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New Zealand Certificate in Exercise (Level 5)



Six months full-time; twelve months part-time

On campus with industry experience 

February and July
By 30 November and 31 May
  • Location
    Study breaks
  • Dunedin
    19 July 2021
    4 October 2021 - 15 October 2021
  • Dunedin
    21 February 2022
    18 April 2022 - 29 April 2022

Gain the skills and knowledge you need to become a Personal Trainer. 

With this hands-on qualification, taught by highly-experienced and industry-connected staff, you will discover how to plan, implement and evaluate exercise programmes. By also studying nutrition and behaviour, you will be fully prepped to work with clients in a holistic manner.   

Time spent in our purpose-built, teaching gym, as well as experience with local industry, will enable you to gain a solid understanding of the role of a Personal Trainer. In addition, the chance to work with a variety of clients during the programme will allow you to develop a strong client base. 

Successful completion of this Level 5 Certificate will enable you to apply for registration as a Personal Trainer with REPs NZ (Register of Exercise Professionals New Zealand). Alternatively, you could expand your learning and career horizons with our degree programme specialising in Sport, Exercise or Health (Physical and Nutrition).    

Career opportunities
  • Personal Trainer
  • Exercise Consultant 
Entry requirements
  • New Zealand Certificate in Exercise (Level 4) or equivalent.
  • In exceptional circumstances, an applicant under 20 who does not meet the academic entry requirements may be granted entry to the programme where they supply evidence of their ability to succeed on the programme.  
  • If English is not your first language, you must provide:

If you need to improve your English Language skills, we offer a wide range of English programmes.

Covid-19 vaccine

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it's highly recommended that you are vaccinated against Covid-19 if you want to apply for this programme. 

All health sector organisations engaging healthcare workers have obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 to take all reasonable steps to eliminate, or otherwise control, the risk of Covid-19 transmission in the workplace. 

The New Zealand Government has mandated the vaccine for frontline healthcare workers. Many of the healthcare providers we work with are requiring their staff, including any students on placement, to be vaccinated and to provide proof of vaccination.   

As more providers follow suit, if you are:

  • unvaccinated, or
  • choose not to disclose whether or not you are vaccinated, or
  • choose not to provide evidence if asked about your vaccination status

this will have an impact on healthcare placements that you are allocated to as part of this programme and will have an impact on you being able to successfully complete the programme.

Additional costs

All students will need to wear Otago Polytechnic branded clothing when they are working with clients or out with industry. We ask all learners to have a laptop or tablet that they can use for classwork. 

Your workload

Full-time students will be expected to study for 36 hours per week. This will include directed teaching, self-directed learning and industry experience hours. If you choose to study part-time, you will need to study for around 16 hours per week. 


Professional Practice 2 (Level 5, 15 credits)

Learn how to apply and evaluate professional practice principles of working in the exercise industry. 

Exercise Science 2 (Level 5, 15 credits)

Gain an understanding of how to apply behaviour change interventions in relation to nutrition and exercise. 

Exercise Prescription - Theory (Level 5, 15 credits)

Learn how to develop and adapt exercise prescription to meet the needs of clients. 

Personal Training - Practice (Level 5, 15 credits)

Discover how to plan, implement and evaluate exercise programmes for a range of exercise participants. 

Further study options

Expand your learning and career horizons with our Bachelor of Applied Science (specialising in Sport, Exercise, or Health (Physical and Nutrition). This can then pathway into more advanced study specialising in Physical Conditioning with our Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Science

Student loans and allowances  

Student loans and allowances are for domestic students only. For information about student loans and allowances please visit the Studylink website. It is important to apply for your student loan/allowance at the same time as you apply for this programme, due to the length of time Studylink take to process. Loan/allowance applications can be cancelled at any time if you decide to withdraw your programme application or if it is unsuccessful. 



While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative ONLY. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.

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