Unlike other countries in the world, New Zealand has one major registration body for exercise professionals – “REPs New Zealand”. REPs is recognised by both Exercise New Zealand (the industry association) and the International Confederation of Registers for Exercise Professionals ICREPs (1). This makes the registration process a little easier than it is in other parts of the world!
REPs New Zealand currently have 3 major registration categories
1. Exercise Prescription (which includes Personal Trainer Contractor, Personal Trainer Employee, Exercise Consultant Level 2, Exercise Consultant Level 1, Exercise Assistant)
2. Group Exercise (which includes Group Exercise Own Choreography, Group Exercise Own Choreography Contractor), Group Exercise Pre Choreographed, Group Exercise Pre Choreographed Contractor)
3. Yoga Teacher (which includes Registered Yoga Teacher and Registered Yoga Teacher Contractor)
Note: If you are registered at a contractor level your REPs New Zealand registration fee also includes professional insurance coverage. (2)
If you’d like more detail on what each of these categories involve – we recommend reading the “Guide to Working in the New Zealand Exercise Industry” – which can be found on the Exercise NZ website here.
How to register with REPS NZ?
To register with REPs the first thing you need to do is complete your initial exercise qualifications. There are currently 5 ‘pathways’ available to register
1. Complete a qualification from a REPs Registered Initial Education Provider or RYT200 Qualification for Yoga Teacher Registration: The qualification(s) MUST be in the list of REPs recognised initial education providers. You can find the list of REPs recognised initial education providers here: https://www.reps.org.nz/education-2/initial-education/
2. Complete a NZ University Degree with an Exercise Focus – this option is for those who have completed a NZ degree with an exercise focus, but is not in the list of automatically recognised REPs qualifications.
3. Be a Yoga Teacher who holds knowledge and skill equivalent to a 200 hour type qualification.
4. NZ Certificate in Exercise L4 Supplementary – for PT or exercise consultant registration – If you provide evidence of meeting the skills and knowledge covered by this qualification (www.skillsactive.org.nz for more details), and you have been working at this level for more than 18 months, then this pathway is available.
5. Hold current registration with an ICREPs partner register – If you are currently registered with an ICREPs portability register. You can find a list of ICREPs members here: https://icreps.org/
It is important to note that REPs doesn’t recommend any qualification provider in their list over another. They suggest that before you make your decision, and do your own due diligence! Ask questions and ask around. Some suggestions from the REPs website are:
- Contact the qualification provider directly to find out more about their qualification. This could include information on how they deliver their qualification, how they support their students, or how they undertake their assessments and exams
- Talking to other students and graduates of the qualification. Ask the qualification provider for student references. Check out the qualification providers Facebook page, Twitter etc
- Do an online/Google search to find out more about the qualification provider
It is also important to note that REPs is unable to provide any assurances as to the ongoing financial viability of any qualification provider, so it is important that you do your own checks. REPS recommend asking your qualification provider about their processes as to how they protect students’ fees. (3)
Along with your initial qualification, you will also need a relevant and current First Aid certificate (or CPR if you operate exclusively from a REPs registered exercise facility).
Once you’ve registered with REPs once – that’s it for life? Not quite… To maintain your REPs registration, you will need to
1. Renew your registration yearly
2. Keep your First Aid/CPR up to date and valid
3. Complete 10 CPD points per year
What are CPD Points?
REPs NZ require all exercise professionals to complete a certain amount of Professional Development each year. This is to ensure that Exercise Professionals stay up to date with the latest knowledge, research and exercise science to deliver safe and effective exercise advice.
The professional development is measured by a system of credits called Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points. An exercise professional must complete 10 CPD points per year each registration period (which is approximately equal to one day of education that includes an assessment).
The organisation delivering the CPD points must have their course(s) registered with REPs NZ and you can find a list of courses here:
Note: When an exercise professional first registers with REPs there is no requirement for them to complete any CPD points as successful completion of a full entry qualification to operate as an exercise professional counts as 10 CPDs points.
CPD Credit / Deficit’s
Deficit: An exercise professional may carry forward a deficit of 10 CPD points. For example – if you don’t complete any CPD points during this registration period – you can re-register with REPs, however you will be required to complete 20 CPD points in the next annual registration period.
Credit: CPD points are valid for two re registration periods – meaning if you complete 20 CPD points this registration period – you are not required to complete any CPD in your next registration period. (4)
Do I need to register with REPs?
Technically you could get your initial qualifications and start working as Personal Trainer without REPs registration. However, you would miss out on the benefits below:
- The ability to work at a REPs Registered Exercise Facility (The majority of facilities in New Zealand will only employ REPs Registered Exercise Professionals).
- All Contractor levels have public liability and professional indemnity insurance included with registration (offering peace of mind and protection for the trainer, their clients, and any facility they may use)
- REPs operates an online search engine for registered trainers, as well as a profile/picture for each trainer, and an easy email link for members of the public wishing to enquire about using a trainers services
- Information on key industry happenings and events through regular communications
- Discounts on ongoing education courses run by dozens of organisations
- Substantial discount to the annual industry conference, FitEx
- Substantial discount to the Exercise New Zealand Roadshow
- Free professional email address @registeredtrainer.co.nz
- Access to products and services and special rates
- Access to all Network Australia publications in electronic format (including magazine and resources for personal trainers and group exercise instructors), This also provides access to the FILEX conference in Sydney at members’ rates.
- OneMusic Licence – REPs Registered Professionals also receive a OneMusic licence when working independently of an exercise facility and operating 4 or fewer personal training sessions per week (using music). Training sessions include boot camps, exercising in a park, training groups at the beach etc. (5)
On top of these benefits – one of the biggest benefits of REPs registration is that it keeps the industry honest and has at very least a ‘minimum standard’. If a trainer is REPs registered you know that they have completed their initial qualifications at a well recognised establishment, have their first aid up to date and upskill on a yearly basis. If a Personal Trainer isn’t registered with REPs, MAYBE they completed their initial qualifications at a well recognised establishment, have their first aid up to date and upskill on a yearly basis… or maybe they don’t… At least with REPs registration – there is a clear minimum standard.
As Stephen Gacsal, REPs Registrar says,“REPs registration is well recognised as the standard to deliver safe and effective exercise in New Zealand. With just on 75% of those delivering exercise in NZ registered with REPs, registration provides the recognition that the true exercise professionals deserve, and differentiates the professionals from the unregistered ‘cowboys’ who can taint the public image of the entire industry”.
Along with REPs, the organisations to be aware of the New Zealand Exercise Industry are
Exercise Association of New Zealand (www.exercisenz.org.nz)
A non profit representative organisation, who’s mission is to proactively support a sustainable exercise and fitness industry in New Zealand by growing participation in structured exercise through advocacy, information and industry standards. ExerciseNZ provides resources to support exercise business, advocacy on behalf of the industry, and runs educational events (such as the FitEx Conference). For more details visit www.exercisenz.org.nz
Personal Trainers Council of New Zealand (www.ptcouncil.co.nz)
This is a network of individual personal trainers committed to the enhancement of the industry in NZ. Regional meetings, Facebook and their website provide a vehicle for personal trainers to discuss common topics. The PT Council provides a valuable means of connection and networking with other trainers. Other services facilitated by the council include regular webinars, and business mentoring from leading industry experts and fellow PTs.
Skills Active Aotearoa (www.skillsactive.org.nz)
Skills Active Aotearoa is New Zealand’s Industry Training Organisation (ITO) for the exercise industry. They are a government-funded organisation and their role is to develop and facilitate world-class, nationally recognised qualifications that meet the needs of the exercise industry. Skills Active also provide leadership on behalf of our industry with regard to workforce development, industry standards and skill development. (6)
- What We Do – https://www.reps.org.nz/what-we-do/
- Registration for Exercise Professionals – https://www.reps.org.nz/how-to-register/register-professional/
- Providers of initial qualifications – https://www.reps.org.nz/education-2/initial-education/
- Continuing Professional Development points (CPD points) – https://www.reps.org.nz/education-2/education/cpd/
- What we do for trainers, facilities and education providers – https://www.reps.org.nz/what-we-do-for-trainers/
- This page is for students, with questions on the fitness industry – https://exercisenz.org.nz/information-for-students/
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Jono is the current 2020 Fitness Educator of the Year (awarded by Fitness Australia)