Specialist Practitioner Course | Level 4 Special Practitioner Course

Specialist Practitioner Course


Specialist Practitioner Course

Specialist Practitioner Course

Leading to AIQ Level 3 Diploma in Exercise Referral plus AIQ Level 4 in Low Back Pain or AIQ Level 4 Obesity and Diabetes

This Specialist Practitioner Course provides the knowledge required to work with an increasing number of clients with specific conditions. These conditions may range from osteoarthritis to type 2 diabetes. Students must be aged 16 or over and hold a minimum Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing (Gym, ETM).

Prices from £999.00 with funding options available.

This qualification is the entry requirement for Chartered Institute of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) Exercise Referral Practitioner status.

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The Specialist Practitioner Course is the latest Level 4 offering for exercise professionals at the top of their game looking to achieve ‘Special Practitioner’ status.

Specialist Practitioner Course Qualifications

Providing you with advanced, expert knowledge to take you further in the fitness industry, this course leads to a Level 3 Diploma in Exercise Referral. This diploma will equip you with the tools to develop referral schemes for health care services, which is perfect for gym instructors and personal trainers looking to expand their exercise referral knowledge. 

To learn more about this element of the course, visit the dedicated AIQ Level 3 Diploma in Exercise Referral course page here. 

Further Specialist Practitioner Course Qualifications

At Focus Training our Specialist Practitioner Course enables students to choose the direction their course goes in. This bespoke nature means you can target your expertise towards the specific needs of your clients.

In addition to the AIQ Level 3 Diploma in Exercise Referral, the qualification offers two directional options, comprising of either the Level 4 Lower Back Pain or Obesity & Diabetes courses.

 Those that opt for the AIQ Level 4 Lower Back Pain course will be taught both theoretical knowledge, and practical skills, required for clients living with lower back pain, such as a limited range of movements or muscle imbalances. These skills will teach you how to assess, plan, and deliver effective exercise sessions tailored to each client. To learn more about this element of the course, you can visit the Level 4 Lower Back Pain course page.

Meanwhile, those that choose the AIQ Level 4 Obesity and Diabetes course will be taught how to plan and provide physical activity and weight management techniques. The course has a particular focus on how to manage obesity and diabetes through various fitness and nutritional strategies. If you want to know more about this element of the course to benefit your clients, you can visit the Level 4 Obesity and Diabetes course page.

Specialist Practitioner Course Completion 

On successful completion, students will be able to treat clients who have been referred by a GP. These ‘Exercise Referrals’ lay the foundation for a career path dedicated to a specialist area. Both options – Lower Back Pain and Obesity and Diabetes – open the door to a rewarding future as a Specialist Practitioner.

The Specialist Practitioner Diploma offers an excellent chance for you to refine your personal training services and excel in your field.

What course materials will I receive for the Specialist Practitioner course?

You will receive a bespoke Exercise Referral manual and an Active IQ Low Back Pain or Obesity and Diabetes manual.

If you do not hold a Personal Trainer qualification, in order to complete the Anatomy and Physiology and Nutrition units, you’ll also be able to access all the learning materials for this course via our unique online learning portal, a virtual classroom which guides you, section by section, through your course. 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.

What will I learn on the Specialist Practitioner course?

This course is extremely varied, and covers an excellent selection of topics that will help personal trainers to develop their skill set and improve their career prospects.

This diploma is split into two modules:

Module 1: Level 3 Exercise Referral Specialist

  • Pathophysiology, treatment and 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

Module 2: Level 4 Low Back Pain Specialist

  • Human anatomy, and biomechanics of the spine and lower back.
  • National Guidelines for Management of Low Back Pain
  • Activity/ Inactivity in the prevention and Management of Low Back Pain
  • Epidemiology of Low Back Pain
  • Co-morbidities/ medications and their exercise considerations
  • Psychological/ sociological impact of Low Back Pain
  • Screening/ Assessment techniques for Low Back Pain
  • Planning/ delivering appropriate exercise sessions


Module 2: Level 4 Obesity and Diabetes Specialist

  • Prevalence and classification of obesity and diabetes
  • Hormonal considerations of obesity and diabetes
  • Genetic influences of obesity and diabetes
  • Development and pathophysiology of obesity and diabetes
  • How to administer 7-site skinfold assessment
  • Historical evidence surrounding obesity
  • Introduction to metabolic syndrome
  • Exercise guidelines and precautions
  • Planning and delivering physical activity and nutritional strategies for obesity and diabetes
  • Causes and the psychological impact of the conditions

How is the Specialist Practitioner course delivered?

A telephone support tutor will help you plan and agree your submission dates for your home study work. Telephone appointments will be arranged so we can keep in close contact with you to give you specific feedback on your learning needs.

To achieve the Specialist Practitioner Diploma you will be required to complete the Exercise Referral course followed by your choice of Level 4 qualification.

The Exercise Referral course will require you to complete a series of home study units prior to attending a two-day practical course attendance. Here you will learn the practical and theoretical skills behind programme design and implementation. You will then have six weeks to complete a case study and submit this for assessment prior to attending a third day for your practical assessment.

Choose the Low Back Pain course and you will then complete assignments prior to attending a 2 day practical and theoretical course delivery followed by a period of 8 weeks to complete a case study prior to returning for a 1 day practical assessment.

Choose Obesity and Diabetes and you will then attend a 2-day course comprising of theory and practical workshops. After the course you will have 6 weeks to prepare a hypothetical case study before returning for a 1-day practical assessment.

Course attendance will be at your choice of Focus Training centres throughout the UK. Check course availability

How will I be assessed for the Specialist Practitioner course?

Dependent on the modules you select, the course structure will vary in accordance to requirements. However, you will be expected to complete the following:

  • Home study worksheets
  • Multiple choice theory exams (only applies if you haven’t completed the level 3 Personal Trainer qualification, 2011 onwards)
  • Case studies
  • Practical assessments

How do I submit my Specialist Practitioner coursework?

You need to submit your home-study units either electronically or you could choose to complete it hand written if you prefer.

If you have any special learning needs for this course please do not hesitate to discuss them with our advisers, we will do as much as is practicable to assist.

With Focus Training, we make high quality training for your career in the fitness industry affordable.

Book online – add your course to your basket, you can pay securely by card or Pay Pal, either in full or by deposit.

Finance Options -Spread your payments over a number of months to suit your budget. Let us help you find the right payment plan to suit you. Speak to a Course Adviser on 0800 999 6664 or email info@focus-training.com

Advanced Learner Loan – get help with the costs of your further education courses. Learners aged 19 and over studying an approved course can apply. Eligibility for the loan does not depend on your income and there are no credit checks. The loan, plus any interest, has to be paid back, but not until you have finished your course and your income is over £25,000. Terms and conditions apply, please contact us for further information.


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