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.

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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.

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Athletic Trainer Career Paths

Average Salary for an Athletic Trainer

Athletic Trainers in America make an average salary of $47,028 per year or $23 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $61,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $35,000 per year.
Average Athletic Trainer Salary
$47,028 Yearly
$22.61 hourly

What Am I Worth?


Roles and Types of Athletic Trainer

The role of an athletic trainer includes a wide range of responsibilities. These responsibilities can vary based on an individual's specific job, company, or industry.Here are some general athletic trainer responsibilities:

  • Responsible for assisting with the prevention, assessment, treatment,
  • To provide athletic training services to local high schools
  • Prevent and treat injury using appropriate medical protocols; assist in developing

There are several types of athletic trainer, including:



There are a lot of different types of trainers. Your definition of a trainer would be very different from someone else's definition. Maybe you think of a gymnasium setting when you think of a trainer. Or maybe you imagine an office setting. Either way, you would be right.

As a trainer, you have unlimited job opportunities to look forward to. From gym trainers and personal trainers to corporate trainers and technical trainers, you get to decide what office you'd rather work in. A lot of the responsibilities between the different types of trainers remain the same.

At the heart of being a trainer, your goal is to motivate your team. Whether it's pushing out five more push-ups or committing to five more minutes of productivity, you get to be their coach and mentor. You're going to be the person they come to when they're struggling with accomplishing a goal. So your listening skills need to be off the charts.

  • Average Salary: $47,574
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Physical Therapist


Being active is the name of the game. At least for Physical Therapists. Since most of their day is spent with helping patients improve movement and manage pain, Physical Therapists spend a lot of their time on their feet.

Typically, you can find them working in private offices and clinics, but some work in hospitals, patients' homes and even nursing homes. If you're excited about helping people get their pain under control, then all you need is a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree and a license to practice.

  • Average Salary: $73,070
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Student Athletic Trainer


Student athletic trainers are students enrolled in a college athletic training education program. They are supervised by and assist athletic training instructors or physicians and treat injuries suffered by students during training. Filling this role is an opportunity to gain knowledge and practice in the field as part of the students' clinical education.

Preparing to fill the position of an athletic trainer, student trainers observe the work of coaches and physical therapists. They learn how to evaluate injuries and provide first aid by applying bandages or braces to prevent accidents. They also learn how to implement physical therapy rehabilitation programs and how to plan injury prevention.

Although these positions are practically internships, student athletic trainers usually get paid for their services around $10.00 - $13.34 an hour. If you love helping people, and you would rather spend your time outdoors instead of being stuck behind a desk in an office, this might be the right position for you.

  • Average Salary: $47,264
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

States With The Most Athletic Trainer Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active athletic trainer jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where athletic trainers earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Athletic Trainer Jobs By State

RankStateNumber of JobsAverage Salary
6New York1,011$50,863
12North Carolina690$41,569
14New Jersey642$53,977
21South Carolina486$43,525
34West Virginia225$47,887
35New Hampshire225$44,158
37New Mexico214$45,235
40Rhode Island161$45,990
46South Dakota99$40,272
49North Dakota83$43,977

Athletic Trainer Education

Athletic Trainer Majors

Athletic Trainer Degrees


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




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, 19.5% of athletic trainers listed patients on their resume, but soft skills such as compassion and detail oriented are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Athletic Trainer Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Athletic Trainer templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Athletic Trainer resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Athletic Trainer diversity

Athletic Trainer Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among athletic trainers, 46.9% of them are women, while 53.1% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among athletic trainers is White, which makes up 61.8% of all athletic trainers.

  • The most common foreign language among athletic trainers is Spanish at 64.7%.

Online Courses For Athletic Trainer That You May Like

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1. 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...

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3. Sports Nutrition for Athletes and Fitness Enthusiasts


Learn all about sports nutrition with 7 hours of online video content and start training SMARTER instead of HARDER...

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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 Connecticut, California, New Jersey, and Oregon. Athletic trainers make the most in Connecticut with an average salary of $58,342. Whereas in California and New Jersey, they would average $54,573 and $53,977, respectively. While athletic trainers would only make an average of $53,911 in Oregon, 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. Connecticut

Total Athletic Trainer Jobs: 397
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. West Virginia

Total Athletic Trainer Jobs: 225
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. Vermont

Total Athletic Trainer Jobs: 117
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Athletic Trainers

How Do Athletic Trainers Rate Their Jobs?

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Top Athletic Trainer Employers

Most Common Employers For Athletic Trainer

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1Encompass Health$62,632$30.1142
2Select Medical$59,784$28.7421
3University of California-Berkeley$57,106$27.4516
4Mayo Clinic$54,079$26.0019
5Varsity Bus$51,598$24.8118
9Professional Physical Therapy$50,083$24.0821
10ATI Physical Therapy$50,039$24.0642

Athletic Trainer Videos

Becoming an Athletic Trainer FAQs

Athletic Trainer Vs Physical Therapist

Athletic trainers are healthcare professionals specializing in treating athletic and physically active individuals, while a physical therapist refers to a medical professional who helps injured or ill people improve movement and manage pain.

Do Athletic Trainers Get Paid Well?

Yes, athletic trainers get paid well. Athletic trainers make approximately $50,700 per year in the United States. This is the average for those with some experience in the field and the appropriate credentials. However, those just entering the field can expect an entry-level salary of $42,500 per year.

How Long Does It Take To Become An Athletic Trainer?

It takes approximately four years to become an athletic trainer. These professionals must undergo training and complete their four-year bachelor's degree. Those looking to gain further education may complete their master's degree, adding one to three years to their career path.

What Do You Major In To Become An Athletic Trainer?

You can major in sports medicine, exercise science, or athletic training to become an athletic trainer. Comparable majors should also be taken into consideration, such as physiology. Some athletic trainers may take minors in closely related fields to round out their traditional education.

What Is A Typical Day For An Athletic Trainer?

A typical day for an athletic trainer involves evaluating an athlete's readiness to play, providing care for athletic injuries, and assessing the progress of recovering athletes. Additional tasks include...

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