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The Easy Guide To An Athletic Trainer VS Personal Trainer – System2 Blog

The Easy Guide To An Athletic Trainer VS Personal Trainer

August 10, 2021


If you’ve ever had a conversation where you’ve heard about personal trainers and athletic trainers and gotten confused about the difference in terminology, you’re not alone.

A lot of people are confused about the differences between the two.

Thankfully, the two types of trainers are actually very different and easy to tell apart once you know what the terms mean.

Without further ado…

What’s the difference between an athletic trainer vs a personal trainer?

The truth is that there’s a world of difference between athletic trainers and personal trainers.

In spite of the similar terms, there’s almost no overlap in the professional services they provide. They are both great gym alternatives.

The exception to this is that of course, they both deal with the physical health and fitness of their clients in some way.

With that key similarity in mind, we’re going to go over some of the many important things that make the two types of trainers very different.

Differences between athletic trainers and personal trainers

The biggest difference in the professional function between athletic trainers versus personal trainers is their level of education and how that education is applied.

A professional certified athletic trainer will typically be expected to have at least a bachelor’s degree or even a master’s degree in athletic training.

Meanwhile, a certified personal trainer typically only needs to earn a certification from an institution such as the American Council on exercise or the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

This doesn’t mean that personal trainers are less qualified or less relevant than athletic trainers, it only means that they each have a different job and the skills they each use to do their unique job require different amounts of time to acquire.

Another thing that makes them different is who they work for.

Athletic trainers tend to work for institutions and groups, while personal trainers tend toward working with individuals.

They both end up in direct one-on-one contact with people, but the relationship is different.

One more thing that makes the two kinds of trainers different from one another is how you go about getting in contact with one.

With athletic trainers, chances are good that you’ll never have to do the footwork of getting in contact with one on your own.

Personal trainers, meanwhile, you will need to personally look for one that fits your specific needs.

Athletic trainers

Athletic trainers work typically alongside medical professionals in clinical settings to provide rehabilitation or preventative programs for people who have been or are likely to become injured.

What is an athletic trainer?

Athletic trainer, in specific, is a term referring to a person who helps treat injuries in the stages after immediate trauma is under control.

What level of education does an athletic trainer need?

For athletic trainers, a certification is usually not enough.

Most will require enough time in school to earn a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree, though a master’s degree is usually preferred.

While there are a number of schools that can offer the necessary school program to become one, such schools will always be grueling and time-consuming.

You won’t see any athletic trainers directly post-high school, that’s for certain.

This means that if an athletic trainer can produce both a relevant certification and matching degree, you can be sure they know what they’re doing.

Depending on the type of clients they will be working for, they may also have limited medical training to provide first aid when injuries occur in the field until specialized medical staff arrives on the scene to address those injuries.

Who do athletic trainers work for?

Typically, athletic trainers work most prominently with professional athletes and sports teams.

Professional athletes, after all, are the sort of people who are very likely to need the services of an athletic trainer.

Often an athlete or team will have their own trainer on hand.

However, this isn’t all.

Athletic trainers work just as often in hospitals and other clinical settings.

How do you get an athletic trainer?

If you work in the kind of career path where you are likely to need an athletic training instructor, there’s a very good chance you already have one – and a personal trainer as well, more likely than not.

Otherwise, if you’ve sustained injuries significant enough that your medical counsel would recommend an athletic training exercise program for rehabilitation, you won’t have to search for one yourself.

That same counsel will be able to put you in contact with one.

This is because it is common for athletic trainers to have businesses and medical facilities as clients rather than taking on individuals directly as clients.

What precisely does an athletic trainer actually do?

For one example, a person might be in one of a number of medical hospitals post-injury.

Any medical center worth their salt will have a trainer on hand to consult with such patients after medical professionals have the time to treat the patient’s injuries for the short term.

The trainer might perform a cursory exam of the injury in question, then work together with medical staff to provide an exercise regime specially tailored for the rehab from that injury.

Alternatively, trainers might be assigned to a group of sports players to teach them to play in such a way that reduces their chances of sustaining injuries in the first place.

Personal trainers

Athletic trainers aside, for now, personal trainers tend to work on their own to provide exercise programs to anyone who wants to improve their health and fitness.

What is a personal trainer?

Personal trainers are a type of fitness trainers that work with all kinds of people from all walks of life to get into the best shape that they can get.

What level of education is needed by personal trainers?

Athletic trainers need to spend a lot of time at school before they start their careers.

Unlike an athletic trainer, personal trainers generally only need a certification before their career can begin.

There are a number of specialized schools with training programs to give an aspiring trainer the fitness knowledge necessary to be a personal trainer.

Example schools include the American Council on Exercise and the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

Who should hire a personal trainer?

Personal trainers offer services that are valuable to anyone, from high-level athlete teams to school students and everyone in between.

It isn’t at all unusual for a sports team to have the services of both an athletic trainer and a personal trainer on hand, if not more than one or the other.

In fact, athletic training instructors may well have their own personal trainer to assist in training their own health and fitness.

What does a personal trainer actually do?

Personal trainers most often will assess the current health and fitness of their clients, and then combine that assessment with their specialized knowledge to create exercise programs for their clients to practice and follow.

How do you get a personal trainer?

There are a number of ways to go about your search for a personal trainer to help you come up with an exercise program to improve your health and fitness.

One option is to search for local health clubs.

Most health clubs in your area whether they are small private businesses or part of larger chains will almost certainly have personal trainers on staff.

These trainers will likely be able to refer you to their own clients, through whom you will be able to see the health and fitness results post-practice with their instructor.

Once you’ve seen those results, you’ll be able to see for yourself whether that trainer will be able to help you reach your own health and fitness goals.

Another option is to look online.

There are a number of platforms that offer access to online personal trainers, though not all of them are of superior quality. Online personal trainers are more cost-effective too.

You’ll want to be sure to be on the lookout for uncertified trainers and other red flags that might indicate that a service you’re looking at isn’t quite on the up and up.

If such a search sounds exhausting, you’re not alone on that front.

Thankfully, System2 was created as the ideal online training platform for you to connect with influencers. The app can provide an effective home workout.

The process is quick and easy, and the trainers are always available to provide information and feedback.

If you’re sick and tired of being out of shape, you’ll want to seriously consider checking out System2’s influencers.


There you have it, everything you need to know about the difference between the two kinds of trainer.

One helps rehabilitate patients after injuries, the other helps able-bodied people make the most of their personal health and fitness.

Either of them makes for a perfectly respectable career path.

But, if you’re on a search to figure out which one you need, more likely than not it will be a personal trainer you’re looking for.

If you’re ready to commit to achieving your goals, it’s time for you to get System2.



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