Advanced Certificate in Fitness Science

Learn the science of human fitness & develop solid foundation skills for a lifelong career in sport, fitness or a related industry. A unique and extensive course which is a starting point for fitness professionals to underpin developing expertise.

Course Code: VSC034
Fee Code: AC
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 900 hours
Qualification Advanced Certificate
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Lay a Foundation Towards Becoming a Fitness Professional

If you are interested in health and fitness but wish to know more about the science and hard facts which underlie the benefits of exercise on health, then this science based course could be ideal for you.

In addition to the core subjects you can choose elective modules that suit your specific goals and learning needs.



Extensive education for the serious fitness professional and those looking to extend their knowledge - so that they can offer well-structured fitness programs and informed advice to their clients.


  • Provide knowledge of the science of human fitness.

  • Develop solid foundation skills for a lifelong career in fitness or a related industry.

  • Place you ahead of people with less skills and knowledge in the field.

  • Give you the opportunity to be in a well-paid career.

The fitness industry is huge, and increasingly sophisticated.

Today's leaders in the fitness industry are increasingly entrepreneurial business people with a sound understanding of exercise science and thousands of hours of  formal education in human biology, health and exercise science. This course is designed to distinguish you from the average fitness professional (most of whom have done a short fitness leader's certificate), and equip you with the knowledge and skills that tomorrow's fitness professional needs.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Advanced Certificate in Fitness Science.
 Human Anatomy & Physiology (Human Biology 1A) BSC101
 Research Project I BGN102
 Advanced Aerobics BRE208
 Bioenergetics (Human Biology IB) BSC201
 Muscles & Movement (Human Biology II) BSC202
 Cardiorespiratory Performance (Human Biology III) BSC301
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 3 of the following 35 modules.
 Industry Project I BIP000
 Anatomy II (Human) BSC112
 Biochemistry I (Animal and Human) BSC103
 Biopsychology I BPS108
 Business Studies BBS101
 Cell Biology BSC110
 Fitness Risk Management VRE104
 Food Coaching VRE110
 Health & Fitness I BRE101
 Human Nutrition 1 BRE102
 Medical Terminology BSC109
 Physiology II (Human) BSC111
 Sports Coaching VRE109
 Sports Psychology BPS106
 Workshop I BGN103
 Aquafitness BRE207
 Biochemistry II (Plant & Animal) BSC203
 Biopsychology II BPS204
 Event Management BRE209
 Food Preparation - Foundations of Cooking BRE212
 Health & Fitness II BRE201
 Healthy Buildings I (Building Construction & Health) BSS200
 Human Nutrition II BRE202
 Personal Trainer Professional Practices BRE217
 Resistance & Gym Supervision BRE206
 Therapeutic Nutrition BRE211
 Biochemistry III (Animal Processes) BSC303
 Health & Fitness III BRE301
 Healthy Buildings II (Building Environment & Health) BSS300
 Human Nutrition III BRE302
 Neuropsychology BPS306
 Psychopharmacology (Drugs & Psychology) BPS302
 Sports Nutrition BRE303
 Technical Writing (Advanced) BWR301
 Weight Loss Consultant BRE307

Note that each module in the Advanced Certificate in Fitness Science is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

How to Become a Fitness Professional

To be a competent fitness professional, you do need a substantial level of training.

Short fitness leader certificates may get you a job as a gym instructor; but that type of work is nowhere near what is needed for a sustainable, well paid, long term career as a fitness professional.

This course would be close to two years of full time study at most colleges; however, under our system you may fast track it or take it slow. Some may complete it in one year, while others may take many years to finish the course.

To give yourself the best chance of success in this industry, a substantial course (around 1500 hrs or more) together with experience, is what is needed.

How Do You Plan a Fitness Program?

If you are a fitness instructor, programming should become second nature to you.

The proper way to develop a program will involve going through a step by step process, and writing down what you decide at each stage.

Deciding who your program is being designed for:
Is it for yourself alone; perhaps yourself with a small group of friends or perhaps an exercise class which you are going to lead. You need to know a little bit about the participants. If the participants don't exercise regularly already; it is generally wise to carry out a fitness test before settling on too many details in the program. This enables you to plan a program which fits the participant’s capabilities. (See the pre-screening check list in the chapter on safety).

Deciding what the aim of the program is
Any program should have a warm up and cool down phase; but the main body might aim to achieve any combination of the following:

Improving/Maintaining Cardio-respiratory Fitness
To achieve this, participants need to keep their heart rate at 70 - 85 % of their maximum heart rate - for at least 20 minutes of the class. The longer this remains high the more the individual is increasing their fitness.

For people who do not exercise regularly, they should start with a THR of 55% (exercising a minimum of 3 times per week). For people who are of medium fitness who are trying to maintain reasonable fitness a THR of 60-75% is appropriate for 20 to 60 minutes 3 or 4 times weekly. For athletes, an 85% THR 5 times per week, for 1 hour each time is appropriate.

To find what your maximum heart rate is and how to work at 70 - 85% of this try and utilise the following formula.

220 minus Age = Maximum Heart Rate Range
Multiply this by 0.7 and 0.85 = Target Heart Rate Range

 Example: 25 year old person

220 - 25 (years of age)
195 x 0.7 and 195 x 0.85
= 136 and 165

This particular person needs to work between 136 and 165 beats per minute to achieve a cardio-respiratory training effect.
To find out if this is occurring, an individual may take their heart rate either by placing their pointer and middle finger on the radial (wrist) or carotid (neck) pulse. Once the pulse is found the beats are counted for 15 seconds and then multiplied by 4 to calculate for 1 minute. The result is to fall between 135 and 165 for the example above. If this is outside the range the participant needs to either work harder or slow down. Working above 85% is achieving results in the anaerobic (sprint) fitness component and cannot be maintained for a long duration therefore getting very puffed quickly.

Building Strength in Specific Muscles

Increasing the strength in major muscle groups can be achieved through designing workouts specific to that particular group. Let’s say the aim is to tone the legs and increase strength then a series of leg exercises would need to be performed; squats, tuck jumps, leg kicks and general jogging through the water.

Building General Muscular Strength
Some workouts can be designed to allow the body to have a complete body workout, therefore increasing overall muscular strength. This can be achieved through big movements of the entire body, with large leg and arm actions.

Improving Flexibility

This can be achieved primarily at the beginning and the conclusion of the class. After the participants have warmed, up a series of stretches take place to decrease the risk of injury. These exercises can also be very effective in increasing flexibility. Stretches need to be held for at least 20 - 30 seconds and often repeated. Sometimes a stretch may be performed with the assistance of another person who will increase the resistance applied. If flexibility was to be one of the aims of the aqua fitness class, then more muscle groups would need to be stretched, the stretches would be held for longer and repeated; more than one repetition would be performed. This could begin in the warm up and continue into the main body of the class. Exercises specific to the particular muscle group being stretched, could be included. For example an intense leg workout could be performed, followed by a series of gluteal, hip flexor, quadriceps, hamstring and calf muscle stretches.


A pool class provides a warm and comfortable environment where relaxation may be a primary focus of the participants and instructor. Whilst exercises are still being performed throughout the class, they may not be as intense or vigorous as a class designed to increase muscular strength would be.


While many people enter the fitness industry by doing a short fitness leaders certificate - the jobs available to such graduates are often competitive, relatively low paid, and with limited opportunity for advancement. This learning bundle will set you apart from lesser trained fitness professionals - our recommended learning package consists of 2100 hours of study.

Start any time, study at your own pace under a team of university trained and experienced professionals.



ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

Simply click on the ENROL OPTIONS button at the top of this screen and follow the prompts.

You can see the course price at the top of this page. Click 'enrolment options' to see any payment options available.

You can pay by Credit Card, PayPal, Afterpay or bank transfer.

Yes! We have payment plans for most courses. Click 'enrolment options' to see the available payment plans.
We also have Afterpay that will allow you to pay for your course or payment plans in four instalments (if you are in Australia).

What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course is aimed at providing you with a solid understanding of the subject. It has been designed to take 600 hours, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and more. When you complete the course, will have a good understanding of the area/ industry you want to work in.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $60 incl. GST for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exams (8-9 exams) and you will be able receive your course certificate- an Advanced Certificate. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email

Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
We are focused on helping you learn and make the most of your experience.
You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.

How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

We can prepare an invoice, quote or proforma invoice. Simply complete your details on our Invoice Request form

We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Yes, we have many students who are in locked facilities, such as prisons or hospitals. We can cater by also offering paper notes at an additional cost.

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We can assist you to find the right course for your needs. Get in touch with us via email ( call on +61 7 5562 1088 or complete our course advice form.

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Jade Sciascia

Biologist, Business Coordinator, Government Environmental Dept, Secondary School teacher (Biology); Recruitment Consultant, Senior Supervisor in Youth Welfare, Horse Riding Instructor (part-completed) and Boarding Kennel Manager.
Jade has a B.Sc.Biol, Dip.Professional Education, Cert IV TESOL, Cert Food Hygiene.

Karen Lee

Nutritional Scientist, Dietician, Teacher and Author.
BSc. Hons. (Biological Sciences), Postgraduate Diploma Nutrition and Dietetics.
Registered dietitian in the UK, with over 15 years working in the NHS. Karen has undertaken a number of research projects and has lectured to undergraduate university students. Has co authored two books on nutrition and several other books in health sciences.

Lyn Quirk

M.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy
Over 30 years as Health Club Manager, Fitness Professional, Teacher, Coach and Business manager in health, fitness and leisure industries. As business owner and former department head for TAFE, she brings a wealth of skills and experience to her role as a tutor for ACS.


Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Robert Browne

ROBERT K BROWNE completed his Honour's degree in Aquaculture at the Key Center for Aquaculture, Australia, and then obtained a Ph.D. (1998) in Conservation Biology from the University of Newcastle, Australia. Robert's Ph.D. was seminal to the development of biobanking to preserve the genetic diversity of threatened amphibian species, where he developed the first reproduction providing fertile amphibian eggs from cryopreserved sperm, and since then his research has led to many major advances. Robert's science career has included consultancy with biotechnology corporations, and in response to the global biodiversity conservation crisis has focused on amphibian conservation and sustainability. Working with zoos in Australia, the USA, Europe, and for the IUCN has led Robert to work with a wide range of international collaborative conservation programs. Robert has experience in a wide range of research fields supporting herpetological conservation and environmental sustainability and has published more than 45 research articles in the fields of terrestrial and marine ecology, marine fish and amphibian taxonomy, nutrition, pathology, larval growth and development, husbandry, karyology, thermo-biology, reproduction technologies, and facility design, and also several book chapters. Robert remains active in research, and in developing a global project for the sustainable management of the Goliath grouper.

Tracey Jones

Tracey has over 20 years experience within the psychology and social work field, particularly working with people with learning disabilities. She is also qualified as a teacher and now teaches psychology and social work related subjects.

She is a book reviewer for the British Journal of Social Work. Tracey has also written a text book on Psychology and has had several short stories published.

Andrew Williams

Andrew Williams BSc (Hons), PgDip Eng, MSc, CEng MIET, CMgr FCMI

Andrew has extensive experience across the engineering and building services industries, with specialisms in refrigeration and energy management, with professional recognition as both a Chartered Engineer and Chartered Manager.

This experience includes working in consulting and leadership roles right through to being hands on to deliver projects and outcomes for large scale organisations and within startup and scale up environments.

He has adapted his experience to integrate with new technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) to allow for a data driven perspective to be applied to problem solving and is actively using Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to solve real world problems.

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