Certified Exercise Physiologist (CEP)

Certified Exercise Physiologist (CEP) is a certification provided by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP). The CSEP-CEP certification allows one to provide individual physical activity/exercise prescription(s) to apparently healthy individuals and those with selected chronic diseases. The purpose of this certification is to establish the highest standard in the Canadian personal fitness training industry.


Certification requirements

Candidates must complete the proper pre-requisites, pass a written theory exam, and successfully complete a practical exam. Registration and membership fees must be paid in full to CSEP and an annual renewal is required.

Pre-requisites

Academic requirements

Individuals have completed a four year degree in physical activity/exercise sciences/kinesiology/human kinetics, etc., with a specialization in health-related fitness plus work and sport-related fitness applications for asymptomatic and symptomatic populations.

Relevant courses

Individuals must provide formal documentation (transcripts) confirming successful completion of an undergraduate university degree in exercise science encompassing the following physical activity/exercise related core competency domains:

  • anatomy and biomechanics
  • exercise physiology
  • human development and aging
  • physical fitness assessment applications for: health, function and work or sport
  • physical activity and exercise prescription applications for: health, function and work or sport
  • nutrition and weight management
  • data management and analysis
  • health promotion and disease prevention
  • psychosocial aspects of human behaviour applied to physical activity, exercise, rehabilitation and exercise therapy
  • physical activity/exercise strategies and considerations for persons with chronic diseases, functional limitations and disabilities associated with: musculoskeletal conditions, cardiopulmonary conditions, metabolic conditions, neuromuscular conditions and aging conditions
  • pharmacology: commonly used agents for persons with chronic diseases, functional limitations and disabilities associated with: cardiopulmonary/metabolic conditions, musculoskeletal conditions, neuromuscular conditions and aging
  • evaluation: additional procedures for persons with chronic diseases, functional limitations and disabilities associated with: cardiopulmonary/metabolic conditions, musculoskeletal conditions, neuromuscular conditions and aging
  • clinical exercise prescription
  • client education
  • professional practice
  • outcome evaluation

Note: The depth and breadth of knowledge, skills and abilities outlined in the Core Competency section refers to that which would normally be acquired in the core and upper level elective courses of a university undergraduate degree program in physical activity/exercise sciences/kinesiology where ≥70 % of the university faculty members are specialists, who hold a PhD in a core competency domain.

A list of suggested resources/readings is available in the CSEP-CEP Certification Guide. The list of suggested resources/readings is not intended to be exclusive, however they are a sample of the depth and the breadth of the knowledge, skills and abilities that a CSEP-CEP is expected to possess.

Applicants in category A whose undergraduate kinesiology/exercise science program of study did not include all of the Core Competency domains and related sub domains will have to achieve these Core Competencies through several alternate critical pathways which may include self directed learning, workshops, diploma courses, university courses, co-operative education work or volunteer experience.

Volunteer and work experience (strongly recommended)

Provide documentation confirming that the candidate has completed co-op, work and/or volunteer experience in health-related fitness, and performance (work and/or sport)-related fitness. This practical experience may be formally included in a kinesiology/exercise science, etc. university undergraduate degree curriculum. If not, then the onus is on the candidate to obtain this experience. It is highly recommended that candidates attain at least 100 hours of practical experience in both health- and performance-related fitness applications.

This practical experience should be detailed in the candidate's resume along with supporting letters from the institutions and/or persons attesting to the candidate having obtained the stated experience.

Provide documentation confirming that the candidate has clinical exercise application co-op, work or volunteer experience with persons who have various medical conditions, functional limitations or disabilities associated with:

  • musculoskeletal conditions (at least 50 hours of practical experience)
  • cardiopulmonary conditions (at least 50 hours of practical experience)
  • metabolic conditions (at least 50 hours of practical experience)
  • neuromuscular conditions (at least 25 hours of practical experience)
  • aging conditions (at least 25 hours of practical experience)

This clinical practical experience may be formally included in a kinesiology/exercise science, etc. university undergraduate degree curriculum. If not, then the onus is on the candidate to obtain this experience. As indicated above, it is highly recommended that candidates attain at least a total of 200 hours of exercise therapy experience for persons with the above conditions before applying to take the CSEP-CEP examinations This practical experience should be detailed in the candidate's resume along with supporting letters from the institutions and/or persons attesting to the candidates having obtained the stated experience.

Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification

Candidates must hold a current CPR certification at a minimum of the Level “C” – Basic Rescuer level/2007 Guidelines-Health Care Provider C. They must also have successfully completed of a Standard First Aid course at some point in their professional career

Application and examination

Completion of an application form provided by CSEP. More information is found in the Appendices of the CSEP-CEP Certification Guide.

Once the above prerequisites have been completed, candidates must complete the examinations.

  • Pass a written exam with a minimum score of 70% or higher
  • Pass a practical exam (pass/fail)