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Information for the PUBLIC and EMployers

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) – use exercise to improve sporting performance

Accredited High Performance Managers (AHPM) – manage a range of performance services for elite sport



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.

if you want to see an essa exercise professional 

 Find an exercise professional relevant to your needs here and review the types of conditions you could refer to an AEP here.


if you want to employ an ESSA professional

Advertise your role through ESSA. Click here for the form.
To determine the pay rates for ESSA accredited professionals, the following awards and information can be used;
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 (published August 2017


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


resources on how exercise can help you

ESSA’s consumer website Exercise Right for information on exercise for Adults and Kids
See Exercise is Medicine Australia for fact sheets on exercise for a variety of chronic conditions
More fact sheets on exercise for conditions related to bone and joint health, and T2DM, cancer, pregnancy click here


if you are considering a career as an exercise professional

Click here for careers in the field of exercise and sports science

Choosing a course of study

  • ESSA approves courses at a range of universities across Australia, these courses are referred to as ‘ESSA Accredited’ courses.
  • Courses are approved at two levels 1) Exercise Science (ES) and 2) Exercise Physiology (EP). ESSA approves both undergraduate and post graduate courses see here 
  • ESSA recommends you choose a ESSA Accredited course of study. Some courses are advertised and still in the process of gaining ESSA approval or re-accreditation. Please speak to the university about the status of their course approval. 

What is accreditation?

Accreditation is a professional recognition of standards. Many professions have individual accreditation or registration that allows individuals to be recognised in the industry and to practice within schemes such as Medicare and DVA.

  • To become an Accredited Exercise Scientist (AES) you can complete a ESSA Accredited or non ESSA Accredited course of study, however ESSA recommends you choose a ESSA Accredited course as it automatically meets the standards for accreditation.
  • To become an Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) you must complete a ESSA Accredited course at the EP level. 
  • If you already have an undergraduate qualification in or related to exercise and sports science (e.g. human movement studies, exercise science, sport science) and are considering becoming an AEP you will need to apply to ESSA for a Graduate Entry Assessment as part of the entry requirements to a post graduate exercise physiology course. This assessment will determine whether you can satisfy some or all of the prerequisite knowledge and skills required to enter the course, that is a) The Exercise Science Standards and b) 140 hours of apparently healthy practicum.
  • 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 



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.