Job Universe: Athletic Trainers

Athletic trainers help prevent and treat injuries for people of all ages.

  • The job: Athletic trainers help prevent and treat injuries for people of all ages. Their clients include everyone from professional athletes to industrial workers. Recognized by the American Medical Association as allied health professionals, athletic trainers specialize in the prevention, assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal injuries.
  • Outlook: Employment of athletic trainers is expected to grow 24 percent from 2006 to 2016, much faster than the average for all occupations. Job growth will be concentrated in the healthcare industry, including hospitals and offices of health practitioners. Fitness and recreation sports centers also will provide many new jobs, as these establishments become more common and continue to need athletic trainers to care for their clients.
  • Experience: A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university is required for almost all jobs as an athletic trainer. In 2006, there were more than 350 accredited programs nationwide. According to the National Athletic Trainers Association, 68 percent of athletic trainers have a master's or doctoral degree. Athletic trainers may need a master's or higher degree to be eligible for some positions, especially those in colleges and universities, and to increase their advancement opportunities. In 2006, 46 states required athletic trainers to be licensed or registered; this requires certification from the Board of Certification Inc.
  • The not-so-good: Turnover among athletic trainers is limited. When working with sports teams, many athletic trainers prefer to continue to work with the same coaches, administrators, and players when a good working relationship already exists. There will be more competition for positions within colleges and universities as well as professional sports clubs.
  • Pay: Most athletic trainers work in full-time positions and typically receive benefits. The salary of an athletic trainer depends on experience and job responsibilities, and it varies by job setting. Median annual wage and salary earnings of athletic trainers were $36,560 in May 2006.

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This information is from the Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.