Exercise Physiologist Job Description

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Healthcare is a booming industry in Australia, partly due to powerful demographic trends such as our ageing population, but also due to the active lifestyle we’re renowned for across the world. For this reason, the expertise of exercise physiologists is in greater demand than ever before, as older Australian with dodgy joints and limited mobility due to natural ageing or illness seek to regain their mobility and quality of life. However, the work of exercise physiologists isn’t just limited to older Australians, with these university-qualified professionals also assisting younger patients to deal with their health conditions through regular physical exercise and activity. In fact professional body ESSA (Exercise & Sports Science Australia) engaged Deloitte Access Economics in 2015 to determine the value accredited exercise physiologists deliver to the public. Their research found an economic benefit of $10.50 per individual for every $1.00 spent – in terms of improved wellbeing, workplace productivity and reduced burden on the public healthcare system.

Exercise Physiologist Key Duties & Responsibilities:

Unlike other exercise and fitness industry workers such as Personal Trainers and Fitness Class Instructors, exercise physiologists are university-trained professionals who generally hold a 4-year degree that enables them to design customised programs that assist their clients in dealing with chronic diseases and physical injuries. To be more specific, some of the tasks exercise physiologist jobs involve on a daily basis include:


  • Conducting initial assessments and examinations of their patient’s - to ascertain their physical condition. This involves chatting with patients to hear their physical complaints and developing rapport.
  • Evaluating patient’s condition and establishing suitable treatment programs – based upon the findings from their initial assessment.
  • Accessing patient’s medical records – to understand their medical history and ascertain which past treatments, if any, have worked effectively.
  • Developing customised exercise programs for patients – which take into account all the above factors and aim to improve their overall physical health, strength and mobility. This may include gym-based activities such as: Cardio, Pilates, Strength Training and Yoga to give a few examples.
  • Maintaining patient records – including recording exercise frequency, repetitions etc and nutritional information.
  • Business development activities – developing their exercise physiologist practice by retaining existing patients/clientele whilst seeking to attract new patients/clientele.


  • Relevant university qualification in exercise physiology 
  • Strong interpersonal communication skills
  • Strong listening skills/empathy
  • Critical thinking skills/problem solving skills
  • Social perceptiveness 
  • Time management skills
  • Professional customer service skills


  • Cancer treatment recovery 
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Chronic fatigue 
  • Chronic pain
  • Diabetes
  • Mental health conditions 
  • Neuromuscular exercise therapy
  • Obesity
  • Osteoporosis & Arthritis 
  • Post-surgical rehabilitation 
  • Pulmonary disease

Salary and Benefits:

As an in demand role with strong job growth prospects in coming years, exercise physiologist jobs are likely to also experience strong wage growth. Currently, according to HR website PayScale the median salary for an exercise physiologist in Australia is $53,699 per annum, with the salary range extending from $43,546 per annum for an entry level role up to $70,735 per annum for an experienced practitioner with a few years’ experience under their belt. Professionals in this field who run their own practice/business can earn significantly more than these figures, especially if they have a large, regular client base. Related roles you can move across to from this position include Personal Training Jobs, Physiotherapy Jobs, Occupational Therapy Jobs and even Registered Nurse Jobs (RN Jobs).

Education & Training: How to Become an Exercise Physiologist

Becoming an exercise physiologist in Australia requires a university qualification from an accredited tertiary institution, followed by professional accreditation from the peak industry body ESSA (Exercise & Sports Science Australia). Popular degrees would be exercise physiologists can complete to quality themselves for this role include:

Following completion of an undergraduate bachelor degree in exercise physiology or a related field, the next step to becoming fully qualified for exercise physiologist jobs is to undergo 140 hours of practical experience in designing and delivering an exercise intervention to improve the health, fitness and wellbeing of clients with a chronic condition – which will lead to accreditation as an AES (Accreditation Exercise Scientist). Accreditation to become an Exercise Physiologist does require 360 hours of practical experience however.