Otago Polytechnic

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
    22 February 2021
    19 April 2021 - 30 April 2021
  • Dunedin
    19 July 2021
    4 October 2021 - 15 October 2021
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).    

Graduate career opportunities
  • Personal Trainer
  • Exercise Consultant 
Entry requirements
  • New Zealand Certificate in Exercise (Level 4) or equivalent.
  • For applicants aged 20 and above, there are no minimum academic entry requirements.
  • 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.

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  

Full-time domestic students of this programme are eligible for student loans and allowances (dependent on age and financial circumstances.) Please contact Studylink for additional information. Phone 0800 88 99 00 or visit: www.studylink.govt.nz

Recognition of prior learning

If you already have extensive knowledge and skills gained from practical experience in this area, enquire about our recognition of prior learning process at Capable NZ. You may have already gained credits towards this qualification in the course of your life. www.capablenz.ac.nz 


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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