Level 3 Exercise Referral Diploma

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The essence of exercise referral is to use exercise and physical activity interventions to manage chronic illnesses and conditions like obesity, arthritis, diabetes and heart disease. Sufferers can often alleviate their symptoms and achieve an overall improved quality of life. Our Level 3 Exercise Referral Diploma is built around achieving this goal. The course is expertly designed to help exercise professionals better serve existing clients, branch out to new people, and work with organisations, like the NHS, who refer clients.

Our course is certified by YMCA Awards (formerly CYQ) and awards 20 points with the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs). As well as providing a chance to enhance your CV, it’s also a fantastic opportunity for continuing professional development (CPD). If you have your sights set on becoming a Level 4 Exercise Specialist, this qualification is a mandatory prerequisite.

Organisations such as the World Health Organisation frequently claim that we are in the midst of an ongoing ‘health epidemic’, with chronic diseases becoming more and more prevalent. With this is mind, the demand for properly-trained exercise professionals couldn’t be higher. We firmly believe that with this qualification, you’ll soon be leading the charge and making a real difference in peoples’ lives.

Level 3 Exercise Referral also forms part of the Level 3 Special Populations Diploma; we strongly recommended this path if it’s an area of the industry you’re particularly passionate about.

course content

The three main elements that make up this qualification are: Level 3 Exercise Referral, Level 3 Anatomy and Physiology, and Level 3 Nutrition for Physical Activity. Personal trainers often use this as a popular progression route when broadening their skill set. If you’re already a qualified PT then you won’t have to take the 3 Anatomy and Physiology and Level 3 Nutrition elements of this course again.

Specifically related to exercise referral are the following elements, though this is far from an exhaustive list:

The public health epidemic and an introduction to exercise referral

Professional practice:

  • Approaches to personal care
  • Principles of referral schemes
  • Liaising with GPs and other clinicians

Gathering information from referred clients:

  • Risk stratification
  • Stages of change model
  • Understanding various medications and how to assess their impact on exercise

Communicating and supporting referred clients

Assessing referral clients

Planning, teaching and monitoring exercise

The course also provides a basic pathology for a range of chronic conditions, including:

  • Asthma
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Obesity
  • Hypertension
  • Depression, stress and anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Joint replacement surgery
  • High cholesterol/high blood pressure


Before you attend the practical training weekend, you’ll complete three worksheets related to the planning and teaching aspects of exercise referral.

There are also two invigilated worksheets that require, these are: medical conditioning and an activity guidelines table – these must be taken separately to the two-day practical weekend, and your support tutor will be able to help arrange a suitable date at one of our venues.

On the training weekend itself you’ll observe a patient consultation, create a session plan, and then teach exercise to a referred client.

Finally, there’s a case study where you will create a 4 week session plan for a client with a specific medication condition.


Ideally, you’ll hold a recognised Level 3 Certificate in Personal Training. This will allow you to focus on the medical and exercise referral elements of the course, as the non-specific material will have already been completed.

If you haven’t achieved your Level 3 Personal Training qualification, but do hold a recognised Level 2 or Level 3 fitness qualification, you can still enrol, but must add on the following modules if you haven’t completed these already: Level 3 Anatomy and Physiology (£150) and Level 3 Nutrition for Physical Activity Awards (£247.50).

Our careers team will be able to answer any further questions you have. Similarly, if you’re missing a qualification, we’ll be able to help you get what you need. Nothing should stand in the way of your dream job.


REPs 20

This qualification is worth 20 points with REPs, the maximum for a single qualification. It also carries a credit value of 30 within the Qualifications Credit Framework (QCF). Upon completion, you’ll be able to enrol on a Level 4 Exercise Specialist qualification. At present, we offer: Level 4 Obesity and Diabetes Certificate and Level 4 Low Back Pain Certificate.

The Level 3 Nutrition for Physical Activity also awards an additional 20 REPs points if you haven’t already achieved it.


Payment Options

Pay In Full & Save 5%


6 Month Payment Plan

1 x £55 and 5 x £54

Total Payable £450 / Minimum Deposit £125

what the experts say

  • James Crossley (Hunter from Gladiators) "HFE is the ultimate fitness training provider, without a doubt their personal trainer courses are the best in the industry."
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    Laura Massaro (World No. 1 Squash Player - 2016) "The course has really helped me to better understand yoga so that I can improve my performance and remain World No. 1"

student reviews

out of 5 from 457 reviews
  • Rating: 5 out of 5

    LVL 2 Fitness

    From the very beginning the support i received was amazing and the tutor was very helpful in answering all my questions. We kept in touch by e-mail and telephone and I covered all the study areas at home in my own time while carrying on with my normal life and work duties.

  • Rating: 5 out of 5

    Exercise to Music

    Fantastic course, superb tutors, well planned and very enjoyable!

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