Athletic Trainer Job Description and Salary

An athletic trainers job description and salary vary as much as their clientèle and work places. But their practice as a health care professional is singular: Work under the supervision of a medical doctor to improve their patients ability to be active and participate in athletics, work, and life.

To assist their patients and clients, athletic trainers may work with all age ranges and all professions from high school students to professional sports stars to workers from global corporations. They, also, may have different work settings that range from a soccer field to a hospital.

Despite the variety of people and locations, an athletic trainer has a scope of practice. This practice includes preventing, examining, diagnosing, treating, and rehabilitating muscle and bone illness and injuries.

An athletic trainer may work with people who have disabilities and limitations, and may need to handle medical conditions that are emergent, acute, and chronic.

Sample job duties for an athletic trainer

  • Recognize and evaluate an injury
  • Administer emergency first aid care
  • Apply tape, bandages, and braces for protective and injury-prevention purposes
  • Plan and implement a rehabilitation program for injured clients and patients
  • Design and put into effect a program to prevent injury and illness in athletics
  • Write reports about injuries sustained and treatment programs initiated
  • Maintain records

An athletic trainer may spend time meeting with other healthcare providers, discussing specific injuries and treatment options. Regular meetings about administrative issues such as policies and budgets should be expected, too.

Some athletic trainers advance into management or into sales and marketing positions, where they sell athletic and medical equipment.

Athletic trainer as physician extender job description

  • Take patient histories
  • Recognize and evaluate an injury
  • Report the findings to the medical doctor
  • Schedule tests
  • Prepare injections
  • Fit patients for crutches or braces
  • Develop and implement rehabilitation programs
  • Educate patients about how to prevent injuries


An athletic trainers workplace may vary, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that 27 percent of athletic trainers are employed by colleges, universities, and professional schools and serve sporting departments.

Fitness and recreation sports center comprise 11 percent, with elementary and secondary schools capturing 9 percent.

Six percent worked in a physicians office and 4 percent worked in spectator sports.

Although a small number work in rehabilitation clinics, most athletic trainers spend their work week outdoors, in all types of weather.

A number of athletic trainers work in commercial settings, where they help employees with ergonomics.

About 18,200 people held an athletic trainers position in 2010, but the projected growth is staggering. The BLS notes that there will be 30 percent growth between 2010 through 2020, which means about 5,500 more jobs.

Education requirements for athletic trainers

Keep in mind that an athletic trainer is not a personal trainer. The difference is scope of practice and education.

An athletic trainer requires a bachelors degree, with many possessing a masters degree.

Your studies will focus on the following content:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Risk management and injury prevention
  • Pathology of injuries and illnesses
  • Orthopedic clinical examination and diagnosis
  • Medical conditions and disabilities
  • Acute care of injuries and illnesses
  • Therapeutic modalities
  • Conditioning, rehabilitative exercise and referral
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychosocial intervention and referral
  • Nutritional aspects of injuries and illnesses
  • Health care administration

If you are considering a major in athletic training, you will want to find an accredited school, which will offer a classroom and clinical education. You will need to graduate from a Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education program.

After you finish your education, you will need to become certified and licensed depending on your state. The Board of Certification is a standard exam that certifies your skills and knowledge, but some states may have a separate state exam, which means you will need to check with the local state regulatory agency.

Do athletic trainers make good money?

An athletic trainers median yearly wage in 2010 was $41,600, according to the BLS.

When compared to other healthcare practitioners and technical occupations, athletic trainers earn about 19 percent less and may need to work weekends and travel for sport events

Sample athletic trainer job titles

  • Wellness Manager
  • Rehab Specialist
  • Clinical Athletic Trainer
  • Clinical Manager
  • Club Sports Certified Athletic Trainer
  • College Athletic Trainer
  • College Assistant Athletic Trainer
  • Combined Outreach Athletic Trainer
  • Community Sports Team Clinical Athletic Trainer
  • Occupational Health Director
  • Rehab Therapy Services Director
  • Head Certified Athletic Trainer
  • High School Athletic Trainer
  • Hospital and Ambulatory Medical Center-based Certified Athletic Trainer
  • Hospital-based Care Practitioner- Certified Athletic Trainer
  • On-site Occupational Athletic Trainer
  • Physician Extender
  • Program Director
  • Secondary School Athletic Trainer

I hope this information about an athletic trainer job description and salary has been helpful.