Frequently Asked Questions
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This FAQ was updated on September 2, 2020.
Q: Is there somewhere on your site I can post a job opening for a fitness instructor or personal trainer?
A: We do not allow self-posting on the website as it creates too much spam. We will, however, post the opening for you on the members-only section of our website. Please send us the full job ad for us to post instantly. We will not edit it for you.
Q. I need to hire fitness instructors and personal trainers, how do I know which certifications I need to ask for?
A. We have a brochure Who Do I Hire? to help you out with this.
Q: What is the NSFA's insurance policy?
A: Our policy is provided to all NFLA certified members of the NSFA by HUB International out of British Columbia. The policy for NSFA and all NFLA partners can be found here: https://www.hubinternational.com/en-CA/programs-associations/fitness-professionals/
Q. I am a Zumba instructor. If register with the NSFA can I get your insurance to cover me when I teach my Zumba classes?
A: No. Zumba is not one of the certifications we offer, so it is not part of our insurance plan for NSFA members. Only the certificates we issue are included in the Class 1 Insurance policy (see link above).
Q: If I get the GEL certification will the insurance for that cover me when I teach Zumba?
A: No. Zumba does not conform to the scope of practice for a GEL therefore GEL insurance does not cover any Zumba activities. Zumba is classified as a dance activity and requires separate insurance. Please contact HUB directly to purchase the dance activities insurance on your own.
Provincial Registry Questions
Q: What is the difference between an Associate and a Regular member of the NSFA?
A: A Regular is an NSFA member in good standing who has an exercise teaching certification from the NSFA.
An Associate is either a student who has not yet completed their certification, or a fitness professional who does not have certification from the NSFA but does have one from another organization, or someone who works in an administrative or managerial role in our industry. Associates are not transferable through NFLA and ICREPs.
Q. Do I really have to take Exercise Theory for a certification? Can you make an exception?
A: YES, you really have to have it! Successful completion of the ET course and exam is absolutely necessary to ALL certifications. This is NOT negotiable. Yes, we are aware other certification companies don't require this. That's their business. Our provincial, national and international standard is that everyone will prove they have the knowledge taught in ET to obtain certification with us. No exceptions.
If you have equivalent training in Exercise Theory from another organization, college or university you may apply for prior learning assessment or an exam challenge.
Q. Are NSFA certifications nationally or internationally recognized?
A: Yes! We are members of the NFLA , Canada's leading national body for fitness certification, and of ICREPs which is the world's leading international fitness alliance. NSFA exams are the NFLA exams. All NFLA instructors in Canada write the exact same exams and pass the same evaluations. Our certifications & insurance are valid anywhere in Canada. Internationally, you may transfer to other ICREPs member countries to their equivalents of the certification you earn here. Non-member countries decide on transfer protocols on a case-by-case basis.
Q: Do I need to have my first Aid & CPR completed before I take any NSFA courses?
A: No, you may do it any time before, during or after you take our courses. However we cannot activate your certification and insurance until you have it.
Q: What level of CPR do I need?
A: We accept any level of CPR so long as it comes from one of the 4 approved training providers: Red Cross, St. John Ambulance, Heart & Stroke Foundation or the Lifesaving Society.
Please be aware that some employers require a particular level, so if you are already employed or expect to be employed with a specific company in the future, please check with them regarding what level they want you to have.
Q: What are the prerequisites for taking NSFA courses?
A: The only requirements for taking our courses are that you must be over 19 years old and be able to speak and read & write in English. There are no academic prerequisites. We will allow students 16 to 18 years old to take the courses as well, however they cannot be fully certified until they turn 19.
Q: How many CECs (Continuing Education Credits) do I need each year to keep my certification valid?
A: All certified members require 5 CECs per year except Personal Trainers and Course Conductors who require 10 per year.
Q: Do I have to be a Nova Scotia resident or Canadian citizen to take your courses?
A: No. Visitors and newcomers to Canada can take any course of study shorter than 6 months duration without a Student Visa to Canada (See Immigration Canada's site for details) . We do caution students visiting Canada that the insurance included in your membership with us is valid for work done in Canada only. If you work anywhere outside of Canada you will have to purchase insurance for that jurisdiction.
Q: Can I take any certifications online?
A: We are currently transitioning from in-person to online programs for most certifications. Some will still require an in-person component and will be offered when quarantine restrictions allow. Our online courses are done live, in real time, with an instructor.
For self-directed stdy by pre-recorded video, the Exercise Theory course is available online through our NFLA partner Manitoba Fitness Council https://manitobafitnesscouncil.ca/product/exercise-theory-distance-education-package/ . In order to gain a full certification you must write and pass the ET exam. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange to write the exam. Please note there will be a $30 exam fee.
Q. Can you certify me to teach Zumba? Bellyfit? Pound?
A. No. Those are all brand-name certifications from separate companies. You must contact them directly for their certification information, franchise requirements, and courses.
Q: Is the exam written during the course?
A: No. The exams are written some time several weeks or months after the course so you have time to study and, if applicable, do a practicum. We set a provincial exam writing day in the spring and fall after each semester of courses is completed. If you cannot write on the day chosen you can make arrangements with your course conductor to write at another time.
Q: I struggle with written exams due to learning/physical disabilities. Can I have some accommodations for my exam?
A: Yes. We can provide extra time and a proctor can read questions for students who have reading or visual difficulties. Please let your course conductor or proctor know this in advance.
Q: What happens if I fail a written or practical exam?
A: If you fail an exam you'll be given one chance to re-write in a few weeks at no additional cost. If a second re-write is required we will charge a $25 challenge fee to cover the cost of the proctor. If not passed on the 3rd try we recommend you take the course again or do another practicum to gain the required knowledge.
Q: I took other courses in fitness from other organizations/companies. Can I just challenge the exam? How do I challenge an exam?
A: Yes, you can. There is a $30.00 fee per exam for challenges ($80 for the PT exam). You can make arrangements for write the exam with an approved proctor through our association. You will also need to do a practical evaluation. Please email email@example.com to arrange this.
Q: I have a college diploma or a university degree in a fitness or health field. Can I join as a regular member or do I have to do the exams too?
A: Most likely we can simply transfer your credentials into one of our certificates BUT that depends on exactly which diploma or degree you have. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to talk to us about your course work and credentials to see if they transfer directly.
Q: I live outside of the community where I took my course. Can I write it in my own town?
A: Yes, if we have an approved proctor in your area we can set you up with that person. If there's no one already approved in your area we can approve a local school, college or university teacher. Practical evaluations can be submitted by video as well. Please email email@example.com to find out if someone in your area is available or can be approved.
Q: Can I write the exam online?
A: Yes. All written exams must be proctored, in-person, and closed-book, so to write an online exam you must have a webcam (video AND audio enabled) and high speed internet. You will be expected to show the area around you on-camera so the proctor can see you don't have books or notes near by.
Q: How do I log into my account on this website?
A: If you're a brand new member to us you will have to set up a new account from scratch. You can do that on the "join us" page.
If you're a long-standing member of the NSFA we created your account when we built the new database. In order to access your account you'll have to go to the log-in bar and select "forgot password" and go through the steps laid out in that process. Your log-in is whichever email address you last gave us to communicate with you.
Q: What is the ELS?
A: ELS stands for Exercise Leadership Summit. It is our annual professional development conference. We sometimes refer to it simply as "The Summit". Until 2014 it was known as the "Fitness Friendzy". It is held in April in the Halifax area every year. Due to COVID-19 the 2020 Summit is being held online via video stream and in partnership with Fitness New Brunswick.
Q: What is "the Brunch"?
A: This is our second signature event which began in 2015. We book 1 educator to present to us for 2 hours on their highly specialized topic. These topics can be anything related to fitness or our industry. We also serve brunch, of course! This event is held in November every year in the Halifax area. Due to COVID-19 we will not have an annual brunch for 2020.
Q: Do you ever hold events or courses outside if the Halifax area?
A: Not yet, but we would like to! It is difficult to find affordable event locations and enough people to attend the events outside of the Halifax area. That being said we are always open to ideas so please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you know of good venues in other communities.
Q: How many CEC's do I get for the Summit and the annual Fall Brunch?
A: The Summit is worth 5 if you attend for the full day, 2 if you attend for the 1/2 day (this is because we give 1 CEC for attending the AGM). The Brunch is worth 2.
Q; Who runs the NSFA?
A: The NSFA is run by a volunteer board of directors, several volunteer staff and a part-time, paid Executive Director. Please see our Staff & Board page for details.
Q: How is the NSFA funded?
A: The NSFA is funded by membership, revenue & sponsorship from events and merchandise sales. We do not receive any block funding from any level of government at this time. We also do not receive funding from other governing bodies (ie. Sport Nova Scotia or Recreation Nova Scotia). We do occasionally win grants, but those are project specific and do not directly affect our operational budget of the NSFA.
The Nova Scotia Fitness Association is a non-profit organization.