How to Become an Athletic Trainer

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Athletic training is an important part of the healthcare field that deals with preventing, identifying, managing, and recovering injuries and conditions related to physical activity. Specially trained professionals are required to assist in the prevention and treatment of injuries for a variety of patients. This is the job of athletic trainers.


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What does an athletic trainer do?

Athletic trainers work under the supervision of licensed physicians and other healthcare professionals to help treat patients of all ages and types from industrial workers to professional athletes. They treat many different musculoskeletal injuries and are often one of the first people on the scene when injuries happen. They identify and assess injuries and provide the necessary immediate care. Athletic trainers help individuals prevent injuries by providing advice on the correct use of equipment and administering protective devices such as braces, bandages, and tape. They educate people on how to reduce the risks injuries. Athletic trainers are also involved in reconditioning and rehabilitating injuries.

What kind of training does an athletic trainer need?

Athletic trainers typically need at least a bachelor degree. In 2006, there were over 350 accredited programs for athletic trainers. The programs provide classroom and clinical instruction in courses such as anatomy and physiology, biomechanics, exercise physiology, and nutrition. Some employers such as those in colleges and universities require athletic trainers to have a master or higher degree. Most states require athletic trainers to have a license or registration. The Board of Certification, Inc. certifies athletic trainers. The requirements include at least a bachelor degree from an athletic training program that is accredited and passing a thorough examination. Athletic trainers must complete continuing medical education courses to maintain their certification.

What are the prospects for a career as an athletic trainer?

Employment of athletic trainers is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 24% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The growth of the healthcare industry and fitness and recreation centers with drive job growth.

Job prospects should be good especially in the healthcare industry and in fitness and recreation centers. Athletic trainers interested in pursuing positions with sports teams will face competition. Job opportunities will also arise in elementary and secondary schools.

How much do athletic trainers make?

As of October 2009, the middle 50% of athletic trainers earn annual salaries between $35,550 and $45,108. The top 10% earn more than $50,543 (2).

A career as an athletic trainer is an excellent choice for individuals interested in helping to prevent and treat injuries related to physical activity. Athletic trainers must have a strong desire to help people and be able to handle stressful situations. Strong organization, time management, and ability to make quick decisions are essential. Athletic trainers must also have excellent communication and interpersonal skills because they work with many different individuals and other professionals. They must also adapt to new technology and working with larger populations as they continue to grow.

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