Athletic Trainer

Average Salary $55,036
Years Higher Education 4 - 6
Job Outlook Excellent

Athletic training encompasses the prevention, examination, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of emergent, acute or chronic injuries and medical conditions.

Athletic trainers are highly qualified, multi-skilled health care professionals who work as part of a collaborative inter-professional health care team. They work with physicians and other health care professionals to provide injury/illness prevention and wellness protection, clinical evaluation and diagnosis, immediate and emergency care, treatment and rehabilitation and organizational and professional health and well-being.

If you become an athletic trainer, your job prospects are good: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this field is projected to grow 21% between 2014 and 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Athletic training is recognized by the American Medical Association, Health Resources Services Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services as a health care profession.

Many people think athletic trainers and personal trainers are the same career, but they are not. There is a significant difference in the education, skill set and job duties of an athletic trainer versus that of a personal trainer. Athletic training uses a medical model for professional education that includes both didactic and clinical education.

Working Conditions

Athletic trainers work in a variety of different professional settings, including:

  • Hospital emergency departments
  • Intercollegiate athletics
  • Law enforcement and military
  • Occupational and industrial settings
  • Performing arts
  • Physician offices
  • Professional sports
  • Secondary schools
  • Sports medicine clinics

This fast-paced, challenging profession provides an opportunity for people entering the profession to engage in optimal patient care while working in a dynamic medical environment.

Salary Range and Outlook

Typically, athletic trainers earn a salary of $38,000 to $82,000 per year, with the average salary, as of 2014, at $55,036.

Academic Requirements

Athletic trainers must graduate from an accredited professional program. Those programs are currently at both the bachelor’s and master’s level. Within the next six to seven years, all students enrolling in professional education in athletic training will be earning degrees at the master’s level.

  • Athletic training students receive formal training in the following content areas:
  • Acute care of injury and illness
  • Clinical examination and diagnosis
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Health care administration
  • Prevention and health promotion
  • Professional development and responsibility
  • Psychosocial strategies and referral
  • Therapeutic interventions

Once you successfully graduate, you are eligible to take a comprehensive exam administered by the Board of Certification. Once certified, you must maintain ongoing continuing education requirements in order to retain your credential.

In addition, a significant number of athletic trainers have advanced degrees earned by the completion of specializations, residencies, fellowships and doctoral programs.

Learn More About a Career as an Athletic Trainer


The National Athletic Trainers' Association reviewed this profile.