CSEP Membership Frequently Asked Questions

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Remote Consultation – What CSEP-CPTs and CSEP-CEPs need to know to stay protected [pdf]

Virtual Health Care Services Ensuring Continuity of Care [pdf]


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 Clinical 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.

The CSEP High Performance Specialization™ is offered as an add-on to an existing CSEP certification, Specializations will provide members with the necessary in-depth knowledge to work with unique populations through cutting-edge, evidence-informed learning modules, and assessments.

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 Clinical 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.

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

Guidelines for CSEP Certification Titles

When spelled out completely, use the full title:

  • CSEP Certified Personal Trainer®
  • CSEP Clinical Exercise Physiologist™
  • CSEP High Performance Specialist™
  • Entraîneur personnel certifié SCPE® 
  • Physiologiste de l’exercice clinique SCPE.
  • Spécialiste de la haute performance
In acronym form, use: 

For example: Jennifer Smith, CSEP-CEP, or Roland Marks, CSEP-CPT

CSEP High Performance Specialist™: Jamie Noname, CSEP-CPT (or CSEP-CEP), CSEP High Performance Specialist™ 

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 CSEP Member Portal. Renewals open annually, in February. 

The following is required for renewal:

  • Collection of CSEP Professional Development Credits (every two years).
  • Ensure CPR-C or equivalent is no more than a year old. Annual CPR recertification is required as part of your CSEP Professional Liability Insurance. 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. Keep this in your files, you do not need to submit to CSEP.
  • Completion of the annual renewal survey.
CSEP Certified members Code of Conduct

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

For CSEP-CPTs: $260.00 + tax (includes Professional Liability Insurance)*

For CSEP-CEPs: $295.00 +tax (includes Professional Liability Insurance)*

*Fees are as of March 2019.  Fees are subject to change.

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. 

View the LOA policy here

Submit an LOA form. 

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. You do not need to submit proof unless you are audited by CSEP. 

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?

Annual CPR-C 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.

  • General information about Professional Liability Insurance for CSEP-CPTs and CSEP-CEPs 
  • If you are a CSEP member, you can log in to access the professional liability insurance program page. This page will highlight the all of the insurance plans for CSEP-CEPs and CSEP-CPTs and the optional insurance add-ons.
  • If you require a PDF copy of your policy, please contact memberships@csep.ca
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. More information

CSEP-CPT/CSEP-CEP membership expiry and reinstatement

If a CSEP member does not renew their status on the anniversary (March 31/yr) date then their certification is considered lapsed for a period of 60 days up to May 31 of that member year.  If the renewal process is not completed within the aforementioned 60 days, (May 31), then the membership is considered fully expired.  Any desire to continue to practice as a CSEP Certified member will be subject to successful completion of 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.

*Effective September 2016: CSEP Certified members whose membership has lapsed in the previous membership year may submit an appeal for leniency.  Full details on the reinstatement policy can be found here. Apply for Reinstatement here


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 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, 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 the event a dispute arises in the future.


I'm a CSEP-CEP interested in working in Performance settings. How do I get the CSEP High Performance Specialization™?

CSEP-CEPs who become certified by December 28, 2019 will be automatically granted the CSEP High Performance Specialization™. When the specialization is released, all current CSEP-CEPs will be considered a CSEP-CEP, CSEP High Performance Specialist™.

For those who become a CSEP-CEP after January 2, 2019 they will have the opportunity to earn the CSEP High Performance Specialization by successfully completing a 60 questions multiple-choice theory exam.**

I'm a CSEP-CPT interested in working in Performance settings. How do I get the CSEP High Performance Specialization™?

Current CSEP-CPTs will have the opportunity to earn the CSEP High Performance Specialization™ by successfully completing a 60 questions multiple-choice theory exam.**

Once a CSEP-CPT has obtained the CSEP High Performance Specialization designation, they may utilize assessment protocols or design exercise programs that require maximal aerobic or anaerobic effort. They may also assess muscular strength using maximal 1-RM assessment protocols or design programs based on resistance loads exceeding 90% of the predicted 1-RM.

What is the cost of the CSEP High Performance Specialization™?

  • Online Prep Course: Price coming soon
  • Theory Exam: $180.00 (multiple choice theory exam is administered through PearsonVUE at testing centres, or through secure online proctoring). The Theory Exam will be available in December 2019.

Is there a Practical Exam?

No. The CSEP High Performance Specialization™ is obtained by successfully completing the 60 question multiple-choice theory exam. There is no practical exam for the High Performance Specialization™.

How do I maintain my CSEP High Performance Specialization™?

CSEP High Performance Specialization™ renews annually with your CSEP Certified membership. There are no additional fees or professional development required to renew the Specialization. CSEP members’ comprehensive CSEP Professional and General Liability insurance remains unchanged.

Will I need to earn PDCs with the CSEP High Performance Specialization™?

No. You will however, need to earn your required CSEP-CPT or CSEP-CEP Professional Development Credits (PDCs) in order to hold the CSEP High Performance Specialization™ designation.

*Prices and timeline subject to change.

**The CSEP-CPT and CSEP-CEP Scope of Practice will have a special denotation for those with the High Performance Specialization™ designation allowing for expanded Scope of Practice.

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 Clinical 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 Clinical 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 pre-screening.

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