What is the Role of an Athletic Trainer?

If you are thinking about a career in the health science field, you may have considered working as an athletic trainer. Perhaps you have wondered, “What is the role of an athletic trainer?” An athletic trainer is a professional who specializes in developing exercises for college and professional level athletes to help maximize their abilities and skills and recover from injuries and strain. Athletic trainers also diagnose and treat muscle and bone issues that may arise from exercise. He or she also is ready to diagnose and treat any injuries that arise during practices and games. Read on to learn more about how to become an athletic trainer and what this career entails.

Role of an Athletic Trainer

Most athletic trainers work for colleges and universities, professional sports franchises, or physicians’ offices. The role of a trainer is to apply first aid for athletes when injuries arise, and to apply devices such as bandages, braces, and other protective and healing equipment. The trainer also develops exercise programs to help rehabilitate athletes from injury, as well as plans training schedules and curriculum to help the athlete maximize his or her function and reduce the risk for injury. Athletic trainers typically work directly with coaches, team physicians, team administrators, and others in leadership roles. Trainers usually work under the direct supervision of a physician. Most athletic trainers work full time but evening and weekend hours are typically required.

Becoming an Athletic Trainer

To become an athletic trainer, a bachelor’s degree is typically required. You should attend a program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. These programs typically include both classroom and practical learning, with an emphasis on anatomy and physiology as well as nutrition. Most states also require athletic trainers to be certified through the Board of Certification for the Athletic Trainer. On-the-job training is essential for this role, and many athletic trainers go on to earn master’s degrees in order to advance to more prestigious positions.

Salary and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for athletic trainers is $42,090, with half of those in the profession earning less and half earning more. A quarter of trainers work for colleges, universities, and professional schools; 15 percent in physicians’ offices; 13 percent in hospitals and 13 percent in recreational facilities. It is a relatively small field but the occupation is expected to grow by 19 percent over the next 10 years. Growth is expected to be driven by an increased awareness of sports related injuries and a population that remains active into the senior years.

To learn more about the role of an athletic trainer, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics online . If you have an avid interest in sports and the function of the human body, this could be an ideal career for you. Prior to enrolling in an undergraduate program, excel in high school classes in anatomy and biology and physiology in order to bolster your application. For undergraduate studies, consider majoring in health science (see: Top 10 Best Online Health Science Degree Programs). If you already have a bachelor’s in a different subject, consider earning a master’s degree in an athletic training program.