Exercise Referral

The YMCA Awards Level 3 Diploma in Exercise Referral qualification is for instructors looking to gain an insight into various diseases and medical conditions, and their implications for exercise programme design. This qualification awards 10 CIMSPA points .

ymca awards exercise referral

Distance Learning Course

Pay course in full @ £399 
Or pay a £125 deposit to use our 3, 6, 9 or 12 month interest-free payment plan.
How to book using our payment plan?


What will I learn on this course?

What will I be able to do by the end of this course?

Collect and analyse nutritional information and apply the principles of nutrition to a physical activity programme. Collect information about exercise referral patients and prepare patients and resources for exercise referral sessions. Instruct, adapt, and review sessions. Agree goals, plan, manage, review progress and adapt an exercise referral programme with patients. You will gain the YMCA Awards Level 3 Diploma in Exercise Referral.

What topics are covered during the course?

- The role and importance of exercise referral including the role of exercise in disease risk reduction and condition management, and key points from government policies and professional standards; - The roles and responsibility with an exercise referral scheme including the fitness professionals scope of practice and professional boundaries and how to deal with a client who has a medical condition outside the scope of practice; - The current healthcare systems in the UK including key health service documents and policies; - The exercise referral process including initial consultaiton, monitoring and collecting data and legal requriements; - The principles and prcedures of record keeping including confidentiality, data protection, validity, reliability and quality. - The concept of a patient centred approach including verbal and non-verbal communication and health behaviours; - The principles of risk stratification including risk stratification tools; - The clinical features of medical conditions relevant to execise referral programmes, including the pathophysiology, clinical signs and symptoms; - The accepted methods of treatment and management of the medical conditions including common drugs, surgical or therpeautic interventions, lifestyle modifications, nutrition and physical activity; - The Relationship between exercise and specific medical conditions including the risks and benefits; - How to programme safe and effecitve programmes for patients with specific medical conditions including guidelines and considerations of co-morbidities; - How to preare for exercise referral programmes including using equipment and environment; - The importance of long term behaviour change; - The principles of collecting information to plan a programme; - How to identify health related fitness goals; - How to plan an exercise referral programme including contraindications, priniples of programme design and ADLs;

What is the entry requirement for this course?

A recognised Level 2 Gym Instructor or Level 2 Exercise to Music, Level 3 Personal Training or Level 3 Pilates qualification. You must also have already achieved the Level 3 Applied Anatomy & Physiology and the Level 3 Nutrition to Support Physical Activity units (within 3 years of passing this course). If not, these are priced at £50 each, which covers cost of learning resources and assessment.

What are the qualification units, and how are each assessed?

MANDATORY UNITS Unit 1 - Professional Practice In Exercise Referral - assessed via an open book worksheet completed from home. Unit 2 - Understanding Medical Conditions For Exercise Referral - assessed via and invigilated exam (at our centre in Telford or online from home) Unit 3 - Planning Exercise Referral Programmes With Patients - assessed via a case study* including observation. Unit 4 - Instructing Exercise With Referred Patients - assessed via a practical observation (via video submission). *The chosen client for the case study should have a minimum of TWO conditions that have been covered in the qualification; Cardiovascular disease; hypertension and hypercholesteroleamia Metabolic/Immunological disease; obesity, diabetes type 1 and type 2 Musculoskeletal disease; osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, simple mechanical back pain, osteoporosis and joint replacement Respiratory disease; asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) Psychological/mental health conditions; depression, anxiety and stress If you are required to complete the Applied Anatomy & Physiology and Nutrition to Support Physical Activity units (Units 5 and 6) the involved a multiple choice exam, and open-book online workbook and also a nutrition case study.

Study & Assessment Options

The Level 3 Diploma in Exercise Referral is a DISTANCE LEARNING course, which involves study from home.


Practical assessments are to be assessed via video submission - you will receive full guidance on how to film and submit your videos.


Theory exams can be completed from our assessment centre in Telford, but we provide a remote invigilation option where you can complete your exam(s) online from home. The cost of a remote exam is £20 which is payable upon booking the exam.


You can start studying straight away.

Learning Resources and Support

Distance Learning Course

  • Course manual (hard copy),

  • Learner achievement record (assessment paperwork) available to download,

  • Link to further presentations, revision quizzes and mock exams,

  • Access to a personal tutor who can be contacted via email or phone,

  • Access to our study support Facebook Group,

  • Ability to book theory tests on a date to suit you using our book an assessment form (updated every month) or complete in your workplace if you are unable to attend one of our assessment centres,

  • Full guidance on how to film and submit video assessments.

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