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How are the Diploma & Cert IV in Fitness different?

Written by Kristine Beissner

January 2, 2020


One of the questions Trainers often ask is “I already have a qualification as a Personal Trainer – what difference will a Diploma make?”

The Australian Qualification Framework, a system The Australian Government’s Department of Education and Training developed to regulate qualifications, defines Certificate IV a level 4 qualification and a Diploma as a Level 5.

A Certificate IV develops Trainers to:

  • Perform specialised tasks (i.e. training programs and health improvement strategies)
  • Be responsible for their own work (i.e. work autonomously)
  • Take limited responsibility for the quality and quantity of the work of others (i.e. develop leadership skills)

A Diploma level education develops:

  • Deeper understanding of an area of study (i.e. increased knowledge)
  • Transferrable theoretical, technical and creative skills (i.e. universal concepts)
  • The ability to perform complex technical operations (i.e. a broader range of skills)
  • Expertise in planning, co-ordinating and evaluating the work of others (i.e. management)

The Certificate IV in Fitness is the entry level qualification for the development of specialised programs for individuals and groups to improve the health and fitness of low risk clients. The Diploma is designed to develop greater understanding of business and increased knowledge of advanced exercise programs.

The Diploma is a pathway to roles requiring business and management skills as well as the ability to recruit, support and mentor teams in marketing, sales, business analysis, time and financial management.

Neither the Certificate IV in Fitness or Diploma of Fitness provide the skills or ability to give advice or instruction to high risk clients. Referral and collaboration with medical and allied health professionals is required by qualified Fitness Trainers of all levels.

A Diploma of Fitness suits:

  • New and aspiring Co-ordinators, Supervisers or Managers looking to gain essential management skills
  • Business Owners looking to expand operations, hire and develop staff
  • Trainers with a Certificate IV of Fitness prior to 2015, looking to refresh skills and personal development
  • Budding entrepreneurs making the transition from trainer to small business owner

In summary, the Certificate IV in Fitness delivers a high level of base knowledge that empowers and qualifies Trainers to confidently deliver personalised training programs. The Diploma of Fitness is designed to take what is learned in Certificate IV and dive deeper into Health Promotion, Advanced Training techniques and business with the added bonus of improving management skills.

Ref: training.gov.au/Certificate IV in Fitness, training.gov.au/Diploma of Fitness

Ref: The Australian Qualification Framework

For information see:

Fitness Institute’s Diploma of Fitness 

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