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Career Guide: Athletic Trainer

Career Guide: Athletic Trainer

Bureau of Labor Statistics

The demand for health care should grow dramatically as the result of advances in technology, increasing emphasis on preventive care, and an increasing number of older people who are more likely to need medical care. Athletic trainers will benefit from this expansion because they provide a cost-effective way to increase the number of health professionals in an office or other setting.

More on Athletic Training

Salary: $21,940 - $57,580
Min. Education: Bachelor's Degree
Related Careers: Fitness Trainer, Physical Therapist

Also, employers increasingly emphasize sports medicine, in which an immediate responder, such as an athletic trainer, is on site to help prevent injuries and provide immediate treatment for any injuries that do occur. Increased licensure requirements and regulation has led to a greater acceptance of athletic trainers as qualified health care providers. As a result, third-party reimbursement is expected to continue to grow for athletic training services.

As athletic trainers continue to expand their services, more employers are expected to use these workers to realize the cost savings of providing health care in-house. There should be strong demand for athletic trainers in settings outside the sports world, especially those that focus on health care. Continuing efforts to have an athletic trainer in every high school reflect concern for the health of student-athletes as well as efforts to provide more funding for schools, and may lead to growth in the number of athletic trainers employed in high schools.

Job prospects. Job prospects should be good for athletic trainers in the health care industry. Those looking for a position with a sports team, however, may face competition. Turnover among athletic trainers is limited. When working with sports teams, many athletic trainers prefer to continue to work with the same coaches, administrators, and players when a good working relationship already exists.

Because of relatively low turnover, the settings with the best job prospects will be the ones that are expected to have the most job growth, primarily positions in the heath care industry and fitness and recreational sports centers. Additional job opportunities are expected in elementary and secondary schools as more positions are created. Some of these positions also will require teaching responsibilities. There will be more competition for positions within colleges and universities as well as professional sports clubs.

The occupation is expected to continue to change over the next decade, including more administrative responsibilities, adapting to new technology, and working with larger populations, and job seekers must be able to adapt to these changes.


Most athletic trainers work in full-time positions, and typically receive benefits. The salary of an athletic trainer depends on experience and job responsibilities, and varies by job setting. Median annual earnings of wage-and-salary athletic trainers were $36,560 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $28,920 and $45,690. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $21,940, while the top 10 percent earned more than $57,580.

Many employers pay for some of the continuing education required for athletic trainers to remain certified, although the amount covered varies from employer to employer.

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