Athletic trainers work in a wide variety of sports and fitness areas. You may find great athletic trainers working with high schools, colleges, and professional sports teams. They help people of all ages with the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of sports related injuries.

Athletic Trainer Job Description

Athletic trainers partner with doctors, physical therapist and others in the medical field when athletes are forced to undergo medical procedures such as MRIs, x-rays, or surgery. However, athletic trainers are not physicians, so they can only provide the most basic of medical care to their clients.

Athletic trainers often work closely with sports teams. When a player gets injured during a game, athletic trainers are typically the first to respond. They provide the player with emergency medical care or first aid until a physician arrives. Not all athletic trainers work with only sports athletes.  Some athletic trainers may work with men and women in the military during their training.

Athletic Trainers play an important role in determining when an athlete may be ready to resume playing.  They will consult with a physician to confirm that the injury is healed before giving the athlete the thumbs up to return to the field.

Athletic Trainers perform the following duties:

  • Examine an injury and conduct an initial assessment to determine if only minor first aid is required or referral to a physician is a necessary course of action
  • Apply dressings, tape, braces and bandages to help the injury or prevent further injury to the affected areas such as the wrist, ankle, or finger
  • Provide patients with referrals to physicians when necessary
  • Develop and implement programs that help prevent injuries
  • Create rehabilitation programs for athletes with injuries to help strengthen the affected areas
  • Evaluate an athlete’s readiness to return to the game and provide the necessary clearance to play
  • Provide coaches and physicians with a progress report of the athlete’s recovery and progress
  • Coach athletes on the proper use of equipment
  • Administrative tasks as required

How to become an Athletic Trainer

It’s important for athletic trainers to possess the proper credentials. They are required to have a bachelor degree in athletic training. Degrees should be earned at an accredited college or university approved by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). Athletic trainers who want to work at the professional sports level may need to obtain a master’s degree. Those who are interested in becoming an athletic trainer can expect to take anatomy, nutrition, physiology and biomechanics. 

Athletic Trainer Training

In addition to the typical classroom coursework, students who want to become an athletic trainer must also have some clinical experience as a part of their coursework.  Clinical experience is meant to help give the student real-life experiences and situations that they may handle in the workplace.  Once you get into the field and begin working, the more experience you will gain.

Athletic Trainer Certification

Athletic trainers are required to be licensed or certified in nearly every state in the United States. The Board of Certification for Athletic Trainers offers a standard certification examination. Graduates of the an accredited athletic trainer program must pass the BOC exam before they can apply for certification. Once certified, these individuals are required to take continuing education every year to keep their license to practice.

Athletic Trainer Salary

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Athletic Trainer Job Description Summary

  • Diagnose, prevent and treat sports related injuries
  • Work with physicians and other medical professionals
  • 4 year bachelor’s degree minimum
  • Must be licensed/certified to practice
  • 21% employment growth by 2022