PROGRAM ACCREDITATION GUIDELINES
Physical Activity Australia is firmly committed to developing the quality of our registered exercise professionals through a variety of programs and opportunities. One of the most important of these is ensuring our registrants have access to a wide range of professional development opportunities through accredited educational programs.
By supporting the professional development of our registrants we not only provide them with the opportunity to increase their knowledge, but also their capacity to deliver a range of quality health and fitness opportunities for their clients. In addition, the increased knowledge and understanding gained through professional development will assist registrants cope with the challenges of running small businesses in a competitive environment. It is hoped that this will assist them remain in this industry for the long term.
What is program accreditation?
Physical Activity Australia Program Accreditation provides professional development opportunities for our registrants in a wide variety of topic areas. Delivered by a diverse range of providers, Accredited Programs are allocated Professional Development Points (PDPs). These PDPs underpin the registration system for exercise professionals registered with Physical Activity Australia.
Education and training providers apply to Physical Activity Australia to have their programs approved and awarded PDPs. In granting approval, Physical Activity Australia assesses these programs for their relevance and value in developing the skills and knowledge required by exercise professionals, as well as ensuring that they meet current industry standards and guidelines.
Once accredited, the programs are added to the list of Accredited Courses and Workshops which are identified on the Physical Activity Australia website.
What can be accredited?
The underlying principle for the approval of Accredited Programs is that they must be relevant and extend registrants professional practice, knowledge and skills.
Accredited programs may take one of a number of different forms. These include:
- Individual or clusters of units of competency taken from the Sport, Fitness and Recreationa Training Package or another training package within the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF);
- Skill sets;
- Complete courses or part thereof developed by Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) outside of an AQF training package;
- Courses or workshops developed/delivered by private program providers;
- University courses or part thereof;
- In-house training programs developed/delivered by industry enterprises;
- Conventions, forums or conferences;
- Other forms that may be deemed appropriate from time to time.
A number of factors will be taken into account when considering a program’s accreditation. These may include:
- Will the program enhance the competency and safety of the registered exercise professional when undertaking their work in the fitness industry?
- Does the program offer the registered exercise professional new skills and knowledge that will enhance their ability to work in the fitness industry?
- Does the program meet current industry guidelines, standards and expectations?
- Is the program delivered in an appropriate format?
- Does the program provider have the necessary qualifications and/or experience to deliver the program?
- Other factors that may be deemed appropriate from time to time.
Physical Activity Australia is conscious that the fitness industry is constantly evolving and is therefore focussed on ensuring the program accreditation process is a holistic one, which provides the best outcomes for the professional development of registered exercise professionals.
However, programs which are not relevant to the professional development of an exercise professional will not be approved.
Why should providers submit programs for formal program accreditation?
Physical Activity Australia strongly believes in the value of professional development and in ensuring that our registered exercise professionals have access to quality professional development opportunities. By having their programs formally accredited, program providers gain legitimacy for their programs as part of our professional development process.
Accredited program providers also gain access to the thousands of Physical Activity Australia registered exercise professionals across Australia, with their accredited program listed on our website. All accredited programs must also display the Physical Activity Australia Accredited Program logo, accreditation registration number and PDP allocation, ensuring registrants can easily identify accredited professional development programs from amongst the many competing products available.
Quality program providers will be able to build a relationship with our registrants who are required to continue their professional development to maintain their registration. This relationship can not only build repeat business but broaden client access through word of mouth.
Accredited program providers are also eligible for discounted advertising rates in our Email Alert advertising. These alerts are sent to current registrants and members, and those expired within the last 2 years and provide a valuable advertising opportunity.
The assessment of programs is carried out by suitably qualified professionals who are required to sign a confidentiality clause and maintain Duty of Care in relation to the assessment and handling of all submitted material. Providers submitting programs for accreditation can be assured that their intellectual property value is protected.
How are Professional Development Points allocated?
Professional Development Points (PDPs) are the cornerstone of the Physical Activity Australia registration process for exercise professionals. Currently, Registered Exercise Professionals are required to obtain 6 PDP’s every 2 years to maintain their registration.
Each Accredited Program is individually assessed and allocated a PDP value. Because the total number of points required for registration is quite low, the value attached to each point is mainly based on delivery time. The assessor has the opportunity to increase or decrease allocation depending on complexity of content. When submitting an application for Program Accreditation, providers are required to make a determination of the number of PDPs they think their program is ‘worth’. In general the higher the PDP value, the more time and effort is required in the assessment process.
What is the application process?
Providers lodging applications for program accreditation are required to submit a separate application form for each individual program. The application form is available on the Physical Activity Australia website. With each application form, program providers are required to submit a range of supporting material including:
- Program Specifics
- A Curriculum Vitae (CV) for all presenters and assessors involved in delivering the program
- Program materials – This is likely to include items such as student handouts, workbooks, Powerpoint presentation, course manual, course agenda, aims/learning outcomes, etc.
- Assessment – Details of how any assessment is to be conducted and the assessment tool (e.g. short answer test)
- Supporting Documentation
- Insurances – Certificate of Currency for Professional Indemnity and Public Liability insurances
- Participants Enrolment Form
- Participants Feedback Form
- Appeals and Grievance process
- Registered Training Organisation registration number (if applicable)
- Codes of Practice (e.g. RPL policy, Ethics Policy, Workplace Health and Safety Policy)
The Application Form and all the supporting material is to be submitted via email or a cloud application. All material should ideally be in read only files and must be fully virus scanned before being submitted.
Upon receipt of an application and all relevant documentation, the program materials will be provided to an appropriately qualified Physical Activity Australia Expert Assessor for assessment. It is their job to determine if the program meets the requirements for approved professional development and to determine the appropriate number of Professional Development Points.
Materials will not be sent to an assessor if Physical Activity Australia staff considers that relevant documentation is missing.
Expert Assessors are selected based on their skills and knowledge in relation to the topic area of the program to be assessed. They are required to sign an Assessor Agreement which includes a confidentiality clause to ensure that all program material is kept secure and confidential. Providers will have no direct contact with assessors, as their identity is not divulged.
If the Expert Assessor requires additional information or material, they will advise Physical Activity Australia staff who will contact the program provider with the request.
Assessment and approval will normally take between 4 and 8 weeks.
If the program is approved;
- The program provider will be notified by email and receive the Physical Activity Australia Accredited Program Logo and Visual Identity Guide.
- A Certificate will be issued which includes the accreditation registration number and point allocation.
If the program is not approved, the program provider will be provided with a written explanation outlining the reasons why. There is no appeal process however if deemed appropriate by a Physical Activity Australia staff member, the option may be given to forward the application to another assessor for an additional application fee. Providers may resubmit programs if they have addressed the reasons for which it did not receive approval.
The Application Fee and estimated PDP Allocation Fee must be paid online at the time of application, and the order number documented on the application form. No processing of the application will occur until this payment has been cleared.
The Application Fee is non-refundable, whether or not the program receives approval. If the program is not approved, Physical Activity Australia reserves the right to keep some or all of the estimated PDP allocation fee to cover the costs of the Expert Assessor.
When the program is approved, the Expert Assessor will determine the appropriate PDP allocation. Where the Expert Assessor determines that the appropriate PDP allocation differs from the estimated PDP allocation, an additional fee or refund may be requested or given.
- New Program Accreditation Application Fee
- Renew Program Accreditation Application Fee
Additional fees apply for both new and renewed programs, depending on the number of PDPs the course is worth:
- 1 PDP
- 2 PDPs
- 3 PDPs
Accreditation costs for forums, conferences or events (1 off) are as follows:
- Half day
- Full day
- Two day (or more)
Program advertising and use of logo
- The Physical Activity Australia Accredited Program logo, accreditation registration number and point allocation must appear on all accredited program participant certificates.
- The Physical Activity Australia Accredited Program logo, accreditation registration number and point allocation must appear anywhere the accredited program is advertised.
- Accredited programs will appear in Physical Activity Australia’s list of accredited courses and workshops, available on our website.