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Exercise scientist

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Summary of occupation

Exercise scientists help people increase their fitness, sporting performance and general health. They use a combination of biomechanics, physiology, psychology and performance analysis to assess a person's individual requirements and develop an appropriate training program. Exercise scientists are primarily involved with improving peoples health, and helping them recover from illness through physical activities. There are also opportunities to work in sports science, which involves using the same knowledge to help sporting teams and/or individual athletes to keep performing at their peak and recover from injury.

ANZSCO description: Exercise scientists help people increase their fitness, sporting performance and general health.
Alternative names: Exercise Physiologist, Sports Scientist
Specialisations:
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

An exercise scientist needs:

  • to enjoy sports and other fitness activities
  • good communication skills
  • good observation and problem solving skills
  • to be able to work as part of a team
  • good interpersonal skills
  • an interest in the practical application of scientific ideas and principles
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Working conditions

Exercise scientists may work in a number of settings, including hospitals, universities, health and fitness centres, government organisations and with sporting teams and clubs. They often work closely with general practitioners and other medical professionals to develop exercise programs.

Sports scientists working with sporting teams may be required to work outdoors in a variety of weather conditions. They may also have to work evenings and weekends in order to attend training sessions and matches.

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Salary details

On average, exercise scientists, classified under other natural and physical science professionals, can expect to earn between $1 500 and $1 999 per week ($78 000 and $103 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As an exercise scientist develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Exercise scientists use a range of gym equipment, such as treadmills, weights and exercise bikes. They often ask patients to exercise with this equipment while attached to specialised equipment used to monitor factors such as heart and breathing rates. They may also use equipment and computer programs that monitor and map how a patient or client moves while exercising in order to determine the best way to move to increase performance and minimise the risk of injury.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become an exercise scientist you usually need to complete a degree in science with major in exercise and sports science, exercise and rehabilitation, sport and health science, or a related field.

Most of the universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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