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Does an Exercise Science Degree Qualify you as a Personal Trainer in Australia

May 29, 2024
4 minute read

Many people finish an Exercise Science degree and aren't sure what to do next. With so many career options available, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. One question that often comes up is whether becoming a personal trainer is one of those options. 

In this article, we’ll explore if an Exercise Science degree qualifies you to be a personal trainer in Australia, what additional steps are required or if you need to complete a Certificate III and IV in Fitness. 

Let's find out!

Understanding the Exercise Science Degree

An Exercise Science degree provides a comprehensive foundation in the physiological, biomechanical, and psychological aspects of human fitness and performance. Typically, this degree includes coursework in anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, psychology, nutrition, and sports science. Importantly, students learn to apply scientific principles to design effective exercise programs tailored to diverse needs, from athletes to the general population and special groups like older adults or those with chronic conditions.

These academic insights are crucial in understanding how the body responds to exercise and can be beneficial for injury prevention and rehabilitation. However, while an Exercise Science degree offers a strong theoretical underpinning, practical training aspects—specifically related to personal training—might not be covered comprehensively.

On completion of an Exercise Science degree, graduates usually register with ESSA as an Exercise Scientist.

Understanding the Certificate III and IV in Fitness

The Certificate III and IV in Fitness provide a practical and comprehensive education tailored for those aspiring to enter the fitness industry as personal trainers or fitness instructors. These qualifications focus on developing essential skills and knowledge to design, deliver, and assess exercise programs for a variety of clients. The Certificate III in Fitness covers foundational topics such as exercise instruction, anatomy, and client screening, preparing individuals for roles as gym instructors. Moving forward, the Certificate IV in Fitness delves deeper into advanced programming, nutrition, and specialized training techniques, equipping graduates with the expertise to operate as personal trainers who can work independently with clients, including older adults and those with specific fitness needs.

Both certificates emphasize practical experience and hands-on training, ensuring that graduates are well-prepared for real-world scenarios. Students engage in practical placements, workshops, and supervised training sessions, enabling them to apply theoretical knowledge in a controlled environment. These certifications are highly regarded within the fitness industry for their emphasis on practical skills, client interaction, and business acumen, making them ideal for individuals seeking a career in personal training and fitness instruction. With these qualifications, graduates are well-equipped to support clients in achieving their fitness goals, promoting overall health and well-being.

On completion of a Certificate III and IV in Fitness, graduates usually register with a fitness registration body such as AUSactive.

Registration Requirements for Personal Trainers

To register as a Personal Trainer with AUSactive the requirements are as follows

“An AUSactive Registered Personal Trainer has completed a vocational qualification or equivalent higher education requirements and/or qualification.”

This may include:

Which means someone who has completed an Exercise Science degree can register as a Personal Trainer with AUSactive despite not having completed a Certificate III and IV in Fitness.

There are some other prerequisites such as 

  • The individual will need to have a current CPR certificate
  • The individual will need to have a current First Aid certificate
  • If the qualification was completed more than two years ago - the individual will need to provide evidence of 20CECs

Continuing Professional Development and Specialisation

Once registered, personal trainers can enhance their qualifications by specialising in areas that leverage their Exercise Science background. For example, becoming a strength and conditioning coach.

Continuous professional development is also crucial in this ever-evolving industry. AusActive, requires registered exercise professionals to participate in ongoing learning to maintain their registration. This could include attending workshops, taking online CEC courses, or participating in relevant conferences, all of which contribute to a trainer’s professional growth and expertise.

Moreover, those with an Exercise Science degree may have an advantage when it comes to advancing their careers into roles that require a higher level of academic comprehension like facility management, academic research or lecturing in related disciplines.

Matching Industry Standards and Expectations

The fitness industry values both academic knowledge and practical skills. Personal trainers need to keep pace with new research, trends, and advancements in sports science to provide the best service to their clients. Here, an Exercise Science degree can be extremely beneficial, as it equips trainers with the skills to critically evaluate new information and apply it effectively within their practice.

However, personal rapport and the ability to motivate clients are equally important. The best trainers blend scientific knowledge with exceptional interpersonal skills to guide their clients towards their fitness goals in a supportive and understanding manner.

Lastly, it’s important for those interested in becoming personal trainers to understand the legal and business aspects of the profession. Knowledge in business management, marketing, and legal matters pertaining to sports and fitness can also enhance a personal trainer's ability to succeed in a competitive market.

Embrace Your Path to Becoming a Registered Personal Trainer

In summary, an Exercise Science degree equips you with valuable theoretical knowledge about fitness and human physiology and allows you to transition to a fully registered personal trainer in Australia.

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Fitness Education Online are one of the leading providers in the world when it comes to the professional development of Personal Trainers. We have over 30 registered AUSactive CEC courses.  Click here to check them out!


About The Author: April Allyson Barcebal
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