Recognition of Prior Learning

What is RPL?

RPL stands for Recognition of Prior Learning. It arises from an international tendency in this century to increase students’ access to education, by articulating various types and levels of education with each other, so that there can be lifelong learning and no-one is barred from higher education. In South Africa, it was a core principle of the White Paper on Higher Education in the late nineties, and again in the January 2012 Green Paper for post-school education and training issued by The Department of Higher Education and Training.

For South Africans, RPL means the doors of learning shall be opened.

All higher education institutions in South African must have a policy and procedure to assess prospective students’ RPL to see if they can enter the courses with a reasonable chance of success. Students with a matric can enter the Personal Trainer qualification (Higher Certificate in Exercise science – NQF 5); on successful completion of the Higher Certificate you may progress onto the Exercise Specialist qualification (Advanced Certificate in Exercise Science – NQF 6) However, we have recently instated a new process, called the RPL for Access process, which will give you an opportunity to gain access into our higher education qualifications without having met the minimum requirement for access.

Recognition of prior learning/ Transferring of qualifications from another education institute

This section applies to candidates who have previously studied within the fitness industry but wish to further obtain an HFPA qualification.

This could be in the event that:

  • you have a qualification that is not recognised in South Africa, but could be used as credits towards or as an equivalency to an HFPA qualification.
  • Or you have an accredited and recognised qualification, however wish to further progress your studies with HFPA and therefore require recognition of your prior learning.

Here are the steps required for this evaluation for an opportunity to gain access into our higher education qualification:

  • Speak to the HFPA marketer about what qualifications are available, and what is required for access. ( 011 807 9673)
  • If you have chosen a qualification that you would like to study, but where you have not met the requirements for access, then you may initiate the RPL for Access process.
  • Go to and download or complete the RPL for Access Application form seen on the front page around the bottom left corner
  • Send the complete application form to
  • Once NoMe Consulting has received your application form, they will send additional documentation that you will be required to complete, including payment (R900) that will be needed before the assessment is booked and completed.
  • Once you have finalised all the requirements as laid out by NoMe Consulting, they will set up a time for you to be assessed at the nearest HFPA main campus. The HFPA has five main campuses in Pretoria, two in Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town.
  • The assessment itself will take between 45min – 60mins. Here, your academic readiness will be assessed. You cannot study or prepare for this assessment.
  • Once the assessment has been completed, NoMe Consulting will complete a detailed report that will include your assessment results, as well as your supporting documentation and any formal qualification that you may have completed. This report is then sent to the HFPA’s head office and you will be notified if you have been successful in your application as soon as a decision has been received.
  • If you have not been successful here, please know that this means that you are not ready for the level of complexity required for the specific higher education qualification that is offered here. The marketers at HFPA will provide you with alternative routes for access that may include a Bridging course. (read more about the HFPA Bridging Course Gym Based Exercise)

This applies to candidates who have a Personal Trainer qualification from any of the Recognised Fitness education Institutes listed on the REPSSA website. ( This process allows students to progress to the Exercise Specialist qualification (Advanced Certificate in Exercise Science) without having to complete the HFPA Higher Certificate in Exercise Science. HFPA will issue a letter stating that your previous qualification is equivalent to the HFPA Higher Certificate in Exercise Science. Administration fee: R1500.00

This applies to candidates who have a qualification from an unaccredited provider (not on the list of REPSSA training providers). HFPA will endeavour to assess whether your previous learning will be sufficient to grant the candidate an automatic HFPA Higher Certificate in Exercise Science qualification. In order for us to match your previous qualification as well as level of knowledge and experience in the industry we will require quite a bit of information from you. This process has an Administration fee of R5000.00, but upon successful completion of this process you will be issued with the HFPA Higher Certificate in Exercise Science. As each application is unique it has to be processed in accordance with what requirements we need you to fulfill.

Here are some examples of the type of evidence we might require you to submit to assist your application:

  • brief CV or work history
  • position descriptions
  • certificates or results of assessment
  • details of in house courses, workshops, seminars, orientation or induction sessions
  • references or letters from previous employers or supervisors
  • other workplace documents – resumes, performance appraisals
  • licenses to practice or professional registration
  • products such as publications etc
  • samples of completed work
  • references or testimonials
  • evidence of running own business

However, it is important that you read all the necessary criteria and are confident that you can meet all the criteria as no refunds will be issued once the application has been processed, even in the event that the application is declined.

Click here to start this RPL process

Even though you may have completed an international qualification that may be on par with our NSC, you will still need to go to SAQA and get their equivalence certificate from them. Each international student has to go through this process. Therefore, a potential student must take their complete qualification to SAQA for an equivalence certificate and then they will be able to apply for a study VISA or other. If this was an application for a Degree or higher, they would have to go to HESA to get their equivalence certificate done there.

Please understand that even if you apply for an equivalence certificate from SAQA, it does not mean you will receive it. Moreover, this process can take several weeks, so please complete this process as soon as possible. You may visit this website below for more information. HESA There is also a number that you can call, it is best to do that before you complete the online application form.

Click here to view SAQA contact details!

This process is the sole responsibility of the applicant, and not the college.

If you do not have matric exemption, but are 23 years or older, you can apply for exemption to study a qualification at HFPA with HESA.

HESA website with regards to Mature Age Exemption

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