National Credential
Credential: ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist (ACSM-CEP)  In-Demand resource  GI Bill resource  NCCA resource
Credentialing Agency: American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)

The American College of Sports Medicine - Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist (ACSM-CEP) is an allied health professional who works individually or as part of an interdisciplinary team in a clinical, community or public health setting. ACSM-CEPs utilize prescribed exercise, basic health behavior interventions, and promote physical activity for individuals with chronic diseases or conditions. The ACSM-CEP provides primary and secondary prevention strategies designed to improve, maintain, or attenuate declines in fitness and health in populations ranging from children to older adults. Candidates must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in exercise science or equivalent degree and 1,200 hours of clinical hands-on experience or a master's degree in clinical exercise physiology and 600 hours of hands-on clinical experience. The practice and supervision of the ACSM-CEP is guided by published professional guidelines and standards and applicable state and federal laws and regulations. Candidates for the ACSM-CEP are required to take and pass a written exam.

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

Renewal Period: 3 years

ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist (ACSM-CEP)

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          

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.

ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist (ACSM-CEP)

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: Basic Life Support or CPR for the Professional Rescuer certification (with hands-on practical skills component)
  • Experience: 1200 hours
  • Education: Bachelors
  • Training
  • Membership
  • Other
  • Fee

Exam Requirements ()

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

Renewal Period: 3 years

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

American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
401 West Michigan Street
Indianapolis, IN  46202-3233
Phone: (317) 637-9200
Fax: (317) 634-7817
Contact Page

ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist (ACSM-CEP)

Option 1: Candidate must have completed the Basic Life Support Provider certification and submit a copy of this certification with their ACSM-CEP application.

Option 2: Candidate must have completed the CPR for the Professional Rescuer certification (with hands-on practical skills component) and submit a copy of this certification with their ACSM-CEP application.

Option 1: Candidate must hold a bachelor's degree in exercise science or equivalent and must have completed 1,200 hours of clinical hands-on experience.

Option 2: Candidate must hold a master's degree in clinical exercise physiology and must have completed 600 hours of clinical hands-on experience.

The ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist (ACSM-CEP) credential has the following other requirements:

  • Candidate must complete and submit the ACSM-CEP application.
  • Candidate must submit an official copy of their university transcript(s) noting degree completion as well as a summary description of the program of study with the list of required courses with course descriptions as written in the university catalog.

ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist (ACSM-CEP)

  • Patient Assessment (20%)
    • Assess a patient’s medical record for information related to their visit.
    • Interview patient regarding medical history for their visit and reconcile medications.
    • Obtain and assess resting biometric data (e.g., height, weight, ECG, arterial oxygen saturation, blood glucose, body composition, spirometry).
    • Determine a sufficient level of monitoring/supervision based on a preparticipation health screening.
    • Assess patient goals, needs and objectives based on health and exercise history, motivation level and physical activity readiness.
  • Exercise Testing (19%)
    • Select, administer and interpret submaximal aerobic exercise tests (e.g., treadmill, step test, 6-minute walk).
    • Select, administer and interpret tests to assess musculoskeletal fitness, mobility and balance.
    • Select, prepare and administer maximal, symptom-limited exercise tests.
    • Evaluate and report results from a symptom-limited maximal exercise test to medical providers and in the medical record as required.
    • Identify relative and absolute contraindications for test termination and report to medical personnel as needed.
  • Exercise Prescription (23%)
    • Develop individualized exercise prescription to support patient needs and goals for various exercise environments (e.g., home/community based, facility based, virtual).
    • Communicate the exercise prescription, including the use of exercise equipment, and the importance of promptly reporting any adverse reactions or symptoms.
    • Explain and confirm patient understanding of exercise intensity and measures to assess exercise intensity (e.g., target heart rate, RPE, signs/symptoms, talk test).
    • Evaluate and modify the exercise prescription based on the patient’s compliance, signs/symptoms and physiologic response to the exercise program, as needed.
  • Exercise Training and Leadership (23%)
    • Discuss and explain exercise training plan, patient and clinician expectations and goals.
    • Identify, adapt and instruct in cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, coordination and agility exercise modes.
    • As indicated, provide patient monitoring (e.g., pulse oximetry, biometric data) and supervision during exercise.
    • Evaluate the patient’s contraindications to exercise training and associated risk/benefit and modify the exercise/activity program accordingly.
    • Evaluate, document and report patient’s clinical status and response to exercise training in the medical records.
    • Discuss clinical status and response to exercise training with patients and adapt and/or modify the exercise program, as indicated.
    • Promptly report new or worsening symptoms and adverse events in the patient’s medical record and consult with the responsible health care provider.
  • Education and Behavior Change (10%)
    • Continually evaluate patients using observation, interaction and industry-accepted tools, to identify those who may benefit from counseling or other mental health services using industry-accepted screening tools.
    • Assess patient’s understanding of their disease and/or disability and conduct education to teach the role of lifestyle in the prevention, management, and treatment of the disease.
    • Apply health behavior change techniques (e.g., Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy [CBT], Health Coaching) based upon assessment of readiness to change according to Transtheoretical Model (TTM).
    • Promote adherence to healthy behaviors through a patient centered approach (e.g., addressing barriers, engaging in active listening, expressing interest and empathy, increasing self-efficacy, teaching relapse prevention techniques and identifying support).
    • Evaluate the exercise environment and perform regular inspections of any emergency equipment and practice emergency procedures (e.g., crash cart, activation of emergency procedures) per industry and regulatory standards and facility guidelines.
  • Legal and Professional Responsibilities (5%)

There are a number of resources available to help you prepare for the ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist (ACSM-CEP) 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 Pearson VUE. The test centers are located in the U.S. They also have some test centers on military bases.

To find out more, use the following links on the Pearson VUE website:

For more information on the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) testing process, visit the agency website.

ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist (ACSM-CEP)

Renewal Period: 3 years

The ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist (ACSM-CEP) credential has the following recertification information:

  • ACSM-CEP certification holders have two options for recertification every 3 years. Option one requires completion of 60 continuing education credits (CEC), maintaining a current CPR and AED certification, and a recertification fee. Option two requires the certification holder to only retake the certification exam.  

    Recertification requirements can be found on the ACSM website.