New Zealand Certificate in Exercise (Level 4)



17 weeks full-time; one year part-time

On campus with industry experience 

February and July
By 30 November and 30 May
  • Location
    Study breaks
  • Dunedin
    22 February 2021
    19 April 2021 - 30 April 2021
  • Dunedin
    19 July 2021
    4 October 2021 - 15 October 2021
  • Dunedin
    21 February 2022
    18 April 2022 - 29 April 2022

Start on your path to becoming a Personal Trainer with this exciting new programme. 

Learn how to teach exercise, gain an understanding of human anatomy and physiology, and discover how the role of behaviour change can lead to lasting results for your clients. 

With hands-on teaching in our purpose-built gym, Tapuae, and real world experiences out in industry, gain the skills and knowledge you need to become a first-class exercise professional.      

Successful completion of this Level 4 Certificate will enable you to apply for registration as a Gym Instructor with REPs NZ (Register of Exercise Professionals New Zealand). Alternatively, you may choose to continue your study with our Level 5 programme which will fully prepare you for the role of a Personal Trainer.    

Career options  
Entry requirements

If you need to improve your English Language skills, we offer a wide range of English programmes.

Covid-19 vaccination 

  • Whilst you don’t need to provide us with evidence of your vaccination status to study this programme, please note that some placement providers may ask you for this.
Additional costs

All students will need to wear Otago Polytechnic branded clothing when they are working with clients or are out with industry. We also ask all learners to have a laptop or tablet that they can use for classwork. 

Your workload

Full-time students will be expected to study for 36 hours per week. This will include directed teaching, self-directed learning and industry experience hours. If you choose to study part-time, you will need to study for around 16 hours per week. 


Applied Exercise Prescription (Level 4, 15 credits)

  • Learn how to apply and adapt the fundamentals of exercise prescription to meet the needs of a client. 

Applied Anatomy and Physiology (Level 4, 15 credits)

  • Gain an understanding of human anatomy and physiology and how it applies to movement. 

Professional Practice 1 (Level 4, 15 credits)

  • Discover how to apply professional practice principles of working in the exercise industry. 

Exercise Science 1 (Level 4, 15 credits)

  • Learn how to explain behaviour in relation to nutrition and exercise. 
Further study options

To become a Personal Trainer, you will need to complete the New Zealand Certificate in Exercise (Level 5). Our Bachelor of Applied Science degree will then enable you to advance your learning further and explore the areas of Exercise, Sport and Health to expand your career prospects. 

Student loans and allowances  

Student loans and allowances are for domestic students only. For information about student loans and allowances please visit the Studylink website. It is important to apply for your student loan/allowance at the same time as you apply for this programme, due to the length of time Studylink take to process. Loan/allowance applications can be cancelled at any time if you decide to withdraw your programme application or if it is unsuccessful.  

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