Athletic Trainers vs. Personal Trainers

We often get questions regarding what exactly is an athletic trainer, and how they differ from a personal trainer or a physical therapist.  We have two Certified Athletic Trainers at our office that perform your daily rehab exercises including, but not limited to manual therapy, graston therapy and exercises.  Below we have broken down information regarding an Athletic Trainer vs. a Personal Trainer.


An athletic trainer is an expert at recognizing, treating and preventing musculoskeletal injuries. ATs meets qualifications set by the Board of Certification, Inc., and adhere to the requirements of a state licensing board. ATs practice under the direction of a physician and are members of a health care profession recognized by the American Medical Association.


  • Must obtain, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree in athletic training
  • Must pass a comprehensive exam to earn the ATC credential
  • Must keep their knowledge and skills current by participating in continuing education
  • Must adhere to standards of professional practice set by one national certifying agency and to a national code of ethics

Daily Duties:

– Provide physical medicine and rehabilitation services

– Prevent, diagnose, treat and rehabilitate injuries (acute and chronic)

– Coordinate care with physicians and other health-care professionals

– Work in schools, colleges, professional sports, clinics, hospitals, corporations, industry, military, performing arts


A personal trainer develops, monitors and changes an individual’s specific exercise program in a fitness or sports setting; some personal trainers also make nutrition recommendations. Personal trainers can earn credentials through a number of agencies and can work as fitness trainers without formal instruction or certification.


  • May or may not have higher education in health sciences
  • May or may not be required to obtain certification or state licensing
  • May or may not participate in continuing education
  • May become certified by any one of numerous organizations that set varying education and practice requirements

Daily Duties:

– Assess fitness needs and design appropriate exercise regimens

– Work with clients to achieve fitness goals

– Help educate the public on the importance of physical activity

– Work in health clubs, wellness centers and other locations where fitness activities take place

Athletic trainers and personal trainers are both necessary in their own ways.  We refer to personal trainers to take our patients to the next level once they have successfully graduated from rehabilitative care.

If you have any questions regarding athletic training, or are looking for a referral to a trusted personal trainer do not hesitate to contact us!

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