What is an athletic trainer?
They are a licensed health care professional who collaborates with physicians to help prevent clients from having bone and muscular injuries and illnesses. Together they also help to diagnose and treat clients with these injuries and illnesses through the use of various forms of rehabilitative movement and exercise along with helping patients recover from chronic or long-term diseases while helping these patients improve their overall wellness and health. Being an athletic trainer you should possess strong interpersonal and communication skills along with having medical knowledge, being detail oriented, and have the ability to make quick decisions.
Job description of an athletic trainer
When you are working as an athletic trainer you will work in a wide array of fitness and sports areas working with high schools, professional sports teams, and colleges. You would be working with people of all ages with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of injuries that are sports related. You would be working with physical therapists, physicians, and other medical professionals in the areas where the athletes have to go for medical procedures like x-rays, surgery, or MRI’s. One important thing to remember is that an athletic trainer is not a licensed practicing physician so an athletic trainer can only provide the most basic medical care to their clients.
When watching a football, baseball, or soccer game on television and someone gets hurt, you may see someone running out on the field to check on the player. This person is an athletic trainer and is normally the first one to respond to the downed player and gives them first aid or emergency medical care until a physician arrives. Although they are called athletic trainers not all work with sports teams or anyone who plays sports. Sometimes they will work with the women and men in the military when they are going through their training.
An athletic trainer is also the person who determines when the athlete is ready to resume playing the sport. They do consult with the player’s physician to confirm that the injury is healed before they will allow the player to return to the field. If an athlete is down on the field and just has the breath knocked out of them the athletic trainer will decide if they are okay to return to the game or have to sit out until they can be checked by a physician.
Athletic trainer duties
Some of the duties that an athletic trainer may do can include:
- Examining an injury and conducting an initial assessment to determine if they need a referral to a physician or just need first aid.
- Apply tape, bandages, dressings, and braces to help prevent further injury to the affected areas like their fingers, ankles, or wrists.
- When it is necessary they will give the patients a referral to a physician
- To help prevent injuries they may develop and implement programs to deal with this issue.
- For athletes with injuries they can create rehabilitation programs to help strengthen the areas that are affected by an injury.
- If an athlete is injured the athletic trainer will evaluate the athlete’s readiness to return to the game in progress or the next game that is being played. They will also provide the necessary clearance to play
- Provide the physicians and coaches with a progress report of the athlete’s progress and recovery time frame.
- Coaching the athletes on the proper use of sports equipment that they will be using for the game the athlete plays.
- They may also have administrative tasks and paper work to do such as filling out paperwork releasing the athlete to go back to playing the game, filling out referrals for the athletes to see physicians and specialists if needed, etc.
How to become an athletic trainer?
The first step in becoming an athletic trainer after graduating high school is to complete a bachelor’s degree program such as a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training from an university that the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) has accredited. During this program a student will be trained to not only treat injuries but assess them that have been caused by accidents and physical stress that usually happen during athletic activity along with teaching the student prevention techniques to keep these from happening.
Some of the course work that you would be studying includes first aid, physiology and anatomy, human movement sciences, chemistry, mathematics, physics, psychology, emergency response training, medical conditions, and sports medicine. You will also have clinical training where the student will be expected to be involved in hands-on experience during clinical rotations. This will allow you to practice the skills and knowledge that you acquired in the classroom. You will also gain experience working with different age groups when training in an athletic training environment along with the direct supervision of an athletic trainer with several years of experience.
The next step is to become certified as an athletic trainer. All the states except for Alaska, California, and West Virginia require certification. The certification process is controlled by The Board of Certification, Inc (BOC). Another requirement is for the applicants to pass the certification exam. Once you have your certification status it is mandatory to keep taking medical courses so they can maintain their athletic trainer certification.
Now that you have that certification from the BOC you can go to work. Many times an athletic trainer will look for work in a field that is sports-related working as the healthcare personnel on-site. If you would like you could seek work in settings that are non-sports where the job requires physical activity that is rigorous, work in outreach programs, or clinical settings. Because there are some top-level training positions as an athletic trainer that require it and in order for you to stay competitive candidate in the job market some athletic trainers will look into a getting graduate level degree like Master of Science in Athletic Training. In this type of degree program the athletic trainer is taught treatment techniques on advance levels and also includes having them do a thesis projects. To be an athletic trainer in the high school you may be required to have a teaching certificate or license. An athletic trainer should also be certified in CPR.
After 3 years the athletic trainer must apply to be recertified. This involves complying with the terms of the BOC Standards of Professional Practice. You will be charged a fee to be recertified. You must also maintain recent certifications in pediatric and adult CPR airway obstruction and emergency cardiac care. It also includes recent certification as a second rescuer CPR, and automated barrier devices and external defibrillator devices. You must also show continuing education courses you have completed to be recertified.
Work environment and schedule
When you become an athletic trainer it means that you will work in a lot of different settings and on average 1 in 3 athletic trainers will work at some type of educational facility. An athletic trainer may also work at a fitness sport center or for a professional sports team. There are even some who will work in rehabilitation clinics, in the military, and physician’s offices. They may work indoors, outdoors, or a combination of both but it depends on where they are employed. One example of an athletic trainers work environment would be working for a sports team and traveling with the players to different cities along with spending much of their time outdoors if the sports team is a football, soccer, or baseball team.
The hours that an athletic trainer would work again depends on their working environment. If they work for a sports team or for an educational institute their hours can be very hectic especially if you are traveling with the team. Traveling with a sports team you would be on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with long hours that includes nights, weekends, and holidays. You would also be dependent on the schedule of the team, the needs of the organization at that particular time, and the time of the year. If you are working for an educational facility you would travel with the team to games they are playing at other educational facilities and when not you would be working with the team at their home school during school hours and sometimes before and after school. If you are working in the health care industry you would usually have business hours with the weekends and holidays off.
Pros and cons of being an Athletic Trainer
The best part, when you work as an athletic trainer, is that amazing opportunity of treating and working with people who suffered sports injuries or just regular people and with those whose lives are hard to reconstruct. They will work as well in collaboration with other nurses or doctors when it comes to helping a patient to be treated. As an athletic trainer, you will help your patient a lot to prevent these injuries that occurred, and you will offer them another chance of living a better life.
If you are focused on health, and you like to combine fitness performance with sport, then you have found your dream career. You’ll be the one to bring balance to those that are in need for a healthy lifestyle. You’ll also be able to explain them more about how to live healthily and how to be in shape even if they’ve suffered sports accidents.
You will find very good job openings, and the prospects for this career are good but you’ll find it that the competition in this job can truly be hard and sometimes very demanding, in many ways. The cons that you can find in this job are linked with the fact of having to work with people. Working with people was never an easy job, especially if you have to work with patients that are in pain.
This work can be certainly stressful, due to the exhausting situations that sometimes can appear and you’ll have to be bodily and mentally fit for this job. You will have to be an example in everything because people will follow your lead, and pressure might also rise due to the influence of having your client ready and able to win in sports.
Your schedule will be pretty long and due to your work you’ll have to work long hours, and (in many cases) be present at work sixty hours per week. To be taken into consideration, you’ll have to possess as well at least a Master’s degree. This will certainly add to your expenses since education requires certain financial support and training programs can be expensive.
Many states will require from an athletic trainer to have a certification, this meaning that first you’ll have to pass the certification exam. According to the place in which you’ll work there might needed additional training or even degrees. For instance, if as an athletic trainer you aim to work in a university then you’ll probably need a Master’s degree and in some cases even a Doctorate’s degree.
Athletic Trainer job growth
The employment growth for athletic trainers has a projection rate of 21% for the next ten years or so due to the people awareness that sport related injuries can also start at a young age. The increase in this field even it’s a small occupation is constantly and secure with a high job satisfaction.
A high demand for these professionals is starting to rise in school institutions such as universities, colleges and young leagues. In this field, there are also various opportunities for advancement. In the early reminded settings these professionals can pursue advanced degrees where they can increase their chances of advancement.
Athletic trainers can find jobs also in sales positions or marketing positions in which they use their expertise in order to sell athletic equipment or even medical equipment. These professionals can also choose to become athletic directors or clinic practice administrators where they have to assume a management role.
It’s not only a great opportunity for an amazing future outcome, but it’s also one of the few jobs that comes with a healthy lifestyle, whether you acknowledge it or not. Considering all these benefits, it’s great to be an athletic trainer now and in the future!
Athletic trainer salary
As of May 2015 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the median salary was $46,090 for athletic trainers. In August, 2016 according to indeed.com the median salary of an athletic trainer is $49,000. The lowest-paid 10% had an annual salary of $25,960 or less and the highest paid 10% had an annual salary of $64,140 or more. The highest average annual salary of $58,020 was paid to athletic trainers who worked for the performing art companies but unfortunately they did not employ that many athletic trainers when comparing the numbers with the number of athletic trainers hired by universities and colleges. On average most entry level athletic trainers have an annual starting salary of $35,000.
The average annual athletic trainers salary who:
- Are a Certified Athletic Trainer earns $30,323-$50.284
- Knows first aid earns $29,493-$51,339
- Knows CPR earns $29,443-$50,254
- Is certified by the American College of Sports Medicine earns $29,441-$49,585
On average an athletic trainer with less than one year of work experience earns an average annual salary of $27,355-$40,341. An athletic trainer with over 20 years experience earns an average annual salary of $40,796-$83,384. Most the time what the average annual athletic trainer salary depends on their geographical location, work environment, years of experience, and educational qualifications.
In addition to the salary there is also the bonus perks that can include paid vacation and sick days, more time off in the summer when working for educational institutions, life insurance, medical insurance, vision and dental care, 401K. Social security, pension, and reimbursement for travel expenses when traveling with the team.
Salary of an Athletic Trainer in 2015
The athletic trainer salaries in 2015 will depend mainly on the location factors, the type of employment, the experience in this field and the years of working in a job and also according to your training. For instance, the median salary of one of these professionals can be estimated to reach $42,126 per year, but like in any other job you can find the lowest and the highest points as well.
The lowest earning that an athletic trainer could gain is estimated at $26,010 per year and even less according to the geographical location and the setting in which one is working. The highest earning can be estimated at $64,010 per year and even more due to the same factors. An athletic trainer salary can be influenced according to the state in which one is working.
Athletic Trainer Salary in 2016
In 2016, the income of an athletic trainer in the US is mainly affected by the years of experience in the field, followed by the geographical location-residence, state, city and the educational level. The median income for these professionals, according to PayScale is estimated at around $39,348 per year. The starting point in this salary reaches from $30,449 per year climbing up to $54,953 per year.
The bonuses that are granted can reach at $3,453 while the profit sharing is estimated at around $1,205 this leading in the end to a total payment that ranges from $30,545 and $54,459. When it comes to the years of experience in the field, an entry-level athletic trainer with up to five years in the field can expect to take home a median income that goes around $37,010 per year while one professional who have worked between 5 to 10 years can expect a median average estimated to be at $41,010 per year.
Athletic trainers who are in their late-career and worked for more than 20 years in the field can expect to take home around $52,010 per year. On the other hand, the incomes for Certified Athletic Trainers are comprised between $30,824 per year and up to $55,314 per year. The salaries also vary according to the gender. For instance, a male Certified Athletic Trainer can expect at earnings that range between $31,851 and $58,942 while a female Athletic Trainer receives between $31,117 and $51,212.
Educational level is another early reminded factor that influences and affects the incomes of these professionals. An athletic trainer with a Bachelor of Science generally receives between $31,069 per year and can go up to $51,385 per year while one with a Master’s of Science degree can expect to take home earnings ranging from $33,785 and $51,718. Having a Bachelor of Arts will grant you an expected salary that goes from $30,299 per year and $60,882 per year.
According to each region or particular area the incomes are influenced based on the living expenses and the costs of living, the lowest and higher points and the economic flux. In Atlanta, Georgia the salaries of Certified Athletics Trainers are comprised between $34,522 and $53,024 while in Chicago, Illinois the incomes of these professionals are estimated between $37,612 and $58,959.
Athletic trainer salary in Canada, Australia and UK
- Australia—the average annual salary will vary according to the job they have. Being a personal trainer you can have an average annual salary of AU$45,000 and if you have 1-4 years of experience you can have a starting salary of approximately AU$40,695.
- Canada—the average annual salary of an athletic trainer is less than CA$32,000 and is based on the calculations that have been made by the Canadian Salary and Wage Guide. The lowest 10% takes home on average an annual salary less than CA$20,000 and the top 10% takes home on average an annual salary more than CA$50,000.
- UK—for a certified athletic trainer their average annual salary is £20,000 but may be lower for one that is not certified. There are some who receive perks as much as 16,000 for reimbursement of education/training/certification/tuition expenses.
Conclusion on athletic trainer salary
The outlook for employment as an athletic trainer is expected to grow much faster than average and between the years of 2010-2020 the job opportunities could increase by 30% because of the growth in sports teams and a concentrated increase in the healthcare industry. Yes, the salary is not that high and many times you could earn that much or more working as a business man, university professor, or in a factory but if you have a love for sports then this is the ideal job for you. When deciding whether or not to become an athletic trainer talk to one and see what the job entails and their salary. This knowledge may help you make the decision as to whether you want to get into the field of being an athletic trainer. The one big perk in being an athletic trainer is getting to travel to various locations with the sports team you are working with.
- First Published Date: 10 September, 2014
- Last Updated Date: 24 August, 2016