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Athletic Trainer

What they do:

An athletic trainer is also the person who determines when the athlete is ready to resume playing the sport. They do consult with the player’s physician to confirm that the injury is healed before they will allow the player to return to the field. If an athlete is down on the field and just has the breath knocked out of them the athletic trainer will decide if they are okay to return to the game or have to sit out until they can be checked by a physician.

Athletic trainer duties:

  • Some of the duties that an athletic trainer may do can include:

  • Examining an injury and conducting an initial assessment to determine if they need a referral to a physician or just need first aid.

  • Apply tape, bandages, dressings, and braces to help prevent further injury to the affected areas like their fingers, ankles, or wrists.

  • When it is necessary they will give the patients a referral to a physician

  • To help prevent injuries they may develop and implement programs to deal with this issue.

  • For athletes with injuries they can create rehabilitation programs to help strengthen the areas that are affected by an injury.

  • If an athlete is injured the athletic trainer will evaluate the athlete’s readiness to return to the game in progress or the next game that is being played. They will also provide the necessary clearance to play

  • Provide the physicians and coaches with a progress report of the athlete’s progress and recovery time frame.

  • Coaching the athletes on the proper use of sports equipment that they will be using for the game the athlete plays.

  • They may also have administrative tasks and paper work to do such as filling out paperwork releasing the athlete to go back to playing the game, filling out referrals for the athletes to see physicians and specialists if needed, etc.


  • A bachelor’s degree in athletic training from an accredited university or college, as well as completed clinical training.

  • An athletic trainer credential (ATC) earned by passing a comprehensive exam.

  • Participate in continued education.

  • Adhere to standards of professional practice set by one national certifying agency and to a national code of ethics.

What they make:

As of May 2015 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the median salary was $46,090 for athletic trainers. In August, 2016 according to the median salary of an athletic trainer is $49,000. The lowest-paid 10% had an annual salary of $25,960 or less and the highest paid 10% had an annual salary of $64,140 or more. The highest average annual salary of $58,020 was paid to athletic trainers who worked for the performing art companies but unfortunately they did not employ that many athletic trainers when comparing the numbers with the number of athletic trainers hired by universities and colleges. On average most entry level athletic trainers have an annual starting salary of $35,000.

Where they work:

  • Schools

  • Colleges

  • Professional sports

  • Clinics

  • Hospitals

  • Corporations

  • Performing arts venues

  • Municipalities (i.e., fire and police departments)

  • Military


The employment growth for athletic trainers has a projection rate of 21% for the next ten years or so due to the people awareness that sport related injuries can also start at a young age. The increase in this field even it’s a small occupation is constantly and secure with a high job satisfaction.

A high demand for these professionals is starting to rise in school institutions such as universities, colleges and young leagues. In this field, there are also various opportunities for advancement. In the early reminded settings these professionals can pursue advanced degrees where they can increase their chances of advancement.

Athletic trainers can find jobs also in sales positions or marketing positions in which they use their expertise in order to sell athletic equipment or even medical equipment. These professionals can also choose to become athletic directors or clinic practice administrators where they have to assume a management role.


Updated October 2016 with information provided by the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)