What to expect from the next round of fitness graduates

Great news for fitness industry employers: you’ll no longer need to ask your employees for the entire Certificate III qualification. Instead, just nine pre-requisite units are all that is required to register as a Gym Instructor or Group Exercise Instructor with FITREC. And upon completion of these Fitness Fundamentals students can register as either a Gym Instructor and/or Group Exercise Instructor, enabling them to work in these roles whilst continuing any further studies. The Australian Fitness Academy explains.

In November 2021, for the first time in five years, there were major updates made to the SIS – Sport, Fitness and Recreation Training Package. Whilst from the outside it may not appear to have much effect on the industry, there were some changes to fitness qualifications that will result in graduates entering the fitness space equipped with new skills and knowledge that have never before been delivered.

The Australian Fitness Academy (AFA) answers some critical questions to help inform employers about what these changes mean for the fitness industry in Australia, and what you can expect from the next round of fitness graduates.

After thorough industry consultation, there were some major changes to both the SIS30321 Certificate III in Fitness and SIS40221 Certificate IV in Fitness that aim to reflect the ongoing development and trends in the ever-evolving fitness industry. Here’s a brief summary of what the changes include:

  • Complete removal of the SIS50215 Diploma of Fitness (no longer needed)
  • Group Exercise AND Gym Instruction are now core units in the Certificate III
  • Only nine pre-requisite units are now required, prior to moving on to the Certificate IV
  • Optional electives in both Certificate III and Certificate IV (including from other Training Packages).

The best thing about these updates is that the next wave of fitness professionals will be equipped with the latest skills and knowledge that reflect what’s required to succeed in the fitness industry in 2022 and beyond. Not only that, but the removal of ‘streams’ ensure ALL graduates have the capability to work as both Group Exercise Instructors AND Gym Instructors, which was not always the case in the past.

As employers, you’ll no longer need to ask for the entire Certificate III qualification, as the nine pre-requisite units are all that are required to register as a Gym Instructor or Group Exercise Instructor with FITREC. What that also means is that students can become a qualified Personal Trainer with just the nine pre-requisite units and the Certificate IV in Fitness – this is what we refer to as our Fast Track PT Course.

As previously mentioned, these updates have been made in consultation with dozens of fitness professionals, so the content reflects what they believe are the most critical skills students need.

Within the Certificate III in Fitness, these are the nine pre-requisite units:

  • HLTAID011 Provide First Aid
  • HLTWHS001 Participate in workplace health and safety
  • SISFFIT032 Complete pre-exercise screening and service orientation
  • SISFFIT033 Complete client fitness assessments
  • SISFFIT035 Plan group exercise sessions
  • SISFFIT036 Instruct group exercise sessions
  • SISFFIT040 Develop and instruct gym-based exercise programs for individual clients
  • SISFFIT047 Use anatomy and physiology knowledge to support safe and effective exercise
  • SISFFIT052 Provide healthy eating information

At AFA, we’ve labelled these nine units as our ‘Fitness Fundamentals’, as they are the foundational units students need prior to moving onto the Certificate IV. In addition to those units, we’ve also developed content around the role and use of technology and social media in the fitness industry, particularly focusing on being able to plan and deliver online exercise sessions.

Meanwhile, the content covered in the Certificate IV includes:

  • Applied Nutrition
  • Motivational Psychology
  • Personal Training Methods
  • Athlete Strength & Conditioning
  • Allied Health Industry Collaboration
  • Principles of Functional Movement
  • Business Operations & Marketing
  • Exercise Prescription for Children & Adolescents.

Whilst there’s no direct requirement in the new Training Package, there was a strong recommendation throughout the industry consultation that students do complete work placement within their studies. Therefore, it will depend on each education provider, but we at AFA have decided to include a Practical Placement Program in our courses, which gives students the opportunity to get ‘real-world experience’ on the gym floor and, therefore, adequately prepare them for life as fitness professionals. It also provides current employers with the ability to bring students into their business and mentor them, often resulting in ongoing employment upon graduation, which is a highly effective (and FREE) way of employing new staff.

We’ve found that allocating 23 hours for the Fitness Fundamentals or 32 hours for the full Certificate III, and 30 hours for the Certificate IV is adequate time for both the student to experience the full range of tasks as a fitness professional, and for the employer to essentially conduct a trial period for a potential future employee.

With students located right across Australia both in metropolitan and regional areas, we’re always on the lookout for more mentors. Click here for some more information about our Practical Placement Program and how to get involved as a mentor.

This is a great question, and the answer will change depending on a few factors, such as if the student is studying online or face-to-face, how much time they put into their studies each week, and who the student is studying with.

For AFA students, we provide up to 8 months for the Fitness Fundamentals, 12 months for the Certificate III and a further 12 months for the Certificate IV – but we find that most students complete their studies well within these timeframes.

Upon completion of either of the Fitness Fundamentals or the full Certificate III, students can register as either a Gym Instructor and/or Group Exercise Instructor. This means that they can work in these roles whilst continuing any further studies. Upon completing the Certificate IV, students will be able to register and work as a Personal Trainer.

Yes, as they are part of the Australian Qualification Framework, they are recognised in all States and Territories across Australia. Importantly, these courses are also recognised by all the major industry bodies, including FITREC, to ensure that all graduates can apply for the recommended registrations.

As we covered in a recent blog article, these qualifications are required for you to attain insurance as a fitness professional. As an AFA student, we cover your insurance during your studies and whilst on Practical Placement; however, once students graduate, it’s up to them to organise their own insurance, which is often best done in conjunction with their industry registration. 

The best way for employers to reach students is through the Practical Placement Program, where you can mentor them and potentially offer them a position upon graduating if you are impressed with their character and abilities.