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Athletic trainer

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Athletic trainers are professional health care providers who prevent, recognize, evaluate and rehabilitate athletic injuries, which can involve sharp or constant pain. Trainers work with anyone of any age, who is physically active and dealing with pain, sports teams of all levels, including clubs, as well as hospitals and other health care providers. As a part of their training and education, they learn CPR, as well as other emergency procedures. The field of work for an athletic trainer is large and diversified, there are many branches of health related work that they can do.

Job Description

Athletic trainers recognized as health professionals.

The job of an athletic trainer first and foremost, is to help prevent and treat injuries for people of all ages. Athletic trainers are recognized as health professionals who specialize in preventing and evaluating injuries in the athletic field, as well as the rehabilitation of the injured.[1]

Athletic trainers are the first emergency responders in their line of work and must be equipped to provide care, but their main job is to prevent injuries. How do they do this? They give instruction on the appropriate use of equipment as well as utilizing protective and injury preventive devices such as: athletic tape, bandages, and various types of braces. Athletic trainers are under the supervision of a licensed physician as well as other health care providers. The frequency with which the athletic trainer meets with their supervising physician varies depending on the sport, team, physician, etc. Sometimes trainers and physicians meet a couple times a week, while others meet almost every day.[1] The physicians supervision of the trainer can include talking about individual injuries and treatments, as well as performing those treatments under direction from the physician.

An athletic trainers schedule often varies depending on his or her arena. Most trainers in a non-sport setting work about 40-50 hours per week, excluding weekends. These trainers include those who work in hospitals and clinics and use some of their hours to perform outreach at other places. Some of those outreaches include speaking engagements at high schools, colleges, as well as businesses.[1] Athletic trainers who are employed in a sports setting may work up to 6 or 7 days per week depending on practice and game schedules. Their schedules must be flexible enough to cope with rescheduled games or practices as well as the possibility of no weekends or evenings off. Those athletic trainers who work with college or university teams usually work with only one team. During the season it is typical for them to work up to 50-60 hours per week. Some athletic trainers who work at smaller colleges or high schools, couple their trainer responsibilities with teaching. For them, a typical off-season week is 40-50 hours. Professional sports team athletic trainers work the most, especially during camps, practices, and games, putting in up to 12 hours per day.[1]


All certified athletic trainers are required to have a Bachelors degree in athletic training from an accredited college.[2] This includes:

  • Risk Management and Injury Prevention
  • Pathology of Injuries and Illnesses
  • Orthopedic Clinical Examination and Diagnosis
  • Medical Conditions and Disabilities
  • Acute Care of Injuries and Illnesses
  • Therapeutic Modalities
  • Conditioning and Rehabilitative Exercise
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychosocial Intervention and Referral
  • Nutritional Aspects of Injuries and Illnesses
  • Health Care Administration
  • Professional Development and Responsibility [2]

For those students who are obtaining their bachelor’s degree in athletic training, education in the classroom as well as clinical situations is important. Science and health-related classes such as human anatomy, physiology, nutrition, and biomechanics are just a few of the many courses that students must take. Many athletic trainers also hold a master’s or doctoral degree in addition to the mandatory bachelor’s degree. These degrees, although not required for certification, are sometimes recommended for those who wish to pursue a higher position in the athletic training world. [3] For those who are also educators at high schools, a teacher’s certificate or license is usually needed.

In some states, athletic trainers are required to be licensed. To acquire an athletic trainer certification from the Board of Certification Inc., one must pass “a rigorous examination”[3] Once certified, and athletic trainer, in order to remain certified, must continue to take medical-related courses as well as follow the BOC standards. However, in the states where licensing is not mandatory, those who have obtained a certificate may find it useful when looking for a job. Athletic trainers need to be able to communicate, socialize well, handle the stress that comes with difficult situations, as well as being organized and efficient. [3]

The Foundational Courses of a student athletic trainer are: Human physiology, Human anatomy, Exercise physiology, Kinesiology/biomechanics, Nutrition, Therapeutic modalities, Acute care of injury and illness, Statistics and research design, Strength training and reconditioning.[4]


In 2006, the number of Athletic trainers recorded as holding jobs in that field was 17,000. [5] Athletic trainers can be found all over the country wherever people are physically active. Athletic trainers have found that working with a team is a very competitive position; however, those who work in the non-sport setting are finding that there are numerous opportunities to be had. The employment of athletic trainers is expected to grow rapidly as more teams, schools, clubs, and businesses become aware of the value employing them. However, because jobs involving professional or college teams are limited, acquiring a job is a competitive process. [6]

Athletic Trainers and Physical Therapists are being utilized more often in different settings, such as, the military.

Associated Careers

There are many related occupations to the athletic trainer. Some of the occupations contain similar responsibilities such as the prevention of injuries and rehabilitation process of injured athletes. Related occupations include: “emergency medical technicians and paramedics, physical therapist, physician assistants, registered nurses, licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses, recreational therapist, occupational therapists, respiratory therapists, chiropractors, podiatrists, and massage therapists.” [7]Another occupation, though not listed, that is similar to athletic training is sports medicine. One final occupation that is not commonly associated with athletic training deals with the military. Service men and women who are athletic trainers are being used so that their skills benefit all those around them.[7][8]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Athletic Trainers by Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition
  2. 2.0 2.1 Education by National Athletic Trainers Association Student Section
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Athletic Trainers: Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement by Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition
  4. Professional Education by National Athletic Trainers Association
  5. Athletic Trainers: Employment by Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition
  6. Athletic Trainers: Job Outlook by Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition
  7. 7.0 7.1 Athletic Trainers: Related Occupations by Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition
  8. Athletic Trainers: Job Opportunities in the Armed Forcesby Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition

External links

See Also