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Athletic Trainers Help You Prevent and Recover From Sports Injuries

athletic trainers help prevent and aid recovery from injuries

If you are a people person who loves to solve problems and help others, being an athletic trainer could be a career choice for you. The job also allows you to work as part of a team that helps sports teams perform their best on the field. This would be an ideal career for someone with social career interests who wants to work in a non-competitive environment.

What Athletic Trainers Do

Athletic trainers specialize in preventing, diagnosing, and treating muscle and bone injuries and illnesses.

Work Environment

Many athletic trainers work in educational settings, such as colleges, universities, elementary schools, and secondary schools. Others work in hospitals, fitness centers, or physicians’ offices, or for professional sports teams.

How to Become an Athletic Trainer

Athletic trainers need at least a bachelor’s degree. Nearly all states require athletic trainers to have a license or certification; requirements vary by state.

Pay

The median annual wage for athletic trainers was $48,440 in May 2019.

Job Outlook

Employment of athletic trainers is projected to grow 16 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for athletic trainers is expected to increase as people become more aware of the effects of sports-related injuries, and as the middle-aged and older population remains active.

Athletic trainers specialize in preventing, diagnosing, and treating muscle and bone injuries and illnesses.

Duties

Athletic trainers typically do the following:

  • Apply protective or injury-preventive devices, such as tape, bandages, and braces
  • Recognize and evaluate injuries
  • Provide first aid or emergency care
  • Develop and carry out rehabilitation programs for injured athletes
  • Plan and implement comprehensive programs to prevent injury and illness among athletes
  • Perform administrative tasks, such as keeping records and writing reports on injuries and treatment programs

Athletic trainers work with people of all ages and all skill levels, from young children to soldiers and professional athletes.

They are usually one of the first healthcare providers on the scene when injuries occur on the field. They work under the direction of a licensed physician and with other healthcare providers, often discussing specific injuries and treatment options or evaluating and treating patients, as directed by a physician.

Some athletic trainers meet with a team physician or consulting physician regularly.

An athletic trainer’s administrative responsibilities may include regular meetings with an athletic director or another administrative officer to deal with budgets, purchasing, policy implementation, and other business-related issues.

Athletic trainers plan athletic programs that are compliant with federal and state regulations; for example, they may ensure a football program adheres to laws related to athlete concussions.

Do not confused these professionals with fitness trainers and instructors, which include personal trainers.

Athletic Trainer Jobs

Athletic trainers held about 32,100 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of athletic trainers were as follows:

Educational services; state, local, and private36%
Hospitals; state, local, and private19
Offices of physical, occupational and speech therapists, and audiologists14
Fitness and recreational sports centers6
Self-employed workers4

Athletic trainers also may work with military, with law enforcement, with professional sports teams, or with performing artists.

Athletic trainers may spend their time working outdoors on sports fields in all types of weather.

Work Schedules

Most athletic trainers work full time. Athletic trainers who work with teams during sporting events may work evenings or weekends and travel often.

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of athletic trainers.

 OccupationJob DutiesEntry-Level EducationMedian Annual Pay, May 2019
 

Coaches and Scouts

Coaches teach amateur or professional athletes the skills they need to succeed at their sport.

Bachelor’s degree$34,840
 

Chiropractors

Chiropractors treat patients with health problems of the neuromusculoskeletal system, which includes nerves, bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

Doctoral or professional degree$70,340

 

EMTs and Paramedics

Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics respond to emergency calls, performing medical services and transporting patients to medical facilities.

Postsecondary nondegree award$35,400
 

Exercise Physiologists

Exercise physiologists develop fitness and exercise programs that help injured or sick patients recover.

Bachelor’s degree$49,170
 

Massage Therapists

Massage therapists treat clients by using touch to manipulate the muscles and other soft tissues of the body.

Postsecondary

non-degree award

$42,820
 

Occupational Therapists

Occupational therapists treat patients who have injuries, illnesses, or disabilities through the therapeutic use of everyday activities.

Master’s $84,950
 

Physical Therapists

Physical therapists help injured or ill people improve movement and manage pain.

Doctoral 

$89,440
 

Physician Assistants

Physician assistants practice medicine on teams with physicians, surgeons, and other healthcare workers.

Master’s $112,260
 

Recreational Therapists

Recreational therapists plan, direct, and coordinate recreation-based treatment programs for people with disabilities, injuries, or illnesses.

Bachelor’s$48,220
 

Respiratory Therapists

Respiratory therapists care for patients who have trouble breathing—for example, from a chronic respiratory disease, such as asthma or emphysema.

Associate’s $61,330

For more information about athletic trainers, visit

National Athletic Trainers’ Association

For more information about accredited athletic training programs, visit

Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education

For more information about certification and state regulatory requirements for athletic trainers, visit

Board of Certification for the Athletic Trainer

Job information from Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Athletic Trainers,

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Kate Williams

Kate Williams is a business communications expert and is the editor of Job Affirmations. She is a professional resume writer and has studied Myers-Briggs personality types and how they influence career choice. Job Affirmations has hundreds of job descriptions categorized by the 16 Myers-Briggs types, by career interests and work values. Kate also shares her best writing tips including the proper formatting of emails and cover letters You'll find positive affirmations for work, inspirational quotes, career vision boards for your best year ever.

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