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Athletic Trainers

Athletic trainers have an important role in the diagnosis, assessment, management, treatment and rehabilitation of injured athletes and non-athletes. They are recognized by the American Medical Association as allied health professionals. Under the supervision of a doctor, an athletic trainer provides emergency and follow-up care to athletes and other clients.

Athletic trainers serve as an important connection between an injured athlete, the doctor and the coach to determine when it's the correct time for the athlete to begin practicing and competing in athletic competitions. They also utilize their knowledge of anatomy, pathology and biomechanics to create athletic injury prevention and treatment programs.


  • Create and implement athletic injury and illness prevention programs
  • Create training programs and routines that improve athletic performance
  • Advise people regarding the proper use of equipment in order to reduce the risk of injury
  • Evaluate an athlete and help determine if the athlete is ready for practices and competitions
  • Apply injury preventive or protective devices to athletes
  • Provide therapy programs
  • Order equipment and supplies
  • Keep records on their clients
  • Report the progress of a recovering athlete to doctors and coaches

Job Characteristics

The work environment of athletic trainers varies and depends on the industry they work in and the employer. Sometimes travel is part of the job. Athletic trainers working in non-sports environments usually have an established work schedule which includes from 40 to 50 hours of work per week. Those working in hospitals and clinics sometimes work at other locations while performing outreach services.

Athletic trainers that work in sports environments have variable schedules. They need to be with the team at practices and competitions which may occur during the evenings and the weekends. Athletic trainers that work for professional sports teams usually work the most hours per week.

Since athletic trainers constantly interact with a variety of people they should have good communication and social skills. They also need to be well organized and have a desire to help people.

Employment Outlook

Employment of athletic trainers is projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to grow 37 percent from 2008 to 2018 which is much faster than average for all occupations. Job growth may be concentrated in the healthcare industry including hospitals and health practitioners' offices. New jobs may also be provided by fitness and recreation sports centers.

The salary of athletic trainers varies by their job responsibilities, job setting and experience. In 2008 the median annual salary for athletic trainers was $39,640.

In 2008 approximately 39 percent of athletic trainers worked in public and private educational services, primarily for colleges, universities and high schools. About 38 percent worked in the healthcare field, including at hospitals, doctors offices, and the offices of other health practitioners.

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

Almost all athletic trainer positions require a bachelor's degree. The programs combine teaching in classrooms and clinical settings. The programs provide numerous science and health related classes.

The National Athletic Trainers' Association has stated that almost 70 percent of athletic trainers hold a master's degree or higher. Some positions, especially at colleges and universities, may require a master's degree or better.

Athletic training programs typically include classes in subjects such as therapeutic exercise, therapeutic modalities, human anatomy and physiology, athletic training program administration, kinesiology/biomechanics, nutrition and exercise physiology.

Most states require athletic trainers to be licensed or registered. The certification requires applicants to have a bachelor's degree or a master's degree from an accredited athletic training program along with passing a test. The National Athletic Trainers' Board of Certification, Inc., oversees the certification of athletic trainers.


Major Employers

The top job providers are colleges, universities, secondary schools, professional sports programs and sports medicine clinics.

Schools for Athletic Trainers are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for
Athletic Trainers

Listed below are the 10 largest metro areas based on the total number of people employed in Athletic Trainers jobs , as of 2016

Metro Area Total Employment Annual Mean Salary
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land 780 $61,710
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington 620 $59,460
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim 540 $50,150
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale 420 $41,920
Pittsburgh 390 $41,140
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn 330 $52,330
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach 300 $45,550
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell 290 $47,180
Columbus 290 $50,510
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis 230 $53,520

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Total employment and salary for professions similar to athletic trainers

Most Popular Industries for
Athletic Trainers

These industries represent at least 1% of the total number of people employed in this occupation.

Industry Total Employment Percent Annual Median Salary
Education 5,370 36% $42,430
Medical Office 3,230 22% $38,270
Hospital 2,710 18% $39,990
Amusement Gambling And Recreation 2,330 16% $30,080
Performing Arts And Sports 810 5% $39,370
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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Athletic Trainers.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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