Physical Trainer Degree Programs with Course Information

Explore undergraduate and graduate degree programs in physical training, including coursework and requirements. In addition, review BLS data on median salary and job outlook.

Essential Information

In physical training degree programs, students learn about human anatomy, emergency care, injury prevention and personal health. Certification is required to work as a physical trainer, and students need to complete at least a bachelor's degree to get certified by the National Association of Athletic Trainers (NATA).

Programs are available at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree. Associate's and bachelor's degree applicants require a high school diploma or equivalent to enroll. Master's degrees, on the other hand, require a bachelor's degree and a certain amount of supervised experience. Bachelor's degree programs generally take four years to complete and include hands-on training. Coursework teaches students how to identify and treat physical injuries and illnesses, along with sports psychology and guidelines of professional physical therapy practice.

Associate's Degree in Physical Training

Many students who complete this type of degree continue their education at 4-year colleges in order to earn a bachelor's degree, which is required to become a certified physical trainer. Typical courses found in an associate's degree program include:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Exercise physiology
  • Treating injuries
  • First aid
  • Therapeutic exercise

Bachelor's Degree in Physical Training

In addition to classroom work, students are required to complete hands-on clinical experience, which can prepare them to work with patients and physicians. Students enrolled in a bachelor's degree program will complete general education coursework in addition to core courses in physical training that prepare them to identify, treat, manage and prevent injuries. Typical courses found in a bachelor's degree program include:

  • Health care delivery
  • Biology
  • Epidemiology
  • Information systems in health care
  • Chemistry

Master's Degree in Physical Training

A master's degree program in physical training introduces graduate students to advanced research methods in the field, in addition to advanced courses in subjects such as psychomotor skills or orthopedics. Students who are interested in teaching physical training might require additional teacher certification. Common courses in graduate-level physical training degree programs include:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Program administration
  • Sport and exercise science
  • Exercise physiology
  • Kinesiology

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Job opportunities for athletic trainers are expected to increase at a rate of 21% between 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Salaries for physical trainers vary depending on the number of years spent in the field and the specific position. As of 2015, the median salary for an athletic trainer was $44,670, according to the BLS. The top ten percent of professionals made $68,300 or more.

Potential students looking to combine athletics and health may consider a career as a physical trainer. Programs in this field are available at the associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. Upon graduation, students can expect to join a growing workforce within this field.

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