Athletic trainers are specialists in the physical education field, working with clients ranging from children to professional athletes to prevent, diagnose, and treat muscle and bone injuries. They may work for schools, colleges, professional sports teams, or rehab facilities. They are often the first on the scene when an injury takes place in an athletic setting, and they work closely with physicians to determine courses of action to treat existing injuries and prevent future ones. Athletic trainers employed by a sports team often work closely with a team physician to care for athletes. Typical athletic trainer duties include:
Identifying and evaluating injuries
Providing emergency care
Developing rehabilitation plans for athletes
Establishing programs to prevent athletic injuries
Athletic Trainer Job Education Requirements
Generally, athletic trainers must have a bachelor's degree and graduate from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. Many candidates also have a master's degree. Candidates also take place in clinical training, which provides more of a hands-on educational component. Licensing requirements vary from state to state, but most states require some kind of licensing or certification.
The Board of Certification provides the standard program used by most states. Licensed athletic trainers must take continuing education courses in order to maintain licensure. Similar to physical training instructor jobs, all candidates in this field should have excellent people skills, attention to detail, compassion and decision-making skills.
Athletic Trainer Job Market
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 21 percent job growth in this field over the next decade, which is a faster-than-average rate. Over this period of time, approximately 4,900 new jobs are expected to be created in this small field. Fast growth in this field is somewhat due to increased awareness of sports injuries in children as well as demand for better care for athletes in colleges and universities. Athletic trainers may also see new opportunities on military bases, where they will be needed to help keep injury rates down among soldiers.
Athletic Trainer Job Salary Information
According to the BLS, the average annual salary for athletic trainers is about $42,000. The lowest 10 percent of this range earned under $26,000, while the highest 10 percent of this range earned over $70,000 per year. Depending on the nature of employment, some athletic trainers are required to work during sports events, on weekends, and evenings. They may also travel to trainings, games, and other events with teams.