The Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity
The Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity, or CIMSPA as they are more widely known, is the UK’s professional development body for the sport and physical activity sector. If you are considering completing any qualification or training in the leisure, sport or fitness sector, then it’s essential that you know who CIMSPA are and that your training is recognised by them.
Broadly speaking, CIMSPA’s role in the active leisure sector is to raise the profile and standards of professionalism within the sector by creating a respected, recognised and regulated sector that people want to be part of.
For students looking for specific information, we’ve provided two quick links here:
Becoming a CIMSPA member is a way of demonstrating to your customers and colleagues that you are committed to the highest standards of professionalism, conduct and qualifications in your role. CIMSPA CEO, Tara Dillion says “CIMSPA membership will showcase your profile as a professional and it says a lot about you and how seriously you take your role”.
CIMSPA have a variety of membership pathways to choose from depending on your role and level of responsibility within the active leisure organisation. The suite of memberships are designed to cater for everyone working in the sport and physical activity sector, from board room executives right through to apprentices starting their careers.
For more information on CIMSPA membership, visit: www.cimspa.co.uk/membership
The different membership pathways are summarised in the following bullets, and the application process, criteria and evidence requirements are different for each pathway.
Designed for those who are professionally people that have an active interest in the physical activity/fitness sector but have no immediate plans to complete any formal training or qualifications.
This membership group is designed for students or graduates that hold or are working towards a sport, leisure or physical activity degree programme, or who are working towards an apprenticeship in the leisure industry.
This pathway is designed for qualified exercise/physical activity professionals that have completed a regulated qualification that is fully mapped to CIMSPA’s professional standards. This is the pathway that most our graduates take.
Created to recognise, standardise and develop mid-senior managers working in the active leisure sector, whether they hold practitioner-style qualifications or not.
Designed for those business leaders that have shown excellence, innovation and leadership in their profession and who are making a significant difference to the area of the sector in which they are operating.
Joining a professional body like CIMSPA demonstrates to the world that you are a true professional that is absolutely committed to raising and maintaining standards in your area of expertise.
If you are a fitness instructor, personal trainer, or other form of exercise professional working in the industry, then joining CIMSPA will enable you to use the CIMSPA name and branding (in line with their guidelines) to show the world that you have attained the necessary knowledge, skills and qualifications to practice.
The range of benefits and features that come with a CIMSPA membership are varied and far-reaching, but CIMSPA summarise quite nicely in to 4 simple categories: Be Connected, Be Ahead, Be The Difference and Be Rewarded.
For more information on these, visit: www.cimspa.co.uk/membership
In partnership with a wide-range of leisure industry employers, awarding organisations and technical experts, CIMSPA have developed, and continue to create, professional standards that define what a person in a specific professional role (e.g. gym instructor, personal trainer, group exercise instructor) must know in term of knowledge, and be able to do in terms of their skills.
Professional standards have been created for most roles in the active leisure sector, although Pilates, Yoga and nutrition coaching are still under development. As such, people completing these qualifications will typically join CIMSPA via a special ‘associate’ member pathway.
CIMSPAs professional standards serve as a framework for specific roles and occupations within the sector so that there is a unified and standardised set of criteria that the whole sector can get behind.
These professional standards are the result of extensive engagement with a large portion of the physical activity sector and so they take in to consideration the needs of a various types of leisure operators, including those with commercial, charitable and social focus.
The process of recognising the content and quality of formal training and qualifications is referred to as endorsement and like many professional and awarding organisations, CIMSPA do endorse specific types of training.
CIMSPA will typically endorse regulated (Ofqual) qualifications that are certificated by an awarding organisation (e.g. YMCA Awards, Active IQ) when they are fully mapped to a professional standard (e.g. personal trainer, gym instructor).
CIMSPA also endorse training that maps to some of the knowledge and skills elements of a professional standard providing that the training meets certain quality standards. This type of endorsement is typically reserved for CPD training (not qualifications), so it’s important to check the type of endorsement before making a purchase.
A key requirement of being a CIMSPA member is continuing professional development, or CPD. CPD is the process of undertaking regular learning and development activities that will help you to become even more effective in your specific role.
CPD training can include variety of activities, including reading, research, completing a formal training course, qualifications or attending workshops.
In order to remain on the CIMSPA member directory, which is reserved for sport and physical activity professionals, members must achieve a minimum of 10 CPD points every year with at least 5 of these points being generated from training activities that have been directly endorsed by CIMSPA. These must also be delivered by a CIMSPA training partner like HFE.
The Register of Exercise Professionals, or REPs, was previously the industry’s formal register of qualified exercise professionals. Like CIMSPA, REPs was operated as a membership scheme and REPs members had to demonstrate that they held appropriate qualifications to practice, insurance, and commit to the REPs Code of Ethical Conduct.
In February 2020, CIMSPA and UK Coaching (the then owner of REPs) announced that they would be combining REPs with the CIMSPA’s Exercise and Fitness Directory to create a single directory of all qualified exercise professionals.
REPs no longer exists as a professional register in the UK, although internationally it operates in partnership with other partners via ICREPs.