Exercise Safety

ESA Certification Renewal

First ESA Certification - One Year

Most fitness certifications are issued for a specific length of time, after which, they expire and must be renewed. Renewal generally requires proof of a current CPR certification, a specific number of continuing education units, and payment of an administrative renewal fee.
The first ESA certification is valid for one year. After the first year, a certification may be renewed for multiple years, up to four, with appropriate number of continuing education credits. ESA requires .6 CECs per year and a valid CPR certification. If an instructor earns multiple ESA certifications, the expiration year remains the same for all the certifications earned.

Courtesy Reminders

ESA maintains an organizational renewal month, which is September. On the 30th of that month all certifications expire within the individual certified instructor's expiration YEAR, correlating with the number of years renewed previously. ESA sends several COURTESY REMINDERS prior to expiration; however courtesy notices can get lost in the mail during the delivery process. So, it remains the instructor's responsibility to know the YEAR that their certification expires and contact ESA to renew. The expiration date is listed on the bottom of the certification document. It remains the certified instructor's responsibility to keep accurate records of continuing education hours/credits, to know certification expiration dates, and to take the appropriate steps to keep the certification current/valid.

Three Steps for ESA Certification Renewal


Renewal Process

ESA merges all certifications that are earned by an instructor so they will expire in the same YEAR and they all will be renewed at the same time during the month of SEPTEMBER in that YEAR. Currently, the certification renewal is submitted by phone. To renew call the ESA office (407) 246-5090 and ask to speak with a certification advisor. The ESA certification advisor is working for certified instructors and strives to help them succeed. They assist instructors to explore their records. The call will take only a few minutes. At the present time, ESA does not review records by mail or email. However, ESA is currently preparing an online renewal process that will be implemented later this year.

All Continuing Education information should be organized and available at the time of the renewal phone consultation. An ESA certification advisor will review the record, discuss courses taken, and optionally discuss career goals. During the phone consultation, the certified instructor can be assured that an ESA certification advisor will ask targeted questions to uncover credits that an instructor might not have been aware that he or she earned.

Renewal is paid at the time of the phone consultation by Master Card or VISA after the continuing education record and CPR date have been reviewed. Payment by check will be accepted within 14 days of a telephone renewal, upon approval by the certification advisor. CPR will be immediately logged in the instructor's permanent record; however ESA does not hold unpaid renewal CEC records past 14 days; if the payment is not received with 14 days, the CEC record is destroyed and the certified instructor must reschedule an appointment to resubmit CEC information.

Continuing Education Credits

ESA follows the guidelines of the National Council for Continuing Education & Training.

ESA certification requires that the certified instructor earn .6 continuing education credits each year. According to national standards, a ONE-HOUR course is granted .1 continuing education unit or continuing education credit (CEU or CEC). ESA requires six (6) hours of coursework (.6 CECs) to renew an existing certification for one year. If the certified instructor has earned multiple certifications, the .6 credits can be applied to ALL of the certifications as credit in the same year. A certification can be renewed for multiple years up to four years if the appropriate number of CECs have been earned. The training for the first certification earned can not be used at the end of the year to renew itself. Subsequent ESA training programs can be applied for CECs worth .6 each.

Certification Records and Audits

ESA uses an independent auditor to randomly verify ESA certified instructors' CEC records and CPR certifications. It is the instructor's responsibility to maintain accurate, organized records and be able to produce copies of certificates and verification of credits earned. In the event of an audit, the auditor will send a standard form requesting verification of a record, CEC or CPR. A copy must be provided or the certification will be void and cancelled. Fitness employers, supervisors, or the facility of record will be notified if a certification is voided. Certification administrative fees will not be reimbursed. An instructor must keep a record of their CECs and CPR certification for the time period of the certification. Audits may occur up to the date of expiration.

Multiple Year Renewal

Certifications may be renewed for one year or for up to four years. Administrative fees are significantly discounted when renewing for multiple years. *The minimum number of credits required for one certification is applied to two or more (e.g. to renew one certification for one year requires .6 CECs; to renew two ESA certifications for one year requires .6 credits TOTAL). 

Current Multiple Year Renewal Administrative Fees


  • 1 year - 6 hours (.6 credits*) and $30.00 (no discount)
  • 2 years - 12 hours (1.2 credits*) and $50.00 (save $10.00)
  • 3 years - 18 hours (1.8 credits*) and $70.00 (save $20.00)
  • 4 years - 24 hours (2.4 credits*) and $ 90.00 (save 30.00)


  • 1 year - 6 hours (.6 credits*) and $50.00 (save $10.00)
  • 2 years - 12 hours (1.2 credits*) and $80.00 (save $20.00)
  • 3 years - 18 hours (1.8 credits*) and $100.00 (save $50.00)
  • 4 years - 24 hours (2.4 credits*) and $130.00 (save $70.00)


  • 1 year - 6 hours (.6 credits*) and $75.00 (save $15.00 +)
  • 2 years - 12 hours (1.2 credits*) and $125.00 (save $50.00 +)
  • 3 years - 18 hours (1.8 credits*) and $150.00 (save $85.00+)
  • 4 years - 24 hours (2.4 credits*) and $175.00 (save $175.00+)


  • A twenty-five dollar ($25.00) late fee is charged for certifications renewed after September 30 of the expired year.

About CEC Courses

In order to retain the value of certification, continued education must meet specific criteria. Courses that are accepted by ESA are separated into in two classifications: ESA ACCREDITED courses and INDEPENDENT work

ESA Accredited Courses

ESA accredited courses will be registered in your records automatically and do not require proof of completion. They include:

  • ESA STAR AMERICA TRAINER certification training courses conducted on-site
  • ESA STAR AMERICA TRAINER continuing education courses conducted on-site
  • ESA Home Study Courses
  • ESA Continuing Education courses: Newsletter articles, Extended Articles, Video Courses, and Video Reviews
  • ESA Course Revised Edition Review

ESA Accredited Revised Edition Review

Each year the education committee reviews ESA courses and updates information. Per the advice of committee, some textbooks are revised. Once an instructor becomes certified in a specific discipline and if that course undergoes a major revision, the instructor may request and receive the revised edition for the cost of shipping/handling. The instructor must also hold a current certification in that discipline to receive the free revised edition. It is the responsibility of the instructor to request the revised edition and the corresponding CEC Submission Form for the Revised Edition Review.

Independent Work – Self-Study

ESA accepts instructor continuing education classes from other organizations despite differences in philosophy and information. It is the responsibility of the certified instructor to evaluate a non-ESA course for content and accuracy. ESA strongly recommends that instructors attend quality programs and set goals of excellence by seeking courses that meet the ESA's safety standards and guidelines for the subject matter. Ideally, a course should be academic. Lectures and choreography courses are largely accepted. Classes that are not accepted contain questionable information, typically have sensationalized titles (For example: How to Lose 50 pounds in 10 Days etc.), and are based on a presenter's personal theories, ideas or experience rather than on sound scientific or academic data.

A minimum of one hour of continuing education per year must be earned through an ESA ACCREDITED source (For example: one ESA ART). ESA will then accept independent work. When submitting a course record during the renewal process, provide the title of the course, sponsoring organization, date of completion, and number of class room hours excluding breaks, registration, and lunches. The following are examples of courses that exemplify standards of excellence:

  • first aide courses and emergency care techniques
    Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation is NOT accepted for credit because it is a mandatory requirement. However, FIRST AID and AED are granted .1 CEC each.
  • academic courses that are completed through a state accredited high school, college, university, graduate school, community college and community adult education
    The course must be academic related to mental and physical health and fitness or leadership. ESA will accept academic courses related to group leadership. Examples of recommended courses include anatomy, physiology, nutrition, human performance, biology, and psychology. Examples of non-related academic courses that would NOT be accepted include but not limited to religion, history, philosophy, anthropology, business, accounting, or bookkeeping courses. ESA would accept an academic course non-related if the subject matter relates to mental, physical health, exercise or leadership (e.g. The History of Exercise, Religious and Spiritual effects of Exercise, Wellness, Spirituality and Sport).
  • all courses that are granted continuing education units for state licensed health professionals, care worker, teachers, and nurses
  • course development and educational research
    Candidates who have conducted research, presented papers, developed courses or thesis related to mental and physical health and fitness or related to business and leadership will be granted credits. Call an ESA certification advisor to explain the details about the research, the course developed, the thesis or the completed paper or thesis at the time of the telephone renewal. The number of credits granted varies per the individual project.
  • professional courses conducted by a qualified lecturer whose primary profession is related to the subject matter, with degree in the specific subject or licensed by the state
    The course must be academic related to mental and physical health and fitness or courses related to business and leadership. Examples:
    • How to Prevent Back Injury - licensed chiropractor
    • Keep Your Heart Fit & Healthy - licensed cardiologist
    • Motivation & Exercise Adherence - licensed psychologist or psychiatrist
    • Current Research in Nutrition - registered dietitian
    • Shoulder Rehabilitation - licensed physical therapist
  • courses that are largely recognized in mainstream alternative and taught by a qualified professional in the subject matter
    Examples: Therapeutic Touch; Reiki
  • leadership and safety training courses required by an employer

Secondary CECS

The following are accepted on a case by case basis and considered SUPPLEMENTARY to accredited courses and independent work. They will not be accepted as the sole continuing education and are considered after reviewing an instructor's entire record over several years. At least one hour of continuing education per year must be earned through ESA accredited courses or independent work.

  • self study videotapes, books, magazine subscriptions
    ESA accepts videotapes and DVDs that provide choreography or design ideas for classes. ESA also accepts “how to” books that supplement class design. Finally, ESA accepts fitness magazine subscriptions that have been received for a minimum of one year. Individual magazines are not accepted. Videotapes (DVDs) earn .1 CEC each; books earn .2 CEC each; subscription magazines are awarded credits on a case by case basis. Examples: DVD: Windsor Pilates - .1 CEC (each tape), a series of 3 tapes earns .3 CEC; BOOK: Stretching by Bob Anderson - .2 CEC; Shape Magazine Subscription one year - Credits vary depending on total CEC record
  • teaching an instructor training course earns research credits evaluated on a case by case basis
  • researching and/or conducting a member informational session or instructor information exchange
  • classes taken as a part of a regular maintenance program to learn about a new discipline or reinforce an existing discipline
    Activity classes are accepted under the supervision of a certified instructor or personal trainer that are taken as a part of a fitness program for the purpose of advancing professional ideas. The number of days per week and length of the class is considered. Credits are issued on a case by case basis.

    Examples: aerobic class, step class, yoga class, weight training session with a certified personal trainer, circuit class.

    General personal exercise sessions are not accepted. Example: one hour of daily swimming, running or treadmill; running a marathon, participation in a charity fundraiser.

Instant Continuing Education Credits

A certification cannot be renewed without earning .6 continuing education credits per year. The ESA instant CEC policy is designed to assist certified instructors who have not earned the necessary credits and therefore cannot renew their certification. INSTANT CECs are credits earned immediately--instantly. These credits are awarded at the time of renewal by ordering a .6 CEC home study course(s) The .6 CEC course(s) are sent to the instructor along with the renewed certification. The credits are granted and applied to that year's renewal. The course and renewal fees must be paid in full at the time of the renewal. The instructor must complete the instant CEC course within the time period before the next expiration and return the required submission form(s). The certification is considered pending until the instant CEC course has been completed. If the course has not been completed prior to the next renewal, certification cannot be renewed again until ESA receives the instant CEC submission form(s) to fulfill the previous year's requirements. Instructors who hold more than one ESA certification need to earn the .6 required credits total and NOT .6 per certification.

Learn more About Certification.