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Exercise Referral Diploma Course

If you are looking to work in a GP Exercise Referral setting, broaden your knowledge as a Personal Trainer to work with clients with specific conditions, or progress onto a Level 4 qualified instructor, then our Level 3 Exercise Referral course is the one for you.

Our nationally recognised Exercise Referral qualification takes an in-depth look at a range of conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, osteoarthritis, mental health conditions and many more – focusing on how exercise can improve quality of life and help clients achieve their goals.

Prefer to study full-time?

We also run this course as a full-time course.

Course Structure and Content

  • What learning materials will I receive for my Exercise Referral course?

    All the learning materials for this course are available online through our unique online learning portal, a virtual classroom which guides you, section by section, through your course. If you don’t already hold a Level 3 Personal Trainer qualification, to help you complete the Anatomy & Physiology and Nutrition units, you’ll also be able to access all the online learning materials for this course too.  All the facts and information you require are clearly presented to make learning as easy and enjoyable as possible, there’s even a quiz at the end of each section to test yourself.  A hard copy of the course manual is also available at an additional cost.

  • How is the course delivered?

    You will be required to complete a series of home study units prior to attending a two-day course. Here you will learn the practical and theoretical skills required to work with clients on Exercise Referral. You will then have six weeks to complete a case study and submit, as well as attending a third day for your practical assessment, approximately 4 weeks after your 2 day course.

  • What will I learn on my Exercise Referral course?

    This includes:

    • Pathophysiology, treatment, special considerations for:
    • Cardiovascular conditions: Atherosclerosis, hypertension, high cholesterol,
    • Mobility related conditions: Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, lordosis, kyphosis, scoliosis, spondylosis (spinal arthritis) joint replacement
    • Mental health conditions: Anxiety, stress and depression
    • Other conditions: obesity, diabetes type 1 & 2, asthma, COPD (chronic bronchitis and emphysema)
    • Related exercise benefits and implications

    As an Exercise Referral Specialist, it will be your job to advise these clients on how to enhance their well being through a planned programme of exercise and nutrition. Key areas of focus include:

    • Collecting information to plan an exercise referral programme
    • The principles of risk stratification in exercise referral.
    • Current UK healthcare systems and the exercise referral process
    • Accepted methods of treatment/ management of medical conditions relevant to exercise referral programmes
    • How to programme safe, effective exercise programmes for patients with specified exercise referral medical conditions.
    • Medication (over counter and prescription) and exercise implications
    • Behavioural change and motivational interviewing
    • Safe and effective progressive exercise programming
    • Setting up and coordinating exercise referral schemes
  • How will I be assessed on the Exercise Referral course?

    You’ll be assessed through a combination of home-based workbook study, practical assessment and a case study.

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I become an Exercise Referral Instructor?

    The first thing you will need is a level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing in either Gym, Exercise to Music or Water Based Exercise (Aqua). If you do not have this, don’t worry, we can bolt this on before you do the Exercise Referral course. As part of this qualification, you’ll need to complete the Level 3 Nutritional Advisor unit and the Level 3 Anatomy and Physiology unit. However, students with a Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training will be exempt.

    To work with clients with specific conditions, it is vital you hold an Exercise Referral qualification that is accredited by an Ofqual approved awarding organisation. YMCA Awards certificate our Exercise Referral course, who were the very first awarding organisation in the Active Leisure Sector, and have ample experience in ensuring our courses are of the highest quality

  • When I pass the Exercise Referral course, what will I receive?

    Once passed, you will receive an Active IQ Level 3 Diploma in Exercise Referral

  • Is the course recognised by REPs?

    Yes! You will receive 20 REPs points on completion and can gain entry onto the Register of Exercise Professionals in Exercise Referral at Level 3.

  • What progression routes are there after completing the Exercise Referral course?

    The Level 3 Exercise Referral course is the entry requirement for Level 4 Specialist qualifications such as our Level 4 Low Back Pain and Level 4 Obesity and Diabetes courses. You can combine your Exercise Referral course with either of these and complete our Level 4 Specialist Practitioner course

  • Can I get funding for my Exercise Referral course?

    Yes! If you are aged over 19, you might be eligible for an adult learner loan. To find out more, please contact our course advisors on 0800 999 6664.

  • How else can I pay for the Exercise Referral course?

    There are numerous options, including pay in full to receive a discount, 0% interest monthly payments, or a finance agreement if you prefer to pay over a longer term to reduce monthly payments.

  • How long does the Exercise Referral course take to complete?

    From start to finish it is possible to complete this qualification in a minimum of 12 weeks depending on time that you have available to study and your previous experience. Most learners take between 3-6 months.

Locations & Dates

Location Venue Module Start Date Book
Birmingham David Lloyd Exercise Referral Specialist 24/25 February 2018
Birmingham David Lloyd Exercise Referral Specialist 20/21 October 2018
Trafford Park Manchester David Lloyd Exercise Referral Specialist 27/28 January 2018
Trafford Park Manchester David Lloyd Exercise Referral Specialist 07/08 April 2018
Trafford Park Manchester David Lloyd Exercise Referral Specialist 28/29 July 2018
Trafford Park Manchester David Lloyd Exercise Referral Specialist 20/21 October 2018
Vauxhall South Bank Club Exercise Referral Specialist 03/04 March 2018
Vauxhall South Bank Club Exercise Referral Specialist 26/27 May 2018
Vauxhall South Bank Club Exercise Referral Specialist 13/14 October 2018


If you have any questions or require further guidance you can speak with one of our expert advisors by calling

0800 999 6664

(FREE to call from mobiles)

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