What’s the difference between an Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) and a Personal Trainer (PT)?
Written by: Alicia
Published on: March 16, 2021

A Personal Trainer (PT) attains a Personal Fitness Qualification (Cert IV), which may only take 6 weeks to complete. An Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) is an Allied Health Practitioner, who has completed study at a tertiary level for at minimum 4.5 years.

What are the differences between a PT and an EP?

Personal Trainer Accredited Exercise Physiologist 

– Not claimable under Medicare

– Qualified to design and deliver fitness programs to persons of a low health risk (ie apparently healthy)

– Insured and qualified by Fitness Australia 

– Able to attain a Medical Provider number

– Claimable under Medicare, Department of Veterans Affairs, Workers Compensation and Private Health Insurance

– Qualified and Specialised to deliver lifestyle and exercise interventions to persons at risk of developing, or with existing complex or chronic medical conditions/injuries   

– Insured and accredited by Exercise and Sport Science Australia 

Despite the differences, some personal trainers are very knowledgeable regarding complex and chronic conditions. Although they may not be able to work directly with these patients, sometimes they can be guided and supervised by AEP to deliver the exercises, similar to an Allied Health Assistant.

AEP’s prevent and manage chronic health conditions and injuries.
Throughout the 4.5 years at uni, EP’s design and deliver evidence based exercise prescription over their 500 hours of clinical placement.
What’s this mean? 

For example,
A patient with Chronic Heart Failure may require an altered program compared to a healthy patient.


Firstly, their heart is failing and can-not work at the same capacity a normal heart would. Secondly, they would experience a higher shortness of breath and fatigue. Lastly, if they were to work at an intensity that a healthy patient would it could be fatal.  

A patient with Multiple Sclerosis may experience higher levels of fatigue, cognitive and body regulation dysfunction, muscle-related symptoms (ie soreness, cramps), visual issues and vertigo.

Their exercise prescription will vary again. Why? Because we want to avoid them from experiencing a flare up, but want to improve their current physical abilities.

If you have any of the below, an AEP is the best person to see: 

– Asthma
– Arthritis
– Brain injury
– Diabetes
– Dementia
– Cancer
– Cerebral Palsy
– Chronic Pain (ie Back, Shoulder etc.)
– High Blood Pressure
– Heart Failure
– Parkinson’s Disease
– Pre- or Post-Operative rehabilitation
– Spinal Cord Injury
– Stroke

Why an AEP?

What’s the difference between an EP and Physio?

An AEP will utilise an exercise intervention as a modality for treatment for those with a chronic medical condition or injury, which is typically long term or ongoing.
Whereas, a physiotherapist will assess, diagnose, manage and treat acute (immediate) injuries or conditions.

Did you know: 

  • An AEP is in the best suited place to prescribe exercises based on certain conditions/injuries  
  • An AEP is not allowed to diagnose a patient’s condition 
  • An AEP, unless they have specialised training, are not allowed to manipulate or massage a patient 
  • A PT is not covered by insurance if they are treating a client or patient that is not classified as apparently healthy (No health concerns)

If you wish to find out more about how AEP’s can help, feel free to read our “Accredited Exercise Physiologists (AEPs) – What are we, and how can we help?” Blog above. 

If you would like further guidance on an appropriate and suitable exercise program tailored to your own health condition and abilities, feel free to contact the Revitalize team on (03) 9016 3415




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