Exam Prep & Objectives

Aquatic Fitness Professional Certification Examination-Recommended Preparation

AEA highly recommends that all certification candidates have a minimum of 8-12 weeks of self-prepared advance study in addition to a minimum of 6 months practical experience, regardless of educational background. 



The AEA Aquatic Fitness Professional Manual Sixth Edition, AFP Practical Applications DVD, Practical & Skill Applications Course, one-year e-Membership and the AFPC Examination are included if you choose the Early Bird Cert Bundle Registration option. Otherwise, each item can be purchased separately.

To adequately prepare, candidates are encouraged to follow the timeline below:

  • 8 Months Prior: Read the Certification Examination Objectives to review the examination content based upon the AEA Aquatic Fitness Professional Manual (AFP Manual).  Read the manual and use the key chapter concepts and questions provided at the end of each chapter to test comprehension of the information.  The ability to correctly answer these questions demonstrates the necessary level of understanding to move to the next stage in the preparation process.
  • 6-8 Months Prior:  A minimum of 6 months practical experience is recommended.  Those seeking certification should participate in classes led by other AEA Certified Professionals and apprentice with an experienced AEA Certified Professional.  The Aquatic Fitness Professional Certification Practical Applications DVD also provides an in-depth practical demonstration (deck instruction and views of participants – including underwater footage) of the information found in the AFP Manual.  Candidates are specifically seeking to understand and practice skills in the areas of:  choreography, cueing and deck teaching; moving to the music and various water tempos; monitoring participant safety; and maximizing the training benefits in the water by mastering concepts such as inertia, acceleration, frontal resistance and levers.  To further reinforce these concepts, it is recommended that candidates attend Continuing Education Workshop(s) led by AEA Approved Continuing Education Provider(s).  For information regarding current AEA Approved CEC Providers visit: www.aeawave.com and click on the education link.
  • 0-3 Months Prior:  Intently review the Aquatic Fitness Professional Manual, focusing on areas of difficulty, and the Aquatic Fitness Professional Certification Practical Applications DVD to practice deck instruction skills and program design.
  • The AFP Practical & Skill Applications course may be completed at anytime, but candidates often choose to attend the course the same day as taking the Certification Examination in order to tie together the theoretical and practical concepts.  This interactive program is designed to reinforce the knowledge learned in the AEA Certification Prep Course and involves activity both on land and in the pool. This course reviews the practical and skill related aspects of aquatic fitness leadership including deck instruction, applied anatomy, physical laws and muscle actions as related to aquatic fitness equipment.  Although optional, AEA highly recommends that all candidates seeking certification participate in this course.  There are no prerequisites for this course. 

Certification Candidate Eligibility Criteria and Application Process

  • Candidates must be at least 18 years of age. Candidates under 18 years of age must contact AEA and will be required to provide parental/legal guardian consent.
  • Candidates must provide proof of current and valid CPR and AED certification.  If the candidate does not have current CPR/AED certification, he/she may take the examination but the certificate will be held until CPR/AED certification documentation is provided.

Registration / Application Process

It is highly recommended that Candidates register at least 30 days prior to the examination date.  Absolutely no candidate applications will be accepted within 14 days of examination date.  The Candidate application is part of the registration process.

Special Assistance

AEA will assist with special arrangements for Examination Candidates who have a medical and/or learning disability that may prevent taking the examination under standard conditions.

Candidates requiring special assistance due to a disability must complete the Certification Examination Disability Assistance Form (See Appendix B).  During the online application, you will be prompted to select Certification Examination Disability Assistance and the form will then be emailed to you separately for completion.  If you are applying by mail, please request the Disability Assistance Form with your Application to assure that it is submitted within the required timeframe. The form and necessary documentation must be received no later than 30 days prior to the examination date.  In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), documentation of the disability, from a qualified health care provider, must be submitted with this completed form.  AEA reserves the right to review and evaluate the request and will make every effort to provide the requested accommodations when feasible. 

On-Site Exam Day Information

  • Candidates will sign in with the Exam Administrator at the examination site.
  • Candidates NOT participating in the Practical & Skill Applications course offered prior to the Examination must arrive by 3:30 pm.
  • Photo identification is required from all exam candidates at the examination site.
  • Cell phones are not permitted in any examination room.
  • Candidates must bring No. 2 pencils to complete the examination.
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