Whether you are a student OR you already have your degree, you can work in the fitness industry. Here are some tips to help promote your skills and knowledge and improve your chances of getting hired!
It is common for students to be offered paid work in the fitness industry, usually after they have made a good impression during practicum and have undertaken a unit in exercise assessment and prescription.
For some students, this may be in the second or third year of an exercise science degree.
Tip #1: You need insurance!
Tip #2: What services can you deliver?
- It is important that you (or your employer) hold professional indemnity insurance to cover you in the event a client makes a claim.
- ESSA student members (that have not yet completed their undergraduate or post graduate degree) have access to the FREE student master insurance policy with Guild Insurance. This means you can work and be insured but you must be a) supervised either directly or indirectly, and b) your supervisor must be appropriately qualified.
- If you can’t meet these conditions, you will need to seek other insurance options outside the free ESSA student insurance policy.
- For more information about the student master insurance policy and to sign up, go here.
- ESSA recommends that you only deliver services that reflect your current knowledge and skill set. For example, if you have learnt about delivering group sessions or prescribing exercise for weight loss then, these would be appropriate services for you to deliver, remembering it must be under supervision.
- Before delivering any service to a client ask yourself: Am I confident that I have the knowledge and skill to proceed? If in doubt, refer to your supervisor.
Exercise science degrees are very broad which means you graduate with lots of different skills. For example, taking blood pressure; assessing strength, cardiovascular fitness and body composition; prescribing exercise for endurance or hypertrophy; and applying exercise adherence strategies… the list goes on!
YOU know this, but some employers may not! You might experience a few barriers to getting your foot in the door, so we’ve developed some tips to help you.
Tip #1: When you are asked for a Cert IV in Fitness
- Firstly, understand that employers may have policies that are specific to who they hire. They can set their own rules.
- A Cert IV in Fitness is a common qualification for working in the fitness industry and typically the minimum requirement. A degree in exercise science is a higher qualification and therefore you exceed the minimum standards to assess exercise capacity and prescribe exercise to ‘healthy populations’ both 1:1 and groups.
- When an employer asks for your qualifications, they are really asking for confirmation of your knowledge and skills to do the job. Let them know that you are degree qualified in exercise science and explain the skills you can offer (e.g. assessment, prescription for weight loss and strength, etc.) and to who (e.g. children, older adults, people at risk of chronic disease, etc.).
- Your broad knowledge allows for greater services with clients so think of some specific examples (e.g. you can design and deliver a falls prevention group session for older adults, exercise for pregnant women, or deliver information sessions on a specific topic).
Tip #2: When you are asked if you are registered with Fitness Australia
- Some employers may require registration with a professional body such as Fitness Australia. It is worth seeking clarification so you can understand why they require it (e.g. for insurance, for ongoing continuing professional development, etc.).
- You do not need to join a professional association to get insurance. Anyone can apply for insurance and the type of policy will depend on your qualifications. It is common that joining a professional association may provide you with a discount on insurance. For example, ESSA members have an opportunity to take out a tailored, discounted insurance policy with Guild Insurance for their specific membership/accreditation type.
- You can tell employers that you are member of ESSA and are bound by a code of professional conduct and ethical practice. If you are accredited, you can explain that you are required to meet annual compliance requirements including professional indemnity insurance and continuing professional development (20 CPD points per year).
Click here to download a letter (or email) template when contacting a gym/fitness centre.
Fitness Australia Code of Practice
for information about qualifications and registration with a reputable registration body (see page 6, Dealing with Personnel).
Future Workforce Report
for information about trends in the fitness industry.
Fitness Industry Award 2010
for information about pay and working conditions.
ESSA Early Career Network
for answers to frequently asked questions about working in the sport and exercise science industry.
Can’t find what you are looking for? Contact ESSA to speak to an advisor. Ph. (07) 3171 3335.