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SOUTH AFRICAN QUALIFICATIONS AUTHORITY 
REGISTERED QUALIFICATION: 

Higher Certificate in Exercise Science 
SAQA QUAL ID QUALIFICATION TITLE
91830  Higher Certificate in Exercise Science 
ORIGINATOR
Health and Fitness Professionals Academy (Pty) Ltd 
PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QUALITY ASSURANCE FUNCTIONARY NQF SUB-FRAMEWORK
CHE - Council on Higher Education  HEQSF - Higher Education Qualifications Sub-framework 
QUALIFICATION TYPE FIELD SUBFIELD
Higher Certificate  Field 02 - Culture and Arts  Sport 
ABET BAND MINIMUM CREDITS PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL QUAL CLASS
Undefined  123  Not Applicable  NQF Level 05  Regular-Provider-ELOAC 
REGISTRATION STATUS SAQA DECISION NUMBER REGISTRATION START DATE REGISTRATION END DATE
Reregistered  SAQA 06120/18  2018-07-01  2021-06-30 
LAST DATE FOR ENROLMENT LAST DATE FOR ACHIEVEMENT
2022-06-30   2025-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This qualification does not replace any other qualification and is not replaced by any other qualification. 

PURPOSE AND RATIONALE OF THE QUALIFICATION 
Purpose:
The Higher Certificate in Exercise Science is designed to ensure that practicing personal fitness trainers adhere to sound principles of exercise science and related safety principles. Successful learners will be able to apply appropriate skills and knowledge in one-on-one exercise sessions. They are also provided with options of broadening their personal scopes of practice to deal with common health problems such as hypertension, obesity, diabetes and orthopaedic conditions relating to poor posture. They will be able to work with all the age groups usually encountered in the gym environment, viz., teenagers, adults and the elderly.

This qualification thus aims to enhance the standards of personal fitness trainers which should, in turn, lend credibility and respect to the Personal Fitness Training profession.

Successful learners will be able to:
  • Design, implement and manage a physical activity programme for apparently healthy individuals, groups or special populations (sufferers from hypertension, obesity, diabetes and orthopaedic conditions) and the elderly, and apply knowledge thereof to appropriately refer specific clients to other health care providers when seen to be necessary.
  • Screen, asses, monitor and manage health related wellness programmes under indirect supervision.
  • Promote and provide safe and effective physical activity plans specific to individual participants' requirements.
  • Provide educated advice on lifestyle changes to improved well-being of relevant clients.
  • Promote and provide nutritional advice within the scope of healthy eating guidelines.
  • Apply the relevant legal and managerial skills to promote themselves as small business entrepreneurs within the professional personal fitness training framework.
  • Further own knowledge, practices and careers within the professional fitness training industry.

    Rationale:
    This qualification is designed to develop a sound foundation through the study of anatomy and physiology, develop practical skills through the practice of principles and methods of health related training and safety and enhance reflexive skills through the consideration of specialisation, modification and psychological issues.

    As many Exercise Professionals will predominately be employed in the private sector or working as independent contractors, the entrepreneurship module has been incorporated to assist them in preparing to form and/or run a small business operation.

    With the increase in obesity in South Africa and other countries as well as the understanding of the role of nutrients in the body, the module Nutrition and Weight Management has been incorporated.

    The qualification is aimed at developing both one-on-one and group practice sessions, as it acknowledged that Exercise Professionals work within both the individual and group domain as well as within the general and sports specific populations. 

  • LEARNING ASSUMED TO BE IN PLACE AND RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING 
    Candidates accessing this qualification should:
  • Be competent in communication skills in at least two languages at NQF Level 4.
  • Have some experience in the fitness training industry.
    Or
  • Have completed an introductory course to the fitness industry.

    Recognition of Prior Learning:
    The Higher Certificate in Exercise Science at NQF Level 5 may be achieved in part or wholly through Recognition of Prior Learning. Provision may be made for prior learning to be recognised if a learner is able to demonstrate competence in the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes embedded in the various Exit Level Outcomes of this qualification.

    Current competencies in the fitness training industry will be assessed. Candidates must, at the time of application, provide proof in the form of an academic record or other documentation to substantiate relevant practical experience. Such competencies may help gain access to this qualification, or advanced placement therein.

    Access to the Qualification:
    Learners wishing to enter this qualification must be in possession of a recognised National Senior Certificate at NQF Level 4 with knowledge of Biology, granting access to Certificate study. 

  • RECOGNISE PREVIOUS LEARNING? 

    QUALIFICATION RULES 
    There are 8 compulsory modules, some of which include an experiential learning component and one elective Module - which together total 123 Credits - the minimum required to be awarded the qualification.

    50 experiential learning hours are incorporated into the relevant modules and do not have separate credit allocation.

    In addition, all learners are required to obtain a valid First Aid Certificate in Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation, (non-credit bearing) in order to be awarded the qualification.

    Compulsory Modules:
  • Anatomy and Physiology, 20 Credits.
  • Principles and Methods of Health related training, 20 Credits.
  • Safety, 15 Credits.
  • Exercise and Modifications for Special Needs, 20 Credits.
  • Psychology and Lifestyle Issues, 10 Credits.
  • Legal and Insurance Issues, 8 Credits.
  • Entrepreneurship, 10 Credits.
  • Nutrition and Weight Management, 10 Credits.

    Elective Modules (Choose one):
  • Exercise in different environments, 10 Credits.
  • Sports Conditioning, 10 Credits. 

  • EXIT LEVEL OUTCOMES 
    1. Use knowledge of anatomy, physiology and biomechanics to design exercise sessions based on clients' needs, abilities and goals.
    2. Assess a client by applying the concepts of fitness screening and health risk appraisals and taking into account any possible misinformation regarding wellness and nutritional aspects.
    3. Compile a scientifically sound exercise programme for a specific client based on data obtained from the screening and assessment session.
    4. Apply the underlying principles of aerobic and anaerobic training to compile different exercise formats for specific clients which include all fitness components.
  • Range: Cardio-respiratory, muscular endurance and strength, flexibility, posture (core) and agility.
    5. Use principles of scrutiny to analyse exercises and demonstrate correct modifications to ensure safety and prevent injury.
    6. Apply basic nutritional principles to assist clients in analysing own eating habits against general nutritional guidelines, thus guiding them to improve their eating habits.
    7. Apply the principles of leadership and motivational techniques as a professional/fitness leader to maintain the integrity of the operation.
    8. Apply the basic management, marketing and administration principles to manage a successful training facility, whether as employee or owner.
    9. Operate at all times according to the applicable code of ethics to ensure confidentiality of client information and safety and security for clients and employees.

    Critical Cross-Field Outcomes:
    All the Critical Cross-Field Outcomes are addressed in the qualification. 

  • ASSOCIATED ASSESSMENT CRITERIA 
    The following assessment criteria are applied in an integrated manner to assess competence in all the Exit Level Outcomes:
  • Communication is clear, unambiguous and appropriate in all areas of personal fitness training.
  • Health and diet education is given to established and new clients on a regular basis.
  • Positive motivation is given regularly to groups and individuals when conducting exercise activities.
  • Options, skills and techniques to enhance various components of a healthy lifestyle are offered to clients.
  • Fitness and health needs of individuals are identified, analysed and types of exercises are recommended and demonstrated.
  • Follow-up, adjustments and/or modifications to exercises are made where necessary.
  • Needs and aims of special population groups, e.g., those older than 60, clients with diabetes, are identified and appropriate training routines are developed that are safe and advance health, well-being and fitness.
  • High standards of personal hygiene of self are meticulously applied and encouraged in all clients.
  • Equipment is regularly checked, maintained and replaced where necessary.
  • Adherence to safety principles during exercising and using equipment is regularly encouraged and expected from all employees and clients.
  • All operations concerning the management of the business are carried out according to ethical and legal principles.
  • High standards of financial management and good business practice are consistently demonstrated in all dealings with clients and personnel.

    Integrated Assessment:
    Formative Assessment is made by means of tests assignments and projects that are conducted throughout the periods of learning.

    Summative assessments are conducted through end-of-semester examinations which are both theoretical and practical.

    Learners must produce portfolios of evidence which include exercise and lifestyle programme designs including nutrition, Client case studies, business plans at various stages throughout the period of learning and which contribute to the final mark. 

  • INTERNATIONAL COMPARABILITY 
    This qualification meets standards set by organisations such as CYQ (UK) and NBFE (Canada). The course material has been approved by all three organisations.

    This qualification has been developed after careful consideration of the CYQ - an awarding organisation for health, fitness and wellbeing based in the United Kingdom (UK) - Personal Training qualification and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) of the United States of America - Personal Trainer qualification. This qualification is therefore comparable to those mentioned and, in some cases, exceeds those standards with the incorporation of a deeper understanding of the general population client.

    The standards have been specifically compared to the United Kingdom fitness qualifications and consideration has been given to the fact that they also create portability to similar modules between fitness, sport and recreation qualifications. This similarity allows for easier recognition of the Higher Certificate in Exercise Science as an internationally comparable qualification. 

    ARTICULATION OPTIONS 
    Horizontal articulation:
    This qualification articulates horizontally with any relevant Higher Certificate in Health and Fitness at NQF Level 5.

    Vertical Articulation:
    This qualification articulates vertically with any relevant Advanced Certificate or Diploma in Exercise Science or Health and Fitness at NQF Level 6. 

    MODERATION OPTIONS 
    Moderators should have relevant occupational competence, be registered with the Register of Exercise Professionals South Africa (REPS) and hold or be working towards a relevant qualification at a higher level.

    For best practice it is recommended that independent moderators are used i.e., those based at another facility. 

    CRITERIA FOR THE REGISTRATION OF ASSESSORS 
    Assessors should:
  • Hold a relevant qualification at a NQF Level at least one Level higher than that of the qualification being assessed.
  • Have a minimum of two years' practical, relevant occupational experience.
  • Have a minimum of one years' tutoring experience in a relevant field. 

  • REREGISTRATION HISTORY 
    As per the SAQA Board decision/s at that time, this qualification was Reregistered in 2015. 

    NOTES 
    N/A 

    LEARNING PROGRAMMES RECORDED AGAINST THIS QUALIFICATION: 
     
    NONE 


    PROVIDERS CURRENTLY ACCREDITED TO OFFER THIS QUALIFICATION: 
    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.
     
    1. Health and Fitness Professionals Academy (Pty) Ltd 



    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.