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Course descriptions

Fitness Theory Course

This course will provide information on how to keep you and others fit and well in a safety-oriented environment. Topics will include information on bones, muscles, toning, strengthening and gaining flexibility, principles for your circulatory system, safety, exercise ideas and basic nutrition. This course is BCRPA recognized. This course (or its equivalent) is a prerequisite to the Weight Training Instructor, Group Fitness Instructor, Yoga Instructor and Physiology of Aging and Exercise Adaptations (Third Age) Instructor courses. Includes manual and workbook.

See the A-Z Personal Training page for dates.


If the in-class schedule does not work with your schedule, not to worry, Douglas College offers the Fitness Theory Course online:

CFES Fitness Theory Online Course

The Online CFES Fitness Theory Course is an alternative option for those students who are unable to attend the in-class Fitness Theory Course.  Those student who wish to continue into the Personal Training Course will need to complete the Weight Training and Personal Training Modules in class once they pass and complete their BCRPA Fitness Theory Exam.  Please Note: There is no online option for these modules - ONLY the Fitness Theory Course can be completed online through Douglas College. Please see below for module information.

Who is this program for?

  • anyone looking to start a career in the fitness industry
  • anyone interested in learning more about exercise, nutrition, active living
  • beginners to advanced exercise enthusiasts wanting to learn
  • how to exercise effectively at the gym, at home, traveling or on vacation
  • professionals in the medical, healing field
  • teachers and coaches

What do I learn?

  • the majority of your bones and comprehensive variety of muscle groups
  • joint actions and muscle movement
  • how your heart and lungs function
  • how to burn fat, develop and maintain cardiorespiratory endurance
  • how to shape, tone muscle, gain endurance, strength and or bulk
  • how to develop, maintain joint flexibility and postural alignment
  • a variety of exercise ideas
  • principles in safety in exercise
  • principles of nutrition and common interest topics
  • how to set up exercise and active living programs for yourself and others
  • how to start a career in the fitness industry

What do I receive?

  • comprehensive Student Resource Manual
  • Online Program Booklet, open book exam, excellent study guide for NFLAC exams
  • toll-free phone tutor
  • marking
  • CFES Nationally recognized Certification of Completion

How does the program work?

  1. Register and receive the program
  2. Choose a variety of optional learning exercises
  3. Tutor assistance provided through our toll free lines
  4. Complete the exam, copy and mail it.  The exam is marked and returned within three weeks of the receiving date.  Students have up to one year from date of registration to complete the exam.  
  5. No one 'fails' the program.  If you receive 79% or less on the CFES exam section, you will be asked to redo the incorrect questions for a nominal remarking fee. {Please Note: This is ONLY for the CFES Fitness Knowledge Exam. It does not include the BCRPA Fitness Knowledge Exam which is different than the CFES Fitness Knowledge Exam - See Note Below
  6. All successful students receive marked exam and nationally recognized CFES Certificate;

Students have access to animation / video recourses, as well as the course manual, program booklet, supplements and course assignments.  Toll-free telephone tutor service.  High-speed internet access is required.


   If registering between September 1 to December 31, 2019 use:
Term Code: 201931
 CRN: 31441
Fee: $285 (includes a hard copy of the manual and workbook as well as on-line access)


  •  This course is BCRPA recognized; however, individuals will also need to write the BCRPA Fitness Thoery Exam (not included in course fees) to continue with the program.  Douglas College does not host the Fitness Theory exams.  Students are required to register and purchase their exam from the BCRPA themselves.  All Fitness Theory Exams are done online via ProctorU NOT at Douglas College.  Please contact the Program Assistant at for more information.
  • Those wishing to continue with the Personal Training Program must complete/pass the BCRPA Fitness Theory exam (80%) and provide proof to be eligible to continue into the Weight Training and Personal Training in-class Modules. Please contact the Program Assistant at for more information and schedules.

Weight Training Instructor Course

This in-class course is designed to provide practical teaching skills required to design basic programs for yourself and others. Some personal weight training experience is recommended.

*Come dressed in fitness wear for the first class.


  • Registered as a Fitness Leader with the BCRPA
  • Fitness Theory Course Completion (proof required) 
  • Completed and passed (80%) BCRPA Fitness Theory Exam (proof required)
  • First Aid and CPR certification
  • 1 year Fitness Registration with the BCRPA (not included in course fees)

Textbook from the Fitness Theory Course is used for this course. For students joining the program at this level, students are required to purchase the course textbook(not included in course fees).  Please visit the Douglas College New Westminster Book Store prior to the course starting.  For more information please contact the Program Assistant at

Supplemental textbook, Anatomy for Strength and Fitness Training (ISBN 007 147 5338), may also be purchased by the student on their own but not required.

See the A-Z Personal Training page for dates

Personal Training Instructor Course

Personal Trainer - A term used to describe professionals who work with clients to improve their physical and mental well being. Some trainers have a four-year Kinesiology degree, others have spent a lifetime working out in a gym. This 32-hour course gives personal trainers the minimum requirement to be registered with the BCRPA upon successful completion of the Personal Trainer exam. This course should be supplemented by the Nutrition Knowledge and Techniques in Fitness Assessment courses. The Personal Trainer course covers both marketing and business concepts together with fitness assessment, health screening, risk management, program design and ethics.

NSCA's Essentials of Personal Training textbook is included in course fee. *Come dressed in fitness wear first night.

*Prerequisites: Full registration as a Weight Training Instructor with the BCRPA which includes successful completion of the following:

  • Registered as a Fitness Leader with the BCRPA
  • Fitness Thoery Course 
  • 1 year Fitness Registration with the BCRPA
  • Weight Training Instructor Course 
  • Weight Training Instructor Competency Evaluation (ICE Package) Completion 

Students will be ready to write the BCRPA Personal Training exam after completing this course. Please see the A-Z Personal Training page for dates and times.