Personal Training and Physical Therapy
is there a difference?
Weight loss and fitness degrees and certifications are becoming more and more popular. Unfortunately, the line between them and physical therapy can become blury.
Certified personal trainers (CPT's) can now specialize in rehab which can move some trainers dangerously close to (trying) practicing physical therapy without a degree. Not that physical therapists are threatened. No, but we do value our degrees, value our code of ethics, and we will protect our patients by educating them about the differences between PT's (physical therapists and CPT's.
Though the lines can be blury, I highly recommend any physical therapist to pursue additional certs or degrees the compliment their physical therapy degree for various reasons:
Differences between PT's and CPT's are clear in these aspects:
I found the physical therapy requirements to blend in nicely with the requirements for a CPT certification! The two areas of knowledge marry nicely. And they have paid off nicely in knowledge, expertise and the wallet.
My first pick is always ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine). The benchmark of all personal training certs! You can't go wrong. Grueling training requirements (and my final test on September 11, 2001! - failed along with the rest of my class). Re-tested later and passed with 100%! You can get super guidance pursuing personal training certification or degree at this highly respected and resourceful website called starting your own personal training business.
Later I took the home study course through ISSA (International Sports Science Association). It was good but a heavy focus on strength training with not much emphasis or respect for cardio vascular training. Suggested time to finish is 6 months, depending on life.
You can't go wrong with getting some CPT certs as well. BUT, the physical therapy requirements for your degree should come FIRST! In this economy, personal training becomes an "extra" that people are wiping from their budgets. Focus on your physical therapy degree - there are tons of physical therapy career options and something that people can get help with through insurance, your career choice stands solid.
Don't be fooled, however, the economy is also hitting the medical fields as people are deciding against elective surgeries which brings the bottom dollar line down in hospitals nationwide. There are no guaranatees for any career anymore.
After obtaining your PT degree, get the extra's on the side. Remember that your physical therapy degree takes far longer (3-5 years) to accomplish than does a 6 months home study course for personal training or a weekend certification. Your pay and your career security will likely reflect that.
Build your foundation with a solid degree... then pile on the extra's. Learn and grow as you go... it's really fun that way!
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