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Personal Trainer Advancement Opportunities

If you're a personal trainer looking to advance your career, consider earning a bachelor's degree in recreational therapy, exercise physiology, or athletic training. Your experience in exercise and fitness will make the progression easier.

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Advancement Opportunities for Personal Trainers

Personal trainers instruct individual clients in exercise activities, which may include cardio exercises, strength training, and stretching. They develop a training program in accordance with the client's goals, skills, and fitness level. With a 4-year degree, they could prepare themselves for careers in recreational therapy, exercise physiology, or athletic training. These careers all entail some physical instruction, in group or individual sessions. A bachelor's degree and other credentials are needed to qualify.

Job Title Median Annual Salary (2017)* Projected Job Growth (2016-2026)* Required Education
Recreational Therapist $47,680 7% Bachelor's degree
Exercise Physiologists $49,090 13% Bachelor's degree
Athletic Trainer $46,630 23% Bachelor's degree

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Information

Recreational Therapist

Recreational therapists utilize a number of leisure activities to help people ease their stress, anxiety, or depression; regain physical functioning and strength; boost cognition; and build social skills. These treatment programs can include drama, music, dance, sports, games, aquatics, community events, and arts and crafts. The therapy varies by the individual or segment of people being treated. Many recreational therapists work with specific groups, such as children or the elderly. Patients may have disabilities, injuries, or illnesses. That's where recreation workers and recreational therapists differ: the former concentrates solely on enjoyment of these activities while the latter uses them therapeutically. Like personal fitness trainers, these professionals can instruct others in physical activity, oftentimes one-on-one. To be a recreational therapist, you must have a bachelor's degree and certification.

Exercise Physiologists

Exercise physiologists aim to improve a person's health by providing exercise plans and health education. They don't just work to improve fitness, but cardiovascular functioning, mobility, and body composition. Their patients typically have chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease or pulmonary lung disease. Treatment is determined by the patient's body health and their disease or ailment. Medical equipment is used to assess health indicators and risk factors, after which a specific regimen is given. Exercise physiologists often work with primary physicians, who refer patients to them. Aspirants should opt for a bachelor's in kinesiology, exercise physiology, or exercise science.

Athletic Trainer

Athletic trainers diagnose and treat athletic injuries, which involves those of the muscles and bones. When an athlete is hurt, the athletic trainer provides first aid and applies tape, bandages, or other protective articles. They also implement preventative and rehabilitative programs. Apart from sports, athletic trainers work in other settings where physical exertion is employed, including the military, law enforcement, and performance arts. It's common for them to work with and consult physicians. When athletic trainers are not providing assistance, they do administrative work such as recording injuries and getting together with athletic directors. A bachelor's degree is requisite for the job, and most states also require a license or certification.

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