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Frequently Asked CEC and Recertification Questions

What is recertification?

ACSM's credentialing programs encourage ongoing competency and continuing education and strive to maintain a high standard for our certified and registered professionals. Therefore, all ACSM credentialed professionals are required to recertify or renew their credentials.

The requirements for maintaining an ACSM credential vary by level, but all professionals who are ACSM certified or members of the Registry for Clinical Exercise Physiologists are required to earn a specific amount of continuing education credits (CECs) during their certification/registry cycle. Along with this educational component, ACSM charges a nominal administrative fee for recertification/renewal.

What do I need to do in order to recertify?

You will receive recertification information during the spring of the year you are due to recertify. In order to recertify without retaking the certification examination again, you must renew your certification online and pay the recertification fee.

**Please keep all documentation of CECs for your records. ACSM conducts random audits each year. If audited, you will be required to provide documented proof of all credits to the ACSM National Office.

What all do you accept for Continuing Education Credit (CECs)?

  • Attend an ACSM Certification Workshop or Webinar series.
  • Participate in an ACSM Approved Provider Offering 
  • Clinical/Hospital Grand Rounds
  • Team Physician Course
  • Advanced Team Physician Course
  • Regional Chapter Conferences
  • Specialty Conferences
  • Scientific Roundtables
  • Complete Distance Education or internet continuing education programs on specific clinical or health and fitness-related topics.
  • Attend Professional Education Meetings from ACSM or other nationally recognized organizations.
  • Take Continuing Education Self Tests that offer CECs, CMEs or CEUs from ACSM or other nationally recognized organizations.
  • Participate in training/course offering from ACSM or other nationally recognized organization. (Zumba,Wellcoaches,Yoga, etc...)
  • ACSM's Certified News
  • ACSM's Health and Fitness Journal (only offered to ACSM Members)
  • Take and receive a passing grade in a health/fitness or exercise science-related course from an accredited college or university. (10 CECs per credit hour. For example, a 3 credit hour course is worth 30 CECs. Course must be health/fitness or clinical related and completed with a grade of "C" or better. The course must be taken during your current cycle)
  • Author or co-author books, journal articles, or accepted abstracts. (10 CECs for publication in peer-reviewed professional journals, books, or accepted abstracts; authored or co-authored)
  • Teach academic courses; conduct classroom instruction; or present health, fitness or clinical lectures at an organized professional conference. (1 CEC per hour. For repetitive classes, credits only granted once in recertification time frame. Only 30 percent of your total credit hours may be obtained by these activities)

Who are Approved Providers for ACSM CECs?

ACSM offers many opportunities to earn CECs. One option would be through Approved Providers. ACSM's Education Department reviews programs that meet specific educational guidelines and then recognizes the programs as ACSM Approved Providers. Visit our Approved Providers to earn additional CECs from home, workshops, meetings or conferences.

** If you earned CEC's from an ACSM Approved Provider, these CECs will not appear on your My ACSM page. You should obtain documentation of these CECs from the program organizer and keep the documentation for your records. Please do not send your documentation to ACSM

An organization DOES NOT have to be listed on the Approved Provider list in order for us to accept their CECs. If the 'event' is directly related to your certification, we will accept it. Typically there is a listing of organizations that award CECs for the event, OR the actual organization that puts on the event will award CECs, we will match that amount.

The general rule is that the CEC equivalency is always 1 = 1, but if the organization uses the decimal system then its .1 = 1 .

If there is any doubt, it typically equates to 1 CEC per hour of participation. Please be sure to keep a copy of the documentation proving your attendance in case you are chosen for an audit in the future.

How many ACSM CECs have I earned?

ACSM is no longer tracking CECs in your acsm.org profile with the exception of:
• ACSM Summit
• ACSM Annual Meeting
• ACSM Advanced Team Physician Course

All CECs earned through the online learning platform, Approved Providers or other outside organizations will not appear in your acsm.org account. You are required to keep track of your CECs in your own records as well as your recertification requirements. Obtain documentation through the program administrator and keep for your records. You do not need to send any documentation, certificates or transcripts to ACSM unless they are requested by an ACSM staff member.

**Credits earned from ACSM Certified News Self-tests and ACSM Health and Fitness Journal Self-tests that are still valid and mailed into the ACSM National Office will appear in your acsm.org profile. Please keep track of these CECs in your own records as well for your recertification.  

Can I use CECs earned from other organizations?

The ACSM Certification & Registry Department will recognize CECs, CMEs, or CEUs awarded by other professional health & fitness or clinical organizations for attending their programs without it being pre-approved by the ACSM Education Department.

The program must be related to your certification and you must obtain documentation from that organization verifying attendance and the number of CECs earned. ACSM does not accept CECs for certification exams, professional memberships, committee involvement or CPR training. You do not need to turn in documentation for these programs to ACSM. Please keep all documentation of non-ACSM CECs for your records in case you are audited.

ACE, NSCA, NASM 0.1 = 1.0 ACSM CEC

AFAA 1.0 = 1.0 ACSM CEC

If you have questions regarding earning CECs through outside organizations, please contact certification@acsm.org

How many ACSM CEC's have I earned?

Access your ACSM account 24 hours a day, seven days a week by logging in to your ACSM account**.  Login in the red box in the top right hand corner. Directly under your name, in that same red box, click on 'Manage My Account'. On the left hand side of the screen in the green, go all the way to the bottom and click on 'My CECs/CMEs History'. This will show you all ACSM CECs you have earned ONLY from the following and prior to June 1st, 2012:

  • ACSM Certified News Self Tests
  • ACSM Health and Fitness Journal Self Tests
  • ACSM Annual Meeting
  • ACSM Summit
  • Advanced Team Physician Course

If you earned CEC's from an ACSM Approved Provider or attended a non-ACSM program, these CECs will not appear in your MyACSM account. Obtain documentation of these CECs from the program organizer and keep the documentation for your records. Please keep a copy of all certificates in a file for your own record. You do not need to turn in documentation for these programs to ACSM. If you would like a way to keep track of your CECs you may do so by manually entering them on to our new online learning portal

**If you have not created a login, use the first three letters of your last name followed by your ACSM ID number (i.e., member Smith; ACSM ID 123456 would use: smi123456).The password (unless you've changed it) is your ACSM ID number.

Please contact the ACSM Education Department at education@acsm.org if you have any questions.

How can I track the CECs I have earned?

Certified professionals can use this CEC Tracking Form to keep track of CECs earned or you can add them manually within our online learning platform at www.onlinelearning-acsm.org.  When logging into the system, you will have to create a new username and password. The site is hosted outside of our database so all new users will have to create a new login. Once you log in, from the home page (top left hand corner) click "MY COURSES". When that page loads, click "ADD CECS/CEUS MANUALLY" (bottom right hand side). You still need to keep copies of your documentation in case you are audited in the future.

This online learning platform is for your records only. It is for you to keep track of the CECs you have earned. It does not "speak" to ACSM's certified professional database and does not automatically renew your certification. You still must fill out the certification renewal form when it is time for you to renew and enter in the total number of CECs you've earned. If you are audited in the future, you will have to show proof of those CECs (the online learning log cannot be used as proof). 

How do I get credit for College Courses?

ACSM awards 10 CECs per college credit hour as long as the course meets the following criteria:

1) You must receive credit for the course after you become certified
2) You must receive a C or better for the course
3) The course must be directly related to your certification

Examples of acceptable courses are: exercise science, kinesiology, exercise physiology, human performance, physical education, athletic training, and anatomy. If you are unsure if the course is related to your certification, please refer to the job task analysis (JTA) found in current edition of ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. You will need to keep a copy of your transcripts for your records in case you are audited.

If you have questions regarding college courses and recertification, please contact certification@acsm.org.

How many CECs do I get for Teaching and Lecturing?

You can earn up to 30% of your CECs by teaching and lecturing.

Teaching: You can claim 1 CEC per contact hour of academic teaching at the college level as long as the coursework is consistent with the KSAs of your certification and the course is taught at an accredited institution. Credit can be claimed for teaching the course content once during a recertification cycle.

Lecturing: You can claim 1 CEC per hour of professional lecturing if it is a lecture given at the state, regional, or national level or if CECs are offered for the lecture attendees.

Documentation stating that you taught the class or gave the lecture along with content will be required should you be audited, (ie-course catalog, course syllabus, letter from supervisor, meeting brochure showing you as a lecturer). Keep this documentation for your records.

If you have questions regarding teaching and lecturing, please contact certification@acsm.org

How many CEC's do I get for authoring or co-authoring books, journal articles, or accepted abstracts?

You can earn 10 CECs for publications in peer-reviewed professional journals, books, or accepted abstracts; authored or co-authored.

Where can I view back issues of ACSM's Certified News for the self tests?

Click here to view back issues of ACSM's Certified News. Earn 4 CECs per issue. Issues expire 1 years after publication. The processing fee per issue for CECs is $15 for ACSM Members and $20 for non-ACSM Members.

 May I submit my CPR, BLS, or ACLS certification for CECs? 

ACSM does not award credits for CPR or BLS, as they are required for ACSM specific credentials. Educational courses for ACLS may be applied towards your recertification. The number of educational contact hours for ACLS training are equivalent to the number of CECs awarded (e.g. 3 contact hours = 3 ACSM CECs). Note: This does not include the actual completion of the ACLS certification exam.

Can I earn ACSM CECs by earning another ACSM certification?

ACSM CECs can be applied if you earned the new ACSM certification during your renewal period. For example, if your renewal period is from 1/1/2007 to 12/31/2009 and you earned an ACSM certification, you can apply those credits to your total due for renewal.

ACSM CECs are awarded as follows:

Certified Personal Trainer: 10 CECs
Certified Health Fitness Specialist: 15 CECs
Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist: 15 CECs
Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist: 15 CECs

Specialty Certifications
ACSM/NCPAD Certified Inclusive Fitness Trainer: 10 CECs
ACSM/ACS Certified Cancer Exercise Trainer: 10 CECs
ACSM/NSPAPPH Physical Activity in Public Health Specialist: 10 CECs

Note: Certifications earned from other certifying organizations cannot be used for ACSM certification renewal. Also, to earn credits for gaining an additional ACSM credential, it must be higher than the original or a specialty certification. For example, if you hold an EP-C certification, you will not earn CECs for earning the CPT as the EP-C is the more advanced certification.

What should I do with all of my Documentation?

ACSM does not require CEC documentation at the time of recertification and you should not submit any paperwork with your renewal. Please save all CEC documentation for one calendar year following the renewal of your certification in case you are audited.

Do CECs carry over?

CECs are continuing education credits and, as such, do not carry over from one recertification time frame to another.

What if I don't have enough credits to recertify?

You do not need to contact ACSM for that extension. There is a 6 month grace period, but you are considered INACTIVE and you will not receive any benefits of being certified during this time.

Your certification will be re-instated once the online renewal form has been submitted along with the appropriate fees including a $25 late fee. Your next recertification cycle will continue on the original schedule.

What is the yearly audit?

In order to ensure high standards of competency and continuing education, ACSM will process a yearly audit. ACSM will audit a percentage of randomly selected ACSM Recertification/Renewal Forms submitted the previous year. This audit will be conducted at each credential level. If audited, you will be required to provide documented proof of all CECs to the ACSM National Office within 30 days. If you are unable to provide documented proof within 30 days, your certification will be considered inactive and you will have one year to complete the recertification process by providing the documentation or by obtaining new CECs.

All audit paperwork will be reviewed for validity by the CCRB Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Subcommittee. If all paperwork is complete and the appropriate number of CECs are earned, the professional will be notified that his credential is valid until the next recertification due date. If after submission of CECs, it is determined that some CECs are not applicable, an appropriate amount of time will be allowed for the professional to earn additional replacement CECs.

What does inactive status mean?

During inactive status, you should not market yourself as ACSM certified or registered. If you submit an on-line renewal during the inactive period, your certification will be reinstated and considered current. If you fail to submit the on-line renewal by the end of the inactive period, your certification will be considered invalid. Once your certification becomes invalid, you are no longer ACSM certified and your certification can only be reinstated by taking the certification examination again. If you renew during your 6 month inactive period, you will be required to pay an additional late fee of $25.

During inactive status, you are also not able to serve as an examiner or other member where certification is required.

What's the difference between CECs, CEUs, and CMEs?

Different professional organizations offer continuing education credits; most commonly called CECs (continuing education credits), CEUs (continuing education units), and CMEs (continuing medical education credits are for physicians only). Although each has a different contact hour requirement, most CECs require one contact hour of professional activity for one credit.

Can I use a Certificate of Attendance for CECs?

A certificate of attendance may not show CEC's earned, you will need to obtain a CEC Certificate. ACSM only recognizes workshops or conferences that have been approved for continuing education credits (CEC), whether offered by ACSM or another organization. When a conference or workshop is approved to offer continuing education credits, the program has been evaluated by an outside professional organization and is considered to contain significant educational material.

A certificate of attendance only means that you attended a workshop, it does not guarantee that the workshop provided significant educational material or any continuing education credits.

What if I have multiple certifications?

If you have multiple certifications, you will only need to accumulate the required CECs for the highest level of certification you hold. When you renew, you will pay the renewal fee of your highest level of certification plus an additional $5 per additional certification.

When I access my ACSM account, it does not tell me the status of my certification. Where do I find this information?

There is currently no way to view that information online. Your ACSM account will tell you the status of your MEMBERSHIP, but not your certification. You can see your CEC history (prior to June 1st, 2012), but it doesn't break it up into the certification cycles as you are wanting. This is something that we are building in the future so you will have access to both your certification and membership information in your MyACSM account, but until then, please email certification@acsm.org and we will be able to tell you the status of your certification. 

I want to take the exam again to recertify. I called Pearson Vue and tried to schedule a test, but  they said I have already taken the test and can't register. What do I do?

We will have to contact Pearson Vue on your behalf so that they may override that in their system.  Email us your current contact information (mailing address, email, phone) and we will have a representative from Pearson Vue call you within 1-2 business days to schedule your exam date and time.

I attended an ACSM workshop to prepare me for my exam, can I now use it for CECs?

Unfortunately, we will only accept CECs you earned AFTER you've gained your certification. So the workshop you took prior to gaining your certification, we cannot accept for CECs. Individuals attending our workshops are not only people preparing to take an ACSM exam, but also those that already hold an ACSM certification or another organization's certification and are solely taking it to gain CECs.  

If I am audited, what documentation will ACSM need to see?

  • That you attended/ participated/ completed the event or task (your name on the documentation).
  • When you attended (so that we see the dates fall within the cycle that we are auditing for).
  • Content of event (so that we see that it is consistent with the scope of your certification).
  • Length of time of participation or amount of CECs awarded for your attendance. 

How do I add CECs to my CEC history? Do I send them in?

You may use our online learning portal to track your CECs. Please do not send your CEC documentation in to the National Office.  We will conduct a random audit after the renewal term and you may be asked, at that time, to send in supporting documentation of the CECs you claimed on your renewal form. Please keep all documentation in safe keeping for up to a year following your renewal just in case you are audited as the online learning log cannot be used as documentation.

To add CECs manually, you will have to create a new username and password. The site is hosted outside of our database so all new users will have to create a new login. Once you log in, from the home page (top left hand corner) click "MY COURSES". When that page loads, click "ADD CECS/CEUS MANUALLY" (bottom right hand side).

This online learning platform is for your records only. It is for you to keep track of the CECs you have earned. It does not "speak" to ACSM's certified professional database and does not automatically renew your certification. You still must fill out the certification renewal form when it is time for you to renew.

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