ACSM Personal Training

This online instructor-led course prepares you for the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) certification exam. Additional supplemental documents are provided complimentary to you for use in preparing for the ACSM-CPT exam.

The course was developed under the guidance of outstanding faculty drawn from colleges/universities, the allied health/medical field, and the personal fitness training profession. The course includes presentations and outlines,...

6 Months / 150 Course Hrs
Open Enrollment
Offered in partnership with your preferred school

George Mason University

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Course code: GES1020

What you will learn

  • Understand ACSM-CPT performance domains and how to conduct basic pre-participation health screenings, lifestyle inventories, and fitness assessments for health and skill-related components of fitness
  • How to assess client behavior adaptation readiness and offer guidance in developing realistic, client-centered goals related to health, fitness, and wellness
  • Develop and administer courses designed to promote optimal cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition, as well as agility, balance, coordination, power, speed, and reaction time

How you will benefit

  • Implement courses that facilitate client motivation, client adherence, and honors client confidentiality
  • Learn to assess clients and refer to the appropriate allied health professionals to meet clients' safety and needs
  • Prepare for the ACSM-CPT exam and your new career

How the course is taught

  • Self-paced, online course
  • 6 Months to complete
  • Open enrollment, begin anytime
  • 150 course hours
  1. Initial Client Consultation and Assessment
    1. Provide documents and clear instructions to the client in preparation for the initial interview
    2. Interview the client to gather and provide pertinent information prior to fitness testing and course design.
    3. Review and analyze client data to identify risk, formulate a plan of action, and conduct physical assessments.
  2. Exercise Programming and Implementation
    1. Review the client's goals, medical history, and assessment results and determine exercise prescription.
    2. Select exercise modalities to achieve the desired adaptations based on the client's goals, medical history, and assessment results.
    3. Determine initial Frequency, Intensity, Time, Type, Volume and Progression (i.e., FITT-VP Principle) of exercise based on the client's goals, medical history, and assessment results.
  3. Exercise Leadership and Client Education
    1. Optimize participant adherence by using effective communication, motivational techniques, and behavioral strategies.
    2. Educate clients using scientifically sound resources.
  4. Legal and Professional Responsibilities
    1. Collaborate with health care professionals and organizations to create a network of providers who can assist in maximizing the benefits and minimizing the risk of an exercise program.
    2. Develop a comprehensive risk management program (including an emergency action plan and injury prevention program) consistent with industry standards of care.
    3. Adhere to ACSM Certification's Code of Ethics by practicing in a professional manner within the scope of practice of an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer.

Ken Baldwin

Ken Baldwin, M.ED., ACSM-H/FI has been involved in the fitness, wellness, and education profession for over 10 years. He is the senior editor, content expert, and lead author for ACSM's Resources for the Personal Trainer Textbook, Second Edition." He was chair of IDEA's National Personal Trainer Committee and chair of the Senior Fitness Subcommittee for the Massachusetts Governor's Committee on Physical Fitness and Sports. He serves on national committees for the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), AAHPERD, and the Medical Fitness Association. His background includes operating and managing a personal training company, consulting at corporations, and lecturing at international conferences, public events, national conventions.


There are no prerequisites to take this course. However, there are prerequisites to complete the ACSM Accredited Certification Exam.

Exam Eligibility Requirements:

  • You must be 18 or older
  • Candidate must have a high school diploma or GED
  • Candidate must hold current Emergency Cardiac Care (CPR) or Basic Life Support (BLS) certification before attempting the exam (not included with course)


Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC, Mac, or Chromebook.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 10 or later.
  • Mac: macOS 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox is preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Microsoft Word Online
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment. The following textbooks will be shipped to you approximately 7-10 business days after enrollment:

  • ACSM's Resources for the Personal Trainer
  • ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription

Please note: You will receive a digital book if the physical book is on backorder.

Yes, ed2go courses are completely online. However, keep in mind that not all certifying bodies or industry-specific certifications are recognized internationally. Please review your country's regulations prior to enrolling in courses that prepare for certification.

Yes, you will be prepared for the ACSM Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) certification offered by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). Exam eligibility requirements:

  • You must be 18 or older
  • Candidate must have a high school diploma or GED
  • Candidate must hold current Emergency Cardiac Care (CPR) or Basic Life Support (BLS) certification before attempting the exam (not included with course)

This course is open enrollment, so you can register and start the course whenever you are ready. Access to your course can take 24-48 business hours.

After you register, you will receive 6 months to complete the course. The time allotted for completion has been calculated based on the number of course hours.

If you are unable to complete the course, contact your Student Advisor to help you work out a suitable completion date. Please note that an extension fee will be charged. If you are funded through a third-party organization, approval may also be required.

The course instructor will be available by email to answer any questions and provide feedback on your performance. Occasionally, your course may be supported by a team of industry experts. You will also receive support from the student advising team.

Upon successfully passing the final exam, you will be awarded a certificate of completion from the school or organization that you registered through.

ed2go courses will help you gain the skills you need to obtain an entry-level position in most cases. However, you should always research the job market in your area before enrolling.

ed2go courses are non-credit, so they do not qualify for federal aid, FAFSA, and Pell Grant. In some states, vocational rehab or workforce development boards may provide funding to take our courses. Additionally, you may qualify for financial assistance if you meet certain requirements. To learn more about financial assistance.

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