When it comes to choosing and understanding different qualifications, you may feel like you’ve landed in alien territory. Let’s get these fitness qualifications explained so you’re on the right training track.

What is a qualification?

A qualification is a certified study path that is delivered through an awarding body. There are also a minimum number of learning hours that need to be achieved for qualifications.

Any training provider can deliver qualifications, but all qualifications must be delivered through an awarding body. There are numerous awarding bodies, but the main ones that you will encounter in the fitness industry are Active IQ, YMCA Awards and City and Guilds.

Is CPD a qualification?

CPD is Continuing Professional Development.

You will often see training courses labelled as being a Level 2, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are a qualification. For example, some fitness brands may call one of their courses a Level 2, but this is a CPD course as it isn’t awarded by an awarding body. If you are unsure whether a course you have booked is a qualification backed by an awarding body, you can question the course provider or get in contact with us here.

Are certificates and diplomas also qualifications?

Yes, they are both qualifications. The difference between a Certificate and a Diploma is the number of hours involved in the course – if the qualification has above a certain number of hours involved, the qualification is then classed as a Diploma. For example, someone who has completed a Level 2 Diploma Gym Instructing will have completed more training hours than a student who completed a Level 2 Certificate in Gym Instructing.

EMD UK Level 2 qualifications are all called Certificates, but EMD UK Level 3 courses in FLexercise, Medau and KFA are called Diplomas. This is due to the number of learning hours assigned to each qualification.

What is included in EMD UK qualifications?

We currently deliver a variety of Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications. Download our qualification overview document here to understand the breakdown of each one.

How are EMD UK qualifications governed?

We’re a training provider and our awarding body is Active IQ. In turn, Active IQ are governed are governed by Ofqual.

Ofqual oversee all qualifications (including GCSEs and A Levels), and determine what students need to cover during a qualification, what they are assessed on, how they are assessed, and what the pass marks are.

When awarding bodies develop qualifications, they need to meet these standards, which means there is often a lot of similarity between courses and training providers, regardless of the awarding body. For example, all Level 2 ETM courses will have a unit called ‘Level 2 Anatomy and Physiology’ which is assessed by a multiple choice theory exam. The length of the theory exam and number of questions asked will vary between awarding bodies, but the pass mark will always be 70%. All Level 2 Fitness Instructing qualifications (this includes the Level 2 ETM, Level 2 EMD, Level 2 Gym, Level 2 Aqua, and Level 2 Kids) will all have this unit as well. All Level 2 Fitness Instructing courses delivered by the same awarding body will all sit the exact same theory exam as each other.

Is there anything different about EMD UK qualifications?

As the national governing body for group exercise, we’re always looking to give aspiring instructors the best start in their group exercise career.

To ensure instructors have all the tools they need, we’ve embedded our own units into existing qualifications. For example, our Level 2 Developing Employability Skills as a Self Employed Professional unit is found in all of our Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications.

Our Level 2 Dance Fitness Qualification is unique within the fitness industry. It offers dance enthusiasts a more relevant route to becoming a dance fitness instructor compared to a Level 2 Exercise to Music Qualification.

Our Level 3 EMD Qualifications are also unique in that they allow teachers to enter REPs direct at Level 3. Normally REPs require teachers to enter REPs at Level 2 (through completing a Level 2 qualification), and then upgrade to Level 3. Our Level 3 qualifications were developed to include some Level 2 units, which means that REPs will allow teachers that have completed this qualification to enter REPs directly at Level 3.

We also run Duo Qualifications with our Level 2 Qualifications. This is where a student can book to attend the training day with one of our selected member organisations and one of our qualifications. The Duo Qualifications give students an easy route to teaching a discipline they already know and love.

Is there room to progress post-qualification?

There are a variety of options for progression within the industry.

  • You may wish to attend CPD training to expand your teaching repertoire and keep your knowledge current. You can find a variety of CPD options here.
  • You may like to upskill to deliver specialist classes. These could include working with children, older adults, adults with disabilities etc.
  • You may consider becoming a tutor, assessor or internal quality assurer (IQA). Upskilling to one of these positions not only furthers your career, but assists students and organisations by delivering more qualifications and ensuring the quality of these is of the appropriate standard.
  • If you’re looking to become a tutor, the Active IQ Level 3 Award In Education and Training would be an option.
  • If you’re interested in becoming an assessor, you can view or Level 3 Assessing Vocationally Related Achievement here.
  • If you’re interested in becoming an IQA, the Active IQ Level 4 Award in the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice would be a good option.
  • We’re often looking for additions to our workforce. Upskilling to one of the tutor, assessor or IQA roles could open up options to work with your national governing body.

Remember, we’re here to help. Contact our training team on 01403 266000 or email us by clicking here to discuss any questions or queries you have.