Tippett began playing Australian rules football for the first time in an inter-school sports tournament for All Saints Anglican College in 2004. It was not until he returned from a Basketball tour of the United States that he began to take football seriously. Trying out for the Gold Coast Stingrays, he made the team and they went on to be crowned state champions. Following the victory he joined the Southport Sharks for their 2005 season and after a few games in the reserves he made his seniors debut at the Gabba against the Brisbane Lions reserves team and matched up on AFL premiership player Jamie Charman. Kurt would end 2005 with the Sharks reserves best and fairest award while playing in 10 seniors matches for the season. He then went on to represent Queensland in the 2006 AFL Under 18 Championships where they would go undefeated through the tournament to win the second division title. He would also be the second highest goal kicker during the Sharks 2006 premiership winning season. In November he was drafted to the Adelaide Crows with the 32nd pick in the 2006 AFL Draft.
Tippett made his debut in 2008. Playing as a key forward and ruckman, he became a regular in the side, but was often criticized for his inaccurate kicking at goal. At the Crows Club Champion evening, he received a 2008 Rising Star Nomination.
By the next season, Tippett had begun to develop into a potent tall forward. A bag of seven goals and a high mark against Essendon in Round 11 showed his potential to become the high-scoring key forward that Adelaide had lacked since the departure of Tony Modra, and with successive bags of five against Richmond and Fremantle he showed he could perform on a regular basis. He finished the home-and-away season with 47 goals, second behind only Jason Porplyzia (52) in the club's goalkicking. He kicked 8 more goals in the finals to finish with 55 for the year. His dramatic 60m goal from the boundary line gave Adelaide a 1 point lead against Collingwood in the last minute of the 2009 semi final; however, this went in vain as opposing forward Jack Anthony restored Collingwood's lead seconds later, resulting in a heartbreaking loss.
In 2009 he signed a three-year deal with the Crows, preventing the soon-to-be Gold Coast club from recruiting him as one of their uncontracted player signings. In 2010 Tippet was the Crow's leading goalkicker, demonstrating that the deal signed the previous season would pay dividends with the club boasting one of the top forwards in the competition.
On October 6, 2012 it was announced Tippett would request a trade to the Sydney Swans. Criticism was later heard from many people, two of which were Crows legend Mark Ricciuto, who said that Tippett was a money driver and former Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett who angrily said the Swans should be stripped of money on trying to get him.
Although things shifted when it was revealed Tippett and the Adelaide Football Club breached AFL rules regarding his contract. Tippett was offered money not stipulated under the club's salary cap. As a result the club was fined and lost its first two draft picks in the 2012–2013 National Drafts, while Tippett was fined and suspended for 11 matches. The proposed trade to Sydney was blocked by the AFL, with Sydney eventually picking him up in the Pre-Season Draft, while Adelaide lost Tippett for nothing.
Tippett debuted for the Swans in Round 13 of the 2013 AFL season when Sydney played Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium. He kicked a goal in the first minute, finished with two, and collected six possessions.  Although missing the first 11 rounds of the season, Tippet showed his prowess in front of the goals winning the Swans leading goal kicker award. 
After an injury interrupted start to the year, Tippett would play his first game for 2014 in round 8 against Hawthorn, kicking four goals. He would go on to play the next two games showing good signs before tearing the meniscus in his right knee. He returned against the Giants but was in and out of the side due to his troublesome knee. He would then go on to play in his first grand final only to lose to the Hawks kicking, 1 goal from 16 disposals for the match.