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What is an Athletic Trainer?
An athletic trainer is a professional that specializes in the analysis, diagnosis, prevention, rehabilitation, and treatment of muscles, tendons, bones, and illness. Athletic training blends sports medicine and exercise science into a unique discipline as a certified athletic trainer. Athletic trainers have a unique set of curricula to help them prepare to help individuals and patients in the field. Classes involved in becoming an athletic trainer may include: nutrition, biostatistics, CPR, anatomy, physiology of exercise, kinesiology, athletic training, orthopedic training, applied medicine, therapeutic modalities, rehabilitation, and reconditioning.
Students earning an athletic training degree are uniquely equipped to continue their education in the following arenas: athletic training, exercise science, physician assistants, nutrition, occupational therapy, wellness professions, health promotion, and physical therapy.
Difference Between an Athletic Trainer and Personal Trainer
The primary differences between an athletic trainer and personal trainer come down to areas of specialty and education requirements. A personal trainer is focused on the development of exercise regiments and fitness programs of physically able clients in a customer-facing environment. Typical requirements for a personal trainer is a recommended 4-year degree in kinesiology, exercise science, or similar field. An athletic trainer, on the other hand must have a bachelor’s degree or graduate degree in athletic training or similar plus an active license in their state of residence. Athletic trainers are equipped to assess, evaluate, diagnose, and treat sports-related injuries and reconditioning plans for athletes and clients.
How to Become an Athletic Trainer?
To become an art therapist, you must follow a series of steps that are build upon one another that are detailed below. The process is critical to follow as variations can exist from state to state which makes research and detail orientation critical to the process. The steps to become an athletic trainer include the following:
Step 1 – Research Schools
The first step in your journey to becoming an athletic trainer is to perform research into accredited colleges and universities that fit your professional goals and objectives. We recommend you read the following books to help make the process more efficient: Reducing the Cost of College and Attending College as an Adult. To efficiently research accredited college programs and schools, you can leverage the information found on this resource page or utilize our proprietary matching portal. In either case, simply find athletic trainer programs that interest you and request information from the school to learn more.
Step 2 – Apply to College
After collecting admissions information from colleges, you will need to apply to colleges or universities offering athletic trainer programs. Invest time to fully understand the school’s curricular approach, degrees, program requirements, financial aid package, and student services. During your college application process, illuminate all training and sports related work experience and extracurricular activities to help encapsulate you effectively in an effort to stand out from a crowded pool of college applicants.
Step 3 – Attend School
After deciding on your top college, you will need to complete the school’s orientation process and get registered for classes in athletic training. Bachelor degree programs in athletic training are generally 4-year programs while master’s degrees are 2-3 years in addition to an approved undergraduate degree.
Step 4 – Graduate, Exams, Licensure, Certification, & Work
Upon graduating from an accredited college or university with your athletic training degree, you will want to begin gaining valuable work experience in the field. Many states require athletic trainers to be licensed and/or certified. General requirements are to earn a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree from an accredited college or university and pass all applicable state-mandated examinations. By meeting both requirements, athletic trainers will be eligible for state licensing.
Step 5 – Continuing Education
Most states require athletic trainers to complete a series of continuing education credits or continuing education hours perpetually. Adopting a mentality of being a lifelong learner will help prepare you for continual learning and upskill opportunities in the athletic training field.
Step 6 – Graduate Degree
To maximize your career opportunities in athletic training within private entities or colleges, many students elect to earn a master’s degree in athletic training online or in class. Specific training in athletic training, exercise physiology, and sports medicine will help practitioners go deeper and wider in an ever-expanding field of study.
A degree in athletic training prepares an individual with the skills and knowledge necessary to deal with physical injury, including the breaking of bones and muscle sprains. Athletic trainers are usually the first to deal with injuries and work with children, soldiers, professional and amateur athletes. Athletic trainers must have at least a bachelor's degree and typically require some form of state license in order to work within the state. Athletic trainers are also responsible for injury prevention, either by educating individuals or by recognizing risks and assisting in minimization.
A curriculum in athletic training may include:
- Therapeutic Modalities
- Advanced First Aid
Athletic trainers work under the auspices of a physician, and often consult with physicians as to the treatment. Within a sports environment athletic trainers will treat individuals as directed by a physician and will, in case of injury, most likely be the first on the field to treat the injured. The role of the athletic trainer extends beyond sports, having uses on the battle field for the military, and among children in schools and other child heavy locations.
Top Colleges for Athletic Training
A list of top colleges offering athletic training are listed below for you to explore further. The best colleges in athletic training is direct correlation to your priorities and educational goals more so than any media outlet pushing magazine subscriptions or website promoting timeshare investments. The college or university program that is best for you can only be determined by you. Our goal at MatchCollege is to help you find the program that is best for you by providing quality information in concise terms. Invest the time to read these books: The Complete Guide to the College Admission Process and Crush the Odds by Getting into Your Top College. Additionally, you can request information from top colleges found on this page or by utilizing our proprietary matching system for traditional programs or online college programs.
The minimum education necessary to become an athletic trainer is a bachelor's degree, though a master's degree will open up many more opportunities and increase the likelihood of promotion. State licensure is necessary to operate as an athletic trainer, and the requirements are different for each state. Interested individuals should inquire as to their state requirements when preparing for a career as an athletic trainer.
How Much Do Athletic Trainers Make?
Athletic trainers make an above average income based on the most recent data gathered from the BLS. In fact, the median annual income of an athletic trainer is currently $45,630 with the top 10% earning $69,140 a year and the bottom ten percent earning just over thirty thousand dollars a year. As a reminder, experience, location, and employment arrangement can play a large role in one's salary. Job growth for athletic trainers is expected to grow much faster than average over the next decade, partly due to the growing role of athletic trainers and partly due to the increased interest in preventative health care.
Top Paying States for Athletic Trainers
- District of Columbia $67,550
- New Jersey $58,180
- Connecticut $57,140
- Nevada $57,110
- Texas $53,620
States with the Highest Employment of Athletic Trainers
- New York
Top Employers of Athletic Trainers
- Colleges and Universities
- Health Practitioner’s
- Medical and Surgical Hospitals
- Training Facilities
- Public Schools