Information for the Public & 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
  • Employing an AES to work in the fitness industry
    Accredited Exercise Scientists are one of the best placed professions to work in the fitness industry.
    This prospectus highlights the benefits for businesses, gyms, and clients in the fitness industry of employing an Accredited Exercise Scientist.
    Download this resource.

Accredited Exercise Physiologists (AEP) – use exercise to help manage chronic conditions, disability and injuries 
  • 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

Accredited Sports Scientists (ASpS) – 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

Accredited Exercise Physiologists (AEPs), if registered for GST, are required to apply GST to most health services. This can be confusing for clients, AEPs, business owners, NDIS planners,  aged care/disability providers and accountants as most other health professionals are not required to apply the GST. While exercise physiology services are recognised as allied health services by Medicare, exercise physiology services are NOT currently ‘Eligible Health Services’ for the purposes of GST, and therefore, not automatically exempt from GST.

For a summary of the taxable services and GST free services please download a copy of ESSA’s GST Factsheet .

*This factsheet includes information about why AEPs need to charge GST, registering for GST, when GST applies and how to pay GST.
*This factsheet is designed for accountants and/or the finance officer in your business to help you charge GST correctly.

Please note, this is general information only and ESSA always advises that you consult your accountant for further guidance regarding your individual business circumstances.

Personal Training services by an Accredited Exercise Scientist available to Bupa’s corporate health insurance policy holders
ESSA is pleased to announce that you can now access our Accredited Exercise Scientists (AES) (or Accredited Exercise Physiologists or Accredited Sports Scientists who hold ESSA dual-accreditation as an AES) for Personal Training services through a select number of Bupa’s corporate health policy extras products: Corporate Everyday Extras, Corporate Mid Extras, Corporate Advanced Extras and Corporate Total Extras.

As a consumer, all you need is a referral from select health professionals (listed on the referral form), then you can start to access personal training services. The services need to be part of a health or chronic disease management program.

For more information, see the Bupa Personal Trainer Recognition criteria.
To find an ESSA accredited exercise professional near you, try our online search function.
To read our public FAQs, please click here.
If you are an ESSA AES member who would like to provide these services, click here .

To find out if you are eligible, ESSA encourages you to call BUPA: 134 135.

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 August 2021