ESSA Accreditation and Membership Requirements

From the 1 January 2018 there are some updates to ESSA’s membership and accreditation requirements. 

You may be asked to provide evidence to ESSA of meeting these requirements:

- when applying for accreditation or membership
- at annual renewal of accreditation or membership
- reinstating accreditation after a period of absence
- at other times at ESSA’s discretion

It is important to be familiar with the requirements as this ensures you meet the quality standards of the industry. 

Background Information 




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 Growing our professions involves raising the bar in the industry. ESSA is taking steps to ensure that all our professionals are aligned with other self-regulating professions (e.g. Dietetics and Speech Pathology) through ESSA’s membership with the National Alliance of Self-Regulating Health Professions (NASRHP) membership.

What are the requirements?

Revised requirements include:

Code of Professional Conduct and Ethical Practice
ESSA Complaints Procedure
Professional Indemnity Insurance
Mandatory Declarations
Return to Practice
Practitioner Accreditation

New requirements include:

English Language requirement
Recency of Practice requirement

In addition, ESSA has developed a Scope of Practice Framework to assist in understanding individual scope of practice, and how to determine if a service is appropriate to provide.


Code of Professional Conduct and Ethical Practice 

The Code of Professional Conduct and Ethical Practice is the professional guidelines for professional and ethical behaviour, and applies to all ESSA members and accredited professionals

Minor updates have been made to the Code to better reflects all ESSA professions, and improve clarity on your responsibilities as a professional.

The Code should be reviewed regularly to ensure ongoing compliance. 

ESSA Complaints Procedure

The Complaints Procedure outlines ESSA’s procedure for investigating complaints made against members and accredited professionals.

Minor updates have been made to clarify the roles and responsibilities of parties involved, and outcomes.

Professional Indemnity Insurance

All accredited professionals are required to have appropriate professional indemnity insurance in place.

The existing requirements have been summarised into a Professional Indemnity Insurance Policy , which provides further detail on how to ensure you have appropriate coverage. 

For frequently asked questions click here.

Mandatory Declarations

Mandatory declarations are legal statements where individuals self-assess and confirm compliance with key ESSA requirements.

The Mandatory Declarations Policy applies to members and accredited professionals at initial accreditation, annual re-accreditation and return to accreditation.

It is important to review which requirements apply to you to ensure you comply.

Examples of existing declarations include:

- Adherence to Code of Professional Conduct and Ethical Practice
- Adherence to Continuing Professional Development requirements
- Adherence to insurance, first aid and CPR (where applicable)

New requirements include:

- Adherence to recency of practice thresholds
- Disclosure of charges, convictions and involvement in proceedings related to criminal offences

Practitioner Accreditation

The Practitioner Accreditation Policy  summarises the requirements an individual needs to meet to gain accreditation and re-accreditation.

New requirements include:

- Recency of practice thresholds
- English Language requirement

It is important to review which requirements apply to you to ensure you comply.

English Language Requirements

ESSA has introduced a new requirement for all individuals seeking initial accreditation or returning to accreditation to show English language competence.

This must be equivalent to a score of 7 on the International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS).

You may be eligible for an exemption- please see the English Language Policy for details. 

For more information, please refer to the English Language factsheet

Still not sure? Take our short quiz here to find out if you need to supply an English Language test or if you meet one of the exemptions. 

Recency of Practice

All accredited professionals must now gain 1000 hours of practice in the field over the previous 5 year period ensuring:

- no more than 2 consecutive years of no practice
- the completion of at least 200 hours of practice within the last three consecutive years

This equates to 4 hours per week over 5 years OR 27 weeks full time over 5 years.

Practice is defined as ‘any role, whether remunerated or not, in which the individual uses their skills and knowledge as a practitioner in their profession. Practice includes the direct provision of services to clients, and the use of professional knowledge and/or skill in a direct clinical or non-clinical way. This includes non-direct relationships with clients, such as working in management, administration, education, research, advisory, regulatory or policy development roles; and any other roles that impact on safe, effective delivery of exercise and sports science services.’

Please note, continuing professional development is not considered practice.

If you are unable to meet the Recency of Practice policy requirements you may be required to undertake a return to practice program.\

Return to Practice

Individuals wishing to return to practice must show currency of knowledge, skills and competence in order to reinstate their accreditation.

Minor updates have been made to the Return to Practice Policy to improve understanding of requirements, and the pathway for people who have not met recency of practice hours.   

Please see here for an Leave of Absence and Reinstatement Fact Sheet

Scope of Practice Framework

ESSA’s Scopes of Practice are foundational documents that reflect the minimum knowledge, skills and competencies to gain accreditation. They are general reflections of the minimum abilities of the profession.

Individuals will advance or expand their practice through formal professional development and ongoing experience, and will have an ever changing individual scope of practice.

ESSA has developed a Scope of Practice Framework Policy and a Decision Tree that will assist individuals in deciding if they are competent to perform the service, and if it is ethical to do so. 

For frequently asked questions click here. 

What is the National Alliance of Self-Regulating Health Professions?

The National Alliance of Self-Regulating Health Professions (NASRHP) is an independent body providing a quality framework for self-regulating health professions.  It originally began in 2008 as an informal alliance under the auspice of Allied Health Professions Australia, but has now become an independent body. 

NASRHP has a set of standards for membership that have been closely modelled on the standards that health professions regulated by Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) have to meet. 

NASRHP membership is open to professional bodies, not individuals.  

ESSA is a founding member of the NASHRP alongside other peak professional associations including:

Audiology Australia
Australasian Sonographers Association
Australian and New Zealand College of Perfusionists
Australian Association of Social Workers
Australian Orthotic Prosthetic Association
Dietitians Association of Australia
Speech Pathology Australia

Why did ESSA apply for NASRHP membership?

The benefits of recognition with the NASRHP include:

- Strengthens ESSA and ESSA professionals’ commitment to consumers to practice safely, effectively and to a high standard
- Strengthen ESSA and our accredited professionals’ position and recognition within the Australian health care system
- Strengthens the advocacy platform for all self-regulating allied health professions
- Leads to a stronger advocacy platform for AHPA which promotes all allied health professions (i.e. regulated and self-regulated)
- Extending the NASRHP standards across all ESSA professions promotes recognition of the quality and excellence of all ESSA professionals

To gain formal recognition with the NASRHP the exercise physiology profession must meet all the NASRHP standards. The requirements will also be extended to all ESSA professions, including Accredited Exercise Scientists, Accredited Sports Scientists and Accredited High Performance Managers to promote quality and consistency.

What does NASRHP membership mean for ESSA professionals?

Ultimately, meeting the NASRHP standards optimises the profile and recognition of our accredited professionals, creating increased workforce opportunities within the Australian health care system and exercise and sports science industry.

ESSA already met the majority of the NASRHP standards. In order to meet the remainder, ESSA needed to revise some requirements, and introduce some new ones.

These changes came into effect on 1 January 2018.

It is important that all ESSA professionals are familiar with these requirements to ensure compliance.

In future, there will be changes to the information you need to provide if selected as part of ESSA’s annual audit.  Providing evidence of CPD will not be enough, evidence for other declarations made for accreditation including recency of practice will also be required.  These changes will be implemented in a way that is fair, but will change what information you need to retain about your practice and for how long. 

ESSA is here to help professionals understand and ensure practice is best positioned with implementation of the NASHRP standards. We will be working with our professionals to ensure they meet the requirements.

You can also ask questions about NASRHP by contacting ESSA via: or by calling the National Office on 07 3171 3335.