What does an athletic trainer do? Athletic training is what happens when you cross sports with medicine. Athletic training incorporates everything from the diagnosis and treatment to the rehab of any injuries or illnesses relating to muscles and bones. Trainers can be found working in schools, the military, and with sports teams, just to name a few places you can get a job.

“Athletic training is sometimes—actually way too often—confused with sports medicine or personal training. The careers may live in the same house, but they all have separate rooms.”

What are their responsibilities?

Frequently, athletic trainers are the first ones on the scene in the event of an injury. Working alongside other medical professionals, the responsibilities of an athletic trainer are:

  • The ability to identify the type of injury sustained.
  • Apply first aid or any other emergency services necessary.
  • Develop a rehabilitation plan.
  • Create a comprehensive injury prevention plan.
  • Administrative duties.
  • Work with people of all ages.
  • Meet regularly with the medical team and athletic director.
  • Travel with athletic teams.
  • Help develop athletes performance through personally designed programs.
  • Massage out soreness.
  • Help the team properly stretch out before games.
  • Run errands for the team.
  • Staying updated on relevant job trends and advancements.

How do I become an athletic trainer?

To become an athletic trainer, you must have, at the very least, a bachelor’s degree from a program accredited by The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. There are hundreds of programs so it shouldn’t be too hard of a task to find one.

To become an athletic trainer, you need to:

  • Get that high school diploma or GED.
  • Go to a college with an accredited athletic training program.
  • Gain experience through an internship or through other means of hands-on training.
  • Receive a bachelor’s degree.
  • Get certified through the Board of Certification.
  • Get licensed by your state, if it’s required.
  • Consider going back to school for a master’s degree.
  • Fulfill the continuing education requirements to keep your certification up to date.

How much does an athletic trainer make?

The top paying industries for athletic training are educational services, hospitals, and sports centers. However, where you live, and your experience level, will have the most weight on your salary. The median salary for athletic directors is $45K, with the top 10 percent earning closer to $70K. You’ll probably work full time, and may have to put in weekend hours depending on if you’re working with a sports team. That will determine if you’ll be traveling for the job, as well.

Will there be jobs available?

There are many reasons contributing to the significant growth of athletic training jobs through 2026. One of which is sports-related injuries—concussions in particular, having more awareness surrounding them. And, the older population is leading more active lives. To help in the treatment of their injuries, there will be about 6,200 jobs opening through the better part of the next decade. Texas, Pennsylvania, California, New York, and Ohio are where you’re more apt to find a job, as they have the highest employment levels.