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Duration (approx) 300 hours
Qualification Certificate

Become a Fitness Leader? Work in the Fitness Industry.

This expanded version of our Fitness Leader's certificate will give practitioners a competitive edge in the fitness industry.  It is appropriate for people who wish to work as fitness specialists such as personal trainers.  It is internationally accredited through the International Accreditation and Recognition Council.




Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

Towergate Insurance welcomes Professional Liability insurance applications from ACS graduates across all disciplines. Click here for more details.

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  • A longer, more in depth course, for more knowledge; ideas and opportunities
  • Start a business or get a better job

This course develops your ability to prepare and deliver basic fitness programs, based on a solid understanding of the body's energy and movements. The core theory will develop a high standard of essential knowledge and competency while the specialty modules contextualize and expand on key skills in chosen areas.



1. Stages 1 and 2 of Core Studies

These are studies undertaken through distance education. Stages I and II cover health and fitness, recreation management and physiology and anatomy. The two stages cover -

Stage 1

This stage covers twelve topics:  

  1. Introduction to Health and Fitness
  2. Exercise Physiology
  3. Exercise Principles and Cardio-respiratory Programming
  4. Introduction to Biomechanics: The skeleton and muscles
  5. Biomechanics and Risk
  6. Fitness Program Design
  7. Delivering A Fitness Program
  8. Physiology: Digestion, Excretion, Physiological Systems
  9. Regulating Body Physiology
  10. Ergogenic Aids to Performance
  11. Safety, Injury and General Wellbeing
  12. Fitness Programs for Special Groups

Stage 2

This covers seven topics:

  1. Nerves and Motor Skills
  2. Skeletal Muscle
  3. Muscle Organisation and Movement
  4. Muscle Flexibility and Posture
  5. Managing Diet
  6. Managing an Exercise Program
  7. Writing an Exercise Program


Stage 3 - Psychology and Counselling Module
You then study the 100 hour Psychology and Counselling module

There are seven lessons in the course.  


1. Stress

  • Introduction
  • The mind to body connection
  • How to recognise stress
  • What happens to the body when you experience stress
  • The physiological response
  • Chronic and acute stress
  • Erikson's psycho social stages
  • Oral sensory stage
  • Anal muscular stage
  • Genital locomotor stage
  • Latency stage
  • Adolescence
  • Young adulthood
  • Middle adulthood
  • Late adulthood
  • Social adjustment
  • Relationship between stress and heart disease
  • What are the basic sources of stress
  • Why some people suffer more
  • How to deal with stress
  • Defence mechanisms

2. Abnormal Behaviour

  • Definition of abnormality
  • Deviation from statistical norms
  • Deviation from social norm
  • Maladaptiveness in behaviour
  • Personal distress
  • Disability
  • Wakefield's harmful dysfunction concept
  • Psychologically healthy individuals
  • Deviation in character
  • Classification of mental disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Mood disorders
  • Prevalence of depression
  • Treatment of depression
  • Schizophrenia
  • Substance related disorder
  • Disorders diagnosed in childhood
  • Delirium, Dementia, Amnestic and Cognitive disorders
  • Problems with classification

3. Individual Behaviour

  • Pro social or Altruistic behaviour
  • When do children first exhibit pro social behaviour
  • Socialisation
  • Conformity
  • Family influence
  • Disciplinary measures
  • Sibling influence
  • Influence of family structure
  • Influence of school
  • Praise
  • Influence of peers
  • Heider's Balance theory
  • Dissonance theory
  • Cognitive dissonance

4. Group Behaviour

  • Social considerations
  • Temporary group
  • Organised group
  • Organisational groups
  • The influence of groups
  • Industrial groups

5. Methods of Dealing with Abnormalities

  • Professionals in counselling and psychology
  • Therapist techniques
  • Transference
  • Directiveness and non directiveness
  • Systematic Desensitisation
  • Behaviour therapies
  • Psychoanalytical approach
  • Psychoanalytic techniques
  • Humanistic therapy
  • Eclectic approach

6. Conflict Resolution

  • Introduction
  • Conflict handling techniques
  • Anger
  • Negotiation
  • Joint problem solving
  • Problems with negotiation
  • Mediation
  • Procedure
  • Running a mediation process in a conflict situation
  • Agreements or contracts
  • Suggested timetable for a mediation session

7. Interpersonal Communication Skills

  • Introduction
  • Communication channels
  • Effective communication
  • Awareness
  • Communication skills
  • Hearing verbal messages
  • Perceiving non verbal messages
  • Responding
  • Verbal and non verbal communication
  • Body language
  • Communication barriers
  • Self awareness
  • Self esteem
  • Specific skills: listening, paraphrasing, reflective responses, etc
  • Conversation development
  • Professional relationship building

There is an assignment at the end of each lesson, which you submit to your tutor for marking. 

Elective Specialist Modules

You then choose two modules from -

Advanced Aerobics


 Resistance and Gym Supervision .

Other options may occasionally be accepted.

Elective Specialist Modules Part Two

Then please select one module from

Sports Nutrition
Sports Psychology
Medical Terminology




1. First Aid

The student must complete a First Aid Certificate with either the Red Cross, or an equivalent course with a reputable body that holds good standing both nationally and internationally (eg. St. John’s Ambulance in Australia).

2. Practical

Part 1 - Practical work - in a health and fitness workplace (e.g. a gymnasium or health club) under supervision of a qualified consultant or instructor. An instructor is considered qualified if:

  • They hold a degree or diploma in Fitness or human movement; or
  • They were registered as a Fitness Leader under the old Fitness Leader registration scheme conducted by an approved body, or
  • They studied a “reputable and relevant” course, of 200 hrs or more duration; and have the equivalent of 2 years or more (part time or full time) industry experience, within a reputable gymnasium or health club.

This practical must be documented in detail for 40 hours by your supervisor, in a log book supplied by the school.

Part 2 - Work Experience - in a reputable and relevant situation for a period of 150 hours.  This may be paid or unpaid work, in self employment, or in the employ of someone else. Either way, you must validate the nature and scope of this work by supplying two references (eg. from employers, supervisors, colleagues or clients).

The references need to be letters which provide the following information:

  • Name and contact details of the writer.
  • Your relationship with the writer, and their interest in the fitness industry
  • The hours that you have worked, and the dates between which that work was undertaken.
  • What you actually did
  • Their opinion of the quality of the work you undertook.

Accredited internationally through IARC


Before you enrol in this course, we recommend that you check with potential employers as to their qualification/registration requirements.


Working as a Fitness Leader

Fitness Leaders are people who instruct and/or otherwise facilitate other people to undertake activities intended to improve or maintain individuals level of physical (and sometimes mental) wellbeing.

The job of being a Fitness Leader has changed greatly over the past few decades, and looks certain to continue changing.

In the mid 20th century, fitness leaders were fewer in number, and often just amateur fitness enthusiasts conducting exercise classes in a community centre or hall. Throughout the second half of the 20th century, public interest in fitness increased, as did the capacity of people in more affluent countries to pay people to help them improve their level of fitness.

Growth in interest, demand and economic potential has led the industry to develop in different ways in different countries. What was once dominated by amateurs and volunteers, has blossomed into an industry that employs people in a wide range of roles (eg. "Gym Managers", "Life Coaches", Personal Trainers, "Health Consultants", "Fitness Leaders",  "Recreation Officers" etc.). Concerns over legal liability have made it important for these "professionals" and their employers to be protected against legal action from disgruntled clients.

Appropriate legal protection may be achieved through various means:

  1. By acquiring skills and knowledge which show an unchallengeable capacity to do the job.
  2. Insurance -A professional indemnity policy to protect against any impact from a law suit.
  3. Statements relating to Liability -Displayed notices or membership contracts which clients are clearly advised of limited liability prior to using any offered services.
  4. Registrations and Memberships-Joining an appropriate professional association and/or registering as a fitness leader under an accreditation scheme can provide an indication that the leader is maintaining professional standing.

CAUTION: Registration as a Fitness Leader alone may not provide adequate legal protection. Registration simply means you have satisfied what a government or industry body has determined as being required for their registration; but if the courts determine you were still not competent to have done something you may still lose a legal challenge.



Meet some of our academics

Miriam ter BorgPsychologist, Youth Worker, Teacher, Author and Natural Therapist. Miriam was previously an Outdoor Pursuits Instructor, Youth Worker, Surfing College Program Coordinator, Massage Therapist, Business Owner/Manager. Miriam's qualifications include B.Sc.(Psych), DipRem.Massage, Cert Ourdoor Rec.
Barbara Seguel B.Sc. M.Sc.Agricultural science graduate, biologist, marine scientist, aquaculturist and educator. Barbara has worked on farms, in ecotourism, education and publishing. She is widely travelled, having been educated in both California and Chile; and having worked in Hawaii, Mexico, Chile, New Zealand, and Australia.
Jade SciasciaBiologist, Business Coordinator, Government Environmental Dept, Secondary School teacher (Biology); Recruitment Consultant, Senior Supervisor in Youth Welfare, Horse Riding Instructor (part-completed) and Boarding Kennel Manager. Jade has a B.Sc.Biol, Dip.Professional Education, Cert IV TESOL, Cert Food Hygiene.
Lyn Quirk M.Ed.,Dip.Med.,Dip.SportsOver 35 years as Health Club Manager, Fitness Professional, Teacher, Coach and Business manager in health, fitness and leisure industries. As business owner and former department head for TAFE, she brings a wealth of skills and experience to her role as a tutor for ACS.M.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy

Check out our eBooks

Aqua FitnessThere are many reasons to exercise in water: It is low impact (less chance of over doing it and causing damage to the body). Aquafitness exercises are often used by professional athletes and equally by people recovering from injury; because it allows optimum exercise with minimum risk of associated problems. This is a comprehensive reference that can be used by both amateur and professional. It is well illustrated, with many exercises explained and shown in easy to follow diagrams.
Getting Work in a Modern WorldGetting Work in a Modern World is a must read; for students, parents, the unemployed, careers advisors or anyone interested in changing or forging a sustainable career. This is realistic guide to getting a job or starting out in business and understanding different industries. Topics covered in this book include 1/Career Myths, 2/ Finding Your Path, 3/ Understanding Employers, 4/ Preparing for a Job, 5/ Jobs to Consider: Looking to the Future, 6/ Information Technology, 7/ Business, Management and Sales, 8/ Health and Wellbeing, 9/ Horticulture, 10/ Wildlife and Environmental, 11/ Animal Care, 12/ Agriculture, 13/ Hospitality and Tourism, 14/ Media and 15/ Education.
Counselling HandbookA book for both students, as well as volunteers who may be involved in helping people with problems. This is a starting point for understanding counselling, and a reference for developing counselling skills. The book contains seven chapters: 1. Where can counselling be used 2. How to see behind the mask 3. Emotions and attitudes 4. How to communicate better when all you have is words 5. Theory versus practice 6. Diffusing difficult situations 7. Golden rules or tips
Nutritional TherapyDiscover how the way you eat can impact upon the affects of an illness. This book is unique, written by our health and nutritional scientists. Chapters cover: “Scope and Nature of Nutritional Therapy”, “How different factors Interact with Nutrition”, “Different Ways” and “Appropriate Therapeutic Responses for Different Health Issues” Thirty different conditions are covered from Mental Illness and Gastritis to Coeliac Disease and Osteoporosis.