New Zealand Certificate in Exercise (Level 4)

Learn how to teach functional exercise movements while gaining a clear understanding of human anatomy and physiology. Discover how behavioural change can lead to lasting results for your clients. With hands-on teaching in our purpose-built gym and real industry work experience, you will gain the skills and knowledge to become a first-class exercise professional.

About the programme

Start on your path to becoming a Personal Trainer with this exciting new programme.

Learn how to teach exercise, gain an understanding of human anatomy and physiology, and discover how the role of behaviour change can lead to lasting results for your clients. 

With hands-on teaching in our purpose-built gym, Tapuae, and real world experiences out in industry, gain the skills and knowledge you need to become a first-class exercise professional. You could work with others to provide exercise advice or become a Gym Instructor.      

Successful completion of this Level 4 Certificate will enable you to apply for registration as a Gym Instructor with REPs NZ (Register of Exercise Professionals New Zealand). Alternatively, you may choose to continue your study with our Level 5 programme which will fully prepare you for the role of a Personal Trainer. 

Studying part-time 

We know full-time study isn't always possible. We also offer this programme part-time over one year.


Course name Description Level Credits
Applied Exercise Prescription
  • Learn how to apply and adapt the fundamentals of exercise prescription to meet the needs of a client. 
4 15
Applied Anatomy and Physiology
  • Gain an understanding of human anatomy and physiology and how it applies to movement. 
4 15
Professional Practice 1 
  • Discover how to apply professional practice principles of working in the exercise industry. 
4 15
Exercise Science 1
  • Learn how to explain behaviour in relation to nutrition and exercise. 
4 15

Further study options

To become a Personal Trainer, you will need to complete the New Zealand Certificate in Exercise (Level 5). Our Bachelor of Applied Science degree will then enable you to advance your learning further and explore the areas of Exercise, Sport and Health to expand your career prospects.

We are part of Te Pūkenga

When you apply to study with Otago Polytechnic, you will be enrolled with Te Pūkenga, the new national network of vocational and applied education in Aotearoa New Zealand. You will learn in the same way, in the same place, and with the same people, and you will graduate with a Te Pūkenga qualification.


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.