Athletic Trainer

Athletic Trainer: What’s the Job?

Athletic Trainers are a crucial part of every sports team.

Behind every athlete, Olympian, or winning team stands a host of coaches, supporters, and trainers. Athletic trainers play a vital role in ensuring the continuing success of an individual athlete and their team. While coaches focus on the big picture一winning strategies, plans, and training一athletic trainers are in charge of the care and health of the athletes who make those winning moves.

These trainers are certified health professionals who are on-hand to provide medical care for the athletes. The main duty of the athletic trainer is to ensure the safety and health of the athletes in their care. This could mean administering first aid or emergency care during a game or providing therapy and rehabilitation services post-game to avoid further injury.

Athletic trainers are educated in anatomy and physiology and are able to access injuries on and off the field.

What are Athletic Trainers?

Sports medicine and athletic trainers are recognized by the American Medical Association as a professional field. Becoming an athletic trainer demands extensive education. A bachelor’s degree from a school offering an accredited athletic training curriculum is required. All trainers must be certified, and pass an exam from the Athletic Trainer Board of Certification. Some states require further licensing to practice in state.

Entry-level athletic trainer jobs cannot be attained without a degree and certification. Athletic trainers can find work in hospitals, clinics, sports medicine offices, or schools. Working under the supervision of a physician, athletic trainers can work with multiple athletes and clients through outreach training programs. An entry level salary for athletic trainers starts at around $36,000 a year.

Athletic Trainers help high school teams.

High-school athletes around the country benefit from the work of athletic trainers. A recent report notes that 70% of high schools utilize athletic trainers or similar services. For those who want to work with young athletes, becoming an athletic trainer in a school setting is a solid career choice.

High school students are vulnerable to injuries that parents or coaches may not recognize or understand fully how to treat. Certified athletic trainers are able to evaluate students on a weekly or daily basis. They can monitor recoveries or recommend rehab therapies, and provide valuable insight and consultations with an injured student’s physician. Trainers can spot signs of concussions, heat exposure, or even cardiac arrest in young athletes, and can enact immediate emergency plans. The rewarding career as an athletic trainer in an athletic department can average to around $44,500 a year.

It doesn’t stop there! Athletic Trainers are crucial at the college level.

The needs of young athletes do not stop at high school. Collegiate athletes and professional sports teams have a high demand for hands-on athletic trainers. Moving into a college or university department requires additional education, and most college athletic trainers have a master’s degree. Like high school athletic trainers, college trainers focus on the daily and weekly progress of the students in their care. This can range from advising nutritional diets to monitoring injury rehabilitation.

College athletes have the opportunity to build solid relationships with their athletic trainers, and trust their trainers to provide immediate and long-term treatments when suffering injuries. Colleges and universities that provide team physicians benefit from the intimate evaluations of an athletic trainer who can observe athlete performances pre- and post-injury. The well-being of the student is always the top priority for the athletic trainer.

In the high-pressure world of college sports, the athletic trainer is a knowledgeable and encouraging presence. The trainer is solely invested in the care of the athlete, and can advise the best routes for accomplishing future goals without sustaining or aggravating an injury.

Athletic Trainers work with the pro teams.

Like colleges and universities, professional sports teams hire athletic trainers to work with players throughout a season. They are needed from the first training day to beyond the last game.

At a professional sports level, athletic trainers can average $53,000 a year. They will travel with the team and be with the players for every home and away game. This can be an exciting career path, but not one for someone who is camera-shy. Professional sport athletic trainers are often seen on camera consulting with players or coaches. The game stakes are higher, but the work is just the same.


Athletic trainers are a vital addition to any sports team. Those interested in a long-term career in sports medicine will find many exciting opportunities for a career as an athletic trainer.


Written By Natalie Howard

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