In Australia, exercise and sports science professionals work in a diverse range of jobs, including strength and conditioning, sports science, sports coaching, exercise physiology, rehabilitation, research, workplace health and safety and corporate health.
Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA, formerly known as the Australian Association for Exercise and Sports Science (AAESS)) was established in 1991 to establish, promote and defend the career paths of tertiary-trained exercise and sports science practitioners.
Traditionally, exercise and sports science graduates fall into one of three categories:
Exercise scientists are university-qualified health professionals who work primarily in prevention, corporate health and wellness, community health and exercise programs for low-risk clientele. An exercise scientist can also register with Fitness Australia and gain formal recognition as a personal trainer. Exercise scientists are not eligible to register with Medicare Australia.
Accredited exercise physiologists (AEPs) are four-year university-qualified allied health professionals specialising in delivery of exercise, lifestyle and behavioural modification programs for prevention and management of chronic diseases and injuries.
AEPs provide physical activity and behaviour change support for clients with chronic disease (such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or osteoporosis), musculoskeletal rehabilitation and workplace conditioning and rehabilitation. AEPs are eligible to register with Medicare Australia, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the state Workcover agency and be recognised by health insurance providers.
ESSA has developed clear skills and competencies for accredited exercise physiologists.
Sports scientists work in a multi-disciplinary field concerned with understanding and enhancing human performance. Sports scientists evaluate, research, assess and advise on coaching, training, competition and recovery practices in all areas and levels of sport to achieve the best possible sporting performance.
Major employers of sports scientists are sporting academies (e.g. the Australian Institute of Sport) and professional and amateur sporting teams.
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