ACE Fitness Leadership Course

Are you interested in becoming a fitness professional, but not sure how to get started? Campus Recreation's ACE Leadership Course prepares you to become a certified fitness professional through the American Council on Exercise (ACE). There are two separate programs available: Group Exercise Instructor and Personal Trainer. Each course is a 9-week program. The program not only prepares you for the ACE exam, but additionally builds confidence in your leadership abilities, and provides fitness knowledge and hands-on training opportunities with fitness testing and various fitness equipment and props. Please stop by the Living Well Center for more information.

For additional Group Exercise info click here.

For additional Personal Training info click here.

Applications for Winter 2023 are now Open!

Frequently Asked Questions

Class offerings vary each year. Please call the Living Well Center at 530-754-2179 or email at for more information or to add your name to the interest list. Please specify if you are interested in the ACE Personal Training or ACE Group Exercise course.

Does the course fee include the cost of taking the ACE exam?

The course fee does not include the cost of the national certification examination, but does provide individuals with the ACE Manual, quizzes and much more in preparation for the exam. Also, as a member of the course, you receive a discount on the examination fees.

What are the benefits of being a student in the ACE Leadership Course?

The Campus Recreation Living Well program will become your family to help you every step of the way in your quest to become a fitness professional. The course will help you prepare for the ACE exam and become a successful fitness professional.

By participating in the ACE Fitness Leadership Course, you will have the opportunity to save over 20% off the cost of course materials and the exam. Opportunities to practice with your group is another major benefit that helps ease anxiety and nervousness as a rookie instructor.

What is the difference between a Group Exercise instructor and a personal trainer?

Group Exercise instructors and personal trainers both learn basic fitness principles, physiology, anatomy, biomechanics and exercise technique. However, Group Exercise instructors are taught such subjects as music selection, tempo, choreography and cuing in order to lead a safe and effective group of individuals as opposed to personal attention. Personal trainers are taught more detailed topics on tailored exercise program design and one-on-one teaching techniques.

Will I be guaranteed employment with the Campus Recreation Living Well Program if I enroll in the program?

The ACE Leadership Course provides individuals with the nuts and bolts needed to become an instructor. Auditions will be held for individuals interested in teaching at the ARC and instructors will be hired based on skills exhibited and the need for additional instructors or trainers on the staff. As a campus employer, we offer preferential hiring to current UC Davis students.

Can I participate if I am a university affiliate or from the local community?

Yes. Applicants that are not students at the University of California at Davis can apply for the course; however, course fees vary depending upon affiliation with the university. Affiliates and Community Members enrolled in the course still have the opportunity to save 20% off the cost of the ACE exam.