Elite Fitness Leaders Certificate

This course develops your ability to prepare and deliver fitness programs, based on a solid understanding of the body's energy and movements.

Course Code: VRE005
Fee Code: CT
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 600 hours
Qualification Certificate
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The nature and variety of work in the fitness industry has been in a rapid state of change for several years.

Learn much more than the average Fitness Leader.

  • Compare this course to others -it IS longer; but that is because it makes you better!
  • Graduates are able to obtain professional indemnity insurance through arrangements we have in place


The requirements in order to be awarded the Elite Fitness Leaders Certificate are:

  • Students are to complete the Core Studies, followed by 2 Elective Modules, and then the Psychology and Counselling module.
  • Students are to fulfill the other requirements as outlined below.

The aim of the Core Studies is to elevate the standard of core knowledge and competency for people working in the field of fitness through the provision of a pre-service education program. 

The aim of specialist modules is to contextualise and expand the leaning process and competencies into one of the recognised specialist areas.


The following subject areas are partly covered in the first module, and completed in the second:

  • Health and Fitness
  • Recreation Management
  • Physiology and Anatomy

There are 12 lessons in this module as follows:

1. Introduction to Health & Fitness
2. Exercise Physiology
3. Exercise Principles & Cardio Respiratory Programming
4. Introduction to Biomechanics: The Skeleton & Muscles
5. Biomechanics & Risk
6. Fitness Program Design
7. Delivering a Fitness Program
8. Physiology: Digestion, Excretion, Physiological Systems
9. Regulating Body Physiology
10. Ergogenic Aids to Performance
11. Safety, Injury & General Well-being
12. Fitness Programs for Special Groups 



There are 7 lessons in this module as follows:

1. Nerves & Motor Skills
2. Skeletal Muscle
3. Muscle Organisation & Movement
4. Muscle Flexibility & Posture
5. Managing Diet
6. Managing an Exercise Program
7. Writing an Exercise Program 



The student will normally choose to study from a module from the following: 
Advanced Aerobics 
Resistance & Gym Supervision

Other options may occasionally be accepted, students will need to contact the School to confirm acceptance of an alternative module to those listed here.


The student will choose one module from:
Sports Nutrition
Sports Psychology
Medical Terminology

Other options may occasionally be accepted, students will need to contact the School to confirm acceptance of an alternative module to those listed here.


The module Psychology and Counselling will be sent to you unless you arrange otherwise. Alternative psychology modules offered by the school may be accepted (e.g. Sports Psychology), but a special arrangement must be made in advance of the course being sent.



The student must complete a First Aid Certificate with either the Red Cross, or an equivalent course with a reputable body that holds good standing both nationally and internationally (e.g. the Red Cross, or St. John’s Ambulance).


Students are to undertake practical work in a health and fitness workplace (e.g. a gymnasium or health club) under the supervision of a qualified consultant or instructor.  This must be documented in detail for 40 hours of work, by your supervisor, in a log book supplied by the school.

An instructor is considered qualified if:

  • They hold a degree or diploma in Fitness or human movement; or
  • They were registered as a Fitness Leader under the old Fitness Leader registration scheme conducted by AFAC; or
  • They studied a “reputable and relevant” course, of 200 hours or more duration; and have the equivalent of 2 years or more (part time or full time) industry experience, within a reputable gymnasium or health club.

Students are to complete work experience in a reputable and relevant situation for a period of 150 hours.  This may be paid or unpaid work, in self employment, or in the employ of someone else.

Students must validate the nature and scope of this work by supplying two references (e.g. from employers, supervisors, colleagues or clients).

The references need to be letters which provide the following information:

  • Name and contact details of the writer.
  • Your relationship with the writer, and their interest in the fitness industry
  • The hours that you have worked, and the dates between which that work was undertaken.
  • What you actually did
  • Their opinion of the quality of the work you undertook.

Legal Liabilities For Fitness Leaders, and other Staff advising people on Fitness

Legal liability has become of increasing significance over recent decades. Leisure professionals, agencies and businesses today may be subject to law suits over accidents, provision of inappropriate services, or other aspects such as negligence.

Laws relating to negligence is based on precedence based upon prior legal decisions, and they can vary from state to state and country to country.

Typically: "Negligence is a tort (i.e. a civil wrong doing), actionable at the suit of a person suffering damage in consequence of the defendants breach of duty, to take care to refrain from injuring him.

Negligence is the omission to do something, which a reasonable man, guided upon those considerations which ordinarily regulate the conduct of human affairs, would do, or doing something which a prudent and reasonable man would not do. It is simply, neglect of some care which we are bound to exercise toward somebody. Reasonable care must be taken to avoid acts or omissions which can be reasonably foreseen, that would likely cause injury to others".
(Reference: "Osborns Concise Law Dictionary" 6th ed., by J. Bourke).

A person can only be judged negligent, hence considered liable, if they are considered able to foresee danger. Before a person can be sued for negligence, the following must be determined by the person claiming damages:

  • Legal duty to conform to a standard of behaviour to protect others from unreasonable risk.
  • A breach of that duty caused by failure to conform to the standard required, under the circumstances.
  • A sufficiently close casual connection between the conduct of the individual, and resulting injury to another.
  • Actual injury or loss to the interests of another.

(Reference: "Australian Parks & Recreation Magazine", Royal Australian Institute of Parks and Recreation, "Negligence as it applies to a Recreation leader" by John Andrews).

Various situations may arise in the recreation industry where negligence and legal liability become an issue. Planners, managers and recreation leaders, may all be subject to these concerns. A manager who inappropriately manages a facility or service, may be held liable for the results of his actions; and a leader who gives incorrect or insufficient leadership, may also be held liable.

When is Liability a Problem?

Liability may become an issue in the following situations:

  • Not adhering to established safety standards and procedures when leading a recreation activity.
  • Proceeding with activities in bad circumstances (e.g. during bad weather, or when equipment is discovered to be faulty).
  • Not showing reasonable care (e.g. giving very little attention to someone who has an accident, while a lot of attention was given to someone else).
  • Condoning or participating in unreasonable risks.
  • Using dangerous equipment or facilities (e.g. not checking for sharp edges or slippery surfaces in a facility).
  • Using dangerous equipment without having adequate skills (e.g. step or weights classes without having the appropriate certification).
  • Failing to give proper warnings.
  • Failing to restrict participation to those who are properly trained or skilled (e.g. failing to control overcrowding - letting too many people participate together in some activities may raise the risk of accident considerably).
  • Failing to become aware of special circumstances (e.g. that a person is diabetic, epileptic or has a heart condition).

Contributory Negligence

This is where more than one party shares liability for something. Responsibility for care may lie jointly with the recreation leader, the provider of facilities (including equipment), the facility manager, and the person participating in activities. If a manager and leader makes the participant fully aware of all risks involved in an activity, then much of the responsibility for participation is transferred to that person.  In other words, liability could be shared by the fitness leader, the manager of the gym where they work, the owner of the gym and even the manufacturer of a treadmill which they fell from.

A participant then must be aware of risks they are exposing themselves to, and must make their own decisions about whether or not to continue with the activity. If there is an accident in such a situation, the participant will be largely liable for their own damages; but depending on circumstances, not necessarily fully liable.

How to Protect Against these Problems

Some people believe that having studied a government accredited course guarantees protection. Nothing could be further from the truth.

There is no one answer to protecting yourself, however, all of the following help:

  1. Know your limitations and do not try to do things you are incapable of doing. The more training you have, and the better qualified people you train with, the more knowledgeable you will be, and the more aware of your limitations. Consider, Doctors train for 6 years to advise people on their well-being. With this in mind, a Fitness leader really needs training of at least several hundred hours before they should be advising anyone of anything. To think otherwise doesn't really make sense.
  2. Cultivate a conservative attitude with clients. Never push clients to do more than they are comfortable with. Encourage building their exercise slowly, rather than pushing themselves to the limit. Only a degree qualified Sports Scientist would be qualified to monitor pushing the boundaries in that way.
  3. Take advice from your superiors and those with more expertise.
  4. Make sure you have personal liability insurance.


Professional Liability insurance is available, and increasingly being used by professionals such as consultants, teachers, recreation leaders, fitness instructors and health professionals. One should note, that there may be a difference between liability and negligence, when it comes to insurance policies. Insurance companies may insure a professional against innocent mistakes, but they are unlikely to insure against blatant and premeditated neglect. Even in the safest and most carefully planned situations; accidents can still occur; and in fact they do occur! An innocent accident resulting in a major law suit can destroy the career of a capable but unlucky professional. Proper care together with appropriate insurance policies will save a great deal of heart ache for all parties concerned; and perhaps save a career. A relevant industry-based organisation or association may be able to provide you with advice as to what types of insurance policies you might require, and where best to obtain them.

Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
ACS is an Organisational Member of the Association for Coaching (UK).
ACS is an Organisational Member of the Association for Coaching (UK).
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
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 in your selected discipline. 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 login.training 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 (6 exams) and you will be able receive your course certificate- a 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 acs@oamps.com.au.

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.

What if I have any more questions or need more information?

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

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Please get in touch with studentservices@acs.edu.au if you would like to be removed from our mail list.

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Course Contributors

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

John Mason

Writer, Manager, Teacher and Businessman with over 40 years interenational experience covering Education, Publishing, Leisure Management, Education, and Horticulture. He has extensive experience both as a public servant, and as a small business owner.
John is a well respected member of many professional associations, and author of over seventy books and of over two thousand magazine articles.

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.

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.

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