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What is SIS30321? Exploring the New Standard in Fitness Certification

May 1, 2024
8 minute read

The fitness industry constantly evolves, adapting to new scientific research, societal needs, and professional standards. One of the significant updates in this sector has been the transition from the SIS30315 Certificate III in Fitness to the newer SIS30321 Certificate III in Fitness, which came into effect on November 10, 2021. This transition marks a significant shift in how fitness professionals are trained and certified in Australia, reflecting broader changes in the industry's focus and methodologies.

Overview of SIS30321

The SIS30321 Certificate III in Fitness is the latest qualification standard for aspiring fitness instructors. It serves as a fundamental credential for professionals who wish to lead group exercise sessions or develop gym-based programs for clients. Unlike its predecessor (SIS30315), the SIS30321 qualification encompasses a revised structure aimed at enhancing the instructional capabilities of fitness professionals under current health and fitness protocols.



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Changes in Qualification Description and Specializations

The evolution from SIS30315 to SIS30321 includes significant changes not only in the structure of units but also in the qualification descriptions and available specialisations. These modifications reflect a shift towards a more integrated approach to fitness instruction.

Merging of Gym and Group Exercise Specializations

SIS30315 offered three distinct pathways: 

Allowing trainees to specialise in one of these areas based on their career interests and the needs of their local market.

SIS30321 streamlines these options by merging the Gym and Group Exercise Instructor specialisations into a single, comprehensive fitness instruction pathway. This change aims to create a more versatile fitness professional capable of delivering both individual and group fitness programs, thereby enhancing employability and adaptability in various fitness settings. This is due to the rise of Group Training Studios e.g. F45, Bodyfit etc

Removal of Aqua Exercise Instructor Specialisation

The specific Aqua Exercise Instructor stream present in SIS30315 has been removed in SIS30321. This reflects a broader trend in the fitness industry towards integrating water-based fitness training into general fitness qualifications, rather than treating it as a separate specialisation. Trainees interested in aqua fitness are now likely to find these competencies embedded within broader fitness courses or as part of continuing education rather than as a primary focus of initial training.

Differentiating Gym Instructors from Personal Trainers in SIS30321

SIS30321 introduces key changes that clarify and differentiate the roles of gym instructors from personal trainers. This differentiation is crucial for setting expectations for the scope of practice and responsibilities associated with each role.

Previously, the role of a gym instructor, as outlined in SIS30315, involved individually tailored client assessments, technique correction, and the development and demonstration of fitness programs. These tasks require a high degree of personalization and ongoing client interaction, which are now more closely associated with personal trainers.

In contrast, SIS30321 redefines the gym instructor’s role to focus on developing gym-based programs for individuals where the level of personalised instruction and ongoing client monitoring is limited. This change suggests a more structured and less personalised approach, where gym instructors provide general guidance within a fitness facility but do not engage in detailed, long-term tracking of client progress.

This shift highlights a clear distinction in service delivery between gym instructors and personal trainers:

Gym Instructors: Primarily responsible for ensuring that clients perform exercises safely and effectively within a communal setting. Their interaction is generally less personalised and is aimed at facilitating a broad range of clients quickly and efficiently.

Personal Trainers: Focus on detailed, one-on-one sessions that tailor programs to individual client needs, goals, and abilities. They provide extensive personal attention, including ongoing assessments and adjustments to fitness programs.

Key Changes in Units from SIS30315 to SIS30321

The shift from SIS30315 to SIS30321 is not just a simple update but a comprehensive overhaul that reflects the changing landscape of the fitness industry. Here are the major differences:

Reduction in Total Units: The total required units have been reduced from 16 to 15, streamlining the qualification process without compromising the depth of knowledge and skills imparted to the trainees.

Updated Unit Content: Several units have been merged, split, or revised significantly to align with current fitness training methods and client needs, including a focus on anatomy, physiology, and nutrition.

New Units Added: New units have been introduced to support improved work outcomes, emphasising practical skills like emergency responses and inclusion practices.

More Core, Fewer Electives: The new structure features an increased emphasis on core units and a reduction in elective options (11 core and 4 elective), compared to SIS30315 (9 core units and 7 elective). This adjustment ensures a more uniform educational foundation for all students, establishing a consistent standard of essential skills and knowledge that every fitness instructor needs to master. 

Core Units in SIS30315 vs SIS30321

SISFFIT001: Provide health screening and fitness orientationHas been split into SISFFIT032 and SISFFIT033 - both are in SIS30321SISFFIT032: Complete pre-exercise screening and service orientationSee SISFFIT001
SISFFIT002: Recognise and apply exercise considerations for specific populationsHas been deleted from the training packageSISFFIT033: Complete client fitness assessmentsSee SISFFIT001
SISFFIT003: Instruct fitness programsSuperseded by SISFFIT040SISFFIT040: Develop and instruct gym-based exercise programs for individual clientsSee SISFFIT003
SISFFIT004: Incorporate anatomy and physiology principles into fitness programmingSuperseded by SISFFIT047SISFFIT047: Use anatomy and physiology knowledge to support safe and effective exerciseSee SISFFIT004
SISFFIT005: Provide healthy eating informationSuperseded by SISFFIT052SISFFIT052: Provide healthy eating informationSee SISFFIT005
SISFFIT014: Instruct exercise to older clientsSuperseded by SISFFIT044 which is now a core unit in the Certificate IV in FitnessHLTAID01: Provide First AidWas previously an elective in the SIS30315 - now a core
SISXCCS001: Provide quality serviceSuperseded by SISXCCS004 - not in SIS30321BSBOPS304: Deliver and monitor a service to customersNew core unit - indirectly replaces SISXCCS001
SISXFAC001: Maintain equipment for activitiesSuperseded SISXFAC006 Maintain activity equipment - not in SIS30321HLTWHS001: Participate in workplace health and safetyWas previously an elective in the SIS30315 - now a core
SISXIND001: Work effectively in sport, fitness and recreation environmentsSuperseded by SISXIND011 Maintain sport, fitness and recreation industry knowledge - not in SIS30321BSBPEF301: Organise personal work prioritiesNew core unit - indirectly replaces SISXIND001
SISFFIT035: Plan group exercise sessionsWas previously an elective in the SIS30315 ‘Group Exercise Instructor Steam’ - now a core in SIS30321
SISFFIT036: Instruct group exercise sessionsWas previously an elective in the SIS30315 ‘Group Exercise Instructor Steam’ - now a core in SIS30321

Detailed Changes in Core Units

The transition from SIS30315 to SIS30321 involves detailed changes in the core units that significantly impact the structure and focus of the training. Here are some of the notable changes:

Units Removed and not Directly Replaced

SISFFIT002 Recognise and apply exercise considerations for specific populations has been deleted from the training package. This reflects a shift towards integrating these considerations into all relevant fitness units, ensuring that training in accommodating diverse client needs is a universal component of fitness instruction.

SISFFIT014 Instruct exercise to older clients has been superseded by SISFFIT044 Develop and instruct personalised exercise programs for older clients. This unit is now in the Certificate IV in Fitness. This change signifies a more advanced approach required for training older client groups.

SISXCCS001 Provide quality service is updated and replaced by SISXCCS004 Provide quality service, which is no longer a core unit in the Certificate III in Fitness. This unit has been indirectly replaced with BSBOPS304 Deliver and monitor a service to customers

SISXFAC001 Maintain equipment for activities transitions to SISXFAC006 Maintain activity equipment and is also no longer a core unit in the Certificate III in Fitness, reflecting changes in the responsibilities typically expected of a fitness instructor.

SISXIND001 Work effectively in sport, fitness and recreation environments evolves into SISXIND011 Maintain sport, fitness and recreation industry knowledge, which is no longer a core unit, as the differences between sport, fitness and recreation are now too far to be included in the fitness qualification. Has been indirectly replaced by BSBPEF301: Organise personal work priorities

Units Removed and Directly Replaced

The unit SISFFIT001 Provide health screening and fitness orientation has been split into two separate units: 

  • SISFFIT032 Complete pre-exercise screening and service orientation
  • SISFFIT033 Complete client fitness assessments

This split allows for more focused and detailed instruction in each area, ensuring trainees can acquire specialised skills in both pre-exercise screening and client assessment processes.

SISFFIT003 Instruct fitness programs has been superseded by SISFFIT040 Develop and instruct gym-based exercise programs for individual clients. This new unit places a greater emphasis on the development and customization of exercise programs tailored to individual needs, enhancing the instructor's ability to deliver personalised and effective fitness guidance.

SISFFIT004 Incorporate anatomy and physiology principles into fitness programming is superseded by SISFFIT047 Use anatomy and physiology knowledge to support safe and effective exercise. This update reflects a shift towards a more applied use of anatomical and physiological knowledge in fitness training.

SISFFIT005 Provide healthy eating information remains critical but is updated to SISFFIT052 Provide healthy eating information with no equivalent, ensuring the information provided is based on the latest nutritional science.

New Core Units Added in SIS30321

Several new units have been added to the core of SIS30321, reflecting the evolving needs of the fitness industry:

BSBOPS304 Deliver and monitor a service to customers: Replaces the older customer service unit, focusing more on the delivery and monitoring aspects.

BSBPEF301 Organise personal work priorities: Introduces key organisational skills for 

fitness professionals.

HLTAID011 Provide First Aid: Now a core unit, underscoring the importance of first aid knowledge in fitness settings.

HLTWHS001 Participate in workplace health and safety: Previously an elective, this unit's inclusion as a core component emphasises the increased focus on safety in fitness environments.

SISFFIT035 Plan group exercise sessions and SISFFIT036 Instruct group exercise sessions: Previously elective units specific to group exercise instruction, now core to broaden the foundational skills of all fitness instructors.

Why the Change?

These updates reflect a broader initiative to adapt fitness training to modern needs, such as increased awareness of holistic health, inclusivity in fitness provision, and the necessity for high safety standards. The new qualification framework aims to produce well-rounded instructors who are not only equipped to lead fitness sessions but also to manage health and safety, support diverse client groups, and contribute to the health sector more effectively.

Do You Need to Upgrade from SIS30315 to SIS30321

Usually no. If you have completed a SIS30315 - you are a fully qualified Fitness Instructor can 

The one exception is if you want to complete a Certificate IV in Fitness (SIS40421).

At the same time the Certificate III in Fitness updated from the SIS30315 to the SIS30321, the Certificate IV updated from the SIS40415 to the SIS40421. 

If you have completed a Certificate III in Fitness (SIS30321) - you can enrol into the Certificate IV in Fitness (SIS40421) without having to complete any pre requisite units (as they are all covered in the SIS30321).

If you have completed the previous version of Certificate III in Fitness (SIS30315) and want to enrol into the current Certificate IV in Fitness (SIS40421) - your Certificate III in Fitness (SIS30315) won’t cut in terms of pre requisites. So you will either need to complete the current Certificate III in Fitness (SIS30321) or complete a “Fast Track” Personal Training course - which is the Certificate IV in Fitness (SIS40421) + the nine required pre requisites units.


The introduction of SIS30321 marks a significant step forward in the standardization of fitness certification in Australia. It not only raises the bar for what it means to be a certified fitness instructor but also aligns with the evolving needs of the population it serves. For those looking to embark on a career in fitness or upgrade their qualifications, understanding and adapting to this new standard is essential.

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