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Study Sport, Exercise and Recreation today

New Zealand Certificate in Exercise (Level 5)

Thinking about getting a qualification in exercise or personal training? Whether you’re currently working in the industry, or if it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, this programme will give you the skills and competencies required to take that next big step.

60 (0.5 EFTS)
Mt Albert
Start dates
February or July
Part-time over one year

Programme overview

Please note: This programme is part-time only. For a full-time option, check out New Zealand Certificate in Exercise (Level 4) 

In the New Zealand Certificate in Exercise, you’ll learn how to encourage, engage and inspire people towards their health and wellbeing goals through exercise and fitness, whilst growing your understanding of how to coach people across various communities, using current industry trends and initiatives. 

You’ll learn how to create personalised exercise programmes, then deliver them effectively to clients. You’ll also gain a good understanding of how to structure and deliver small-group exercise programmes. 

You'll be able to turn your passion into a business by utilizing key marketing and business skills to self-manage your own promotion and performance. You’ll also develop an understanding of current nutritional concepts, as they relate to exercise prescription. 

What you'll learn

  • Hauora (health and wellness)
  • Personal training (PT)
  • Fitness instruction
  • Strength and conditioning
  • Nutrition and diet
  • Sport psychology
  • Movement and physical activity


  • You’ll be eligible to apply for a listing on to the NZ Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) upon completing this programme 
  • You’ll learn really practical skills so that you can get going immediately once you graduate  
  • You’ll be taught by knowledgeable and passionate staff who are highly connected to the industry 
  • You'll graduate with high Māori and Pasifika cultural competencies;
  • Throughout the programme, you'll have the opportunity to experience 50+ hours of work-based learning across multiple sport, exercise and recreation organisations
  • You’ll have access to a range of sports facilities while you study 

REPs registration

Upon successful completion of this programme, you’ll be eligible to be listed on REPs, which operates a registration body for exercise professionals (as well as exercise facilities and educational providers) in Aotearoa New Zealand. Both Exercise New Zealand and the International Confederation of Registers of Exercise Professionals (ICREPs) recognises REPs as a universal standard to ensure that clients receive safe and effective exercise advice.

Some of the key benefits of being REPs registered are:

  • It’s a publically recognisable, promotable and marketable quality mark;
  • You’ll have access to marketing material that you can use to promote yourself and your business;
  • REPs is internationally recognised, which means you’ll be able to operate from anywhere in the world;
  • You’ll be listed on a publically-searchable database;
  • You’ll have access to continuing professional development courses and further education;
  • You’ll have access to other valuable tools and resources.

A few important things to know:

You can find out more about REPs and its benefits here

Work and earn with Auckland Council while you study Sport, Recreation and Exercise

At Unitec, we are excited to announce our new partnership with Auckland Council which provides an opportunity for students to work while they are studying in Sport, Recreation and Exercise.  This work-connected pathway will give you the opportunity to earn while you learn, similar to a paid internship or an apprenticeship. 

Auckland Council offers a variety of part-time positions that you can apply for. Being employed in the field in which you are studying provides up-to-date knowledge, financial support, and helps to develop your personal skills, your professional skills and your CV right from the start.

Need more information?
All Auckland Council Pathway applicants will be asked to be part of an interview conversation to develop an individual plan for study/work and to begin the application process for employment at Auckland Council.
If you would like a conversation about this programme, please contact:

Where to next?

Once you successfully complete your certificate, you can either go straight out into the industry or complete an additional 4 courses to achieve the New Zealand Diploma in Sport, Recreation and Exercise - Exercise Pathway

Want more information?

Feel free to contact the team with any further questions!

Contact us

Admission requirements

Academic requirements

You will need to provide the following, at different points of your application process.

  1. Have at least 48 credits at NCEA Level 2 (or equivalent) in your 4 best subjects, and;
  2. Consent to a Safety Check which meets the requirements of the Children Act 2014 (formerly known as the Vulnerable Children's Act) including:
    • Provide two forms of verified ID and evidence of any name changes;
    • Consent to a Police vetting check;
    • Complete a self-declaration of criminal convictions and medical conditions form  

If you don’t meet the academic criteria above, we have a range of Foundation and Bridging Education programmes which will help you prepare for further academic study.

English requirements

If English is not your first language you will also need one or more of the following:

  • Have achieved NCEA Level 3 and New Zealand University entrance; 
  • Be able to provide evidence you satisfy our criteria for existing English proficiency; 
  • Have achieved at least one English proficiency outcome in the last two years. 

If you don’t meet the English criteria above, we have a range of English Language programmes available, depending on your current level of ability.

If you don’t meet these requirements, you may still apply under special or discretionary entrance.

For more information download the programme regulations:

Programme Regulations

Courses and timetables

For more details on the courses including timetables, please click on the course names below.

Courses Credits Aim
Contemporary Learning Options (SPOR5100) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) To equip students with a range of practical skills that will enable them to operate effectively as a professional in a variety of sport, recreation, and exercise settings.
Concepts of Sport and Exercise Science (SPOR5104) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course will introduce underlying principles of sport and exercise science as and allow students to apply them in a variety of contexts related to health, well-being, physical activity, and performance.
Initiatives for Health and Fitness (SPOR5106) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course will develop students’ knowledge and understanding of the factors that contribute to general health and fitness in order to design, implement, and evaluate initiatives and programmes for improving health and/or fitness outcomes.
Introduction to Exercise (SPOR5107) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course equips students to design safe and effective personalised exercise programmes. The student will be equipped to engage with clients in a professional and culturally appropriate manner This course also gives students the opportunity to develop skills in, and knowledge of, cultural-competence and professional communication.