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Career Guide: Athletic Trainer

Career Guide: Athletic Trainer

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Licensure and certification. In 2006, 46 States required athletic trainers to be licensed or registered; this requires certification from the Board of Certification, Inc. (BOC). For certification, athletic trainers need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited athletic training program. In addition, a successful candidate for BOC certification must pass a rigorous examination. To retain certification, credential holders must continue taking medical-related courses and adhere to the BOC standards of practice. In States where licensure is not required, certification is voluntary but may be helpful for those seeking jobs and advancement.

Other qualifications. Because all athletic trainers deal directly with a variety of people, they need good social and communication skills. They should be able to manage difficult situations and the stress associated with them, such as when disagreements arise with coaches, clients, or parents regarding suggested treatment. Athletic trainers also should be organized, be able to manage time wisely, be inquisitive, and have a strong desire to help people.

Advancement. There are a number ways for athletic trainers to advance or move into related positions. Assistant athletic trainers may become head athletic trainers and, eventually, athletic directors. Athletic trainers also might enter a physician group practice and assume a management role. Some athletic trainers move into sales and marketing positions, using their athletic trainer expertise to sell medical and athletic equipment.

Employment

Athletic trainers held about 17,000 jobs in 2006 and are found in every part of the country. Most athletic trainer jobs are related to sports, although an increasing number also work in nonsports settings. About 34 percent of athletic trainers worked in health care, including jobs in hospitals, offices of physicians, and offices of other health practitioners. Another 34 percent were found in public and private educational services, primarily in colleges, universities, and high schools. About 20 percent worked in fitness and recreational sports centers.

Job Outlook

Employment is projected to grow much faster than average. Job prospects should be good in the health care industry, but competition is expected for positions with sports teams.

Employment change. Employment of athletic trainers is expected to grow 24 percent from 2006 to 2016, much faster than the average for all occupations. Job growth will be concentrated in the health care industry, including hospitals and offices of health practitioners. Fitness and recreation sports centers also will provide many new jobs, as these establishments become more common and continue to need athletic trainers to care for their clients. Growth in positions with sports teams will be somewhat slower, however, as most professional sports clubs and colleges and universities already have complete athletic training staffs.


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