If you want to build a thriving career in the health and fitness industry, it’s important to understand that not all qualifications are considered equal. To advance in the industry, it pays to understand your NQFs.
Courses offered by accredited higher education institutions are graded according to the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).
This comprehensive integrated system was designed to contribute to the full personal development of every learner, while also addressing the social and economic development of the nation at large.
The system was approved by the Minister of Higher Education and Training and is implemented and co-ordinated by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). This body ensures the classification, registration and publication of articulated and quality-assured national qualifications and part-qualifications.
The entry point: NQF 4
The NQF is organised as a series of learning achievement levels, arranged in ascending order from one to 10.
You’ll need an NQF level 4 qualification to break into the fitness industry. That equates to a grade 12 National Senior Certificate or a Trade Certificate, which in the health and fitness industry equates to a Fitness Instructor certificate.
But you should never stop there. This is merely the starting point for your journey into fitness industry. It’s a stepping stone that gains you access to the more advantageous NQF 5 and 6 qualifications.
Go beyond the basics
These accredited higher education qualifications form the foundation on which to build a successful career in the fitness industry. The Higher Certificate in Exercise Science (NQF 5) from HFPA, for example, is a higher education qualification that covers personal training and sports conditioning and an introduction to special populations.
Successfully completing this course will earn you the right to proceed to the next level and become a respected fitness professional of the highest calibre with the opportunity to achieve higher education qualifications such as the Advanced Certificate in Exercise Science (ACES)– an NQF 6 certification.
These accredited higher education certificates are offered over one or two years, with full-time and distance learning (with workshops) study modes available, which makes it accessible nationwide.
HFPA is also the only fitness academy to offer the NQF 6 higher education qualification via distance learning.
Unlocking untold opportunities
Achieving this level of competence ensures graduates enter the workplace as multi-skilled fitness professionals with a broad base of expertise. This not only ensures that they are agile, adaptable and highly employable, but also opens additional opportunities to specialise by studying further to carve out a niche in the industry.
In addition, an NQF 6 qualification enables HFPA graduates to work internationally as an advanced personal trainer and conditioning coach in fitness, sport or recreation environments, or start their own business.
And importantly, it also offers graduates an easier transition into professional degree programmes that will advance them to NQF level 7 qualifications and beyond. It really is the key that unlocks boundless opportunities for those who dream big and are willing to work hard.
- The next HFPA workshop cycle begins at the end of July.
- Study from anywhere and attend workshops (optional) nationally from all HFPA Support Centres.
- Enquire or register now.
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.