Who’s Who at the Gym

These are some of the people you may encounter while exercising for pain management.

Physical therapists provide physical therapy, ordered by a physician, to rehabilitate the body after injury or disease. To become a physical therapist, you must first graduate from a physical therapy college program with either a master’s or doctoral degree. All states require licensing of physical therapists. To obtain a license, a candidate must pass the National Physical Therapy Exam, administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.

Exercise physiologists provide highly skilled measurements of physiological systems to identify inefficiencies that can be reversed to enhance functional capacity. They are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree, and many have advanced degrees. Currently, many states have additional licensing requirements.

Athletic trainers are certified by the Board of Certification for the Athletic Trainer (BCAT). They have to graduate with at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited athletic trainer program and pass a test administered by BCAT. Roughly 70% of certified athletic trainers hold master’s degrees. Athletic trainers currently are licensed in 49 states, with California being the only holdout.

Strength and conditioning specialists generally are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree or chiropractic medicine degree. Upon completion, candidates can take the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist exam, but there are no state licensure requirements to practice.

Personal trainers work with individuals or groups in various work settings to help them achieve their strength and fitness goals. They are not required to have a degree or certification. No states have licensing requirements at this time.

How to Find the Right Exercise Facility for You

Kurt Ullman, RN, is an Indiana-based medical writer whose career spans 30 years.

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