Got a specific question about how our training courses and qualifications work? Take a look at our frequently asked questions below...

COVID spray dumbbells
HFE tutor in gym teaching lunge

General Frequently Asked Questions

The following frequently asked questions are general questions that we are regularly asked about how our courses and qualifications are assessed and delivered. If you do have have questions about a specific course, you'll tend to find these on the individual course pages. If you don't find the answers that you're looking for, feel free to reach out to our Careers Team on the number at the top of the page.

  • How long will it take for me to get my certificate?

    We run a certification batch at the end of every month and certificates are usually delivered to us within a 2-3 week period following our application depending on the awarding body for the qualification. The time you will have to wait for your final certificate will depend on the stage of the month you complete your qualification.

    When your online course reaches 100% you will be able to download a temporary HFE certificate that will confirm your qualification status. You can use this certificate to confirm your new qualification status to your employer or potential employers. We can also provide you with a signed letter confirming that you have completed your training course or qualification.

    Please note that unless your qualification is funded externally, we will not be able to issue your certificate if you have any outstanding course fees. You will therefore need to ensure that you have settled any outstanding balance that you may have.

  • Can I complete my course if I am pregnant?

    Absolutely – this is actually one of the most common questions our careers and support team are asked. We have had lots of students at varying stages of pregnancy complete our training courses and with great success. To some extent it does depend on the nature of the course and the stage of your pregnancy, but in most cases this is absolutely possible. It is also worth noting here that both the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the National College for Obstetricians and Gynaecologists  (NCOG)both support the stance that exercise has many positive benefits during pregnancy, and that you should aim to maintain your pre-pregnancy activity levels for as long it is comfortable to do so. Depending on the stage of pregnancy and your personal circumstances, there are a number of contraindicated exercises. However, our course tutors are highly qualified and experienced in such matters and will guide you as to what is safe and what is not. It goes without saying that as you progress on your journey through the fitness industry, you will likely meet other pregnant women that share the same concerns as you. If you use your pregnancy as an opportunity to expand your knowledge and understanding of prenatal exercise matters,  you’ll be better positioned to serve these women in your role as an exercise professional. You may even want to consider the Level 3 Pre and Postnatal Award.
  • What is the pass rate for HFE courses?

    Here at HFE we have an extremely high first time pass rate for both theory and practical assessments. This is owing to our high-quality support systems, learning materials and fanatical levels of support. Our support tutors are dedicated to your success so you can rest assured that by the time you sit your assessment, you’ll be in the best shape to pass it.  

    While the precise pass rates vary each month depending on the volume of exams sat during that period and the students who have taken them, our first time pass rates are summarised below:

    • Practical Assessments- greater than 96%
    • Level 2 Theory Assessments- greater than 85%
    • Level 3 Theory Assessments- greater than 77.5%

    Our assessment pass rates are certainly above the industry standard and even in the unfortunate event that you don’t manage to pass first time, it’s highly likely that the next time you take the exam you will be ready. Support is unlimited at HFE so you can access and much or as little of it as you want.  We do tend to find that those students who stay in regular contact with their support tutor are the ones that manage to pass their exams first time round.

    Also, if you feel that you need a little more practice with the theory questions, feel free to ask your support tutor to reset your online multiple-choice questions. Because these questions are randomised, each time the assessment is reset you will get access to questions that weren’t included in your last attempt.

  • Am I too old to complete a fitness course?

    This is a question that we get asked time and time again and the answer is absolutely not.

    We have had lots of older students successfully complete most of our courses over the years and many have gone on to forge successful careers in the fitness profession. The perception that the health and fitness business is a career for youngsters is an absolute myth and some of the most successful exercise professionals in the sector are those that have life experience and people skills.  

    Older adults are amoung the fastest growing population in the UK and there are now more people of state pensionable age than there are under 16. Additionally, older adults have more time and often have considerably more disposable income than those who are trying to raise families and/or who are busy with work. They are also one of the most health conscious of all age groups because they tend to be much more aware of how precious their health actually is. It is the interaction of these 3 factors, which makes this population far more likely to seek the services of a friendly, approachable and experienced exercise professional.

    If you are senior in years you are likely to be much more appealing to older clients than a young body beautiful trainer. You will be better positioned to understand their needs and offer valuable advice. There really is no such thing as too old any more!

  • Will I receive extra help if I am struggling?

    Absolutely… there are a variety of ways in which we can provide you with further support and tuition if you are struggling with your studies.

    The first thing you should always do if you are struggling with any of the course content is to speak with your learner support tutor about your concerns because in most cases they will be able to resolve the matter for you quickly.

    We can’t stress the importance of maintaining regular contact with our distance-learning support tutors enough because those who take regular support calls rarely struggle with the course content and related assessments. Some of the more common ways in which our support tutors go the extra mile to help students struggling with their course however include:

    • Shorter and more frequent telephone and email contact
    • Screen sharing lessons where content can be better explained and demonstrate- this is really useful if you aren't too good with a computer
    • Resetting online assessments so you can have more practice attempts
    • Breaking-down lesson plans, case studies and worksheets into smaller more manageable tasks
    • Deferred theory assessments to allow more time to focus on practical assessments
    • Individual learning plans- making amendments to the general study guide document

    Support is unlimited at HFE so there really isn’t such a thing as ‘extra’ help- you get as much support, as you need to help you master the content and achieve your qualification. If you feel that there is something we can do to better help you learn, please feel free to let us know. We are dedicated to your success and so if we are able to help, we will certainly do our best to do so.

  • How many times can I re-take my assessments?

    There is no limit on the number of times that you can re-take any of the assessments however we wouldn’t ordinarily expect you to need to re-sit assessments more than one.

    Here at HFE we pride ourselves on our high quality and unlimited support systems so providing that you stay in touch with your support tutor, and you complete all of the online learning activities, it is highly unlikely you will need to re-sit an assessment more than once.

    In the unlikely situation that you do refer an assessment, your learner support tutor can help to ensure that you are better positioned to pass the exam next time you take it. It is essential therefore that you stay in touch with your tutor and return their calls and emails when they do try to contact you.

    If you need to re-sit a theory assessment, you only need to attend for that exam; you certainly don’t need to complete the whole course again.

    To book this assessment simply select the ‘book a re-assessment’ link from the footer of this page and you will then be taken through the booking process.

  • Will I struggle if English is not my first language?

    Over the years we have taught a wide-range of both level 2 and 3 courses to students from all over the world and many of these students have been speakers of ; if English isn’t your first language it really shouldn’t be a problem.

    Because our courses are delivered in English, you will need to be able to speak and write in English to enable you to complete the exams. Most of our courses have multiple-choice exams and so the standard of your written English really doesn’t matter too much for these assessments. Many of these courses also include lesson plans and case studies however and it is in these documents that you will need to provide more detailed information.

    For any of the assessments or exams, you may be able to us a bilingual dictionary. For more information on which assessments you can use this for, or for further advice on the level and depth of the course, please feel free to contact our careers advisors.

  • Why are HFE courses cheaper than others?

    Here at Health and Fitness Education we pride ourselves on our ability to be able to fuse affordability with quality. All of our qualifications are specifically designed with value in mind, which is why most of our courses are priced much less than many of our competitors. While our courses might be lower in price, they are certainly not lower in quality.

    Affordability is at the heart of our mission statement and so we wouldn’t be being true to ourselves if we didn’t do everything we could to keep the cost of our courses as low as we possibly can.

    There are many areas of our business that we make significant savings and so we are able to pass these on to you. For example, our sophisticated online learning platform automates many of our back end systems so we don’t have to pay as many staff to perform these tasks, particularly the marking.
    While there may be fewer administrative staff, we certainly don’t compromise on support staff; we’re dedicated to ensuring you have all of the help and support you need.

    We also drive a hard bargain when it comes to securing training venues; the volume of our usage means that we can negotiate a lower daily rental and so once again we can pass this saving on to you.

    Finally, the blended nature of our courses reduces the volume of face-to-face contact time that is required in many cases; this again helps to keep the cost of delivering the training down.

  • How long does it take to complete your courses?

    Every course is different and so the time each takes to complete varies from one student to the next depending the size of the course, the dates you select at the time of enrolment and more importantly, your personal circumstances.

    The following timescales can be used as an approximate guide to help you decide how much distance-learning you will need to undertake before you attend your practical training course or exams; these timescales are based on 1 hour per day of study:

    • Awards- approximately 4 weeks
    • Certificate- 6 weeks
    • Diploma – 8 weeks

    With our advanced diplomas, like the Level 3 Advanced Diploma in Personal Training that consist of multiple qualifications, it may take longer than 8-weeks depending on the volume of time you have to dedicate to your studies. If you are able to commit more than recommended 1 hour per day to your distance learning, there is every chance that you will be able to expedite your achievement somewhat.

    When you enrol, we will provide you with a suggested study guide for each of the courses that you have booked. These study guides have been produced with your success and will help you to divide your workload into manageable chunks. All of the study guides are flexible and your distance-learning support tutor will work with you to tailor the programme to suit your individual needs.

  • How difficult is it to find work once I’m qualified?

    There are a variety of opportunities available qualified fitness instructors and personal trainers and so it’s unlikely that you will struggle to find work. Whether you want to work for yourself, or find work in an existing fitness facility there are always opportunities available for passionate, enthusiastic and qualified exercise professionals.

    If you are looking to start a career as a personal trainer, you can explore rental programmes where you pay a weekly or monthly rent to practice, and then you take home what you make over and above the rental fees. There are also a variety of personal training management companies/agencies that procure the rights to run the personal training services in some clubs; the companies are always looking for new staff to help them grow their business.

    If you have completed one of our exercise to music or Pilates qualifications you too shouldn’t find it difficult to find employment. Like personal training, there are self-employed opportunities also available although most group exercise instructors work on a freelance basis for multiple clubs and facility operators. The best way to get employment as a studio-based instructor is to send a CV our to all of the local facilities and health clubs and get yourself on the cover list. If you are good, in no time at all you will find yourself with more regular classes and sessions.

  • Do you offer guaranteed interviews or jobs?

    The short answer to this question is no. Unfortunately, there are some providers promising interviews and jobs at the end of their courses just to get people to enrol. Here at HFE we believe that this is a very misleading practice because in almost all cases, these jobs are for self-employed positions and are not really paid positions. The self-employed arrangement requires personal trainers to pay a weekly or monthly rent to work in the club, so it is important that they are able to generate enough business to make a profit. Anyone with a recognised personal training qualification would be eligible for an interview or position with most of these health clubs anyway, because personal trainers represent a source of revenue and income to these businesses. While many personal trainers make a great living from this arrangement, we do not believe this is a recipe for success or longevity when they are trying to learn the trade and just starting out. Most personal trainers who make this arrangement work usually have quite a bit of experience under their belts before they commit to a rental scheme.  This is why we have refrained from implementing a guaranteed interview programme with HFE. If you want to know more about what we call the guaranteed interview scam, click here.
  • Can I get a discount if I have already passed my theory exam?

    Unfortunately we are unable to discount any of our qualifications if you have already passed the common unit or any of the summative assessments. Our qualifications are priced on a combination of the cost of the learning materials, the number of contact dates required, the volume of marking and the awarding body certification cost.

    Many students, particularly those who have completed an equivalent qualification at the same level will be exempt from sitting some assessments - subject to approval from your Learner Support Tutor. The anatomy and physiology exam is a common assessment many students don’t actually have to sit.

    Irrespective of whether the common unit was already held by you, the same certification charge is applied. Since there is no saving for us when applying for certificates, we are unable to pass on any saving to you. If you have already passed the theory component of a course, you will however be able to expedite your course completion and obtain certification much sooner than other learners who will need to wait for their theory results before they can become qualified.

    The process to using a previous qualification of assessment to expedite your progress is referred to as recognition of prior attainment or RPA.

  • Is distance learning right for me?

    This is a difficult question for us to answer for you because only you will know how good you are at time management and what your preferred style of learning is.

    If you are able to manage your own time effectively and commit yourself to a given number of hours each week for reading, learning and assessment activities then it is likely you will reap the many benefits of distance learning, including:

    • Reduced course costs
    • A flexible workload that fits around your current commitments
    • Flexible location at one of many training venues throughout the UK
    • Individually paced learning
    • Accelerated certification and accreditation

    Distance learning isn’t for everyone however and if you struggle to stay focused and are easily distracted then this might not be the best route for you; a direct delivery programme may better suit your learning style.

    Only you can decide if distance-learning is the right route for you but you can however rest assured that the support team at HFE will provide you with a superior level of tuition and support throughout your study period.

  • Do I need any experience as a fitness instructor?

    In short the answer to this question is no. You don’t need any experience of instructing exercise or fitness to complete any of our qualifications, irrespective whether they are pitched at level 2, 3 or 4. All of our courses have a healthy blend of theory and practical to ensue that you will get sufficient time to apply your new knowledge and skills practically. While experience is not mandatory, clearly it is advantageous.

    What we absolutely must insist on however is that all students, regardless of the course or qualification have a keen interest in health and fitness and the domain and area in which they plan to study. If enrolling on a Pilates course for example, we would expect that students take a keen interest in Pilates classes and before attending their course, attend on a regular basis Pilates classes.

    Our qualifications are specifically designed to accelerate learning and as such many students with no experience have still managed to successfully complete their qualifications. All students wishing to complete our level 3 qualifications must possess the level 2 pre-requisite qualification. This criterion does not  apply however to Nutrition, Pilates or Yoga.

  • How do I know which qualification is right for me?

    You should always ensure that any course or qualification you select is certificated by an awarding body like YMCA Awards, Active IQ, and City & Guilds. While endorsement by CIMSPA will enable you to join their register, this does not mean that the programme is actually a qualification. In a nutshell, CIMSPA endorse all awarding body qualifications, but not all CIMSPA endorsed programmes are qualifications. A qualification is not just important for obtaining employment, it is also essential to ensure that any liability or indemnity insurance held by the fitness instructor or personal trainer is valid.  
  • What if I refer my assessments?

    Here at HFE you can never fail your course, only quit! In the unfortunate event that you do not manage to pass your theory or practical assessment first time, it's not necessary to complete the entire course again, only the elements that you have referred (not failed). Referrals are just temporary setback and must never been seen as a failure. Theory Assessments If you need to book a theory re-sit, you can do this via the book an exam page. The cost for a theory re-assessment is £35.00 and you will need to pay this at the time of booking. We also have the ability to sit your theory exams online for £55.00. Practical Assessments If you need to re-take a practical assessment you will need to contact our support team to discuss your preparation plans for this assessment and the availability for the assessment. In most cases we have availability within 4-6 weeks but if you are prepared to travel to other venues we might be able to reduce this time. The cost for a practical re-assessment is £75.00. Case-Studies and Lesson Plans If you refer any of the online case studies or lesson plans, all you need to do is make the suggested amendments to your original work and re-submit your work. We do not charge for the re-assessment of lesson plans, case studies or worksheets.
  • Do I need a first aid qualification to complete my course?

    No, you don’t need a first aid qualification to take or pass any of our courses or qualifications. Previously all fitness instructors and personal trainers were required to hold a valid CPR certificate and whilst this is still recognised as good practice, it is no longer a mandatory requirement. All health and fitness facilities are required by law to have a qualified member of staff on duty when the facility is open and so holding a first-aid certificate will certainly improve your employment prospects. HFE recommends all fitness professionals possess a full First Aid at Work Qualification and can provide details of local first aid courses upon request. Those considering a career in exercise referral should certainly ensure that they not only possess a first aid qualification, they should also ensure that they are defibrillator trained. Exercise referral clients are at an increased risk of unexpected and untoward medical complications and so it is imperative that all professionals working with this population are equipped to handle these situations.
  • How can I reserve a place on a course?

    To reserve a place on one of our courses all you need to do is complete the online booking form using one of our payment options. If you prefer not to use the website, you can also reserve a place over the telephone with one of our careers advisors. Finally, if you are looking to make a corporate booking for one or more of your employees, you can do so using the corporate booking form. The instructions for making a corporate booking are detailed on our corporate booking page.
  • Why do I need to pay a transfer fee?

    HFE is committed to providing you and your fellow learners with a high-quality training and assessment service. In order to ensure this service is delivered to our high-standards, we must make sure that our programmes are sustainable and financially viable. This not only ensures that when we make a pledge to deliver a training course, we are able to do so as advertised, it also ensures that in the small number of occasions where changes to the proposed training must be made, (e.g. when course numbers are too low for the course to run), we have sufficient time to notify other learners, our suppliers, the venue and the course tutors accordingly.

    If you decide to transfer your attendance from one course to another, especially when outside of the timescales specified in our Terms of Booking, we will still be liable for the costs of the training we have pledged to deliver. As such the transfer fee is intended to safeguard the integrity of each training course instance by ensuring that transfers are only made when they are absolutely necessary, and that some of the costs associated with the transfer are recovered.

    If for example you book a course for £515.00 and subsequently decide to defer your attendance from one set of dates to another, you may be required to pay the transfer fees specified in our terms. If you pay the fee of £250.00, you have effectively occupied a reserved place on 2 separate course instances for a gross £765.00. When this gross fee is split across the 2 courses we have reserved for you, each course place generates a net revenue of £382.50, some £132.50 less than the full advertised price.

    Each time a transfer is made, this principle is compounded and further increases the cost of delivering the training to you. This is therefore the basis of the transfer fee.

  • Can I skip a level if I have a degree?

    It is possible for some students with higher education qualifications (degree, masters, Phd etc) to bypass the level 2 qualifications and start their studies at level 3. This route is commonly referred to as ‘recognition of prior achievement’ (RPA) and ‘recognition of prior learning’ (RPL) depending on the pre-course elements being used.

    Awarding bodies usually require extensive evidence of previous learning and achievement in order to bypass the level 2 route and a comprehensive mapping exercise must be undertaken to show that the student has covered all of the level 2 content elsewhere and usually involves the submission of assignments, reports and research in a relevant subject area. If you do wish to bypass the level 2 route, it will be your responsibility to complete the mapping process. We will be able to provide you with some guidance on this but ultimately this task will be your responsibility.

    Due to the complexity of this process, most students find it easier and more rewarding to simply complete the level 2 qualification. Many of the students who do select the RPA/RPL route do struggle with the practical aspects of the course later on. We therefore recommend that for peace of mind you start your studies at the recommended level, irrespective of whether or not you have a degree.

  • Where can I get insurance once I have completed my course?

    Upon successful completion of any of our qualifications you will be able to obtain public liability insurance or professional indemnity insurance from any insurer.

    This insurance is essential for the protection of both you and your clients,  and will provide you with cover for issues of professionalism in the area(s) that you are qualified to teach.

    Fitness instructors and personal trainers should however be aware of their boundaries of competence and must not attempt to plan, teach or deliver exercise in areas they are not qualified to do so. For example, if you are a gym-based personal trainer, you shouldn’t deliver training sessions in an outdoor environment if you don’t have an outdoor training qualification. Similarly, if you don’t have a group exercise instructor qualification, you should only teach exercise on a one-to-one basis.

    We at HFE do not endorse any particular insurance companies and so a simple web search will help you find a suitable insurer. You may also wish to try the Exercise Register website as they have insurance packages to suit their affiliates and members.

  • Can I pay for the course in instalments?

    Absolutely! If you wish to spread the cost of your course fees over a 6-month period we also have this facility. To do this you will need to book your course online and select the ‘payment plan’ option. The 6-month payment plan uses recurring card transactions and will take a fixed monthly instalment from your card every 30 days until your course fees are settled. We also have a 12-month option available.
  • What computer equipment do I need for the online learning?

    We have a fantastic online learning system that really helps our students to get the most out of their studies during the distance-learning period. The system is compatible with most computers and will work well with both Apple Macintosh and Windows PC machines. Since most of the learning activities are conducted online, you will need to use an internet browser in order to access the system. For the best user experience, we strongly recommend that all learners use Mozilla Firefox because this browser offers the most stability and works best with our system. Firefox is free to download and is the preferred browser for most web developers. If you don’t already have Firefox you can get it from: http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/ To complete the worksheet, lesson plan and case study elements of your course you will need Adobe Acrobat reader; this again is a free piece of software that enables you to read and review PDF documents. Most computers already come with this pre-installed but if your computer doesn’t have this you can get it for free at: www.adobe.com
Back to top