19 August, 2015

Red Flags! What you need to look for when enrolling into a fitness course

Australian Fitness Academy has been delivering courses in fitness for over 20-years and is well respected in the industry for producing high quality fitness graduates as well as offering extensive support for students studying their face to face and online qualifications.

Recently we have noticed some advertising and sales practices that we don’t condone.  As a result we wanted to highlight to you, the consumer, some of the practices being used to entice you into enrolling into fitness courses.

The team at AFA have come up with a list of ‘red flags’ you need to look for when looking at government funded fitness courses.

How much you actually pay in the long run.

Some course providers are offering enrolments into the Certificate III & IV in Fitness and a Diploma course for upfront fees as low as $370. This sounds great however the debt you are left with can be astronomical, well above $15,000!

These providers are now exploiting the VET FEE-HELP system and students are being mislead into enrolling in courses that cost a lot more than they should and, in some cases, are not even required for work in the industry! (see below)

Enrolment Inducements such as Lap Tops and iPads.

As an added incentive to get you over the line with a low upfront fee, some training providers are also offering ‘free’ lap tops, iPads and more!

You need to be aware your ‘free’ incentive is likely being added to your VET FEE-HELP debt and may actually cost you $15,000 in the long term.

What qualifications you actually need to work in the industry vs what you are being sold.

To work as a Personal Trainer you need the Certificate III & IV in Fitness.

You don’t need a Diploma of Business Management or even a Diploma of Fitness.

Now, we are not saying that higher education isn’t great to further your career (we do offer the Diploma of Fitness after all) however we suggest completing your Certificate III & IV in Fitness, working in the industry, gaining experience, seeing what you like and then enrolling into higher education. You may find you would prefer to study something other than management!

The requirements for enrolling in the Diploma of Fitness are that you have completed the Certificate III & IV and had significant vocational experience. The Diploma was designed for personal trainers to upskill, not for newcomers to the industry with no previous qualifications.

Studying a Diploma course, as well as the Certificate III & IV in Fitness, will also double your length of study. Make sure you ask at what stage you receive your Certificate IV in Fitness qualifications. Some course providers make you wait until you have finished the full Diploma, meaning you simply cannot start working until it’s all completed! Why delay actually getting into the fitness industry and doing what you love!

Longevity in the industry.

We have been training trainers since well before any funding ever existed and our core focus on training the fitness leaders of tomorrow has not changed! If you are looking to enrol into a course, ask your provider how long they have been delivering fitness courses?

Support offered.

The boom in online training is great for people who cannot study face to face and prefer flexible, self-paced study. Online study is a great way to gain your qualifications and you will be successful if you put in the effort.

Some advertising has been critical of online delivery but it is completely ignorant of the advantages of this method of delivery. Before enrolling into an online course, check the levels of support in place to help you through.

At AFA you can pick up the phone and chat to a lecturer if you need support, participate in skype and webinar sessions for personal interaction or email your questions if you are too busy to chat.  You have unlimited access to a wide range of interesting, interactive resources to suit your style of learning and you can review them as often as you wish. Of course you also complete practical learning in a fitness centre affiliated with us that has the potential to lead directly to ongoing employment.


Please take the time to read further on this before making the big decision to enrol into a funded fitness course, or any any course. It’s an important life decision that comes with a cost and you need to make sure you have asked all the right questions. Here’s an article from The Age that supports our concerns.


Excerpt from The Age, February 16 2015

Unscrupulous education brokers harvesting job-seekers’ details, Senate inquiry told

The law centre has called for tougher enforcement action, a national ombudsman for the VET sector, more transparency about course fees and cooling-off periods and penalties for exploiting the VET FEE-HELP scheme. It also recommends banning enrolment inducements such as free iPads.

“It is clear that the current system is not working, and significant reforms are needed to protect Australian students and ensure taxpayer funds are being invested properly,” the submission said.

The centre’s chief executive Gerard Brody said he was concerned about the high-pressure sales techniques being used by education brokers, who often had sales targets.

“The decision to enrol in a course should be based on accurate information and someone’s vocational needs. It should not be a quick high-pressure sale, this is not buying a hamburger or a dress or a gym membership. This is a life decision that shouldn’t be the result of high-pressure sales.”

He said some VET providers and education brokers were targeting disadvantaged students including the unemployed, Indigenous and those on welfare. Students are also being misled about course fees and the Commonwealth government’s FEE-HELP loan scheme was being misused, he said.

The full article can be read here


Funded Fitness Courses is written by Sarah Morrissey, AFA Marketing Manager.

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