CSEP Certification & Membership Frequently Asked Questions

About CSEP Certification

What are the CSEP certifications? 

The CSEP Professional Standards Program™ sets the highest standards for qualified exercise professional through certification and evidence-informed practice. There are two CSEP certifications: CSEP Certified Personal Trainers® (CSEP-CPT) and CSEP Certified Exercise Physiologists® (CSEP-CEP).

CSEP-CPTs and CSEP-CEPs bring science to practice through their knowledge and skills, to provide clients with evidence-informed programming that will support meaningful lasting lifestyle changes.

View the member directory to find a CSEP certified professional in your area (note that not all members share their full contact details).

What is the difference between a CSEP Certified Personal Trainer® (CSEP-CPT) and a CSEP Certified Exercise Physiologist® (CSEP-CEP)?

The scope of practice differs between CSEP-CPTs and CSEP-CEPs and each have their own requirements to become certified. A CSEP-CEP has a broader scope of practice.

A CSEP-CPT works with individuals to meet their healthy lifestyle goals using an evidence-informed approach acquired through education. A CSEP-CEP works with individuals from diverse populations to meet their healthy lifestyle, performance and occupational goals by applying advanced education, skills, and experience.

Read more about the CSEP-CPT Scope of Practice.  
Read more about the CSEP-CEP Scope of Practice

Where do CSEP Certified members work? 

You can find CSEP-CPTs and CSEP-CEPs across Canada in places such as:
  • Community Centres
  • Private Consulting 
  • Military, RCMP, Police
  • High Performance Labs
  • Rehab Clinics
  • Commercial Fitness Industry 
  • Academia
  • Preventative Care Programs

Maintaining My Certification

What do I have to do to maintain my CSEP-CPT/CSEP-CEP membership?

You are required to renew your CSEP-CPT/CSEP-CEP certification every year on or before March 31st. You can renew online straight from your membership profile on the community site.

The following is required for renewal:

  • Collection of CSEP- Professional Development Credits (every two years).
  • Documentation proving current CPR level C or equivalent certification (Certification must not be more than a year old).
  • Completion of the annual renewal survey.

How much does it cost to renew my membership each year?

For CSEP-CPTs: $260 (includes tax) + optional insurance add-ons*

For CSEP-CEPs: $290 (includes tax) + optional insurance add-ons*

For information on Leave of Absence requests and forms please contact  memberships@csep.ca 
This is the cost for 2018-2019 and may increase. 

How do I submit for a Leave of Absence?

CSEP-CEPs and CSEP-CPTs may apply for a Leave of Absence (LOA). This LOA must be approved by CSEP and is effective for CSEP's current membership year (April 1 to March 31 annually) only.

For more information and to apply for LOA please visit: www.csep.ca/loa or email memberships@csep.ca 

Are my membership fees tax-deductible?

Yes, if you declare self-employment income, your CSEP membership dues are 100% tax-deductible. 

Why do I need to re-certify my CPR annually when the expiry says 2 or 3 years from date of issue?

In order to ensure that our members are maintaining the most current and up to date certification, the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology requires an annual renewal of your CPR certification, regardless of the length of time your CPR-certifying agency has indicated.

My employer requires me to take Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certification every two years, and this includes components on both CPR and First Aid. Why do I need to complete CPR re-certification annually?

As mentioned above, annual CPR recertification is required as part of the CSEP insurance policy. The insurance will not cover any incident that occurs if your most recent CPR recertification was over one year ago at the time of the incident.

How many Professional Development Credits (PDCs) will I receive for attending my upcoming workshop, conference, lecture, etc?

Please consult the Professional Development Credits chart on the CSEP website.

Where can I find information about Professional Liability Insurance for CSEP certified members?

Professional Liability insurance is included in the certification fees for the CSEP Certified Personal Trainer® and CSEP Certified Exercise Physiologist certifications®, and this covers you for acts carried out within the respective Scope of Practice.

There also are additional insurance options available for purchase such as additional Kinesiology Extension insurance for qualified CSEP-CPTs and CSEP-CEPs.
who practice in Ontario and are registered with the College of Kinesiologists of Ontario.

CSEP-CPT/CSEP-CEP reinstatement

If a CSEP member does not renew his/her status on the anniversary (March 31/yr) date then his/her certification is no longer active and he/she loses insurance coverage effective immediately until such time that the renewal process has been completed and the membership fees have been paid. If the renewal process is not completed within 60 days of the anniversary date (May 31), then the applicant will be required to retake and successfully pass both the theory and practical exams along with any other requirements stated for a new member in order to reinstate his/her CSEP-CPT or CSEP-CEP certification.

Can I work in other provinces with my CSEP-CPT/CSEP-CEP?

Yes. CSEP is a national organization and its certifications are recognized nationwide. Once certified with CSEP, as a member your professional certification and insurance policy are valid in any Canadian province.

Are the CSEP-CPT/CSEP-CEP certifications recognized in any other countries?

No, they are not transferable abroad. Equivalency among international certifications is not straightforward. The real challenge is to obtain an insurance policy in the country in which you wish to practice. In these circumstances you may also require certification from that country. 

How long do I have to keep Get Active Questionnaire, PAR-Q forms, PAR-Q+ forms, PARmed-X* forms, consent forms and other documentation on file?

As a standard practice, for legal purposes, CSEP-CPTs/CSEP-CEPs should keep all documents on file for up to 7 years, in case a dispute comes up in the future.
*Note: PARmed-X forms are no longer being used, but should still be kept for 7 years. 

Where can I find a CSEP-CPT/CSEP-CEP near me?

You can search the CSEP Online Member Directory for a CSEP Certified Personal Trainer® or CSEP Certified Exercise Physiologist®.

  • From the CSEP home page, click on "find a member". 
  • Select "CSEP-CPT" and/or in the "Category" box, and narrow down the search by selecting your province/territory/state, or type the name of your town in the Keywords box.
  • Click the "Search" button, and the search results will appear at the bottom of the page. Click on the last name of the CSEP member to see his or her profile, including contact information (Note: some members have elected not to display all of their contact information.)

If you are a CSEP member, log in and click on "Member Directory" at the top to see additional search results for members who have elected to display information to members only.

Scope of Practice Questions



Whom can I work with? Athletes? Women who are pregnant?

A CSEP Certified Personal Trainer can only work with clients who have been cleared for physical activity. Individuals who have not been cleared for physical activity can be cleared by a CSEP-CEP or by a physician completing a Physicians Clearance Form.

Remember that a CSEP-CPT cannot conduct maximal effort exercise tests, nor can a CSEP-CPT prescribe maximal effort training sessions such as maximal effort interval training.

It is strongly recommended that a CSEP-CPT has additional training and experience with specific conditions; for example, a CSEP-CPT should have a solid understanding of the normal physiology involved with pregnancy and the effects that various forms of exercise can have in each trimester. The best rule of thumb is if you don't know, then refer the client to someone who does (e.g. a CSEP Certified Exercise Physiologist)

A CSEP Certified Exercise Physiologist can work with clients who have been cleared for physical activity and can provide physical activity participation clearance and recommend tailored, progressive physical activity for clients who do not respond positively to a PAR-Q or PAR-Q+

Can I use other fitness appraisal protocols other than those specified in the CSEP-PATH manual, CSEP-CPT/CSEP-CEP study guide, and Scope of Practice? (e.g. can I conduct the Leger beep test with apparently healthy children and adults?)

No. If you decide to use any appraisal protocols other than those specified in the CSEP-CPT Scope of Practice or within the CSEP-PATH manual, you are not covered by professional liability insurance should something untoward occur (e.g. if you run the beep test as part of a training session for midget ice hockey players and a player is injured or had a medical complication, then you are not covered by the CSEP-CPT insurance policy because you exceeded your scope of practice).

A CSEP-CEP may administer appropriate submaximal and maximal assessment protocols for the evaluation of physical fitness while staying within the CSEP-CEP Scope of Practice.

Is advice based on Canada's Food Guide the only nutritional advice that I can provide?

Yes. A CSEP-CPT is an expert in exercise prescription, lifestyle counselling, and fitness appraisal. CSEP-CPTs are not professionals in nutrition and should therefore refer their clients to an expert in this area, such as a registered dietician.

No. A CSEP-CEP is required to take a nutrition and weight management course and may suggest healthy dietary practices in concert with physical activity/exercise programs for healthy weight management, dietary practices for health-related nutrition and performance-related nutrition. CSEP-CEPs are not professionals in nutrition and should refer their clients to an expert in this area for any advice beyond their knowledge.

How much money can I make as a CSEP-CPT/CSEP-CEP?

Salaries vary depending on your place of employment (e.g. community centre, health club, government, hospital, clinic or private facility). The hourly rate ranges across Canada and is generally $25-75/hour.

CSEP-CEPs may have more supervisory or management positions compared to CSEP-CPTs with corresponding market value compensation.

I have a question that is not covered in this FAQ.

If you have an insurance-related question, be sure to check the Professional Liability Insurance FAQs (member login required).

For any other questions, please contact memberships@csep.ca 

Industry and Allied Partners