CSEP Membership Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 – Important Insurance Resources for Members

CSEP Remote Consultation Insurance Info Sheet (pdf) – What CSEP-CPTs and CSEP-CEPs need to know to stay protected

COVID-19 Telehealth Resource Info Sheet 2020 (pdf)

About 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 support meaningful lasting lifestyle changes.

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

CSEP Specializations provide Qualified Exercise Professionals advanced knowledge and practical considerations for working with specific client groups. CSEP specializations are open to both CSEP Certified Members and non-member who met the eligibility requirements.

The CSEP High Performance Specialization™ focuses on performance and occupational testing and training for qualified exercise professionals working with elite athletes, emergency services personnel, armed forces, and high performance clients.

The CSEP Pre & Postnatal Exercise Specialization™ provides Qualified Exercise Professionals with the background knowledge to actively encourage a physically active lifestyle in their clients prior to conception, throughout pregnancy, and into the postpartum period.

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.

CSEP certified exercise professionals are the most highly qualified exercise practitioners in Canada who follow the highest standards to ensure the best and safest care. Reasons to choose CSEP for your certification:

  • You believe it is important that qualified exercise professionals follow a client-centered process to help clients adapt and maintain a physically active lifestyle at all ages.
  • You know that evidence-based practice provides long-term benefits to improving the health outcomes of Canadians.
  • Being CSEP-certified reflects your dedication to your profession to clients and employers.

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

What sets CSEP apart in the health and fitness industry are high standards and specific requirements to become and remain CSEP certified, so it is not possible to accept any other certifications for equivalency.

There are currently no equivalent certifications; many other professionals are prepared for a specialized career in their area of expertise and may not meet the criteria for CSEP certifications.

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.

CSEP will accept certificates for CPR Level C courses or CPR Level C recertifications that are delivered online or in person. CSEP will accept CPR courses issued by:

  • An organization that adheres to the ILCOR standards, OR
  • An organization whose instructors are certified by and/or registered with an organization which adheres to the ILCOR standards OR
  • An organization which adheres to the ILCOR standards for CPR courses/recertification delivered by an independent

Steps to Becoming CSEP Certified

Please see the CSEP Certification FAQ page.

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™
  • CSEP Pre and PostNatal Specialist™
  • Entraîneur personnel certifié SCPEMD
  • Physiologiste de l’exercice clinique SCPEMC.
  • Spécialiste de la haute performanceMC
  • Spécialiste en exercices prénatals et postnatals, SCPE MC

In acronym form, use:


For example:

Jennifer Smith, CSEP-CEP
Roland Marks, CSEP-CPT
Jamie Noname, CSEP-CPT, CSEP High Performance Specialist™
Laila Patel, CSEP-CEP, CSEP High Performance Specialist™
Dan Smith, CSEP-CPT, CSEP Pre and PostNatal Exercise Specialist™
Dan Smith, CSEP-CEP, CSEP Pre and PostNatal Exercise Specialist™

Anyone who became a CSEP-CEP after January 1, 2020, can earn the CSEP High Performance Specialization by successfully completing a 60-question, multiple-choice theory exam.

Every CSEP-CEP who became certified in 2019 or earlier was automatically granted the CSEP High Performance Specialization™ and are considered a CSEP-CEP, CSEP High Performance Specialist™.

Current CSEP-CPTs can earn the CSEP High Performance Specialization™ by successfully completing a 60 question, 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.

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

The CSEP High Performance Specialization™ designation does not change the number of Professional Development Credits (PDCs) you must collect to maintain your CSEP-CPT or CSEP-CEP certification.

More information coming soon.

CSEP Member Directory

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

  • Select “CSEP-CPT” and/or “CSEP-CEP” 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

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 (from the CSEP-PATH e-Toolkit).

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.
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 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.
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.
As a CSEP-CPT, you can only work within your competency level, and can only oversee submaximal exercise. Therefore a CSEP-CPT can perform FAEs using specialized equipment if they have the appropriate training/certification.  Those members who do NOT obtain the appropriate training, certification and renewal will not be permitted to carry out this service, nor will they have any insurance coverage for this service.

How can I renew my membership?

Please visit our CSEP Renewals FAQs page.

I have a question that is not covered in this FAQ

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