Athletic trainers (ATs) are unique health care providers and an essential member of any health care team skilled and trained in the prevention of injury and illness, examination, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of emergency, acute or chronic injuries and medical conditions, 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 23% between 2016 and 2026, three times 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.
Athletic training uses a medical model for professional education that includes both didactic and clinical education.
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
Athletic trainers must graduate from an accredited professional program. Those programs are currently at both the bachelor’s and master’s level. Beginning in 2022, 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
- Watch this video to learn more about athletic trainers.
- Read more about the education of athletic trainers.
- Get information on the certification process for athletic trainers.
- Find an accredited athletic training program near you.
- Board of Certification, Inc.
- Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education
- National Athletic Trainers’ Association