Athletic training is a growing field, with many graduates finding employment in new and emerging settings. Athletic trainers have many opportunities to find a rewarding and fulfilling placement that fits with their interests and strengths.
What do you learn in an athletic training program?
Athletic trainers are medical professionals who help physically active patients prevent, recognize, diagnose, treat, and recover from injuries and illnesses. During an athletic training degree program, students learn, for example:
1. Prevention: students gain an in-depth understanding of anatomy and the ways in which the body moves and reacts to different stressors. They learn about repetitive motions, common injuries, and protective techniques for active individuals.
2. Treatment: students learn how to use imaging technologies and provide care in emergency settings, with skills like suturing and bracing.
3. Recovery: students learn methods such as manual therapy, hydrotherapy, low-intensity active recovery, and others to assist in recovery from injuries and illnesses.
What is the job market like for athletic trainers?
The field of athletic training is experiencing enormous growth. The Bureau of Labor projects our field to grow 23% through 2026. Why? While many athletic trainers choose traditional positions with a professional, collegiate, or high school sports team, they are also in high demand in non-traditional positions, such as physician’s offices, rehabilitation clinics, and more. These emerging settings are expected to continue growing as more industries realize the value of having an athletic trainer on-staff.
What is the average athletic trainer salary?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average athletic trainer salary is a little above $52,000. It too is expected to rise, especially as demand increases. Salary surveys conducted in the last few years have confirmed this many times over as athletic trainer salaries have steadily risen in each study.
Where do athletic trainers work?
At one time there might have been a set “athletic trainer career” or “athletic trainer career ladder”, but that is no longer the case. After earning a degree students have many career options, and many avenues for growth. Here are a few.
This is perhaps the most “traditional” athletic training role. It allows the athletic trainer to be on the cutting edge of the field, as well as share in the prestige of big-name athletics. For some students with high emotional investment in particular athletics, this is a dream come true. For others, the physical demands (such as long hours and traveling with the team) may be more to consider.
Colleges and Universities
Colleges and Universities are one of the largest employers of athletic trainers. Many universities have a variety of sports teams, as well intramural sports and junior leagues. Athletic trainers may attend to any of these student athletes, or work in an on-campus health facility.
Secondary schools are the most popular employment setting amongst athletic trainers. Today, 15- to 17- year-olds experience the highest rate of sports-related emergency room visits. As parents and administrators struggle with the risks and benefits of offering athletic programs in schools, a clear answer to many has been to bring athletic trainers into the secondary school setting. While an athletic trainer in a university may be part of a larger team and have limitations on their role, in a secondary school they may be the only athletic trainer on-staff. Therefore, they participate in many roles with many different athletes/performers, and often oversee their own athletic training space.
The performing arts is an emerging field for athletic training. Just like other athletes, performers can benefit from an athletic trainer on-staff to help prevent and treat injuries and illnesses specific to their art or performance type. Athletic trainers are moving into dance, theater, circus companies, theme parks, as well as in the film industry, where they support stuntmen and stuntwomen.
Members of the military are another population of active individuals. Athletic trainers can be found on bases, at military colleges, or serving with Veterans Affairs. They support those at all stages of military involvement, from basic training, to active duty, to retirement. Athletic trainers do not enlist in the military to serve in this capacity, instead they are hired as civilian contractors.
Athletic trainers are increasingly being found in police and firefighter departments and academies. As police officers and firefighters can work in dangerous conditions and have physically demanding jobs, having an athletic trainer on-staff can help reduce the need for trips to the emergency room, as well as decrease time waiting for appointments. Public safety is an emerging field of athletic training and expected to continue to grow.
In physician practice, athletic trainers can be found assisting in triage, taking patient histories, performing evaluations, and providing instruction on exercise and rehabilitation prescriptions. In this capacity athletic trainers serve as an extension for physicians, allowing for more patients to receive services.
Many industrial companies are realizing the benefits of having a versatile and highly trained medical professional on-site. In an industrial setting an athletic trainer usually coordinates work-site injury management programs, evaluates injuries, carries out ergonomic risk assessments and corrective planning, gives first aid treatments, assists with rehabilitation, and provides health education.
What to do with an athletic training degree?
As you can see, there are a lot of options available. Perhaps a more relevant question is “What would you like to do with an athletic training degree?” From performing arts to public safety, athletic training is a growing field with many opportunities.
Here at the University of Idaho we’ve built relationships with affiliated clinical sites across the country so that our students can have the opportunity of working in all the emerging fields of athletic training. From the George Mason University Dance Program to the WWE Performance Center to Amazon, we have clinical rotations to match each student’s interests. We’re passionate about athletic training, and about helping our students find a rewarding career. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in athletic training, we’d love to talk with you.