What Is The Difference Between An Athletic Trainer And A Fitness Trainer?

Athletic trainers and fitness trainers may have the same second word in their respective professions and they may both work in the field of health and fitness but they are not the same careers. In fact, they are worlds apart in terms of the qualifications needed to enter the profession and their respective duties and responsibilities. Unfortunately, many still continue to erroneously mistake one career for the other. Let’s set the record straight once and for all and give a lowdown on the differences of these two professions.

The work of athletic trainers centers on the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries involving the bones and muscles. They are part of the allied healthcare profession and as such, they typically work together with doctors and other healthcare professionals in addressing emergency and chronic conditions. Under the supervision of licensed physicians, they work together with doctors in discussing rehabilitation programs for athletes that have been injured and developing plans to bring them back to the peak of health. If complete rehabilitation is not possible, they devise ways to lessen the potential impairments, functional disabilities and societal limitations that result from the injury. They work mostly with professional and amateur athletes although they may also be hired by the military and other groups.

Fitness trainers, on the other hand, lead and encourage different kinds of people in exercise routines either individually or in groups. Working with people of varying ages and skill levels, fitness trainers may form their own routines for various exercise or they may use a pre-choreographed routine that have been developed by fitness organizations. They also teach students the correct way of performing a particular movement so injury is avoided and the benefits of the workout are maximized. They also see to it that safety practices are followed during routines especially in workouts involving exercise equipment. Fitness trainers also look at the level of fitness and skill of their clients and make the necessary adjustments to their routine or movements. They may also develop classes that cater to beginners as well as sessions for those who are already advanced learners of a particular routine.

The educational requirements for both careers also vary. To become an athletic trainer, a bachelor’s degree in athletic training is necessary. They must also pass the standard certification exam of the Board of Certifications so they can get licensed to practice. Fitness trainers, on the other hand, may enter the profession armed only with a high school diploma although more employers want their fitness trainers to hold postsecondary degrees. Compared to only one certifying agency for athletic trainers, fitness trainers may obtain their certification from different agencies that have their own requirements for education, experience and testing.

As far as their work environment is concerned, athletic trainers can be found working for schools and colleges, physicians’ offices, hospitals and sports team. Fitness trainers, meanwhile, are hired by fitness and recreational sports centers, health clubs and gyms. Those who are self-employed may see clients in their homes.

Career Spotlight: Fitness Trainer

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