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Athletic Trainers
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Description: what do they do?
Evaluate and advise individuals to assist recovery from or avoid athletic-related injuries or illnesses, or maintain peak physical fitness. May provide first aid or emergency care.
Also known as:
Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer, Head Athletic Trainer, Athletic Instructor, Resident Athletic Trainer, Clinical Instructor, Assistant Athletic Trainer, Head Athletic Trainer/Strength Coach, Certified Athletic Trainer, Athletic Trainer, Sports Medicine Coordinator

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from an O*NET database. Learn more on the Help page.

Career video
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    Transcript: One of the key players on any sports team never takes the field. Athletic trainers work in the background to keep players in top shape. The most important part of the athletic trainer’s job is helping athletes prevent and recover from sports injuries. Working closely with team doctors, trainers wrap injuries and supervise physical therapy. Trainers spend a lot of time in gyms and locker rooms, as well as on the road traveling to sporting events. They study practice sessions and provide individualized exercise routines for athletes to improve their performance. Game times are usually at night, on weekends or holidays. A trainer might need to find other employment during the off-season. Athletic trainers work with athletes in a wide variety of settings: colleges and universities, high schools, clinics, hospitals, the military and law enforcement, as well as the performing arts. The highest-profile jobs are with professional teams. A love of sports is a good starting point, but a master’s degree in athletic training, sports medicine, physical education or a related field is usually required to enter the field. Many states require a professional license. No matter the setting or the sport, the greatest reward for an athletic trainer is helping athletes achieve their personal best.
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Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.

This occupation is:
  • Expected to grow much faster than average


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings" above. This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET’s Bright Outlook occupations. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll only see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
United States
27,800
2016 Employment
34,100
2026 Employment
23%
Percent change
2,200
Annual projected job openings

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2016, the number expected to be employed in 2026, and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions of unemployment rates and labor productivity growth rates.  While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central and each state's Labor Market Information office.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, 2016-26.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Athletic Trainers in United States
LocationUnited States
10%$30,740
25%$38,250
Median$46,630
75%$57,160
90%$69,530


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    Also note that in this update, 21 detailed occupations found within the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) were replaced with 10 new aggregations of those occupations; read more about these OES changes.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program, 2017 data. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

Education and experience: to get started
People starting in this career usually have:
  • Bachelor's degree
  • No work experience
  • No on-the-job training

Programs that can prepare you:

    What does this information tell me?

    This shows you the typical level of education, work experience, and on-the-job training that most people have when they start in this career. Note that these are not requirements for entering this field, but the information can help you understand how qualified you might be.

    Interested in starting in this career? You can search for education programs in your local area by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find apprenticeship sponsors" you'll find information that can help you locate apprenticeship opportunities in your state:

    • If there are businesses that have sponsored apprenticeships in this field in the past, you'll find their name and contact information.
    • If there are related occupations that might have apprenticeship opportunities, you'll find links to that information.
    • You'll also see contact information for state and federal agencies that oversee apprenticeship programs.

    What is the source of this information?

    Apprenticeship information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeships, and from CareerOneStop. Learn more at Apprenticeship Finder Help.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Analyze patient data to determine patient needs or treatment goals.
  • Evaluate patient functioning, capabilities, or health.
  • Treat patients using physical therapy techniques.
  • Operate diagnostic or therapeutic medical instruments or equipment.
  • Evaluate patient outcomes to determine effectiveness of treatments.
  • Inform medical professionals regarding patient conditions and care.
  • Maintain medical facility records.
  • Perform clerical work in medical settings.
  • Prepare reports summarizing patient diagnostic or care activities.
  • Apply bandages, dressings, or splints.
  • Develop exercise or conditioning programs.
  • Collaborate with healthcare professionals to plan or provide treatment.
  • Advise athletes, coaches, or trainers on exercise regimens, nutrition, or equipment use.
  • Process medical billing information.
  • Inspect work environments to ensure safety.
  • Train medical providers.
  • Conduct research to increase knowledge about medical issues.
  • Consult with others regarding safe or healthy equipment or facilities.
  • Treat patients using alternative medical procedures.
  • Maintain inventory of medical supplies or equipment.
  • Maintain medical equipment or instruments.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Knowledge
People in this career often know a lot about:
  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • Therapy and Counseling - Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of general knowledge areas that are most commonly required for jobs in the career. Knowledge is typically gained through education and related experience.

    This list can help you learn if you are prepared for a job in this career. It can also help you decide on education or training programs that could help you prepare for the career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Knowledge descriptors.

Skills
People in this career often have these skills:
  • Active Listening - Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
  • Monitoring - Keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements.
  • Critical Thinking - Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
  • Speaking - Talking to others.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Understanding people's reactions.
  • Service Orientation - Looking for ways to help people.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one.
  • Active Learning - Figuring out how to use new ideas or things.
  • Writing - Writing things for co-workers or customers.
  • Reading Comprehension - Reading work-related information.
  • Instructing - Teaching people how to do something.
  • Coordination - Changing what is done based on other people's actions.
  • Time Management - Managing your time and the time of other people.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list the work-related skills most commonly required for jobs in the career.

    This list can help you understand how well your current skills fit this career. It can also help you plan your education or professional development.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Skills descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Problem Sensitivity - Noticing when problems happen.
  • Oral Expression - Communicating by speaking.
  • Oral Comprehension - Listening and understanding what people say.
  • Deductive Reasoning - Using rules to solve problems.
  • Speech Recognition - Recognizing spoken words.
  • Inductive Reasoning - Making general rules or coming up with answers from lots of detailed information.
  • Speech Clarity - Speaking clearly.
  • Written Expression - Communicating by writing.
  • Information Ordering - Ordering or arranging things.
  • Written Comprehension - Reading and understanding what is written.
  • Near Vision - Seeing details up close.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Social - Occupations with Social interests frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. Most involve helping or providing service to others.
  • Investigative - Occupations with Investigative interests frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They often involve research and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Realistic - Occupations with Realistic interests frequently involve practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical tasks
  • Evaluate athletes' readiness to play and provide participation clearances when necessary and warranted.
  • Care for athletic injuries, using physical therapy equipment, techniques, or medication.
  • Conduct an initial assessment of an athlete's injury or illness to provide emergency or continued care and to determine whether they should be referred to physicians for definitive diagnosis and treatment.
  • Assess and report the progress of recovering athletes to coaches or physicians.
  • Perform general administrative tasks, such as keeping records or writing reports.
  • Apply protective or injury preventive devices, such as tape, bandages, or braces, to body parts, such as ankles, fingers, or wrists.
  • Plan or implement comprehensive athletic injury or illness prevention programs.
  • Collaborate with physicians to develop and implement comprehensive rehabilitation programs for athletic injuries.
  • Advise athletes on the proper use of equipment.
  • File athlete insurance claims and communicate with insurance providers.
  • Instruct coaches, athletes, parents, medical personnel, or community members in the care and prevention of athletic injuries.
  • Inspect playing fields to locate any items that could injure players.
  • Develop training programs or routines designed to improve athletic performance.
  • Recommend special diets to improve athletes' health, increase their stamina, or alter their weight.
  • Teach sports medicine courses to athletic training students.
  • Conduct research or provide instruction on subject matter related to athletic training or sports medicine.
  • Confer with coaches to select protective equipment.
  • Massage body parts to relieve soreness, strains, or bruises.
  • Perform team support duties, such as running errands, maintaining equipment, or stocking supplies.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.

Other resources

    What does this information tell me?

    These are additional online resources related to this career. You may find different or more detailed information at these sources.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information is collected and maintained by CareerOneStop.