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The Ultimate ACE Group Fitness Certification Review for 2024

Are you thinking about becoming a fitness instructor, but don’t know where to start researching which certification may be best for you?

Maybe you are questioning whether certification is necessary in the first place.

With so many agencies out there offering glamorous fitness certification programs with little to no professional credentials, there are plenty of reasons to be speculative when making your program choice. 

In this article, we dissect the ACE (American Council of Exercise) group fitness program, one of the most respected group fitness certifications available on the market.

For many fitness instructors, this program has proven to be a worthwhile investment as it is respected, accepted, and accredited internationally.

Before we get into the gritty details, let’s cover the ACE organization and it’s envisioned goals.

Finding an agency with values aligned with your own is a good place to start when commencing a career as a fitness instructor. 

All About ACE

ACE has a simple mission- to get people moving. As a leading non-profit in the active health industry, ACE provides accredited certification programs stemming from solid scientific research and a keen focus on safety and liability. They believe that through the proper education of fitness professionals, they can positively affect the fitness industry as a whole. By providing accessible and professional certification programs to fitness enthusiasts, ACE hopes to combat inactivity and ensure active and safe lifestyle changes. 

What Sets ACE Apart? 

If you have made it this far, chances are you are well aware of the number of fitness certifications out there, all claiming to be the best system of education. While we are not here to make any dramatic claims, we can speak to some of the things ACE does that sets them apart, specifically with the group fitness certification program. 


In an industry fraught with mock certifications and genuine dangers of liability claims, health professionals must protect themselves and their clients as best they can.

ACE provides NCCA (National Commission of Certifying Agencies) certifications for all of their core programs, ensuring independent and unbiased evaluations of curriculum and safety measures. NCCA accreditation has been deemed the gold standard in fitness certifications and is widely accepted worldwide. Not only does this accreditation ensure health professionals are trained to the highest standard, but it opens up career opportunities internationally. 

For those who wish to take their group fitness energy to Europe, ACE provides further accreditation with EuropeActive, the European gold standard equivalent to NCCA. 


With any reputable agency, getting certified is only the first step. It then becomes your responsibility as an instructor and a professional to stay up to date on new research and updated safety and liability protocols. 

As a leading non-profit in the fitness field, ACE commissions and disseminates cutting edge research to its members and the interested public. They make it easy for their instructors to stay up to date and provide adequate resources to ensure they provide safe and modern practices. 

More Than Just Fitness

ACE fundamentally believes that real change can only come from inside, and adheres to this philosophy when certifying health professionals.

With their ACE Mover Method, fitness instructors learn how to communicate with clients to properly facilitate real lifestyle changes. If your goal as a fitness instructor is to truly make a difference, ACE provides the training that will make you more than just a fitness coach. 

ACE Group Fitness Instructor Certification

Although ACE offers various certification programs, its group fitness instructor certification sits among its most popular offerings. This program covers everything from human movement fundamentals to an effective fitness class’s planning and choreography. Curriculum topics include:

  • Practical anatomy and primary movement patterns
  • Group fitness safety
  • Liability and legal considerations
  • Broadening the fitness market 
  • Communicating with clients 
  • Affecting real change through lifestyle transformation
  • Sequencing and running effective classes

The group fitness instructor certification program is a self-paced online digital program set up to accommodate flexible schedules. After completing the study materials, students must register for an ACE Certification Exam (within six months of program purchase).

Becoming an ACE group fitness instructor has some additional benefits, including:

  • Discounted Liability Insurance
  • Continuing Education
  • Referral Rewards Program
  • Monthly Publication to Stay Up to Date
ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor Certification ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor Certification

Study from home to become an ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor

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ACE Study Programs and Pricing

ACE has set up various options for the group fitness instructor certification to meet multiple needs. For a more detailed breakdown of current pricing and program inclusions, keep up to date on the ACE website.  At the moment of writing, the three study options available are as follows:

Basic (USD 349)

As the name suggests, this baseline package includes the ACE digital classroom, the ACE certification exam, the ACE Group Fitness Instructor Handbook in ebook format, and one practice exam. There is no hardcopy material in this package.  

Plus (USD 449)

This package includes everything in the Basic, with an additional practice exam and a hardcopy version of the ACE Group Fitness Instructor Handbook. This handbook is shipped for free within the U.S. For those who learn better with a book in hand, the Plus programs provides that. 

Advantage (USD 549)

The popular Advantage program contains all the same material as the Plus program along with an additional practice test (3 total), the ACE expanded digital classroom complete with additional resources, and an ACE Exam retest voucher should it be needed. 

This program is ideal for those who want to ensure they are maximizing their time and resources and giving themselves the best chance of passing the exam while also providing relief from the pressure of having to do it a second time. 

Summary of ACE Group Fitness Instructor Program

While there are plenty of organizations offering certification for fitness instructors, ACE has a proven system of training that prioritizes safety, liability, and course structure. With a credible accreditation begins the curriculum, instructors have the best chance of finding career opportunities and continuing to stay informed as the industry progresses. 

ACE provides a benchmark for many fitness industry standards, and as such members reap the rewards of being part of a respected and widely accepted program. 

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Our team at The Fitness Tribe often collaborates together to produce content. Many times the content is not written by a single author, instead it is usually a team effort.

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