The 5 Best Water Aerobics Certifications w/ Prices & Reviews (2022)

  • The 5 Best Water Aerobics C...

Water aerobics are popular among seniors and other individuals who prefer low-impact workouts. However, water aerobics (or aqua fitness) won’t deliver the desired results if done incorrectly.

Do you want to become an aqua aerobics instructor with the skills to help clients achieve their fitness goals? Get a water aerobics certification. If you don’t know which water aerobics certification to apply for, we have you covered.

After extensive research, we've put together a review of the five best water aerobics certifications in the industry. Let’s dive into each one and see what differentiates them from the rest.

The Best Water Aerobics Certifications

1. The Aquatic Exercise Course from ACE

The American Council on Education (ACE) verifies that this course offers valuable training to aqua fitness instructors. The certification is also National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accredited and recognized all over the U.S.

It’s suitable for experienced instructors and individuals who are new to the fitness industry. However, you can’t take the course unless you have an adult CPR and AED certificate.

What You Will Learn

The Aquatic Exercise Course from ACE covers everything from safety and proper form to using aquatic exercise equipment and measuring performance. It also explains terms like buoyancy, hydrostatic pressure, and drag and how they affect aquatic exercises.

Candidates will learn how to keep a class motivated and various exercises for different fitness goals. By the end of the program, you should have no trouble leading water aerobics classes of various sizes.

The Curriculum

The Aquatic Exercise Course has a curriculum packed with everything you need to start your journey as a water aerobics instructor and thrive within the industry. It covers:

  • The basics and terminologies used in aqua fitness classes
  • How to create programs for clients
  • Various aqua exercises
  • How to regress or progress clients based on performance

Study Materials

The Aquatic Exercise course comes with a DVD and textbook. The DVD is a convenient option for visual learners like me. The book is also easy to follow since it contains lots of images that illustrate the provided instructions.

Exam Information

After completing the course, you can take the online exam at home or a testing center. The exam is multiple-choice and consists of 150 questions. If you fail the exam, you can retake it after ten days. If you pass, you will receive a physical certificate after a few weeks.


When I was writing this review, the Aquatic Exercise Course from ACE cost $79. The certificate lasts for two years and requires a recertification fee for renewal.

2. The Aqua Fitness Course from AFAA

The Athletics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) Aqua Fitness course is like ACE’s program but has some significant differences. For instance, instead of a DVD and textbook that you can study at your convenience, the AFAA Aqua Fitness course features a one-day workshop.

It also costs more than the ACE certification, but it’s worth the money since the AFAA program teaches both land and water exercises.

What You Will Learn

During the workshop, an AFAA certified instructor will teach you land and water exercises. You will also learn about buoyancy, water resistance, and other factors that affect aqua aerobics.

Other details covered by the course include how to:

  • Motivate a class
  • Tailor exercises to achieve specific fitness goals
  • Ensure client safety during sessions
  • Instruct clients inside and outside the pool
  • Progress clients according to their skill level


Besides the one-day workshop, the AFAA Aqua Fitness course comes with various videos and reading materials that explain:

  • Designing, choreographing, and leading a class
  • The essentials of exercise and physiology
  • Healthy eating
  • How to adapt classes to suit the needs of seniors, pregnant women, and other clients

I especially like that the AFAA Aqua Fitness course contains valuable tips about managing and growing your business.

Study Materials

The provided course materials include a digital textbook, an online exercise library, and various videos. The online materials are accessible via smart devices and computers.

Exam Information

You have to take the exam within six months of purchasing the course. The exam is online, but you must take it at a testing facility or home with a live-remote proctor. It’s multiple-choice with 120 questions, and you must score at least 70%. You can pay for a retest if you don’t ace the exam on your first try.


The AFAA Aqua Fitness Certificate was $129 when I was writing this review. The certificate lasts for two years, after which you have to recertify.

3. Aquatic Fitness Instructor Certification from AFPA

The American Fitness Professionals Association (AFPA) Aquatic Fitness Instructor certification has national and international accreditation. You can get the certification within six months or less of starting the program. Its comprehensive curriculum equips you to teach water aerobics to people of all fitness levels.

What You Will Learn

During the program, you will learn different aquatic exercises for various water depths. You will also learn how to:

  • Create engaging class routines
  • Coordinate safe and successful water exercises from land or water
  • Help clients use various water equipment


The program’s highly comprehensive curriculum covers:

  • The basics of water exercise
  • Selecting the best exercise for a client’s fitness goals
  • How to attract new clients from different groups
  • Music selection for sessions
  • Aquatic therapy and rehabilitation
  • Class performance assessment and management

Study Materials

After paying for the AFPA Aquatic Fitness Instructor course, you will have access to several study materials, including:

  • Two certification textbooks
  • Instructional videos
  • Guidelines for fitness assessments and working with special populations
  • Over 70 lesson plans for deep and shallow water exercises

Exam Information

You must take the online test within 28 days of receiving the examination link via email. You need to score at least 85% to pass. If you don’t pass, you have to pay $75 to retake the test.


The program costs $499, but you can pay in installments. You need to recertify every two years.

4. Water Aerobics Instructor Certification from ASFA

The American Sports and Fitness Association (ASFA) Water Aerobics Instructor certification is one of the few certifications that do not require renewal. The course covers everything from safety considerations and equipment usage to aqua aerobics routine design and more. You can complete the entire program at your preferred pace.

What You Will Learn

The ASFA Water Aerobics Certification will teach you various aquatic exercises and the things to consider during classes. It also covers:

  • Designing personalized water fitness exercises for different client types
  • Measuring the performance of clients and designing routines for various fitness needs
  • Leveraging water’s natural resistance to improve muscle strength, body composition, endurance, flexibility, and more

The course expands on the basic knowledge you already have about water fitness exercises. That means the program might not be a good fit if you have no aqua aerobics experience.


Unlike the other programs on my list, the ASFA Water Aerobics Instructor program does not have a standardized curriculum. You can pick what to study before taking the test and take the exam as many times as it takes to pass. All the course materials are available online and accessible via a mobile device or computer.

Study Materials

The recommended reading to ace the ASFA Water Aerobics Instructor program includes:

  • Fantastic Water Workouts
  • Water Exercise
  • Water Fitness Lesson Plans and Choreography

These materials share efficient water exercises for shallow and deep waters. The materials also cover how to personalize lessons for different sessions and the importance of keeping classes fresh to avoid monotony.

Exam Information

You can take the exam whenever you want but need to score at least 70% to pass. You only need to pay for the ASFA Water Aerobics Instructor course after you pass the exam.


You have three certificate options. The best deal is the $499 Certificate & Pocket Certification, which does not require renewals. Alternatively, go for the $149 Certificate Only option or the $175 Certificate & Pocket Certification Card. Both require yearly recertification.

5. AEA Aquatic Fitness Professional Certification

Most applicants have at least six months of water aerobics experience before applying for the Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA) Certification. Taking the course will improve your water aerobics and class leadership skills. It’s a good fit for individuals who want to be personal trainers or group fitness instructors for different client types.

What You Will Learn

The program prioritizes teaching safe and efficient water aerobics exercises. You will learn about:

  • Physical and exercise anatomy
  • How to measure class performance
  • Exercise motivation and behavior
  • Shallow and deep water exercises

The Curriculum

The AEA Aquatic Fitness Professional course has a four-part curriculum that covers:

  • The foundations of fitness and exercise
  • Understanding the aquatic environment
  • Aquatic exercise instruction and programming
  • Safety and legal issues

Study Materials

You can purchase study materials and attend live workshops to prepare for the final exam. The most important study material to get is the AEA Seventh Edition Aquatic Fitness Professional Manual. It costs $55 if you are an AEA member, and digital and physical versions are available.

Exam Information

You can pay to take just the exam or sign up for an AEA Online Prep Bundle, which gives access to the exam after completing the study materials. The exam is online, and you can take it at your convenience, but you must complete it in one sitting.


The AEA Aquatic Fitness Certification exam costs $165, and you have to purchase study materials separately. The certification lasts for two years, and you need to pay $55 to renew it.

Which Certification Should You Choose?

We covered a lot, but now you know that water aerobics certifications are great for improving your skills and accessing more career opportunities.

Before picking a certification, we recommend considering your budget, career goals, and how much time you have to study. Also, only go for a certification that adds to your knowledge base and helps you stand out from other aqua fitness instructors.

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