The Difference Between a Personal Trainer and an Athletic Trainer

Between personal trainers, athletic trainers, coaches, fitness professionals and instructors, it can be confusing to know who really does what. Coaches, fitness professionals and fitness instructors may or may not have certifications, you can be sure that both personal trainers and athletic trainers do. But that’s where the similarities end. Here’s the real difference between a personal trainer and an athletic trainer.

The Personal Trainer

A certified personal trainer has met requirements set forth by a national certifying organization to develop and execute fitness programs for their clients. The industry is customer service-oriented with a focus on helping people improve their health and fitness while reducing risk factors.

A personal trainer can do all of the following:

  • Conduct assessments to facilitate the design of their fitness program
  • Create safe, effective fitness programs tailored to a client’s individual needs and goals
  • Provide specific, hands-on instruction and education
  • Offer services that complement medical treatments or rehabilitation, as part of a team approach to health care
  • Refer clients to other professionals as necessary

You’ll find certified personal trainers in gyms, private fitness studios, rehabilitation facilities, hospitals and other facilities. Many trainers work hours in the early morning, through lunch, in the evenings and on weekends to suit their clients’ work schedules.

The Athletic Trainer

The American Medical Association recognized certified athletic trainers as health professionals. These individuals may work under a licensed physician, and their purpose is to help prevent and treat injuries. They specialize in preventing, diagnosing, assessing, treating and rehabbing muscle and bone injuries, though specifics may vary depending on the trainer and the state.


In almost all 50 states, athletic trainers must be licensed or registered, which requires a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited athletic training program plus the passing of a comprehensive exam.

With these credentials, athletic trainers can work for sports teams in high schools and universities, as well as professional teams, or in hospitals and clinics.

Which Do You Need?

If you’re just looking for some help getting in shape, you need a personal trainer. And the experts at Framework Personal Training in Reno are happy to help. Contact us today, and see what we can do for you.

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