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.

The CSEP High Performance Specialization™ is offered as an add-on to existing CSEP certifications, Specializations 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 (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.

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.

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™
  • Entraîneur personnel certifié SCPEMD
  • Physiologiste de l’exercice clinique SCPEMC.
  • Spécialiste de la haute performanceMC

In acronym form, use:

  • CSEP-CPT
  • CSEP-CEP
  • EPC-SCPE
  • PEC-SCPE

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™

Maintaining My Certification

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. You can renew for the upcoming year starting sometime in February.

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.

CSEP Certified members Code of Conduct

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

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

*Fees are as of the 2021-2022 membership year.  Fees are subject to change.

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 CSEP Certified Member Leave of Absence Policy (LOA) (pdf). 

Submit an LOA form at www.csep.ca/LOAform

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

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. 

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.

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

If you are a CSEP-CPT or CSEP-CEP, you can purchase insurance extensions. To do so, log into your CSEP Store account and view personalized information about available add-ons on the Membership+Insurance tab of your CSEP Store Account page.

If you are a CSEP-CEP, you have online access to the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism (APNM), including all back issues. To access it, log into your CSEP Store account and click on the “Member Benefits” tab of your CSEP Store Account page.

If you are a CSEP-CPT, you can purchase this access for $25/year. To purchase it, log into your CSEP Store account and click on the “Member Benefits” tab of your CSEP Store Account page.

If you do not renew your CSEP-CPT or CSEP-CEP certification on March 31 of each year, then your membership is considered lapsed for 60 days and a late fee applies when you submit your renewal. The late fee increases after April 30.

If you do not renew your CSEP-CPT or CSEP-CEP certification within 60 days of lapsing (i.e. by May 31, 2021), your membership is considered expired and you will have to redo the entire certification process (i.e. meeting current qualifications and passing the practical and theory exams).

*Effective September 2016: CSEP Certified members whose membership has lapsed in the previous membership year may submit an appeal for leniency. See the Certified Member Reinstatement Policy (pdf) or submit the form for one-time reinstatement.

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.

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. 

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.

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

CSEP-CPT CSEP-CEP

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.
CSEP-CPT CSEP-CEP
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.
CSEP-CPT CSEP-CEP
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.
CSEP-CPT CSEP-CEP
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.  

I have a question that is not covered in this FAQ

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