Exercise Physiologist vs Personal Trainer Explained

While Personal Trainers and Exercise Physiologists are both passionate about your wellbeing and have a common goal of helping you reach your physical goals there are a few important differences between them:

What is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP)?

AEPs are university qualified, Allied Health professionals equipped with the knowledge, skills and competencies to design, deliver and evaluate safe and effective exercise interventions for healthy populations as well as people with chronic medical conditions, injuries or disabilities. AEPs administer exercise as medicine where there is evidence that exercise can improve the client’s clinical status.

What is a Personal Trainer?

Personal Trainers are required to complete certificate level education in order to become qualified and are experienced with healthy populations mainly focusing on aesthetic goals.



Exercise Physiologist

4-year university qualifications. This provides qualifications as an Accredited Exercise Scientist and an Accredited Exercise Physiologist. All AEPs must carry professional registrations with ESSA (Exercise and Sports Science Australia), the national governing body.

Personal Trainer

Certificate level training ranging anywhere from 2 weeks to 12 months.

Scope of Practice

Exercise Physiologist

Exercise prescription for healthy populations. In addition, AEPs cover pathologies including cardiovascular, metabolic, neurological, musculoskeletal, cancers, kidney, respiratory / pulmonary and mental health injury and illness. AEPs administer exercise as medicine.

Personal Trainer

Personal Trainers are well equipped to prescribe exercise to healthy populations helping people without injury or illness to achieve aesthetic goals.


Exercise Physiologist

Your AEP will collaborate with other members of your health care team (doctors, specialists and other Allied Health professionals) and each member will be notified of your assessments and progress along the way to achieving medical goals.

Personal Trainer

Personal Trainers will collaborate with the client to achieve personal goals.


Exercise Physiologist

Being recognised Allied Health Professionals, your AEP can offer Medicare and private health rebates with referrals. Some services are even bulk billed by some AEPs

Personal Trainer

Personal training clients commit to the full cost of programs and sessions.

Ongoing Education

Exercise Physiologist

AEPs are required to maintain education and must accrue 20 points for ongoing education each year.

Personal Trainer

Personal Trainers also maintain education and can accrue 20 points over a 2-year period.

If you have a condition or injury that would benefit from physical activity, but you are unsure where to start an AEP is the right health professional for you!

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