AEA Aquatic Fitness Professional Certification


Become a recognized leader in your community with the AEA Certification!  Obtaining AEA Certification is considered the highest level of achievement for those leading aquatic group fitness and personal training. The AEA Certification tests a standard level of theoretical and practical competence in aquatic fitness program design and leadership for general populations approved for independent exercise. Group fitness instructors and personal trainers who hold the AEA Certification are prepared to assist participants meet health and fitness objectives through safe, effective, and enjoyable water exercise. The AEA Certification reinforces guidelines for developing and delivering aquatic fitness programs in the community.


Certification Exam Preparation

AEA highly recommends that all certification candidates have a minimum of 8 to 12 weeks of advance study, in addition to a minimum of 6 months practical experience, regardless of educational background. AEA highly recommends the AEA Online Prep Course to assist candidates in preparing for Certification.


Suggested Preparation Timeline

6-8 Months Prior:  Read the Certification Learning Objectives available at the AEA website under the Certification menu to review the examination content based upon the Seventh Edition Aquatic Fitness Professional Manual (AFP Manual). Read the manual and use the key chapter concepts and review questions provided each chapter to test comprehension of the information.


6 Months:  A minimum of 6 months practical aquatic fitness experience is recommended. Those seeking certification should participate or apprentice in classes led by AEA Certified Professionals. Candidates should understand and practice skills in the areas of: choreography, cueing and deck teaching; moving to 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.


Minimum 3-6 Months Prior:  Intently review the AFP Manual, focusing on areas of difficulty.  Optional, participate the AEA Online Prep Course.  The Aquatic Fitness Practical Applications in-person workshop can assist candidates in learning the practical side of being an aquatic fitness professional and how to effectively apply essential knowledge.



  • Candidates must be 18 years of age or older. Candidates between the ages of 15-18 require legal guardian or parental written consent prior to taking examination.
  • Candidates must have current CPR/AED certification.


Online Exam Registration

If you are enrolled into the AEA Online Prep Bundle, then Online Examination access will become available after you complete 100% of the course.

If you wish to take Exam ONLY then:

Pop-up window blockers must be turned off in your browser.

Register for the Examination Online by completing the required information.

Purchase Exam for $165 with the payment options provided.

Click “Start the Exam” when ready to begin. You cannot start and stop and must complete the exam in one sitting or it will time out.

Access Examination Here


Statement of Nondiscrimination

AEA does not discriminate among examination Candidates on the basis of gender, age, religion, race, national origin, marital status or disability.


Special Assistance

AEA will assist with special arrangements for Candidates who have a medical and/or learning disability that may prevent taking the examination under standard conditions.  Candidates requiring special assistance must request and complete the Certification Examination Disability Form. Please contact AEA directly by email or phone to request the Disability Form.  The form and requested documents must be received no later than 30 days prior to taking the examination. In accordance with the ADA, documentation of the disability from a qualified health care provider must be provided. AEA will make every effort to provide the requested accommodations or provide acceptable alternatives to assist the Candidate.


Cancellation / Refund Policy

All Examination cancellations must be submitted in writing and received within 30 days of purchase of examination.  No refund will be issued if the examination was initiated or attempted or incomplete without due and viable reason or cause.   Should it be necessary for AEA to cancel an examination, candidates will be notified by email or phone and issued a full refund on examination fees paid*. (*If the exam fees were included in a bundle purchase package, the exam fees discounted price will be refunded.)


Resources-AEA Fitness Professional Certification



AEA Seventh Edition Aquatic Fitness Professional Manual
The Only Complete Resource for Certification

AEA Member: $55.00 plus shipping   Non-Member: $68.00 plus shipping


The Seventh Edition AEA Aquatic Fitness Professional Manual is a comprehensive resource with essential information on fitness components, aquatic exercise programming, and teaching tools. Reinforce your knowledge or prepare for the AEA Certification. Expand your career opportunities by developing skills to lead safe, enjoyable and effective aquatic exercise programs.


Available in hard copy, eBook digital and Kindle edition (available on Amazon)

  • Reader & user friendly
  • 15 Chapters (corresponding to the AEA Aquatic Fitness Professional Learning Objectives) include Key Questions/ Concepts, Summary Statements, Review Questions and References
  • Appendices with color photos and descriptions of shallow and deep-water exercises and aquatic equipment, instructor worksheets, and sample class formats
  • Detailed Glossary and complete Index