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Become An Athletic Trainer

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Working As An Athletic Trainer

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Getting Information
  • Deal with People

  • Make Decisions

  • $30,674

    Average Salary

What Does An Athletic Trainer Do

Athletic trainers specialize in preventing, diagnosing, and treating muscle and bone injuries and illnesses.


Athletic trainers typically do the following:

  • Apply protective or injury-preventive devices, such as tape, bandages, and braces
  • Recognize and evaluate injuries
  • Provide first aid or emergency care
  • Develop and carry out rehabilitation programs for injured athletes
  • Plan and implement comprehensive programs to prevent injury and illness among athletes
  • Perform administrative tasks, such as keeping records and writing reports on injuries and treatment programs

Athletic trainers work with people of all ages and all skill levels, from young children to soldiers and professional athletes. Athletic trainers are usually one of the first healthcare providers on the scene when injuries occur. They work under the direction of a licensed physician and with other healthcare providers, often discussing specific injuries and treatment options or evaluating and treating patients, as directed by a physician. Some athletic trainers meet with a team physician or consulting physician regularly.

An athletic trainer’s administrative responsibilities may include regular meetings with an athletic director or another administrative officer to deal with budgets, purchasing, policy implementation, and other business-related issues. Athletic trainers plan athletic programs that are compliant with federal and state regulations, such as laws related to athlete concussions.

Athletic trainers should not be confused with fitness trainers and instructors, including personal trainers.

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How To Become An Athletic Trainer

Athletic trainers need at least a bachelor’s degree. Nearly all states require athletic trainers to have a license or certification; requirements vary by state.


Athletic trainers need at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Master’s degree programs are also common. Degree programs have classroom and clinical components, including science and health-related courses, such as biology, anatomy, physiology, and nutrition.

The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) accredits athletic trainer programs, including postprofessional and residency athletic trainer programs.

High school students interested in postsecondary athletic training programs should take courses in anatomy, physiology, and physics.

Important Qualities

Compassion. Athletic trainers work with athletes and patients who may be in considerable pain or discomfort. The trainers must be sympathetic while providing treatments.

Decisionmaking skills. Athletic trainers must be able to make informed clinical decisions that could affect the health or livelihood of patients.

Detail oriented. Athletic trainers must record patients’ progress accurately and ensure that they are receiving the appropriate treatments or practicing the correct fitness regimen.

Interpersonal skills. Athletic trainers must have strong interpersonal skills in order to manage difficult situations. They must communicate well with others, including physicians, patients, athletes, coaches, and parents.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Nearly all states require athletic trainers to be licensed or certified; requirements vary by state.  For specific requirements, contact the particular state’s licensing or credentialing board or athletic trainer association.

The Board of Certification for the Athletic Trainer (BOC) offers the standard certification examination that most states use for licensing athletic trainers. Certification requires graduating from a CAATE-accredited program and completing the BOC exam. To maintain certification, athletic trainers must adhere to the BOC Standards of Practice and Disciplinary Process and take continuing education courses.


Assistant athletic trainers may become head athletic trainers, athletic directors, or physician, hospital, or clinic practice administrators. In any of these positions, they will assume a management role. Athletic trainers working in colleges and universities may pursue an advanced degree to increase their advancement opportunities.

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Athletic Trainer jobs

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Athletic Trainer Demographics


  • Female

  • Male

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Asian

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • French

  • Japanese

  • Chinese

  • Italian

  • German

  • Russian

  • Swedish

  • Portuguese

  • Finnish

  • Swahili

  • Cantonese

  • Braille

  • Amharic

  • Greek

  • Carrier

  • Korean

  • Mandarin

  • Arabic

  • Hmong

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Real Athletic Trainer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Athletic Trainers Skillman Tennis Associates LLC Islandia, NY Sep 14, 2016 $110,611
Senior Physical Therapist/Athletic Trainer Milwaukee Bucks, LLC Milwaukee, WI Sep 21, 2015 $105,000
Athletic Trainer ATP Tour, Inc. FL Jan 01, 2015 $99,410
Athletic Trainer Proform Tennis LLC Rye Brook, NY Aug 07, 2013 $90,000
Athletic Trainer Proform Tennis Academy LLC Rye Brook, NY Aug 07, 2013 $90,000
Athletic Trainer S-10 Training LLC New York, NY Jan 10, 2016 $80,000 -
Athletic Trainer WTA Tour, Inc. Saint Petersburg, FL Sep 09, 2016 $80,000
Athletic Trainer Playground Gym LLC Fort Lauderdale, FL Sep 17, 2013 $72,000
Athletic Trainers Proform Tennis LLC Rye Brook, NY Aug 28, 2013 $68,000
Athletic Trainers NEO World Health Club, Inc. NY May 20, 2013 $67,460
Athletic Trainer/Instructor International Center for Healing Arts San Diego, CA Sep 16, 2015 $62,610
Athletic Trainers Institute for Performance, Rehabilitation, and WEL CA Feb 13, 2013 $62,400
Athletic Trainer Glendale Adventist Medical Center Rocklin, CA Nov 22, 2013 $61,714
Athletic Trainer (Taekwondo) Master Yoo's Summit Martial Art Center Inc. Summit, NJ Jul 14, 2016 $60,363
Athletic Trainer Escondido Union High School District Escondido, CA Oct 15, 2013 $45,851
Athletic Trainer Team Rehabilitation Services LLC Bloomfield, MI May 02, 2013 $45,640 -
Athletic Trainer Cerritos Community College District Norwalk, CA Sep 02, 2014 $45,413
Equestrian Athletic Trainer White Birch Farm Greenwich, CT Jul 29, 2016 $45,303
Athletic Medicine Trainer University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI Aug 16, 2013 $45,150
Athletic Trainer University Physicians of Brooklyn Inc. New York, NY Aug 08, 2016 $45,000
Athletic Trainer (Certified), Women's Basketball, DIV. I Rehabclinics (SPT), Inc. Cincinnati, OH May 13, 2015 $44,967 -
Athletic Trainer Curators of The University of Missouri Rolla, MO Jul 20, 2014 $39,600
Athletic Trainer Bay Minette Physical Therapy Services, Inc. Bay Minette, AL Jun 01, 2014 $39,500
Occupational Athletic Trainer Onsite Innovations, Inc. CT Aug 30, 2013 $39,493
Athletic Trainer St. Lawrence University Canton, NY Aug 29, 2016 $39,475
Athletic Trainer Physiotherapy Corporation Scottsdale, AZ Aug 31, 2016 $39,250
Athletic Trainer Mass Bay Spine & Sport Physical Therapy, Inc. Marshfield, MA Sep 15, 2015 $38,902

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Top Skills for An Athletic Trainer


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Top Athletic Trainer Skills

  1. Athletic Injuries
  2. Game Coverage
  3. Physical Therapy Clinic
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Work to prevent and treat athletic injuries, which may happen during practice or competition.
  • Provided game coverage for numerous Varsity Club Hockey teams.
  • Developed strategic plan for revenue growth for Sports Medicine/Physical Therapy clinics.
  • Sport assignments included: Women's Soccer, Football, Women's Basketball, Track and Field, Men's Tennis.
  • Assisted in formulating appropriate treatment plans and rehabilitative goals for patient population.

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