Who are ESSA accredited professionals?
Degree qualified exercise professionals can be recognised under the following accreditation types:
Accredited Exercise Scientists (AES)
– use exercise to improve health, well-being and fitness
Accredited Exercise Physiologists (AEP)
– use exercise to help manage chronic conditions, disability and injuries
Accredited Sports Scientists (ASpS)
- What compensable schemes can an AEP provide?
For a snapshot of how an AEP can provide compensable exercise physiology services,
including registration, billing, fees and services, download this resource
– use exercise to improve sporting performance
Accredited High Performance Managers (AHPM)
– manage a range of performance services for elite sport
The value of exercise services to consumers
ESSA engaged Deloitte Access Economics to quantify the value of accredited exercise physiologists in Australia from the perspective of society as a whole (Deloitte Access Economics, 2015). The report found benefits in terms of reduced health system costs, reduced productivity losses and well-being gains from lifestyle interventions delivered by accredited exercise physiologists for individuals living with type 2 diabetes, depression, chronic heart failure and other chronic diseases. Click here to view the report.
How to employ an ESSA accredited exercise professional
Advertise your role through ESSA? Click here for more information.
To find an accredited exercise professional near you click here.
To verify an individual's ESSA accreditation status click here.
Employers resource - Click here to download a fact sheet
for key considerations when employing an AEP, AES, ASpS or AHPM
Can I employ a student?
YES! It is common for students to be offered paid work in the health/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. Here is what you need to do...
- Firstly, ask the student whether they have completed any relevant qualifications. Some exercise science students have already completed a Cert IV in Fitness and may be able to start practicing straight away.
- Make sure the student has insurance. 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 they can work and be insured but must be a) supervised either directly or indirectly, and b) the supervisor must be appropriately qualified. If the student can’t meet these conditions, they 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, student can go here
- Ensure services are relevant to skill set. ESSA recommends that students only deliver services that reflect their current knowledge and skill set. For example, if they have learnt about delivering group sessions or prescribing exercise for weight loss then, these would be appropriate services to deliver, remembering it must be under supervision.
Exercise Physiology services & GST
Registering for GST:
As an Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP), if your business has an annual GST turnover of $75,000
or more, you will be required to register for GST
and lodge Business Activity Statements (BASs)
with the ATO. However, you can voluntarily choose to register for GST even if your annual GST turnover is less than $75,000. Your annual GST turnover is worked out as either your turnover for the current month and the previous 11 months or your turnover for the current month and the projected GST turnover for the next 11 months.
A BAS is a tax return which reports the GST you have collected and the GST you have paid and determines the net amount that is payable to the ATO each period. You can choose to lodge your BAS monthly or quarterly. If you are registered for GST and your annual GST turnover is less than $75,000, you can elect to lodge annually unless you have chosen to pay GST by instalments. The BAS returns are in addition to your annual income tax return.
When does GST apply?:
services provided by AEPs are classified as taxable services
attract GST. When providing a taxable service, you will be required to remit the GST to the ATO. GST is equal to 10% of the service value and must
be included in the advertised price. You may need to charge a higher price for your services to take GST and GST credits into account. When invoicing, ensure to itemise the GST separately to the service provided. Please refer to the ATO for further information on invoicing.
services provided as an AEP directly to a patient will be GST-free services
, and you will not need to charge any GST on these services or remit any amounts to the ATO.
Summary of GST on typical Exercise Physiology (EP) services:
#In some limited cases, the other business entity can on-supply your services GST-free to patients, but this does not make your EP Services GST-free when charged to that other business entity.
| Taxable Services
|| GST-free Services
|- EP Services charged to another business entity#
(e.g. contract services)
|- EP Services charged to patients where a Medicare benefit is payable to the patient for the EP Services (whether bulk-billed or charged directly to a client who claim medicare rebates)
|- EP Services charged within the workers compensation system
(e.g. SIRA, iCARE)
|- EP Services charged to an NDIS participant who is a resident
in a residential care facility
|- EP Services charged to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) except where it is part of GST-free hospital treatment*
Note: This is invoiced through Recipient Created Tax Invoice (RCTI) – required for each provider number
||- EP Services charged to patients as part of GST-free
|- EP Services charged within private health insurance
|- EP Services charged to an Australian government agency (eg DVA or a government-operated hospital), an insurer or a compulsory third party scheme operator, where it is part of GST-free hospital treatment*
|- EP Services charged to an NDIS participant other than
where the EP service is listed as a GST-free service in the next column
|- EP Services charged to a residential care facility that is operated by an Australian government agency, an insurer or a compulsory third party scheme operator, where it is part of GST-free residential care that they supply to their residents*
|- EP Services charged to a resident in their residential care facility (other than an NDIS participant)
|- EP treatment and consultations for general clients
*Please speak with the hospital/residential aged care facility for confirmation on whether the services you are providing fall under these requirements.
While you need to pay GST on most of the services you provide, you are also entitled to claim
a credit for any GST
you have paid on expenditures for your exercise physiology business. These GST credits will then offset the amounts collected and reduce the total amount owed to the ATO.
How do I pay GST?:
At the end of each month or quarter (or at the end of the year if you lodge annually), you will prepare and lodge a BAS with the ATO and pay your GST liability. Once you have registered for GST, the ATO will automatically start sending you a BAS to complete, based on the information provided on your application.
By keeping a record of all invoices issued and expenses paid during the period, you can then calculate the net amount of GST you have collected, and what will need to be paid to the ATO. To help manage cash flow, it is also suggested that you put the GST you collect into a separate account, so it is available at the end of the quarter when your obligations arise.
What if I’m not registered for GST?:
If you are not required
to register for GST, and are not voluntarily registered for GST, there is no obligation for you to pay GST or charge a higher price for your services to take GST into account. There will be no GST amounts payable to the ATO, but you can’t claim any GST credits for your expenses. Your invoices issued won’t include a tax component.
Why do AEPs need to charge GST?:
Typically, medical services are GST-free to ensure equitable access to health care for all Australians. A health care service is GST-free if it is classified as an ‘Eligible Health Service’
as defined by the GST law. While AEPs are recognised as allied health professionals by Medicare, at present, Exercise Physiology is NOT an ‘Eligible Health Service’ for the purposes of GST
, and therefore, not automatically exempt from GST.
ESSA has made multiple representations to the Federal Government to have Exercise Physiology classified as an ‘Eligible Health Service’
, and therefore GST-free. However, any variation of the GST requires a consensus of all
states and territories and the Federal Government. ESSA continues to raise this issue in discussions with both State and Federal Government representatives. You can help to support this campaign to remove GST from AEP health services by downloading the ESSA letter template and sending this to your local Federal Member and/or Senator for your state.
Please note, this is general information only and ESSA always advises that you consult your accountant for further guidance regarding your individual business circumstances.
Please click here
to download the above content as a PDF factsheet.
How much should I pay an ESSA professional?
How much do I pay an AEP?
AEPs are allied health professionals and are clinically trained (minimum 4-year degree)
Employers use the relevant state award and federal award as benchmarks to determine pay rates. Employers also consider qualifications, experience, pay rates for other allied health and employment structure (casual, contract and permanent employee). Please search the relevant state award on the Fairwork Ombudsman website
. For example, the relevant state based award for allied health professionals in Victoria is Allied Health Professionals (Victorian Public Health Sector) Single interest Enterprise Agreement 2016-2020
If there are no enterprise bargaining agreements in the specific workplace, the Health Professionals and Support Services Award outlines the minimum wage for AEPs in private practice
Search SEEK or other websites for advertised positions to compare pay rates. If you are offering employment based on a percentage rate, the average is approx 40-60%. Causal rates are typically starting between $30-40/hr and group sessions from $40/hr.
How much do I pay an AES?
AES specialise in exercise prescription for clients that are otherwise healthy (i.e. no conditions), clients at risk of chronic conditions, and can work as an allied health assistant (and can deliver exercise interventions prescribed by an AEP). They may also work as project officers promoting exercise, health and well-being initiatives. AES may also work in fitness centers as a personal trainer/group trainer.
Employers use two federal awards to benchmark pay rates the Health Professionals and Support Services Award
and the Fitness Industry Award 2010
How much do I pay an ASpS or AHPM?
Sports scientists and high-performance managers are experts in exercise prescription and exercise science services for elite athletes and teams.
There is no specific sports science award at this time, however, Fairwork have advised the award used will be dependent on the employing organisation.
National or state sporting organisation (NSO/SSOs) (i.e. Swimming Australia, QLD Gymnastics) will use the Sporting Organisations Award.
A health organisation (i.e. employers whose business and/or activity is in the delivery of healthcare, medical services and dental services, Sports Medicine Clinic) will use the Health Professional Award
Employers must meet the national employment standards at a minimum.
Should you wish to make a complaint about the conduct of an ESSA member or ESSA accredited professional please click here.
You may also able to make a complaint about a health service or health care worker under the National Code of Conduct for general health services in your state. Please click here for more information.
Updated December 2019.