Frequently Asked Questions
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This FAQ was updated on January 9, 2023.
In this FAQ you will find answers to questions on:
Hiring Fitness Educators
Insurance for Fitness Educators
The Provincial Registry & NSFA Membership
National & International Students
Administration & Website
CECs (Continuing Education Credits)
Governance & Funding of the NSFA
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. 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 with this.
Q: What is the NSFA's insurance policy?
A: Our policy is provided to all FLC certified members of the NSFA by HUB International out of British Columbia. The policy for NSFA and all FLC 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 forNSFA 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.
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 FLC and ICREPs.
Q. What is a Community Organization Membership?
A. This category was created & launched on May 1st, 2022. Community Organization Members are charities or non-profits whose work is in, or related to, health, physical activity, or any other area that intersects with the NSFA's work. These memberships are free and give the Community Organization access to NSFA members-only resources and prices. Please email us at email@example.com to join.
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 a prior learning assessment or an exam challenge.
Q. Are NSFA certifications nationally or internationally recognized?
A: Yes! We are members of Fitness Leadership Canada (FLC) , Canada's leading national body for fitness certification, and of ICREPs which is the world's leading international fitness alliance. NSFA exams are the FLC exams. All FLC instructors in Canada write the 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: 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 study by pre-recorded video, the Exercise Theory course is available online through our FLC (Fitness Leadership Canada) partner Manitoba Fitness Council's Course page . 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. Why were the names of Resistance Trainer (RT) & Older Adult Leader (OAL) changed?
A. We changed RT to Weight Trainer (WT) because "Resistance Trainer" is no longer an industry standard term for what we do. This will allow prospective new WTs to find us more easily when searching for courses, and will make them easier to hire in gyms where the RT term is unknown.
We changed OAL to ADE - Adapting for Diversity in Exercise - because we recognize that not all seniors need adapted exercise programs, and also because not all people with medical conditions that require adapted exercise are seniors. This language is more inclusive of all ages and disability levels.
Q: Do I have to be a Nova Scotia resident or Canadian citizen to take your courses?
Q: I wish to come to Canada on a student visa. Can NSFA courses qualify me for student entry?
A: No. NSFA is not a public school, college, or university, and our courses are not 6 months or more in duration. Therefore students in our programs do not qualify for entry to Canada on a student visa.
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/re-perform in a few weeks at no additional cost. If not passed on the 2nd 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 long after taking the course must I write the exams
A: We do not have an official time limit for when you must complete the exams, but we do strongly recommend you do them no more than 6 months after completing the course.
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.
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: If an event is cancelled sue to COVID-19, or any other reason, do I get a refund?
A: Yes. If we cancel an event everyone who has already paid will get a full refund. Please see our Refund Policy for further information.
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: How many CECs (Continuing Education Credits) do I need each year to keep my certification valid?
A: All members certified in GEL, OAL, AEL, MBL, & ICE require 6 CECs per year. Personal Trainers and Course Conductors require 12 per year. Associate members do not require any CECs.
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 fee, revenue & sponsorship from courses and events, and merchandise sales. As of 2021 we have been able to secure modest funding from the province of Nova Scotia for some of our operations. We do not receive funding from other governing bodies (i.e. Sport Nova Scotia or Recreation Nova Scotia). We occasionally win grants for special projects, but those are project specific & do not directly affect our operational budget of the NSFA.
The Nova Scotia Fitness Association is a non-profit organization.