Level 3 Exercise Referral

Make a difference to the lives of clients living with chronic illnesses and conditions with the industry-leading expert-delivered GP referral course

exercise referral specialist holding blood pressure monitor
exercise referral specialist holding blood pressure monitor

Level 3 GP Exercise Referral Diploma

Discover a course designed to help fitness professionals work with clients and manage chronic illnesses and conditions. This is an essential qualification for progressing to Level 4 and beyond.

  • Course Type:

    Blended learning

  • Time to Qualify:

    8-10 weeks

  • Entry Requirements:

    Level 3 Anatomy and Physiology and Level 3 Nutrition

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Book your place for only £100 deposit

Choose Your Study Method

Starting from £403.75

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Payment Options

  • Pay in full

    Total payable £403.75 5% discount £21.25
  • 6 month payment plan

    1 x £55 and 5 x £54 Minimum deposit £100 Total payable £425
  • Military approved

    Enhanced Learning Credits Resettlement Contact our Careers Team for more information

Starting from £327.75

See Payment Options

Payment Options

  • Pay in full

    Total payable £327.75 5% discount £17.25
  • 6 month payment plan

    1 x £45 and 5 x £40 Minimum deposit £100 Total payable £345
  • Military approved

    Enhanced Learning Credits Resettlement Contact our Careers Team for more information

Level 3 Exercise Referral Diploma

This exercise referral course is designed to help fitness professionals implement effective changes and management strategies for clients with chronic illnesses and conditions. This GP referral course is an essential qualification for progressing to Level 4.

Course Overview

Exercise referral, or GP referral as it’s also known, enables exercise professionals to better serve existing clients, branch out to new people, and work with organisations, such as the NHS, who refer clients.

There are an extensive range of exercise referral programmes around the country to which GP’s frequently make referrals into. Typically, exercise referral schemes are commissioned based on a local or regional health needs and priorities (e.g. soaring levels of obesity, diabetes or other long-term health conditions) and exercise referral instructors work with patients for a defined period of time to help them become more active and make better food choices.

The role of an exercise instructor can vary considerably depending on the scheme that they are working in, their specific job role, and their level of training and qualification. However, broadly speaking, GP referral instructors are tasked with helping their clients become more actively independent and invested in staying active once they leave the scheme.

Regular exercise and physical activity can have a significant effect on reducing a person’s risk profile for a wide range of chronic health conditions (e.g. heart disease, strokes, diabetes). For those that already have these conditions, controlled exercise can help to improve symptoms and reduce the need for pharmacology (medication and drugs). Ultimately, this is the goal of an exercise referral programme.

If you’d like to work with people affected by a range of complex health conditions, helping them regain control of the health and independence, then a career in exercise referral could be just for you.

Our exercise referral programme is delivered in a blended learning format, combining supported home study with weekend practical attendance. Our qualification is the only GP Referral Course in the UK that actually includes content delivered by a highly qualified and respected general Practitioner. If you want to excel in this profession, you’re in the right place with HFE.

  • Entry Requirements

    As a minimum, you’ll need to have previously completed Level 3 Anatomy and Physiology and Level 3 Nutrition. If you’re a qualified personal trainer or you’ve studied these units as a part of another course, within the past 5 years, then you’re all set. If you're missing either prerequisite element, our friendly careers team is on hand to assist you with your options.

  • Accreditations

    Fully accredited by YMCA Awards, our GP referral course is also recognised by CIMSPA. Not only is it an effective way to enhance a CV, but if you have your sights set on becoming a Level 4 exercise specialist then this Level 3 qualification is a prerequisite.

  • Learning Materials

    To really engage you as a learner and bring this course to life, we’ve enlisted one of the country’s foremost GPs to present an innovative series of video lectures. Upon enrolment, you'll have access to our online student system which contains all of your learning materials, so you can start studying today. Alongside this, we'll provide you with a course study guide to structure your learning into a manageable format. You'll also have access to our superior training manuals in print and digital versions so you can be sure you have everything you need in your course and exercise referral career.

How We Support You

On top of extensive learning materials, your studying will be backed up by unlimited tutor support. Your friendly personal support tutor will be available to help you whenever you need, however you need it, including:

  • Video Calls

  • Phone Calls

  • Emails

  • Webinars

Support tutor at whiteboard

What You'll Learn

Becoming a leading exercise referral specialist takes a certain level of commitment and the right combination of specialised knowledge and skills. To give you an idea of the knowledge and skills you'll develop in this course, here is a list of some of the topics covered. You can also watch the video to see the standard of our learning materials that you can expect.

  • Professional Practice for Exercise Referral

    - Health, safety and welfare
    - Legal responsibilities in exercise referral
    - Setting up and monitoring referral schemes
    - Understanding professional competencies
    - Fundamental principles of referral schemes
    - Role of exercise and physical activity in exercise referral

  • Understanding Medical Conditions for Exercise Referral

    - Arthritis & Osteoporosis
    - Joint replacement surgery
    - Simple mechanical back pain
    - Hypertension and hypercholesterolaemia
    - Obesity and diabetes
    - Mental health conditions

  • Planning and Delivering Exercise Referral Programmes for Patients

    - Planning exercise for referred clients
    - Session structure
    - Resistance training for referred clients
    - Cardiovascular training for referred clients
    - Teaching and monitoring exercises
    - The stages of teaching

  • Communicating with and Supporting Referred Clients

    - Creating a positive impression
    - Communication and rapport with clients
    - Supporting lasting changes
    - Benefits of communication
    - Probing, clarifying and leading
    - Overcoming barriers to physical activity

  • Assessing Referred Clients

    - Purposes of pre-exercise assessment
    - Resting heart rates and blood pressure
    - Body mass index
    - Waist-hip ratios
    - Pre-assessment guidelines
    - Validity and reliability

Physiotherapist lecture content on iPhone screen

*Images and videos are for illustration purposes and may not depict specific course materials.

Where Will Your Exercise Referral Career Lead You?

We supply a range of exercise referral courses and qualifications to a variety of commercial clients, some of which are featured below. Our team are therefore well placed to ensure that your journey in exercise referral gets off on the right foot.

Nuffield health logo NHS logo Derbyshire council

How You'll be Assessed

The course is comprised of various components that will give you the opportunity to demonstrate your GP referral knowledge in a range of practical and theoretical ways.

HFE student completing assessment sheet


  • Medical conditions and medications
  • Online and open book
  • Multiple choice


  • Case Study
  • Worksheets
  • Online


  • Consultation
  • Instructing exercise
  • Completed on course or video recorded

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