ACSM and CREP Backtrack from State Fitness Licensure

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) sent the following email today. First, a caution: it’s wise to regard ACSM’s statements skeptically. ACSM claims it never advocated for fitness trainer licensure. This claim is hard to square with several facts. For example, ACSM is a member of the Coalition for the Registration of Exercise Professionals (CREP) – an organization that advocated for fitness trainer licensure.

Nonetheless, if ACSM and CREP are truly giving up on fitness trainer licensure, that is good news for CrossFit affiliates and the fitness industry. There is less of a risk of additional fitness licensure bills popping up at the state level.

Now, the focus turns to chronic disease. We will make sure that ACSM and Coca-Cola don’t acquire a legal monopoly on treating and preventing chronic disease through their Exercise is Medicine program.

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ACSM does not support state licensure of all fitness professionals; CREP coalition revises its position 

Due to its dissenting position on the issue of licensure, the American College of Sports Medicine last week led an effort that resulted in the Coalition for the Registration of Exercise Professionals® (CREP®) reconsidering its pursuit of state licensure for all fitness professionals. Although a long-standing member of CREP, ACSM has never supported licensure for all exercise professionals, a position that was inconsistent with other CREP board members until now. After a thoughtful discussion at its recent board of directors meeting, CREP agreed to drop its support and advocacy for licensure at all levels.

“There has been some confusion in the marketplace regarding the issue of licensure, especially as it relates to ACSM’s and CREP’s respective positions,” said Richard Cotton, ACSM’s national director of certification. To be clear, ACSM has never supported licensure for all exercise professionals, while CREP as a whole felt it was something worth considering. The other board members knew of ACSM’s dissenting opinion and were willing to dialogue about what’s best for the profession and clients. I’m grateful for the collaborative work that brought us to a good place.”

ACSM has never supported licensure for all exercise professionals because of the growing scientific evidence about the safety of exercise for healthy populations, resulting rising costs, decreases in practitioners, disruption of businesses and overall lack of compelling rationale. CREP is a consortium of seven certifying organizations that started with a focus on a registry of exercise professionals but, over time, expanded to licensure and occupational regulation- a positon that was not consistent with that of ACSM’s.

While ACSM does not support licensure for every exercise professional, it does support licensure for a select group of exercise professionals that meets all of the following criteria:

  • Work with patients and clients with medical conditions that require minimal to advanced clinical support
  • Have earned  at least a bachelor’s degree in exercise science
  • Have a related, accredited certification.

ACSM takes this position to ensure that exercise professionals are appropriately qualified when working with patients in a clinical setting. ACSM does not support licensure for personal trainers working with apparently healthy clients in nonclinical/community settings, such as commercial fitness facilities, YMCAs, etc.

ACSM also provides resources that help employers of fitness centers, wellness centers, worksite health promotion programs and hospitals determine their own hiring criteria for the various exercise professional positions that they have available.

For more information about ACSM’s position, go HERE.

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