Otago Polytechnic

Sport & Exercise

Programme pathways 

Help others improve their fitness or train for sports competitions—or work alongside professional athletes. This industry is exciting and diverse, and you could work in areas such as sport management and administration, personal training or as a coach. 

Combine business skills with a background in sport — and prepare for a career in sports management, coaching and/or personal training. Benefit from the extensive work placements or work experience our programmes offer. 

Please note: As long as you meet the specific entry requirements for that programme, you can enter all programmes directly, without having to follow a pathway. Successful completion of one programme does not necessarily guarantee you entry to a higher level qualification. Please check all entry requirements carefully on the programme information sheet. 

  Health bridging certificate

If you don't have the academic qualifications required to enter our Bachelor of Applied Science degree, this is the perfect bridging option. This year long programme has replaced the Certificate in Health (Level 4) and consists of two separate Certificate qualifications - the New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 3) and the New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 4). You will be enrolled in both of these qualifications at the beginning of the year.

  New Zealand Certificate in Exercise (Level 4)*

Start on your path to becoming a Personal Trainer with this exciting new programme. 

Learn how to teach exercise, gain an understanding of human anatomy and physiology, and discover how the role of behaviour change can lead to lasting results for your clients. 

Career outcomes

  • Gym Instructor - successful completion of this Level 4 Certificate will enable you to apply for registration as a Gym Instructor with REPs NZ (Register of Exercise Professionals New Zealand)
  • Working with others to provide exercise advice


*subject to final approval

  New Zealand Certificate in Exercise (Level 5)*

Gain the skills and knowledge you need to become a Personal Trainer. 

With this hands-on qualification, taught by highly-experienced and industry-connected staff, you will discover how to plan, implement and evaluate exercise programmes. By also studying nutrition and behaviour, you will be fully prepped to work with clients in a holistic manner. 

Career outcomes

  • Personal Trainer - successful completion of this Level 5 Certificate will enable you to apply for registration as a Personal Trainer with REPs NZ (Register of Exercise Professionals New Zealand).
  • Exercise Consultant

*subject to final approval

  Bachelor of Applied Science

With specialties in Sport, Exercise or Health (Physical and Nutrition)

Keen on a career in sport science, health and wellness? This qualification will take you there, or you can use it as a springboard into postgraduate study. 

Career outcomes

> Health and community care services
> Personal training and workplace wellness facilitation
> Strength conditioning
> Cardiac rehabilitation
> Performance analysis
> Workplace wellness
> Physical Activity advisors
> Event management
> Sports administration
> Performance analysis
> Health & PE teaching (Early Childhood, Primary Secondary)
> Community health & wellness (including health & physical activity with special populations)
> Police force
> Lifestyle consultants
> Sports administration & coordination
> Positions within gyms & leisure centres

  Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Science

With specialist topics: Performance Analysis, Physical Conditioning or Exercise and Health.

This qualification will help you extend and deepen your knowledge and understanding of the underpinning base theories and procedures that are relevant to the practice environment.   

Career outcomes

Graduates of this programme can expect to gain employment at competent practitioner level within a professional organisational setting. This may include government or non-government sport (particularly performance analysis and physical conditioning), or exercise for health settings. Students will be trained in the introduction to performance analysis, physical conditioning and exercise for health and will complete industry projects within their chosen field of practice.

  Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Science

With specialist topics in: Performance Analysis, Physical Conditioning or Exercise and Health.

The qualification will help you extend and deepen your knowledge of the underpinning base theories and procedures used in the practice environment, in a wider and more encompassing scope than our Postgraduate Certificate programme. 

Career outcomes

  • Graduates of this programme can expect to gain employment at advanced practitioner level within a professional organisational setting. This may include government or non-government sport, or exercise for health settings. 
  • Graduates who focused on Physical Conditioning will be eligible for accreditation with the Australian Strength and Conditioning Association.  Graduates who focused on Performance Analysis will be eligible for International Society of Performance Analysis accreditation. Graduates who focused on Exercise for Health will be eligible for accreditation with the New Zealand Register of Clinical Exercise Physiologists.

  Master of Applied Science

With specialist topics: Performance Analysis, Physical Conditioning or Exercise and Health. 

Take your sport and exercise knowledge and skills to the next level with this qualification.  

Career outcomes

  • Graduates of this programme can expect to gain employment as expert practitioners within a professional organisational setting. This may include government or non-government sport (performance analysis or physical conditioning) and exercise for health settings. It is expected that graduates have created new knowledge in their studies and are leading the industry.
  • Graduates who focused on Physical Conditioning will be eligible for accreditation with the Australian Strength and Conditioning Association. Graduates who focused on Performance Analysis will be eligible for International Society of Performance Analysis accreditation. Graduates who focused on Exercise for Health will be eligible for accreditation with the New Zealand Register of Clinical Exercise Physiologists.