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NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES) Certification Review (2024)

NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES) Certification Review (2024)

Posted by Tyler Spraul, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®) on February 9, 2024 — Updated on February 17, 2024

Read this NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES) Certification Review to decide if the NASM CES Certification is worth it and what the best personal training certification is for you.

NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES) Certification Review

So why is this NASM CES review important? In the field of fitness training, specialization has become increasingly important to meet the diverse needs and goals of clients. One area that has gained significant recognition is corrective exercise. The ability to analyze movement patterns, identify imbalances, and design appropriate exercise programs can make a world of difference in helping individuals overcome limitations and achieve optimal movement.

To meet the demand for qualified professionals in this field, the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) offers the Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES) Certification. In this article, we will delve into the details of this certification program, its benefits, the exam process, what to expect from the course, practical applications of the knowledge gained, success stories from certified professionals, continuing education opportunities, and frequently asked questions.

Discover the ins and outs of the NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES) Certification in this comprehensive review. And then whether you want to learn how to become a personal trainer, or learn how to become a fitness influencer, or learn how to open a gym, or learn how to start a fitness business, or anything in between, use the Exercise.com platform to accomplish your fitness business goals.

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NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES) Certification

Corrective exercise, as the name suggests, aims to identify and address muscular imbalances, movement dysfunctions, and postural deviations. The NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES) Certification equips fitness professionals with the knowledge and skills to assess individuals’ movement patterns and develop customized exercise programs to correct these issues effectively.

Overview of the NASM CES certification program

The NASM CES certification program is designed to provide fitness professionals with comprehensive knowledge and practical skills to assess, correct, and enhance movement. The certification program covers a wide range of topics, including anatomy, kinesiology, movement assessments, exercise adaptations, and program design. By delving into these areas, the program equips professionals with the tools necessary to identify specific movement dysfunctions and design effective exercise programs to address them.

One of the key components of the NASM CES certification program is the emphasis on evidence-based practice. The program incorporates the latest research and scientific principles to ensure that fitness professionals are equipped with the most up-to-date knowledge and techniques. This evidence-based approach not only enhances the effectiveness of the corrective exercise programs but also instills confidence in fitness professionals, knowing that they are providing their clients with the best possible care.

In addition to the theoretical knowledge, the NASM CES certification program also focuses on practical skills. Fitness professionals will learn various assessment techniques to identify movement dysfunctions and imbalances. These assessments may include observing movement patterns, conducting joint range of motion tests, and assessing muscle activation patterns. By developing these assessment skills, fitness professionals can accurately identify the root causes of movement issues and develop targeted exercise programs to address them.

Requirements and eligibility for the NASM CES certification

Before embarking on the NASM CES certification journey, it’s important to understand the requirements and eligibility criteria. To be eligible for the CES certification, candidates must hold a current NASM-CPT (Certified Personal Trainer) certification or an equivalent recognized certification. Additionally, candidates must be at least 18 years old and hold a current CPR/AED certification.

By setting these requirements, NASM ensures that candidates have a solid foundation in fitness training before pursuing the CES certification. This ensures that fitness professionals who earn the CES certification are well-rounded and capable of providing comprehensive care to their clients.

The NASM CES certification is a valuable credential for fitness professionals looking to specialize in corrective exercise. By earning this certification, professionals can expand their knowledge and skills, differentiate themselves in the industry, and provide their clients with the highest level of care. Whether working with athletes, individuals recovering from injuries, or those simply looking to improve their movement quality, the NASM CES certification equips professionals with the tools necessary to make a significant impact on their clients’ lives.

The NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES) certification stands out for its comprehensive approach to identifying and correcting common movement dysfunctions.

The NASM CES certification equips fitness professionals with the skills to improve clients’ movement patterns, enhance performance, and reduce the risk of injury.

NASM CES General Information

This certification focuses on the NASM’s Corrective Exercise Continuum, a proven method for addressing and correcting musculoskeletal imbalances.

NASM CES Credibility and Reputation

Backed by NASM’s industry-leading standards, the CES certification is highly regarded among fitness and rehabilitation professionals for its evidence-based approach.

For trainers looking to specialize in injury prevention and rehabilitation, the NASM CES certification offers invaluable knowledge and tools, making it a worthwhile investment.

NASM CES vs Other Top Corrective Exercise Certifications

When compared to other corrective exercise certifications, NASM CES is praised for its systematic and user-friendly methodology that can be integrated into any fitness program.

Leveraging Exercise.com’s best personal training software, CES-certified trainers can design and deliver personalized corrective exercise programs, track progress, and ensure optimal client outcomes.

The NASM CES certification is ideal for personal trainers, physical therapists, athletic trainers, and other health professionals seeking to expand their expertise in movement analysis and correction.


The investment in the NASM CES certification varies based on the study package chosen, reflecting the depth of resources and support provided.


The self-study option provides flexibility for professionals to learn at their own pace with comprehensive digital resources.

Premium Self-Study

The premium package includes additional support such as live webinars and workshops, enhancing the learning experience.

Guided Study

For those who prefer a structured learning path, the guided study option offers scheduled lessons, mentorship, and group discussions.

NASM CES Certification Corrective Exercise Content

The curriculum delves into the science of movement, assessment techniques, and corrective strategies to address and prevent musculoskeletal imbalances.

Section 1 – Foundations of Corrective Exercise

  • Principles of movement science and the rationale behind corrective exercise.

Section 2 – Assessment Strategies

  • Techniques for conducting postural and movement assessments to identify imbalances.

Section 3 – Corrective Exercise Programming

  • Developing individualized exercise programs based on assessment findings.

NASM CES Exam Prep and Study Materials

NASM provides a wealth of study materials, including textbooks, online modules, videos, and practice exams, to fully prepare candidates for the CES certification exam.

NASM CES Certification Requirements

Candidates must complete the coursework and pass the final exam to demonstrate their competency in corrective exercise strategies.


Obtaining the CES certification can enhance a fitness professional’s marketability and potential earnings by offering specialized services.

Taking the Final NASM CES Exam

The final exam challenges candidates to apply their knowledge in practical scenarios, ensuring readiness to implement corrective exercise techniques.

NASM CES Continuing Education and Recertification

To maintain the CES certification, professionals are required to complete continuing education units (CEUs), staying current with the latest in corrective exercise science.

Other NASM Offerings

Besides the CES certification, NASM offers a range of specialized certifications, allowing fitness professionals to further diversify their expertise.

NASM CES Overall Rating


  • In-depth focus on corrective exercise principles and application
  • Renowned NASM methodology and support
  • Flexibility in learning and study options


  • Higher cost compared to some other certifications
  • Requires significant study and practical application to master the content

The NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist certification is a powerful credential for fitness professionals aiming to specialize in injury prevention and rehabilitation. By integrating NASM CES principles with Exercise.com’s best gym software, trainers can offer enhanced, personalized corrective exercise programs that cater to the unique needs of their clients, setting them apart in the fitness industry.

Understanding the importance of corrective exercise in fitness training

Before diving into the details of the NASM CES certification, it’s crucial to understand why corrective exercise plays a vital role in fitness training. Many individuals face movement restrictions, muscular imbalances, and faulty movement patterns due to various factors such as sedentary lifestyles, previous injuries, or poor exercise technique. These issues not only hinder performance but also increase the risk of injuries. By addressing these imbalances and dysfunctions through corrective exercise, fitness professionals can help individuals move more efficiently, reduce pain, and enhance overall performance.

Corrective exercise is not just about fixing problems; it is also about optimizing movement. By identifying and addressing any movement restrictions or imbalances, fitness professionals can help individuals reach their full potential and achieve their fitness goals. Whether it’s improving athletic performance, enhancing functional movement, or simply improving quality of life, corrective exercise plays a crucial role in achieving these outcomes.

One of the key aspects of corrective exercise is the focus on individualized programming. Every individual has unique movement patterns and imbalances, and a one-size-fits-all approach simply won’t work. The NASM CES certification equips fitness professionals with the knowledge and skills to assess individuals’ movement patterns and develop customized exercise programs that address their specific needs. By tailoring the exercises to the individual, the effectiveness of the corrective exercise program is maximized.

Benefits of Obtaining the NASM CES Certification

Now that we understand the core concepts of the NASM CES certification, let’s explore the numerous benefits of obtaining this credential.

Enhancing your knowledge and skills in corrective exercise

The NASM CES certification provides a comprehensive framework to deepen your understanding of movement dysfunctions, imbalances, and effective corrective exercise strategies. By enhancing your knowledge in this area, you’ll be better equipped to analyze movement patterns, identify imbalances, and develop tailored exercise programs for clients.

When you obtain the NASM CES certification, you dive into a world of fascinating knowledge. You’ll learn about the intricacies of the human body and how different movement dysfunctions can impact overall health and performance. Understanding the underlying causes of these dysfunctions will enable you to develop targeted exercise programs that address specific client needs.

Moreover, the certification will equip you with a wide range of corrective exercise strategies. You’ll learn about various techniques, such as stretching, strengthening, and neuromuscular reeducation, that can help your clients overcome movement limitations and imbalances. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to design effective and efficient exercise programs that facilitate optimal movement patterns and enhance overall performance.

Expanding your career opportunities in the fitness industry

As the demand for corrective exercise specialists continues to grow, holding the NASM CES certification opens doors to new career opportunities. Whether you are working as a personal trainer, strength and conditioning coach, or physical therapist, this certification sets you apart from others in the industry.

With the NASM CES certification, you’ll have a competitive edge in the job market. Employers are always on the lookout for professionals who possess specialized knowledge and skills. By obtaining this certification, you’ll demonstrate your commitment to professional development and your ability to provide exceptional care to clients.

Moreover, this certification allows you to tap into various sectors of the fitness industry. You can work with athletes, helping them overcome movement limitations and enhance their performance. Alternatively, you can work in a rehabilitation setting, assisting individuals in their journey towards recovery and improved mobility. The possibilities are endless, and the NASM CES certification equips you with the skills and knowledge to thrive in any setting.

Gaining credibility and trust from clients and employers

Clients and employers value professionals who possess specialized knowledge and certifications. The NASM CES certification demonstrates your commitment to continuous learning and your ability to address specific client needs. This credibility can lead to increased client trust, client retention, and better professional opportunities.

When you hold the NASM CES certification, clients and employers recognize your expertise in corrective exercise. They understand that you have gone above and beyond to acquire the necessary skills to help individuals overcome movement limitations and imbalances. This recognition builds trust and confidence in your abilities, making clients more likely to seek your services and employers more likely to hire you.

Furthermore, the NASM CES certification provides you with ongoing support and resources to further enhance your credibility. You’ll have access to a network of like-minded professionals and continued education opportunities that allow you to stay up-to-date with the latest research and advancements in corrective exercise. This continuous learning not only benefits your clients but also strengthens your professional reputation.

The NASM CES Certification Exam

The NASM CES certification process includes an exam to assess your understanding of the content covered in the program.

Exam format and structure

The NASM CES certification exam consists of multiple-choice questions covering the key concepts and principles of corrective exercise. The exam is computer-based and can be taken at an approved testing center. It is essential to familiarize yourself with the format and structure of the exam to better prepare and maximize your chances of success.

Study resources and preparation tips

To prepare for the NASM CES certification exam, NASM provides various study resources, including textbooks, online modules, and practice exams. It is crucial to allocate sufficient time for studying and familiarize yourself with both theoretical concepts and practical applications. Additionally, seeking guidance from certified professionals and attending workshops or seminars can further enhance your exam preparation.

Common topics covered in the exam

The NASM CES certification exam covers a broad range of topics related to movement assessments, corrective exercise strategies, program design, and professional responsibilities. Familiarize yourself with the specifics of each topic, such as the different assessment protocols, exercise progressions, and relevant scientific principles.

What to Expect from the NASM CES Certification Course

Before deciding to pursue the NASM CES certification, understanding the course delivery, duration, and topics covered is crucial to make an informed decision.

Course duration and format

The NASM CES certification course is self-paced and typically takes around 12-16 weeks to complete. The course can be accessed online through the NASM website, allowing you to study at your own convenience, whether you are a full-time professional or juggling other commitments.

Key topics and modules covered in the course

The NASM CES certification course covers a wide range of topics, ensuring you gain a comprehensive understanding of corrective exercise. Some key modules include functional anatomy, movement assessments, corrective exercise programming, and client interaction. Each module is designed to build upon the previous ones, deepening your understanding of the subject matter.

Hands-on practical training and application

The NASM CES certification course not only emphasizes theoretical knowledge but also focuses on practical applications. Practical training and application exercises allow you to develop assessment skills, program design proficiency, and hands-on correction techniques. This practical component provides valuable experience that can be directly applied in your future practice.

Practical Applications of the NASM CES Certification

Now that you have obtained the NASM CES certification, let’s explore how you can apply your knowledge and skills in real-world scenarios.

Assessing clients’ movement patterns and identifying imbalances

One of the primary applications of the NASM CES certification is assessing clients’ movement patterns and identifying any imbalances or dysfunctions. By utilizing various movement assessments, you can pinpoint specific areas that need correction and develop targeted exercise programs to address these issues.

Designing individualized corrective exercise programs

Based on the assessments and observations, the NASM CES certification equips you with the tools to design individualized corrective exercise programs. These programs target specific imbalances and aim to improve movement efficiency, functional strength, and overall performance.

Monitoring progress and making necessary adjustments

Effectively monitoring your clients’ progress is a crucial aspect of corrective exercise. With the knowledge gained from the NASM CES certification, you can track improvements in movement patterns and address any plateaus or limitations that may arise. This continuous monitoring and adjustment process ensures that clients stay on track and achieve their goals.

Continuing Education and Advanced Specializations for NASM CES Certified Professionals

As the field of corrective exercise continues to evolve, it is crucial for NASM CES certified professionals to explore opportunities for further professional development and gain advanced specializations.

Opportunities for further professional development

The NASM CES certification provides a solid foundation for professionals, but it is essential to continue learning and expanding your skillset. Continuing education courses, workshops, and conferences allow you to stay updated with the latest research, strategies, and advancements in corrective exercise.

Advanced specializations and certifications to consider

Building upon your NASM CES certification, you may consider pursuing advanced specializations and certifications in related areas. For example, certifications in performance enhancement, neuromuscular therapy, or functional movement screening can enhance your expertise and provide additional value to your clients.

Staying updated with the latest research and techniques in corrective exercise

As new research and techniques emerge in the field of corrective exercise, it is crucial to stay updated. Engaging in ongoing research, reading industry publications, and attending conferences can help you stay at the forefront of this ever-evolving field.

The NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES) Certification is a valuable program that equips fitness professionals with the knowledge and skills to identify movement dysfunctions, correct imbalances, and develop tailored exercise programs. Holding this certification enhances your career opportunities, credibility, and ability to make a meaningful difference in your clients’ lives. By continuous learning and staying at the forefront of the field, NASM CES certified professionals can consistently elevate their practice and improve their clients’ outcomes.

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Is the NASM CES certification right for me?

If you are passionate about helping individuals improve their movement, address muscular imbalances, and enhance performance, the NASM CES certification could be an excellent fit for you. It provides the knowledge and skills necessary to make a positive impact on your clients’ lives.

How much does the NASM CES certification cost?

The cost of the NASM CES certification may vary, so it is recommended to visit the NASM website to get the most up-to-date information regarding pricing and any additional costs associated with the certification process.

How long does it take to complete the NASM CES certification process?

The NASM CES certification process typically takes around 12-16 weeks. However, it is important to remember that the process may vary depending on your own pace, study commitments, and any other factors that may impact your ability to dedicate time to the program.

Is the NASM CES certification worth it?

The NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) CES (Corrective Exercise Specialist) certification is highly valued in the fitness industry, particularly for professionals who want to specialize in identifying and correcting muscular imbalances that can lead to injury and decreased performance. This certification is worth it for personal trainers, physical therapists, and other fitness professionals looking to enhance their skill set in preventative and rehabilitative exercise programs, expanding their client base to include those recovering from injuries or seeking to prevent them.

How difficult is the NASM CES exam?

The NASM CES exam is challenging, as it covers a wide range of topics related to corrective exercise, including assessment techniques, program design, and the application of NASM’s Corrective Exercise Continuum. The depth of knowledge required in anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics makes thorough study and preparation essential for success.

How credible is NASM’s CES certification?

NASM’s CES certification is highly credible and respected in the fitness and rehabilitation communities. NASM is known for its evidence-based approach to fitness and wellness, and the CES certification is consistent with this reputation, providing a comprehensive understanding of corrective exercise strategies backed by scientific research.

How many people pass the NASM CES exam on the first try?

Specific pass rate data for the NASM CES exam on the first try is not publicly disclosed by NASM. However, candidates who thoroughly prepare using NASM’s study materials and have a strong foundation in exercise science tend to have a higher likelihood of passing the exam.

What is the pass rate of the NASM CES?

NASM does not release specific pass rate statistics for the CES exam. The certification is designed to ensure that certified professionals meet NASM’s high standards of knowledge and competency in corrective exercise, highlighting the importance of comprehensive study and preparation.

Is NASM or ACSM better?

Both NASM’s CES and ACSM’s (American College of Sports Medicine) certifications in similar areas are highly respected. The choice between them often depends on your specific career goals and preferences. NASM’s CES is widely recognized for its focus on corrective exercise within the fitness industry, while ACSM certifications are esteemed for their scientific rigor and clinical application. If your interest lies specifically in corrective exercise within personal training, NASM’s CES might be the preferred choice.

Is the NASM CES test open book?

The NASM CES exam is not open book. It is a proctored online exam that requires candidates to demonstrate their knowledge and application of NASM’s corrective exercise principles without the use of textbooks, notes, or other aids.

How many times can you fail the NASM CES exam?

NASM allows candidates to retake the CES exam if they do not pass, but a retake fee is required for each attempt. While there is no limit to the number of times a candidate can retake the exam, it’s beneficial to thoroughly prepare for each attempt to increase the chances of passing.

What can I do with a NASM CES certification?

With a NASM CES certification, you can work with a wide range of clients, including those at risk of injury, experiencing muscular imbalances, or recovering from musculoskeletal injuries. The certification allows you to offer specialized corrective exercise programs, enhancing your services as a personal trainer, fitness coach, or rehabilitation specialist, and potentially working in collaboration with healthcare providers.

How expensive is the NASM CES certification?

The cost of the NASM CES certification varies depending on any promotions or packages NASM offers. Typically, the price ranges from around $600 to $1,000, which includes the study materials, online course access, and the exam fee.

What happens if you don’t pay NASM for the CES certification?

Failing to pay NASM for the CES certification could result in losing access to the course materials, being unable to schedule or take the exam, and not receiving the certification. It’s important to fulfill all financial obligations to NASM to complete the certification process successfully.

How long is the NASM CES certification good for?

The NASM CES certification, like other NASM specializations, is valid for two years. To maintain the certification, certified professionals must complete 1.9 NASM-approved Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and pay the recertification fee before the certification expires.

What are the best certifications for corrective exercise?

Besides NASM’s CES, other notable certifications in corrective exercise include the Functional Movement Systems (FMS) Level 1 certification, and the ACSM’s Exercise is Medicine Credential. The best certification for you will depend on your specific interests in corrective exercise and the population you intend to work with.

How can I learn more about corrective exercise?

To learn more about corrective exercise, consider pursuing specialized certifications like NASM’s CES, attending workshops and seminars focused on corrective techniques, engaging in continuing education courses, and staying informed about the latest research in movement science and injury prevention.

How can I integrate corrective exercise into my training programs?

Integrating corrective exercise into your training programs involves conducting thorough assessments to identify clients’ imbalances or movement deficiencies, designing personalized exercise programs based on these assessments, and continually monitoring and adjusting the programs as your clients progress.

How can Exercise.com help me run a successful fitness business with a focus on corrective exercise?

Exercise.com can help run a successful fitness business with a focus on corrective exercise by providing comprehensive business management software tailored for fitness professionals. The platform includes features for creating and delivering personalized workout plans, including corrective exercise programs, managing client and class schedules, conducting online training sessions, tracking client progress, and automating various business tasks, enabling you to efficiently manage your business and deliver high-quality corrective exercise services to your clients.

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Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®). He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life.
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