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Athletic Trainer Careers

Athletic trainers are medical professionals active in sporting environments, preventing, diagnosing, and treating sports injuries. They work together with doctors and other healthcare professionals and assist sports professionals, military personnel, children, and many more.

As an athletic trainer, you will be responsible for preparing people for sports games, bracing, or taping them. You will be on call during the sporting event to give first aid treatment in case of accidents. Creating rehabilitation plans for people who are recovering from injuries will also be your responsibility.

You will have to document your patients' cases and progress as well. You'll also need to undergo appropriate education to take on this role. Sometimes obtaining certifications is also necessary.

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.

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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Average Salary for an Athletic Trainer

Athletic Trainers in America make an average salary of $42,310 per year or $20 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $57,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $30,000 per year.
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Best Paying Cities For Athletic Trainers

Average Salarydesc
Greenwich, CT
Salary Range43k - 68k$54k$54,244
Rocklin, CA
Salary Range42k - 68k$54k$54,135
Boston, MA
Salary Range38k - 60k$48k$48,086
Las Cruces, NM
Salary Range36k - 58k$46k$46,107
Saint George, UT
Salary Range35k - 57k$45k$45,274
Detroit, MI
Salary Range35k - 55k$45k$44,727
Urban Honolulu, HI
Salary Range39k - 49k$44k$44,310
Iowa City, IA
Salary Range35k - 54k$44k$43,948
Denver, CO
Salary Range35k - 54k$44k$43,645
Coral Gables, FL
Salary Range34k - 53k$43k$42,850
Austin, TX
Salary Range33k - 53k$42k$42,469
New York, NY
Salary Range33k - 52k$42k$41,854
Broken Arrow, OK
Salary Range32k - 50k$41k$40,555
Phoenix, AZ
Salary Range32k - 50k$40k$40,351
Hopkinsville, KY
Salary Range32k - 49k$40k$40,224
Toledo, OH
Salary Range31k - 48k$39k$38,937
Greensboro, NC
Salary Range31k - 46k$38k$38,280
Minneapolis, MN
Salary Range26k - 40k$33k$32,858

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Athletic Trainer Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming an Athletic Trainer. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write an Athletic Trainer Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Athletic Trainer resumes and compiled some information about how to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

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Athletic Trainer Demographics



50.3 %


45.0 %


4.6 %



66.1 %

Hispanic or Latino

13.4 %

Black or African American

12.1 %

Foreign Languages Spoken


64.7 %


9.2 %


5.0 %
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Athletic Trainer Education




72.9 %


16.8 %


5.0 %

Top Colleges for Athletic Trainers

1. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Private

In-State Tuition

2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Private

In-State Tuition

3. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition

4. Georgetown University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition

5. University of Florida

Gainesville, FL • Private

In-State Tuition

6. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX • Private

In-State Tuition

7. California State University - Long Beach

Long Beach, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

8. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

9. Emory University

Atlanta, GA • Private

In-State Tuition

10. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
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Online Courses For Athletic Trainer That You May Like

Trauma Emergencies and Care

Welcome to Trauma Emergencies and Care. In this course, you will learn about some of the mechanics and physics of trauma on the human body, and how this can cause injury. You will continue to expand your new vocabulary with medical terminology, and learn how to describe the different injuries you may see. You will also learn about the trauma system itself- and when it is important to transport patients to a trauma center. Then we will dive into specific injuries based on what part of the body ma...

Transgender Medicine for General Medical Providers

The course is a comprehensive set of didactic lectures surveying fundamentals of transgender medical and surgical treatment. The material is meant to provide the student with core knowledge that is essential for current primary care providers caring for transgender patients. There are 10 modules led by the expert clinical faculty from the pioneering Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery, located within the Mount Sinai Health System and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New Yor...

The Science of Training Young Athletes

Seventy percent of kids drop out of sports before their high school graduation. Only 15% leave because they feel they are not good enough. Almost 70% leave because they were not having fun, or due to problems with the coach. Injuries cause 30% to give up sports. This course is packed full of practical sports science information that provide youth coaches and parents with the practical pediatric sports science insights to successfully retain young athletes and develop their sport potential while...

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Top Skills For an Athletic Trainer

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 14.9% of athletic trainers listed cpr on their resume, but soft skills such as detail oriented and interpersonal skills are important as well.

Best States For an Athletic Trainer

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as an athletic trainer. The best states for people in this position are Nevada, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Connecticut. Athletic trainers make the most in Nevada with an average salary of $57,112. Whereas in Rhode Island and New Hampshire, they would average $56,187 and $56,154, respectively. While athletic trainers would only make an average of $55,055 in Connecticut, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Rhode Island

Total Athletic Trainer Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. New Hampshire

Total Athletic Trainer Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Connecticut

Total Athletic Trainer Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Athletic Trainers

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Top Athletic Trainer Employers

1. Athletico
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2. Encompass Health
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3. NovaCare Rehabilitation
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4. Varsity
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5. Select Medical
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6. Auburn University
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