Athletic Trainers: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

Education Required
Athletic trainers need at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Master’s degree programs are also common, and may be preferred by some employers. Degree programs have classroom and clinical components, including science and health-related courses, such as biology, anatomy, physiology, and nutrition.
Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 22% (Much faster than average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
Advancement
Assistant athletic trainers may become head athletic trainers, athletic directors, or physician, hospital, or clinic practice administrators. In any of these positions, they will assume a management role. Athletic trainers working in colleges and universities may pursue an advanced degree to increase their advancement opportunities.
Licenses/Certifications
Nearly all states require athletic trainers to be licensed or certified; requirements vary by state. For specific requirements, contact the particular state’s licensing or credentialing board or athletic trainer association.
Median pay: How much do Athletic Trainers make?
$45,630 Annual Salary

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

What do Athletic Trainers do?

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. Athletic trainers 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.

Athletic trainers should not be confused with fitness trainers and instructors, which include personal trainers.

Careers for Athletic Trainers

  • ATs
  • Certified athletic trainers
  • Clinical athletic instructors
  • Clinical athletic trainers
  • Resident athletic trainers

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