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  1. #1
    Professional Powerhouse TheChest's Avatar
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    NASM vs. ACSM Certs

    Hey everyone. I'm a Canadian personal trainer who is certified by CanFit Pro, but have talked to a lot of non-corporate gyms and studios and they prefer trainers who have multiple certs other than canfit. I am going to sign up to do another cert this week but I am a little confused as to which I should take. I was looking at either the NASM CPT or the ACSM CPT. Any thoughts? Which one might be better? Are there any other certs that I might be better off with that I'm overlooking? I have a degree, but it's not sports science or nutrition related.
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  2. #2
    Sexdecillion zalesguy's Avatar
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    It really depends on the time frame. ACSM is the best, but NASM is also very good. I guess it would boil down to how soon you can acquire either one, and the cost.
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    BRB... Eating a chicken askthetrainer's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TheChest View Post
    Hey everyone. I'm a Canadian personal trainer who is certified by CanFit Pro, but have talked to a lot of non-corporate gyms and studios and they prefer trainers who have multiple certs other than canfit. I am going to sign up to do another cert this week but I am a little confused as to which I should take. I was looking at either the NASM CPT or the ACSM CPT. Any thoughts? Which one might be better? Are there any other certs that I might be better off with that I'm overlooking? I have a degree, but it's not sports science or nutrition related.
    What you plan to do and where you plan to do it will answer your own question. Overall ACSM certs are definitely fancier pieces of paper but if an employer requires NASM then they are pointless.

    If you plan to branch out for cardiac rehab or another clinical type of job, then ACSM would be better for you. If you plan to train average Joes and Janes then the new knowledge from the NASM cert will help you a lot diversifying your personal training.

    If you do plan to get an ACSM cert (since you already have Can-Fit Pro) you may want to get one of their specialist certs (other than personal trainer / HFI) as it would give you the highest qualification to train specific clients which may allow you to score a higher paying job and/or even have insurance companies pay for your specialty services.
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  4. #4
    Sexdecillion zalesguy's Avatar
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    Exactly. you need to figure out what you need first and then go after it.
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    Originally Posted by zalesguy View Post
    Exactly. you need to figure out what you need first and then go after it.
    Agree with the above point. Though rarely have I seen gyms requiring one specific certification. Some do, but even those that say they only want NASM trainers usually bend the rules and employ others. I know first hand.

    I've stated on this board before that a trainer cert is not like a JD or an MBA. There is no required certification. If you go for one of the bigger names, and NASM and ACSM are certainly two of them, then you can't go wrong.

    Unless there is a specific requirement from your gym(and again, I don't even believe that is a finite) then you should go with whichever one is cheaper and easier for you to get.
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    ACSM is the gold standard. The book has more depth, test is way harder. If you are looking to just get a quality cert. but don't want the hardest to pass, do NASM. If you want to be the shiznit, do ACSM and be ready to study like you never thought before.
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    NASM vs ACSM price difference

    I am also trying to decide which certification program to go through. It sounds like ACSM and NASM are equally accredited and accepted. I just want the best education. I guess my question is if they are both considered two of the best programs why is NASM $799 w/ the workshop or $699 w/ out the workshop, whereas ACSM is about $500 including the workshop and only about $155 for textbooks and shipping? Both of these you pay additional for the exam fee.
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    Originally Posted by TheChest View Post
    Hey everyone. I'm a Canadian personal trainer who is certified by CanFit Pro, but have talked to a lot of non-corporate gyms and studios and they prefer trainers who have multiple certs other than canfit. I am going to sign up to do another cert this week but I am a little confused as to which I should take. I was looking at either the NASM CPT or the ACSM CPT. Any thoughts? Which one might be better? Are there any other certs that I might be better off with that I'm overlooking? I have a degree, but it's not sports science or nutrition related.
    Honestly, it don't really matter.
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  9. #9
    my shoes hurt Charuto222's Avatar
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    NASM will get you more recognition in the corporate fitness world, more because they are the most heavily marketed organization than because they are an excellent company. They are a lot better than most other certs but don't confuse this with me saying that they are excellent, just that there is nothing better as of now for the corporate fitness world.

    ACSM will get you more recognition for clinical settings and have specialty certifications that emphasize various demographics - cancer patients, disabled cleints, etc. Also if you have a 4 year degree (in the case of their CEP a masters is required) in a health/exercise related field, as well as some sort of experience in a clinical setting (not clear on exactly what but you can find out at their website) you can pursue higher level certificates that will make you very highly sought after in places that emphasize rehabilitation and populations at high risk for various health problems.

    If you're looking to go independent it doesn't matter, get some cheap ass cert that you can market as being legit and focus on becoming a better networker, marketer, and salesman. Do your own research on being a great trainer, it will be necessary regardless of what certificate you have.

    Hope this was helpful.
    Last edited by Charuto222; 11-06-2009 at 02:38 PM.
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  10. #10
    Registered User BSCSCS's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Charuto222 View Post
    NASM will get you more recognition in the corporate fitness world, more because they are the most heavily marketed organization than because they are an excellent company. They are a lot better than most other certs but don't confuse this with me saying that they are excellent, just that there is nothing better as of now for the corporate fitness world.

    ACSM will get you more recognition for clinical settings and have specialty certifications that emphasize various demographics - cancer patients, disabled cleints, etc. Also if you have a 4 year degree (in the case of their CEP a masters is required) in a health/exercise related field, as well as some sort of experience in a clinical setting (not clear on exactly what but you can find out at their website) you can pursue higher level certificates that will make you very highly sought after in places that emphasize rehabilitation and populations at high risk for various health problems.

    If you're looking to go independent it doesn't matter, get some cheap ass cert that you can market as being legit and focus on becoming a better networker, marketer, and salesman. Do your own research on being a great trainer, it will be necessary regardless of what certificate you have.

    Hope this was helpful.
    What are you basing this off of???

    What are you considering "corporate fitness"?

    Nowhere I have worked has NASM been considered better than the 3rd best cert, and since I'm here in Texas, it's usually #4 behind Cooper.

    OP, if you are interested in the better cert, as in which cert will teach you more and make you a better trainer, I'd go with ACSM.
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    Originally Posted by Charuto222 View Post
    NASM will get you more recognition in the corporate fitness world, more because they are the most heavily marketed organization

    If you're looking to go independent it doesn't matter, get some cheap ass cert that you can market as being legit and focus on becoming a better networker, marketer, and salesman. Do your own research on being a great trainer, it will be necessary regardless of what certificate you have.
    nice
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  12. #12
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    Is there a reason the NSCA isn't in the mix?

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  13. #13
    my shoes hurt Charuto222's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BSCSCS View Post
    What are you basing this off of???

    What are you considering "corporate fitness"?

    Nowhere I have worked has NASM been considered better than the 3rd best cert, and since I'm here in Texas, it's usually #4 behind Cooper.

    OP, if you are interested in the better cert, as in which cert will teach you more and make you a better trainer, I'd go with ACSM.
    Here in the mid-west people rave about it as if you don't deserve to live unless you are certified by them. One trainer even said that his manager won't bother with people who have a different cert if they have a doctoral degree in exercise science and 10 years of experience. Short sighted I know but that's human nature for you.

    You're on the money to say that ACSM is the better cert but NASM has more marketing hype and, at least in my area, gives you more recognition
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