConEd Center offers more than 3,000 continuing education
to search for employment. Remember to network with friends,
                                                                              courses available in a variety of formats and topics to develop your core
family and neighbors. Also consider the growth of social network-             foundational knowledge and progress to explore areas of specialization.
ing sites like LinkedIn® and Facebook®.

  tIP: Post your resumé to, powered by CareerBuilder,™
  the nation’s largest online recruitment and career advancement source. contains thousands of job postings from the fitness
  industry’s leading employers.

❑ rePreSent yourSeLf ProfeSSIonaLLy
While rooted in exercise science, fitness is still a business, and
finding employment and acquiring clients is contingent upon
representing yourself professionally. ACE recommends profes-
sional business attire for interviews and business casual dress
for initial client meetings. Carry your ACE certification card
for proof of your credentials and be prepared to show proof
of insurance coverage. Always remember to carry business cards
to introduce yourself, network with other professionals and
provide a means for clients and prospects to contact you.

  Pro tIP: You can order business cards, apparel and accessories
  with the ACE-certified Logo by visiting the ACE Store

Call us: 800.825.3636 | Visit us online:
❑ fInD ContInuInG eDuCatIon oPPortunItIeS.                              ❑ aCCeSS exCLuSIve DISCountS, buSIneSS tooLS
                                                                           anD your aCCount InforMatIon.
Quite often, fitness professionals are so busy working with clients
                                                                        The ACE ProSite is an exclusive website for ACE-certified profes-
to help them improve their lives that they forget about their own
                                                                        sionals loaded with business, professional and educational tools.
professional development. Making time for continuing education
                                                                        Take the time to become familiar with its resources so you get the
gives you the fresh insight, training, and specialized knowledge
                                                                        most out of your benefits. Simply login to
you need to attract new clients and make you more appealing
to prospective employers. It’s the competitive edge you need, to        Certification Maintenance: Manage your CECs and online courses/
increase your job stability and work with today’s savvy consumer.       quizzes, renew your certification and update your CPR and AED
In addition, you are required to earn 2.0 continuing education          certificate information.
credits (CECs) every two years to maintain your certification.          Professional Discount Program: Get exclusive discounts on brand-
                                                                        name fitness products, educational programs and more.
The ACE ConEd Center, offers more than 3,000 continuing educa-
tion courses available in a variety of formats, from at-home            Marketing Services: Whether you choose to seek employment in
to interactive workshops, to meet your ever-changing needs.             a club or start your own fitness business, use this information for
Whether you are new to the fitness world or an experienced              guidance on how to do everything from writing a resume and an-
professional, you’ll find courses that can expand your skills           nouncing your credential, to running a successful fitness business.
and challenge your intellect. Topics include exercise science,          business basics: Access a series of printable, step-by-step, easy to
nutrition, weight management, post-rehab, special populations,          understand templates and instructional guides developed to save
sports performance, group exercise and more. Search by format,          you time and effort. Learn how to set up a marketing plan, create
topic, CEC value, provider and/or product rating to locate courses      a brochure and incorporate the top 10 essential elements into
that are tailored to your needs, career interests and learning style.   your website, plus see samples on everything from billing agree-
Visit to learn more.             ments to press releases.

                                                                        Discussion board: Exchange information and ideas with fitness
❑ Get free heaLth anD fItneSS reSourCeS                                 professionals and the general public in ACE’s online forum.
   for you anD your CLIentS.
                                                                        SPortDiscus: Search this international database containing
From a robust online exercise library showing step-by-step              information from over 47,500 books; conference proceedings;
instructions to one-page Fit FactsTM on a variety of topics you         dissertations and reports on: sports medicine, exercise physiology,
can share with your clients or post to your website, visit              biomechanics, psychology, training techniques, coaching, physical for free health and fitness resources.        education, physical fitness, active living, recreation, history,
                                                                        facilities and equipment.

                                                                        recommended reading List: Find books recommended by ACE
                                                                        to expand your knowledge and skills as a fitness professional.

                                                                        aCe Logos: Download ACE-certified logos and guidelines to en-
                                                                        sure proper use in your marketing materials and website.

                                                                        Let your voice Make a Difference: Take action, monitor legisla-
                                                                        tive issues, easily voice your views and speak to your elected
                                                                        officials on health and fitness-related issues via ACE’s online
                                                                        Legislative Action Center.

                                                                                                         American Council on Exercise | Get Started
Once your client reaches their personal fitness goals, maintaining fitness levels can sometimes
                                                                                                  Pro tIP: Need to renew your
be the hardest thing for them to do. They may slip back, get frustrated and feel discouraged.
                                                                                                  CPr or aeD certificate?
The same scenario can happen to fitness professionals once they reach their professional goal     ACE offers a live workshop
of earning a certification. Don’t slip back!                                                      as well as a convenient home
                                                                                                  study program. Visit us online at
❑ SteP 1: earn 2.0 CeCS                                                                 
Each ACE-approved CEC equals one academic hour. You should expect to spend 20 hours devoted       for details.
to class time, plus additional study time, to earn 2.0 CECs.

❑ SteP 2: be Sure your CPr anD aeD CertIfICate IS Current                                         Pro tIP: ACE offers discounts
If you recently renewed your CPR or AED certificate, you can update your information online       for online renewal as well
at                                                                    as multiple ACE certifications.
                                                                                                  Visit us and login online at
❑ SteP 3: SubMIt your reneWaL                                                           
For the most convenient method and fastest processing, renew your certification online            for more information.
at Once your renewal application is received, please allow
four to six weeks for your card and certificate to arrive.

❑ SteP 4: Start Work on your next reneWaL
Even if you miss your two-year anniversary without renewing, you can still file your renewal
application for up to six months — although fees will be higher. After six months, you will
be required to retake your certification exam and pay the full exam fee.

Call us: 800.825.3636 | Visit us online:
❑ Get aSSIStanCe at every SteP of your Career
ACE’s Education & Certification Consultants will assist you at every step as you advance throughout
your fitness career as a certified professional. Contact them with questions concerning your certifica-
tion, the renewal process, continuing education, secondary certifications, use of the ACE ProSite
and your professional benefits. Call 1.800.825.3636, Ext. 781 or email

❑ aCCeSS your PerSonaL referenCe DeSk + LIbrary
Through ACE’s Resource Center, get exam preparation assistance and information on industry
trends from highly qualified ACE-certified staff members who have access to 90 journals, 1,500 books
and several databases of information. Call 1.800.529.8227 or email



Our other valued partnerships include:
Bank of America, Dynamix Music, FitnessPak, Homeland SecureCare,, SPRI and YogaFit.

                                                                                                          American Council on Exercise | Get Started
                                   ACE CodE oF ETHICS
                                   As an ACE-certified Professional, I am guided by the American Council on Exercise’s principles
                                   of professional conduct whether I am working with clients, the public or other health and fitness
                                   professionals. I promise to:

                                   •	 Provide	safe	and	effective	instruction.
                                   •	 Provide	equal	and	fair	treatment	to	all	clients.
                                   •	 Stay	up-to-date	on	the	latest	health	and	fitness	research	and	understand
                                      its practical application.
                                   •	 Maintain	a	current	CPR	and	AED	certificate	and	knowledge	of	first	aid	services.
                                   •	 Comply	with	all	applicable	business,	employment	and	intellectual	property	laws.
                                   •	 Uphold	and	enhance	public	appreciation	and	trust	for	the	health	and	fitness	industry.
                                   •	 Maintain	the	confidentiality	of	all	client	information.
                                   •	 Refer	clients	to	more	qualified	health	or	medical	professionals	when	appropriate.
                                   •	 Establish	and	maintain	clear	professional	boundaries.

                                   ouR mISSIoN
                                   The American Council on Exercise® is a nonprofit organization committed to enriching the quality
                                   of life through safe and effective physical activity. As your authority on fitness, ACE protects all
                                   segments of society against ineffective fitness products, programs and trends through its on-going
                                   public education, outreach and research. ACE further protects the public by setting certification
                                   and continuing education standards for fitness professionals.

Call us: 800.825.3636 | Visit us online:
Your authority on Fitness

4851 Paramount Drive, San Diego, CA 92123
Phone: 858.576.6500 | Toll Free: 800.825.3636 | Fax: 858.279.8064

Get Started | M09-040

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