Existing REPs level 4 Specialist Instructors wanting to undertake an additional level 4 category qualification will not have to undertake the level 3 Exercise Referral qualification. Currently instructors wishing to move to level 4 must achieve the level 3 Exercise Referral qualification from a SkillsActive endorsed training provider as a prerequisite before they can embark on a level 4 specialist instructor course. However, the level 4 steering group, comprising representatives from SkillsActive, the Register of Exercise Professionals and the fitness industry’s Technical Expert Group have decided that this will not apply to existing REPs level 4 specialist instructors
Here, Nichola Curran, who sits on the SkillsActive Techincial Expert Group, and level 4 Panel, explains the rationale behind the decision.
Q1. Why is Exercise Referral a pre-requisite for Level 4 qualifications?
As of 30th September 2011 Level 3 Exercise Referral is a mandatory pre-requisite for all those who wish to undertake a Level 4 Specialist Instructor qualification for the first time. Examples of such courses include, Back Pain, Obesity and Diabetes, Cardiac Disease, Mental Health, Chronic Respiratory Disease, Cancer Rehabilitation, Long Term Neurological Conditions, Falls Prevention and Stroke.
This decision has not been made lightly and is based on extensive review and comparison of the knowledge and skills gained from undertaking Level 3 Personal Trainer qualifications to those gained through Level 3 Exercise Referral. A panel of experts unanimously agreed that a Level 4 Specialist Instructor should have an understanding of the referral process and common medical conditions. It is highly likely a client will present with more than one medical condition (comorbidities) which must also be taken into consideration when prescribing exercise. The Exercise Referral qualification provides this information which is not covered in the Level 3 Personal Training Certificate.
Q2. What happens if I have a Level 4 qualification but do not have a Level 3 Exercise Referral qualification?
If you achieved a recognised level 4 qualification prior to 30th September 2011, you WILL NOT be expected to go back and complete Level 3 Exercise Referral. You WILL be able to go on to do other Level 4 Specialist Instructor qualifications.
Q3. What conditions are now covered in the Level 3 Exercise Referral Qualification?
After much debate and consultation, some conditions have now been removed from this qualification; based on the complexity of the condition and the specialist skills required to prescribe safe and effective exercises. The conditions now covered, and those you will be qualified to work with, are:
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Diabetes Type 1 & 2
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Joint Replacement
- Simple Mechanical Back Pain
- Stress and Anxiety
Q4. What qualifications do I need before I can do a Level 3 Exercise Referral course?
You can access this course with a recognised Level 2 qualification e.g. Gym Instructor or Exercise to Music etc. Exercise Referral now includes Level 3 Anatomy & Physiology ensuring you cover the necessary knowledge previously gained by completing either Level 3 Advanced Fitness Instructor or Level 3 Personal Trainer. It must be stressed, however, once you successfully complete this qualification, you will only be able to deliver sessions to referred clients within the context of your Level 2 qualification. For example, a qualified ETM instructor can deliver referral sessions within a studio setting but NOT within a gym based setting and vice versa. Instructors who hold both Level 2 qualifications can obviously deliver either type of referral session.
Nichola is the MD of Evolve Leisure http://www.evolveleisure.co.uk and has more than 21 years’ experience in fitness including exercise referral.