What is an Athletic Trainer? Brief Overview of the Role:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, athletic trainers treat people of all ages and types, from industrial workers to professional athletes. They help prevent injuries with exercises and education, and may also be the first one on the scene of an accident or injury. Therefore, athletic trainers must be able to recognize, assess, and treat injuries on the spot.
Employment Outlook for Athletic Trainers:
Additionally, athletic training jobs with professional and college sports teams will remain very competitive, as most of the job growth will be with other types of employers such as healthcare facilities or corporations.
Work Settings and Hours for Athletic Trainers:
Bart Peterson, MSS, ATC/L, has worked as an athletic trainer in a high school setting since 1988. He shared a great deal of information about a "day in the life" of athletic trainers. In addition to his primary role as an AT at the school, Peterson also serves as the school's Athletic Director and teaches sports medicine courses at a local technical college. Therefore, his days can often be long, beginning at 8:00 am and lasting until 8:00 or 9:00pm. However, he doesn't mind that the hours can be long at times. "My profession is my passion," Peterson states, echoing the sentiments of many devoted healthcare professionals.
Educational Requirements, Certification and Credentialing for Athletic Trainers:
Unlike personal trainers, which have no standardized credentialing requirements, the official credential for athletic trainers is the ATC: Athletic Trainer, Certified. Certification requires a bachelor's degree and candidates must pass a comprehensive exam which tests in six practice domains including injury prevention, clinical evaluation and diagnosis, immediate care, and professional development. This certification is bestowed by the Board of Certification (BOC), and is the only AT certification recognized by the National Commission on Certifying Agencies.
Compensation for Athletic Trainers:
What's to Like About Being an Athletic Trainer:
He adds, "helping others brings me great satisfaction, and the profession of athletic training provides this opportunity on an hourly basis. Assisting coaches with their responsibilities, administration with theirs, and mainly my students with their goals!"
Challenges of the Profession:
Interested? Tips for Prospective Athletic Trainers:
- Learn all you can, as much as you can. Don’t let a day go by that you take advantage of an opportunity to learn and grow as a professional. Act the part: the profession is not one that allows one to live in gym shorts and a t-shirt. Live it, love it! You are either all in, or you’re not.
- Realize that Athletic Training is not an 9-5 job. Your hours are dependent upon co-workers (coaches) and administration and the athletes you are being paid to assist.
- We are a behind-the-scenes, backstage profession. You are most often not going to get the thanks you deserve, even when you have earned it. However, being an athletic trainer is about allowing the spotlight to focus on others and helping them to look good in the it.
- Work is not easy, no matter the profession. I, however, don’t go to work, I go to play. I am blessed to do what I Iove and I get paid for it!
- Working with others requires compromise on the part of both parties. Just because you have a degree doesn’t mean that they will just give one what they want. We have to earn the respect of our co-workers, parents, administration, and employers.