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What’s the difference between a strength & conditioning coach and a personal trainer?


Strength and conditioning coaches and personal trainers are both qualified fitness professionals who help clients achieve their fitness goals and improve their sporting performance. 


At first glance, strength and conditioning coaches and personal trainers seem to share many admirable traits and a deep knowledge surrounding the fitness and sporting industry. However, the duties and requirements expected of each are entirely different.  


If you enjoy all things health and fitness you may be looking to pursue a career where you can pass on your passion and help others achieve their exercise goals.  


Here are the notable differences between personal trainer and strength and conditioning professions to help you decide which path to take. 


Strength and conditioning coach vs personal trainer 


What is a personal trainer?  

A personal trainer, or PT, usually works one-to-one with clients in a gym or similar setting. Their clients mainly consist of the general public who are looking to improve their health and overall fitness.  


Trainers will perform initial evaluations to identify a client’s goals and needs. They will then advise how to achieve them by creating personalised exercise and nutrition plans.  


The focus of a personal trainer is to help others achieve their personal fitness and health goals by offering a safe and effective exercise programme.  


Their job responsibilities include supporting individuals throughout their fitness journey, demonstrating exercise techniques and how to use equipment, continually reviewing and adjusting training programmes and developing up-to-date training plans.  


How to become a personal trainer 

Personal trainers must have a deep understanding and knowledge of the body and muscles, fitness trends and developments and sports science.  


However, they must also have high levels of enthusiasm to motivate clients, a true love for health and fitness and a friendly, outgoing personality.  


To become a personal trainer, you will need a minimum of a Level 3 personal training qualification. A Level 2 gym instructor certificate gives you a foundation of knowledge covering fitness principles and anatomy but to call yourself a personal trainer, you must obtain a Level 3 certificate. 


You do not need a university degree to become a personal trainer. Although some people study as personal trainers after completing college, studying as a personal trainer does not require a college-level qualification. 


After completing a Level 3 personal training course you can take your career further with additional courses available for qualified personal trainers.  


Personal trainers employed by a gym or organisation can expect to earn a salary between £14,000 and £16,000 which can raise to around £30,000 with experience.  


Trainers who work as freelance instructors usually charge between £20 and £40 per hour. This can differ depending on your location and clientele base.  


What is a strength and conditioning coach? 

Strength and conditioning coaches aim to improve the sporting performance of competitive athletes and athletic teams. They obtain technical knowledge of how to excel in specific sports to support and develop elite athletes' performance. 


Coaches review and study specific sports and players to provide personalised training plans that aim to develop sports performance by building athletic skills such as strength, power, speed and movement.  


This occupation requires specialised education and knowledge regarding injury prevention, human movement and nutrition in order to review the physical and physiological preparation of athletes.  


Their job responsibilities include recording athlete performance and progress, leading training sessions, teaching fitness and movement skills and collaborating with other sports professionals to develop rehabilitation programs.  


How to become a strength and conditioning coach 

To become a strength and conditioning coach there are two main pathways. The first is by attaining a bachelor’s degree via university. Although there are many degrees specifically designed to teach the fundamentals of strength and conditioning you can also choose to study sports science or another related area. 


Another option is to enter the strength and conditioning profession without a degree by studying a Level 4 strength and conditioning course.  


The strength and conditioning coach's salary is usually between £18,000 and £35,000 depending on experience, location, the budget of the athlete or athletic team and the level of the athlete you will be coaching.  


Learn more today  

No matter your experience and background, if you have a passion for fitness and helping others, a career as a PT could be for you. Why not check out our range of personal training courses to learn more about your options and how you can develop your personal training skills.  


Download our prospectus or speak to a member of our team today to get started on your career path today! 

The Training Room | 26/08/2022 12:06:04

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