National Credential
Credential: Certified Medical Exercise Specialist (ACE-CMES)  GI Bill resource  NCCA resource
Credentialing Agency: American Council on Exercise (ACE)

The ACE Certified Medical Exercise Specialist (CMES) is an intermediate to advanced-level health and fitness professional credential. CMESs create programs for post-rehabilitative clients recovering from cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic and musculoskeletal conditions. CMESs identify postural imbalances and implement programs that train the body to overcome or prevent conditions from occurring. ACE requires that CMES candidates hold a current adult CPR and AED certificate and a four-year (bachelor's) degree in exercise science or a related field. Candidates are also expected to meet related work experience requirements.

More information can be found on the certifying agency's website.

Renewal Period: 2 years

Certified Medical Exercise Specialist (ACE-CMES)

The following Army Occupations provide training and/or experience that contributes to attaining this credential:

Personnel Category Occupation Occupation Type Related As Promotion Points Skill Level Star Proponent Funded Gap Analysis
Enlisted 68F Physical Therapy Specialist MOS other          
Enlisted 8J Master Resilience Trainer-Facilitator ASI most          

Army Table Legend

Related As

The military occupations shown in this table are related to this credential in one of four ways: Most, Some, or Other.

Most: This credential is directly related to most of the major duties associated with the military occupation (at least 80%). Note that the credential may require additional education, training or experience before you are eligible for it.

Some: This credential is related to some tasks associated with the duties of the military occupation (related 80% to at least one or more critical tasks but less than 80% of all of the entire military occupation). Note that the credential may require additional education, training or experience before you are eligible for it.

Other: This credential is related to this military occupation, but is more advanced or specialized and therefore will likely require additional education, training, or experience.

Promotion Points Promotion Points icon

This credential has been approved for promotion points for this MOS towards promotion to Sergeant and Staff Sergeant. Clicking the Promotion Points icon will open a link to the promotion points fact sheet.

Skill Level Designation

Skill Level I: This skill level consists of all Soldiers in the ranks of Private (pay grade E-1) up to Specialist (pay grade E-4). Time in Service (TIS) is generally between initial entry and four Years of Service (YOS). This skill level is Entry-level positions requiring performance of tasks under direct supervision.

Institutional training:

  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level I
  • Basic Leader Course (BLC)

Skill Level II: This skill level is obtained when promoted to Sergeant (paygrade E-5). TIS is generally between 4-8 YOS. Positions requiring performance of more difficult tasks under general supervision; and in some instances, involving supervision of Soldiers in SL1.

Institutional training:

  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level II
  • Advance Leader Course (ALC)

Skill Level III: This skill level is obtained when promoted to Staff Sergeant (paygrade E-6). TIS is generally between 8-12 YOS. Positions requiring performance of still more difficult tasks and involving first line supervision of Soldiers in SL1 & SL2.

Institutional training:

  • Senior Leader Course (SLC)
  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level III

Skill level IV: This skill level is obtained when promoted to the rank of Sergeant First Class (paygrade E-7). TIS is generally between 12-18 YOS. Positions requiring relatively detailed knowledge of all tasks specified for a given MOS, normally involving first-line supervision of Soldiers in SLs 1, 2, and 3, and involving managerial duties.

Institutional training:

  • Master Leader Course (MLC)
  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level IV
  • Senior Enlisted Joint Professional Military Education (SEJPME) I Course

Skill level V: This skill level is obtained when promoted to the rank of Master Sergeant (paygrade E-8). TIS is generally between 18-22 YOS. Positions requiring direct and indirect leadership roles with expertise in company and battalion-level operations and competency across a given CMF, serving as members of a staff at every level in the Army, with a full understanding of the allocation of resources and their utilization in order to accomplish Army functions and missions.

Institutional training:

  • United States Army Sergeants Major Academy (USASMA)
  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level V

Skill level VI: This skill level is obtained when promoted to the rank of Sergeants Major (paygrade E-9). TIS is generally between 22-30 YOS. Positions requiring organizational leadership roles with multi-dimensional expertise in units and teams on division, corps, and Army staffs, integrated with Joint, Interagency, Intergovernmental, and Multinational (JIIM) partners with a full understanding of the Force Generation process, operations at all echelons, and how the Army runs.

Star Credential Star icon

Star credentials are MOS enhancing, as designated by the Proponent. MOS enhancing credentials are directly related to an MOS or ASI, are taught either partially or completely as part of a Program of Instruction (POI), and improve the MOS technical proficiency.

Proponent Funded Funded icon

This icon indicates credentials which Soldiers may have funded through their MOS proponent. Some proponents offer credentialing opportunities in conjunction with military training and/or as part of MOS development beyond the training base.

Gap Analysis Has Analysis icon

A detailed analysis comparing the credential requirements to the military occupation has been completed. Click on the gap analysis icon to view the analysis page.

Certified Medical Exercise Specialist (ACE-CMES)

Eligibility Requirements ()

Note: This credential may have multiple options for becoming eligible. Listed below are the minimum requirements based on the minimum degree required. To view other options, see the Eligibility tab.

  • Credential Prerequisite
  • Experience: 500 hours
  • Education: Bachelors
  • Training
  • Membership
  • Other
  • Fee

Exam Requirements ()

  • Written Exam
  • Oral Exam
  • Practical Exam
  • Performance Assessment

Renewal Period: 2 years

  • Continuing Education
  • Exam
  • Continuing Education OR Exam
  • Fee
  • Other

American Council on Exercise (ACE)
4851 Paramount Drive
San Diego, CA  92123
Phone: (800) 825-3636
Fax: (858) 576-6564

Certified Medical Exercise Specialist (ACE-CMES)

Candidates must submit supporting documentation for a four-year (bachelor’s) degree in exercise science or a related field.

Candidates must submit supporting documentation for having 500 hours of work experience designing and implementing exercise programs for apparently healthy individuals and/or high-risk individuals, as documented by a qualified professional.

The Certified Medical Exercise Specialist (ACE-CMES) credential has the following other requirements:

  • Candidates must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Candidate must hold a current adult CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and AED (automated external defibrillator) certificate including live skills check.
  • Candidates must present current government-issued photo ID with signature (driver’s license, passport, military ID).
  • Candidates must agree to adhere to the ACE Code of Ethics.

Certified Medical Exercise Specialist (ACE-CMES)

  • Interviews and Assessments (27%)
    • Gather health, fitness, and lifestyle information from client interviews and journals, electronic medical records, questionnaires, and communication with other healthcare providers to ensure accurate screening and assessment of the client.
    • Evaluate health, fitness, and lifestyle information using industry guidelines and recommendations to assess an individual’s readiness for physical activity, facilitate program design, optimize adherence, identify at-risk clients, and make appropriate referrals.
    • Perform baseline and periodic follow-up screens and assessments using recommended guidelines and protocols in order to optimize program design, ensure safety, and enhance effectiveness.
  • Program Design, Implementation, and Modification (35%)
    • Set realistic and appropriate goals based on client expectations and limitations, assessment data, and recommendations from healthcare professionals.
    • Design preventive programs for at-risk clients in order to help them improve health, fitness, and function while mitigating the risk of diseases, disorders, ailments, and injuries.
    • Design programs for clients in all stages of medical intervention in order to complement treatment and improve health, fitness, and function.
    • Modify a client’s program and goals based on reassessment data; exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle logs; client- and healthcare provider–reported information in order to ensure program safety and success.
    • Collaborate with other members of the healthcare team in order to deliver complementary programs that promote improved health, fitness, and function.
  • Communication and Behavior Change (21%)
    • Develop rapport with clients using purposeful questioning and attentive listening to facilitate communication, compliance, and a positive working relationship.
    • Educate the client on specific health behaviors and self-monitoring tools in order to enhance program adherence, safety, and success.
    • Instruct clients on safe and effective exercise techniques using appropriate communication, coaching, and cueing strategies in order to optimize program outcomes and build self-efficacy.
    • Apply coaching strategies in order to facilitate lasting healthy behavioral change.
  • Professional Conduct and Risk Management (17%)
    • Maintain detailed records using policies and procedures that adhere to professional guidelines in order to track progress, make appropriate adjustments, and communicate (as necessary) with other healthcare professionals.
    • Comply with applicable laws, regulations, ACE Code of Ethics, and industry guidelines in order to protect the interests of all stakeholders and minimize risk.
    • Recognize and respond to acute medical conditions and injuries by following an emergency action plan in order to provide appropriate care and comply with risk-management practices.
    • Pursue information from professional resources in order to provide services consistent with accepted standards of care.

There are a number of resources available to help you prepare for the Certified Medical Exercise Specialist (ACE-CMES) examination:

An additional resource is Safari Books Online, a searchable digital library that provides online access to thousands of books, training videos and conference sessions. See the Educational Resources page here on COOL to learn how to get free access.

Testing for this credential is handled by Castle Worldwide. The test centers are located in the U.S.

To find out more, use the following links on the Castle Worldwide website:

For more information on the American Council on Exercise (ACE) testing process, visit the agency website.

Certified Medical Exercise Specialist (ACE-CMES)

Renewal Period: 2 years

The Certified Medical Exercise Specialist (ACE-CMES) credential has the following recertification information:

  • ACE certifications are valid for 2 years and must be renewed through the submission of 20 hours or more of ACE-approved continuing education, current CPR/AED certificate, and applicable renewal fees.