Physical Therapy and Personal Training

Pre Employment Evaluations Minnesota

Physical Therapy and Personal Training

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Physical Therapy and Personal Training

Physical Therapy and Personal Training are often seen as interchangeable by most of the population. Although the two professions are similar there are differences especially when it comes to scope of practice.

Physical Therapy (PT)

Physical Therapists obtain advanced training and graduate with a healthcare degree from an accredited institution. Following graduation candidates must take, and pass, a licensing examination to legally practice physical therapy.

A degree in physical therapy allows one to provide differential diagnosis, therapeutic interventions including but not limited to soft tissue and joint mobilizations, electrical stimulation, and Cryotherapy. Physical therapists also have the professional responsibility to guide patients to other medical professionals when the case presentation is not within the physical therapy scope of practice.

In addition, physical therapists are responsible for supervising assistants, students, techs/aides, and have frequent collaboration with other licensed healthcare professionals. All in all, a physical therapist is a vital part of the healthcare team when it comes to injury rehabilitation and preventative care assisting in optimizing an individual’s quality of life.

Personal Training

Personal trainers are leaders in improving individual’s fitness goals. Often personal trainers will obtain a certification from National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) or similar organization. A certification enhances the skills and marketability of a personal trainer to assist clients in order to achieve improvements in muscular strength, athletic performance, and weight management.

Personal trainers utilize multiple testing metrics including body composition, movement screening, and VO2 max to name a few. These, and similar metrics, allow personal trainers to customize and individualize fitness programs for people of varying fitness levels and body compositions.

Which PT?

With both professions starting with the letters “P” and “T” it can be easy to assume to label all individuals as “PT”s. The abbreviation is to be utilized exclusively by licensed Physical Therapists. When personal trainers utilize the abbreviation, PT, it is misleading, unethical and illegal.

To reduce confusion use this way of thinking to help when trying to make a decision. If you are injured or in pain, Physical Therapy is the entry point. If you are looking to improve fitness and/or performance, think Personal Training (as long as you are not in pain or injured).

Abbreviations aside, physical therapy and personal training can be a match made in heaven when each profession leverages their strengths and skill sets in the direction of the patient and their needs.

Optimizing the Patient/Client Experience

For a physical therapist, having a trusted and knowledgeable personal trainer to work with is vital. Such a relationship allows physical therapists to have a safe and effective direction to send patients after discharge, because as any physical therapist knows, most people have not completed “rehab” when an insurance company has indicated PT is to be completed.

For a personal trainer, having a trusted and knowledgeable physical therapist to work with will provide access to a referral source if patients begin to experience pain or injury. PTs will be able to provide diagnosis and guidance for each specific client case. This will allow the trainer and client to create better training sessions thus optimizing gains and minimizing risk during the patient’s injury recovery time frame.

Utilizing the similar, but different, professions in synergy will not only allow an optimal patient/client experience, it will also build a fantastic referral source for the physical therapist while creating a motivated and educated, marketing resource to feed the personal trainers client book. Partnerships between physical therapy and personal training to optimize injury care, fitness, and overall wellness is the wave of the future.


We hope you do not get hurt, but if you do, check out our conveniently located facilities: Eagan and Cottage Grove. Compcare has physical therapy appointments on both walk-in and scheduled basis.


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