I get questions daily about what type of certification is the best to get. I always answer this with another question: What do you plan to do? Have you looked at job postings – what are employers looking for? The second most common type of question I get is usually in regards to what organization is best. I think you would get a different answer depending on who you ask. In my professional opinion, if you are seeking a higher education degree in the field of exercise science, The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) is the organization you want to be associated with and certified through.
ACSM offers many types so I figured that summarizing their certification options here might be a good way to get you started on which to consider. There are tons of other types of certifications available, through many types of organizations, but if at all possible, I recommend considering certification through the ACSM. You may ask why I favor them, and I have several answers.
- Their mission is broad: ACSM promotes and integrates scientific research, education and practical applications of sports medicine and exercise science to maintain and enhance physical performance, fitness, health and quality of life.
- They are accredited. That means an outside body comes in and reviews their practices, holding them to very high standards.
- They offer a broad range of certifications that include health/fitness oriented, clinically oriented, and specialty oriented certifications.
- Other certifications and organizations look to them and the standards and guidelines they set.
- Universities nation wide use their guidelines and standards in training and educating their students.
- Employers are looking for people with their certifications. Look at job descriptions.
- They are the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world.
- Carrying a certification by them means that you are not only knowledgeable, but job ready and can contribute to the workforce.
- Their membership prices are very reasonable and come with great benefits including journals, newsletters, and even reduced rates on insurance.
- Their conferences are amazing. I am able to get continuing education for multiple certifications by attending.