So you've reached the end of your exercise physiology degree and you're ready to take the first steps towards your career. It's an exciting and nerve-wracking time! But suddenly you're feeling a little apprehensive at the thought of choosing your career path, and you’re not sure what to do.
If this is a thought you can relate to, don't worry. A lot of new grads feel the same way. How do you choose the next steps when there are so many different environments to work in? Whether you're hitting the road visiting clients in their homes or working in schools, aged care homes, or rehabilitation centres, there are tons of possibilities out there.
Let’s explore some of your options.
You have a great range of valuable skills
What you've learned throughout your degree is an asset, and will help you succeed in a diverse range of jobs. Think about it - you no doubt have excellent observational skills to assess patients, unparalleled communication skills, and you'll be a fantastic investigator and problem-solver. These skills are imperative in assessing clients and recommending treatment plans for their unique situations.
Your motivation and eagerness to help people are essential in all exercise physiology roles. You're passionate about pushing yourself and helping people regain their health, and your ability to empathise with patients means you have great connections with the people you help.
And of course, as an accredited exercise physiologist, you are in demand in an array of different industries. Ready to dive in?
Where can your exercise physiology degree take you?
As an exercise physiologist, you have the skills that are required to help people who have suffered injury or illness to return to full function. Whilst exercise prescription may be one component of this, your training means you can take a holistic view of recovery and assist clients with their return to full functioning lives both physically and psychologically. When you are working in schemes that support those with injuries and illnesses, you will work in a range of different environments. You may be involved in assessing workplaces and duties that are suitable for your clients level of functioning. You will liaise with treatment providers, medical specialists and employers, and your role will be pivotal in designing the programs that will help your client to return to productive work and life. Your role is essentially to offer support to your clients and empower them in their recovery and rehabilitation, as well as coordinate contact with their team.
Wellness coordinator or coach
As a wellness coordinator, no two days will ever be the same. You'll be responsible for designing and implementing programs to improve your clients' wellbeing. This can be for individuals or entire teams of people, within many different settings. Businesses will often call on the help of a wellness coordinator to create healthy eating and exercise programs for their employees to ensure happiness and productivity. This can include recommending and organising physical activity, educating people on nutrition, and assisting them in reaching their health goals.
As the role of a wellness coordinator is so varied, you'll have the opportunity to work in a bunch of different settings, including businesses and corporations, health organisations, and within the community.
Strength and conditioning coach
As a strength and conditioning coach, your role is to create plans and deliver physical support specifically for sports performance. This means not only creating strategies for physical development in order for your clients to excel, but also to prevent injury and guide athletes through recovery should they get injured.
Essentially, your goal is to improve your clients' physical performance, which means you have to have great observational and assessment skills. In reducing injury, you also need to be well aware of any areas prone to injury and work with your client to strengthen these areas.
You may find yourself working at schools or universities, in physiotherapy clinics, or for professional sports teams and sporting clubs.
Australian Defence Force
Working in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) is a physically challenging job role. As such, there is a demand for exercise physiologists to ensure both high physical performance as well as working to reduce potential injury. You'll also be helping patients regain physical movement in their recovery via physical activity plans.
It can be challenging navigating the aged care sector, and your role will be varied. You will be responsible for exercise counselling, health education, and physical rehabilitation and wellness.
A range of Allied Health professionals work within the aged care sector as there is an abundance of roles available. A lot of your clients will not only be dealing with the general changes in physical ability that occurs with aging, but also chronic diseases and illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and more. As an exercise physiologist, you’ll be able to help older patients with exercise, behaviour, and overall lifestyle modification programs, and enable them to live healthy and fulfilled lives.
Working within remote communities as an exercise physiologist can be incredibly rewarding and an exciting opportunity to immerse yourself in a range of diverse perspectives. Community and outreach-based Allied Health roles are a fantastic way to get a change of scenery and gain incredibly valuable regional healthcare experience.
You'll be performing assessments and implementing exercise plans to manage and prevent chronic diseases, and assist community groups in improving their health.
Where to next?
There is a growing demand for Exercise Physiologists in Australia. If you like the idea of working with a wide range of perspectives and clients from a variety of age groups, genders, and conditions, check out our Allied Health Graduate Program. You’ll be able to learn some exceptional skills and gain insight into other Allied Health disciplines other than your own, making you a more well-rounded health practitioner.
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