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New Zealand Certificate in Exercise (Level 4)

Level 4

Gain the knowledge to prescribe fitness programmes in UCOL's New Zealand Certificate in Exercise (Level 4).

A photograph of a trainer with a client in a gym
Quick info

Level: 4

Locations: Palmerston North, Whanganui, Levin*

Duration: 19 weeks, full-time

19 Feb 2018 - 29 Jun 2018
23 Jul 2018 - 30 Nov 2018

23 Jul 2018 - 30 Nov 2018

Domestic Fees:*
$3,234.00Scholarship info

Find out if you're eligible for fees-free study

International Fees:*

Additional Fees
Compulsory course costs may apply.

* Fees are indicative only, and are inclusive of the student services levy and GST (goods and services tax). The fee shown is for one year of study.

UCOL's New Zealand Certificate in Fitness provides students with the knowledge to prescribe, deliver and adapt fitness programmes to both health clients and common at risk groups.

The learning programme involves tutorials, group based workshops, practical demonstrations in a gym, and practical application in a gym.

Hear from 2017 graduates, Renee Dunbar and Sean Morgan:



*Note to Levin students, you can study this course at HLC Levin.

 Career & Study Outcomes

This programme leads to students being recognised by the New Zealand Register of Exercise Professionals giving graduates Personal Trainer Contractor Registration Level.

Successful graduates of New Zealand Certificate in Exercise will be able to:

  • Deliver safe and effective exercise programmes, including prescreening, within own scope of practice and industry code of ethics;
  • Apply knowledge of anatomy and physiology to adapt and deliver safe and effective exercise programmes to individuals;
  • Adapt programmes for apparently healthy people and common at risk groups using exercise science and testing;
  • Apply motivational and communication techniques to enhance individual participant commitment to a personalised exercise programme;
  • Apply a health and wellness framework and evidence-based nutrition principles to support a personalised exercise programme and recommend referral pathways to allied health professionals;
  • Use marketing and business tools and techniques to support business practices as an exercise professional
Graduates can be employed or self-employed in roles such as: exercise consultant, community exercise instructor, team training instructor or personal trainer.

Education pathway

Graduates who wish to further specialise can enrol in:

 Course Information

The following will be covered during the programme:

  • Exercise Programming - To provide students with the knowledge to prescribe, deliver and adapt fitness programs to both health clients and common at risk groups.  
  • Health and Wellness - To provide students with knowledge of health and wellness frameworks. Incorporation of nutrition principles, wider allied health professionals and effective motivation and communication techniques to enhance commitment to personalised exercise programmes. 
  • Business Practices - To provide students with knowledge of how to apply marketing and business practices as an exercise professional.  

Previous Related Programmes

The New Zealand Certificate in Exercise supersedes and takes the best from the following programme of study, which is no longer offered:
  • Certificate in Exercise and Sports Performance (Level 4)

 Domestic Entry Requirements

NCEA Level 2

Equivalent academic achievement
On a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Executive Dean.

All applicants must complete a Health Declaration Form (fill out Section A only). 


For more information about NCEA Credits see UCOL's NCEA explained page.

 International Entry Requirements

In addition to the Domestic Entry Requirements, the following applies to international students.

English Proficiency Entry Requirements:
International student applicants whose first language is not English must have an IELTS (or equivalent including TOEFL) score of 5.5 with no band score lower than 5. IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report Form (i.e. combining scores from more than one test is not permissible). UCOL is a TOEFL iBT testing centre. The English Proficiency test is accepted for English language entry into all UCOL programmes.

Applicants under 20 years of age:
For international applicants under 20 years of age who do not hold NCEA, International Academic Qualifications Entry Criteria apply.

 Advice & Guidance

UCOL's New Zealand Certificate in Exercise (Level 4) comprises 60 credits. Students must pass the First Aid assessment in order to pass the course.

Students will be working with clients when delivering exercise programmes and will be expected to wear appropriate exercise clothing suitable for a gymnasium environment. 

Practicum hours in this programme refer to student time with their client independent of the programme lecturer. Students complete time logs for all practicum activity and complete reflective journals on their client management. Students are required to participate in group discussion on their journal entries and client interaction experiences.

Your personalised timetable will be available just prior to classes starting, and will comprise a commitment of:

  • 240 hours of lecturer supported learning  (Monday - Friday tutorials, workshops and practical sessions)
  • 25 hours practicum
  • 335 hours of self-directed learning (your own time spent on research and study to complete your written assignments)
Students at HLC Levin
Programme requirements may vary. Please contact your tutor for details.

Application checklist
It will make the process easier if you prepare the following before you apply:

  • National Student Number (NSN) (If you don't have a NSN, you may request one from NZQA, or you can supply a verified copy of your birth certificate, passport or Whakapapa statement.)
  • Evidence of your highest level of academic achievement (and evidence of prior learning, if applicable)
  • Evidence that you meet the entry requirements of the programme
  • A completed Health Declaration Form (fill out Section A only)
  • Check if you're eligible for additional support or a scholarship. If you're 19 years or younger, you may be eligible to enrol in one of our free Youth Transition programmes.

Note that you will need to provide any verified documents in person, via post or email.

Recognition of prior learning
Applications for Recognition of Prior Learning, including Cross Credit, Credit Transfer and Assessment of Prior Learning may be made on the Recognition of Prior Learning Form where a student believes they can demonstrate specified competencies.

 Additional Costs

Please note that there are additional costs associated with the New Zealand Certificate in Exercise (Level 4) as follows:
  • Sports shoes for wearing in the gym


The programme is approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority under section 249 of the Education Act 1989, and Universal College of Learning (UCOL) Trading as Universal College of Learning (UCOL) is accredited to provide it under section 250 of the Act.