Personal Coaching for Run, Triathlon, and Fitness - Milwaukee, WI

What Do All Those Letters Mean?

People work hard to earn letters after their name. Many are familiar, like MD (medical doctor) or CPA (certified public accountant). In the world of coaching and athletics, there are a number of different degrees and certifications that can be earned, and coaches often carry multiple.

Let’s break down Coach Kim Kelley’s qualifications and what they mean:


An MS degree is a Masters of Science, in this case, Coach Kim has her MS in Applied Exercise Science with an emphasis on Injury Prevention (and who doesn’t want to avoid injury?!). The Masters level degree goes beyond the bachelors, by covering anatomy, biomechanics, exercise physiology, nutrition and sport psychology in greater detail. This knowledge will help in identifying dysfunctional movement patterns and how to incorporate corrective exercises into training to avoid potential injuries and increase performance.


An LAT is a Licensed Athletic Trainer. Wisconsin requires all athletic trainers to be licensed through the state to legally practice.  Wisconsin athletic trainers must have a doctor sign off on our ability to provide proper treatment to those we work with, ensuring that LATs remain up to date on their education and skills. 


An ATC is a Certified Athletic Trainer (we know, the letters are in a different order!) and to receive this title, you must earn your bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited athletic training education program and pass an intense certification exam. This background gives them the expertise they need to understand bodies, biomechanics, exercise physiology, nutrition and more. Beyond a bachelor’s (or master’s) degree, ATCs must keep up with continuing education to maintain a high level of competency in order to provide up-to-date, accurate information and techniques to those they work with.

ATCs who are board certified emphasize five major categories of practice:

  1. Injury and illness prevention, and wellness promotion
  2. Examination, assessment, and diagnosis
  3. Immediate and emergency care
  4. Therapeutic intervention
  5. Health care administration and professional responsibility

All in all, having ATC certification provides a strong baseline for a well rounded expert in human movement. Athletic Trainers understand the whole scope of anatomy, training, and injury prevention, contributing to a program that can help you become a strong, well rounded athlete.


A CES is a Corrective Exercise Specialist, and is offered through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) (More acronyms, we know.) As its name might imply, this emphasizes an expanded skill set to understand why injuries may occur in athletes, and proven techniques to help prevent them. Injuries can be all to common, especially in endurance athletes such as runners and triathletes, and science-backed methods covered in the CES exam have the potential to improve physiological functions, as well as training technique, from the very first step.