Recency of Practice
All accredited professionals must 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.
What can be counted as practice?
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.
This definition is broad to capture the depth and breadth of exercise and sports science practice, however acceptable roles must use the expertise (i.e. knowledge and skills) of your ESSA accreditation.
It is important to note that practice is not limited to seeing clients, but includes a variety of other types of activities related to your professional scope of practice.
Examples include rehabilitation, case management, assessment, functional capacity, education, return to work and advisory roles.
How many hours of practice must I have?
The full requirement for accredited professionals will be to achieve 1000 hours of practice over the preceding 5 year period, ensuring that within any 5 year period there is:
no more than 2 consecutive years without any practice
a minimum of 200 hours within the last 3 years
If you were accredited before 1 January 2018 you need to have accrued 200 hours by 31 December 2020.
If you were accredited after 1 January 2018 you need to have 200 hours by the end your third full year of accreditation.
How can I provide evidence of meeting recency of practice?
ESSA will accept any form of reasonable, verified evidence that demonstrates the recency of practice requirements. This must address ALL of the following points:
- Evidence of number of hours AND
- Evidence of relevant practice activities AND
- Be verified (e.g. letter from employer)
Example type of documents that could be used include:
I am an employee working in exercise and sports science practice. What evidence should I provide?
- Detailed letter from your appropriately qualified supervisor/colleague/manager/employer which outlines work undertaken with clients and the duration of employment
- Detailed client case studies; these must be verified by an appropriately qualified professional
- De-identified client case notes, client assessment results and/or client exercise programs
- Detailed logbooks; suitable for applicants who are currently working and can provide evidence from their current work OR recent graduates who completed practicum logbooks as part of their degree
- Position description describing roles and responsibilities
- Performance reviews
- Experience conducting a research study
- Awards for service to the industry
- Resources developed for the workplace (related to the field of exercise science)
If you are an employee, the easiest form of evidence will be a detailed employer letter that includes your roles and responsibilities, or a short employer letter AND a job description.
The employer should confirm the dates of your employment (i.e. start date) and how many hours you work (e.g. full time, part time, casual 10 hours per week).
Example letter 1 – click here
Example letter 2 – click here
I am self-employed. What evidence should I provide?
You will need to provide a portfolio of evidence that confirms hours and activities, and some verification. For example:
What happens if I can’t meet recency of practice requirements?
- a self-written summary of your activities and how many hours you work + de-indentified case records
- A self-written summary of your activities and how many hours you work + a copy of any contracts held
- a self-written summary of your activities and how many hours you work + letter from a colleague/staff member (e.g. clinic/medical centre/gym) confirming your work
- ESSA will consider any evidence that supports the recency requirements
The Recency of Practice Policy outlines the requirements.
If you are unable to meet the recency of practice requirements you may be required to undergo a return to practice program. Please contact the ESSA office to discuss your individual situation.
If I hold more than one accreditation do I need to meet the recency of practice requirements for each different one?
Recency of practice requirements will only be applied once, regardless of how many accreditations are held by the person.
The full requirement for any accredited professional will be to achieve 1000 hours of practice over the preceding 5 year period, ensuring that within any 5 year period there is:
I am a recent graduate. How can I show that I have met recency of practice?
- no more than 2 consecutive years without any practice
- a minimum of 200 hours within the last 3 years
If you apply for accreditation within two years of graduating from your exercise and sports science degree you will not be required to provide evidence of recency of practice with your application.
I graduated more than two years ago from an ESSA accredited course, can I still apply for accreditation?
You can apply for an ESSA accreditation so long as you meet ESSA’s eligibility requirements, which include recency of practice.
When do I need to show evidence of meeting the recency of practice requirement?
If you are an accredited professional, you will need to start accumulating your practice hours from 1 January 2018. You will only be required to submit evidence should you be selected as part of a future audit, however we recommend to consider collating relevant information as you accumulate practice.
How long do I need to retain my evidence for recency of practice?
All accredited individuals will need to retain their recency of practice evidence for seven (7) years.
Is there a way to confirm prior to being audited whether the work that you do would count towards recency?
This definition of practice is broad to capture the depth and breadth of exercise and sports science practice. It is also important to note that practice is not limited to seeing clients but includes a variety of other types of activities. We are happy to work with you at any time to discuss specific job activities.
I have taken a leave of absence and won’t be able to show Recency of Practice for the 2018 accreditation period or later. Can I still be accredited?
If you cannot meet the Recency of Practice practice requirements when you intend to become accredited again, you may need to follow the return to practice pathway. See Return to Practice Policy
You should contact the ESSA office when you are intending to become accredited again to discuss your options for return to practice.
I have been an AEP in the past, do I need to sit an exam to return to practice?
Exercise physiologists who have not been accredited for 5 or more years and cannot show recency of practice will need to complete exams before regaining accreditation as an AEP.
These individuals will be required to successfully pass a theory and practical exam to show they have the contemporary knowledge, skills and competencies to be re-accredited as an AEP.
I want to get my first accreditation with ESSA but I don't have recency of practice. Can I get accredited?
To get accredited you need to show recency of practice. If you completed your exercise and sports science course less than 2 years ago your degree will meet the recency of practice requirements.
If you graduated more than 2 years ago you will need to show evidence of current practice.
If you don't have recency of practice you will need to accumulate this before you can apply. This must be 1000 over the past 5 years or part thereof if you graduated less than 5 years ago.
Updated September 2020