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ESSA and You

A Career in Exercise and Sports Sciences

Careers in Exercise and Sports Science


Exercise Science

  • Sport Scientist (Exercise physiologist, Biomechanist)

    • These jobs are concerned with the testing and training of elite athletes. Sport scientists work in laboratories and wherever athletes train and compete. The role of the sport scientist is to assist the athlete and coach to improve performance. Sport scientists conduct research in an attempt to improve sport equipment and training techniques. The majority of employers are institutes and academies of sport. The Defence Forces also employ exercise scientists to train soldiers and conduct research. Some of these positions require a postgraduate research qualification.
    • Some sporting equipment manufacturers employ sports scientists to help design racquets, bats, balls, shoes, etc.
  • Coach/ Development officer 
    Graduates with a specific interest in a sport should consider a career as a coach with an institute of sport or sporting association. Some elite coaches are able to work for themselves.
  • Strength and Conditioning Specialist
    This career focuses on the physical preparation of athletes.  Strength and conditioning specialists work in Institutes and Academies of Sport in Australia and abroad and are also employed by many professional and semi-professional sporting teams.


  • Cardiac/ Respiratory technician 
    This position may involve cardiac stress testing and/or lung function testing under the supervision of a cardiologist for the purpose of diagnosis of cardiovascular and pulmonary disease. Employers are almost exclusively hospitals
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation/ Exercise Physiologist 
    This job involves the prescription of exercise for those who have had heart surgery or those with heart disease, obesity, insulin resistance, Type II diabetes, elevated cholesterol, osteoporosis. Employers are almost exclusively hospitals
  • Exercise Rehabilitation 
    This is a growth industry that provides a rehabilitation service for those injured in the work place. Most of the opportunities exist with small businesses. Work in this area usually requires a post graduate qualification.

Corporate Health

  • Fitness/health/exercise consultant: implementation of a health package tailored for the specific needs of an organisation. This organisation may have needs for both “white” & “blue” collar working populations. Physiological testing can help employees identify their capacity to perform the required tasks with minimal risk to themselves. Most employers are small businesses or you may be self employed.


What do I need to study?

Our Members have undertaken degrees such as - Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science, Exercise Science, Exercise Science – Rehabilitation and Sports Science. Some choose to undertake further post graduate study such as a Masters of Clinical Exercise Physiology to become an AEP or some choose to further develop knowledge and skill from their undergraduate course and become more specialist in areas such as strength and conditioning, public health or physiotherapy.


Who shall I contact about degrees?

ESSA recommends you get in touch with a higher education provider for information relating to qualifications. ESSA accredits (approves) a wide range of courses for both undergraduate study (ES) and post graduate study (EP).  A full list of ESSA approved courses can be found here. 

Please note, if you already have an undergraduate qualification relating to exercise and sports science (e.g. human movement studies, exercise science, sport science) and are considering further study to become an AEP you may be eligible to apply for one of the ESSA approved post graduate courses – there are Masters and Graduate Diploma’s, see the list of courses for EP. 

If you have an undergraduate qualification that is NOT related to the field of exercise and sport science e.g. marketing, business, psychology and wish to become and AEP ESSA recommends considering a four year degree and speaking to the higher education provider about the possibility of any credit from your undergraduate qualification. See the list of courses that are approved for ES & EP – see the link above.


I am already a student but I would like some more career advice

Join our free ESSA Student Membership and have access to career advice, latest industry updates, exclusive competitions and member benefits and much more. You can also phone ESSA on +61 7 3171 3335 and ask to speak to an advisor.