What Are the Requirements to Be a Personal or Athletic Trainer?

If you'd like to work in a fitness or sports setting and you're interested in helping people lead healthy, athletic lifestyles, a career as a personal or athletic trainer could be right for you. Read on to learn about the education and certification options for these careers. Schools offering Fitness Trainer degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Requirements for Personal or Athletic Trainers

The requirements for personal or athletic trainers vary depending on the career. A high school diploma is required to become a personal trainer, and a bachelor's degree is typically required for athletic trainers. Certification is also available for both careers.

Important Facts About Personal and Athletic Trainers

PersonalAthletic
SpecializationsYouth, group, weight loss, corrective exercise None
Continuing EducationRequired every two years to maintain certificationRequired every year to maintain certification
Online AvailabilityCertification available onlineCoursework online; clinical onsite
Common CoursesResistance training, flexibilityTherapeutic modalities, medical aspects

Athletic Trainer

As an athletic trainer, you work with athletes in a school, medical, or professional sports capacity. You also might work in a recreation or performing arts setting. Key duties of athletic trainers include designing training and treatment programs, performing any necessary office and administration tasks, and communicating with managers, coaches, players, and athletes regarding injury prevention. Other responsibilities might include wrapping and taping limbs and appendages to prepare athletes for play and determining further referral based on injuries. You also would work with sports doctors to determine injury status, treatment, and rehabilitation. As a team or athlete's trainer, you likely would travel to games or meets.

Education

If you want to become an athletic trainer, you'll need at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited college, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). A bachelor's degree typically is needed for professional certification and licensure.

You'll want to choose an undergraduate athletic program that's accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). Courses you take include evaluation and diagnosis of injuries, injury prevention, pathology, immediate care, taping and bracing, kinetics, physiology, therapy, rehabilitation and physical growth. You'll also be required to participate in clinical rotations. To advance in the industry, you may need to earn a master's degree, according to the BLS.

Certification or Licensure

The Board of Certification for the Athletic Trainer (BOC, www.bocatc.org) offers certification for athletic trainers, which many states use as a qualification for licensure. Requirements for certification include graduation from a CAATE-accredited program and proof of training in emergency cardiac care. The BOC reports that all 49 states and the District of Columbia require registrations, and all of them accept the BOC exam as proof of qualification.

Personal Trainer

Personal trainers work with clients on an individual basis in home or gym settings. As a personal trainer, your main goal would be helping clients reach their desired level of fitness by teaching them exercise techniques and introducing them to various exercise equipment. You're also responsible for keeping track of your clients' progress.

Education and Certification

According to the BLS, many personal trainers obtain a bachelor's degree in physical education, kinesiology, or a related area. However, some employers might accept certification in place of a degree, or a high school diploma in some cases. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) offers numerous certifications in the fitness and training field. Additionally, you might seek voluntary certification in certain types of fitness training, such as yoga.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Georgetown University

    Georgetown University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Georgetown University:

    • Master

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  • The George Washington University

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    Popular programs at The George Washington University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

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  • American University

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    Popular programs at American University:

    • Master

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  • George Mason University

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  • Altierus

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    • Virginia: Woodbridge
  • Virginia College

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    • Georgia: Columbus, Macon, Savannah
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  • Saint Joseph's University

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  • Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

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    Popular programs at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota:

    • Master

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  • Kaplan University

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  • Grand Canyon University

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    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
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