Athletic Trainer Education

athletic trainer degree

Athletic Trainer Education – Starting Your Career in Sports Medicine


Have you made the decision to enter Sports Medicine as an Athletic Trainer?  It is not uncommon for individuals to consider this an easy field to enter.

It looks easy when you see an Athletic trainer sprint onto the field to help out a player with a sprained ankle.  The reality is much different.

An Athletic Trainer Education is demanding.  Based on the latest sports medicine salary survey, this career is highly rewarding both personally and financially, but requires intensive preparation.

Let us take a look at some of the requirement you will be facing.

Athletic Trainer Programs – What Will You Do


Educational Options for Your Athletic Trainer Degree

You have two basic options for your Athletic Trainer major.

  • Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training
  • Masters Degree in Athletic Training

The bachelor degree programs required for Athletic Trainer certification are currently offered by 342 different colleges and universities around the USA.  The Masters programs are more limited with only 24 programs currently being accredited by the  (CAATE).

Usually the Athletic Trainer College offering a Masters Degree program allows students with unrelated Bachelors degree to enter the program.  If you have an existing degree and are wishing to change to a sports medicine career and become an Athletic Trainer this will be the fastest path.  The athletic training graduate programs will include a combination of classroom education and hands-on clinical experience.

Athletic trainer schools are available in almost every state in the nation making it very easy to start.

Meeting All the Athletic Trainer Certification Requirements

The Athletic Trainer Education Requirements are based on two critical factors.  The first factor is the rules set forth by the CAATE.  All Athletic Trainer programs must meet these standards.  The second factor is matching state licensing or certification requirements.  Many states accept the national certification while other states have local guidelines which must be met.

There is one other important factor for you to be prepared for.  Even after you have graduated with your Athletic Training major and completed your Athletic Trainer certification you will have an ongoing educational requirement.  The National Athletics Training Association (NATA) requires recertification and ongoing training.  This includes a module on Emergency Cardiac Care.

This is one career choice which requires you keep your skills sharp, focused, and ready for quick action.

Understanding The Future With Your Athletic Trainer Education

Sports Medicine Colleges will have slight variation in their curriculum for athletic trainer education, but you can be certain to be taking many of the following classes:

Athletic Trainer

  • Foundations of Athletic Training
  • Responding to Emergencies
  • Basic Human Physiology
  • Human Anatomy
  • Kinesiology
  • Therapeutic Rehabilitation
  • Pharmacology
  • Sports Psychology
  • Administrative Aspects of Athletic Training
  • Clinical Athletic Training Labs
  • Orthopedic Assessment

These courses should be both exciting and challenging for most students.

After completing your education in Athletic Training you will have an understanding of the human body exceeding almost every educational avenue except medicine.

It is important to note you will have a variety of other required courses in Sociology, History, English, Mathematics, and other required general education courses.  An Athletic Trainer is a professional and requires a well rounded education.

Hands-On Experience during Your Athletic Trainer Education

Every Athletic Trainer degree program will require hands-on clinical experience.  Your hands-on work will not happen in only a lab or classroom environment but in live clinical situations.  Expect to be assigned to work in one of these areas:

  • College Sports Teams
  • High School Sports
  • Sports Medicine Clinics
  • Professional Sports Teams (Where available)

During your years of athletic trainer education you will likely rotate through a variety of clinical settings to give you a well rounded education and career preparation.  Once you begin your career you will need to react instantly to injuries and only be hands-on clinical experience is this possible.

The Rewards of Completing Your Education

The reward for enduring through a Bachelor or Master Degree in Athletic Training comes in several forms.

  • Personal Pride
  • Community Recognition
  • Exciting Career
  • Excellent Pay

The Athletic Trainers salary ranges dramatically throughout the country.

Athletic Trainer Education

The lowest 10% earn approximately $25,000 per year while the upper 10% earn over $65,000 per year.

The median is $44,000 per year.  Keep in mind many of the professionals in the lowest tier are working in high school education and may be receiving additional pay as a school teacher, coach, or other function.

Undertaking an Athletic Trainer education is a choice filled with rewards where you will have the excitement of live clinical experience during your college years followed with one of the most rewarding careers possible.

Athletic Trainers Salary

athletic trainer jobs

An Athletic Trainers Salary is Only the First Question on Your Mind


Are you considering a sports medicine career, possibly as an Athletic Trainer?

The first question on your mind may be about an Athletic Trainers salary, but there are sure to be many other questions including:

  • What is the Athletic Trainers job description?
  • What do Athletic Trainers do?
  • How do I get started with an Athletic Trainer career?
  • Does it require an Athletic Trainer degree to enter the field?
  • And of course, what is an Athletic Trainers Salary?

In this short article we will briefly cover the answers to all of those questions, but let us start with your burning question.

What is An Athletic Trainers Salary?

The question about an Athletic Trainers salary is a tough one to answer.  You will discover highly variable incomes depending on regions of the country, types of employers, and years of experience.  Let us start by giving you some median ranges to consider.

  • Median Athletic Trainer Salary in USA – $44,020/Year
  • Lowest 10% Salary for Athletic Trainers – $25,000/Year
  • Highest 10% Salary for Athletic Trainers – $65,000/Year

As you can see by this information being in the lowest 10% is probably not a salary range you are seeking.  The median of $44,020/Year would in most regions of the USA be considered an above average income, with the upper 10% being an excellent salary. More information on various sports medicine salary can be found here.

Athletic Trainers SalaryYears of experience play a major role in your income potential as an Athletic Trainer as seen below:

  • 1-9 Years Experience – $25,236 to $51,417/Year
  • 10-19 Years Experience – $32,442 to $60,689/Year
  • 20+ Year Experience – $40,244 to $78,509/Year

This is a career which rewards the knowledge and skills gained through an Athletic Trainer education and experience.

What is The Athletic Trainers Job Description?

The job description can be summed up in one simple sentence: “Athletic Trainers help prevent and treat injuries for people of all ages.”  That is a very powerful and all encompassing statement showing the diversity found in this career.

Depending on your employment field the job can vary dramatically.  Athletic Trainers are hired by High Schools, Universities, Fitness Centers, Corporations, Hospitals, and many other employers.  In all situations their job stays within their underlying mission of treating and preventing injuries.    This leads us to ask and answer the next question.

What Do Athletic Trainers Do?

Athletic Trainers work with people to treat existing injuries using a variety of methods.  This can include application of heat, cold, massages, stretching techniques, whirlpools, and a variety of other techniques.

You will be responsible for preventive measures, too.  You will help workers, athletes, or clients to apply tape, braces, supports, and other gear to reduce the chances of injury during their day of work, exercise, or play.

Athletic Trainers work closely with Doctors, Physical Therapists, and Fitness Experts to plan and administer the proper treatments and support for their clients.


How Do I Get Started With An Athletic Trainer Career?

First we need to make a quick statement to avoid confusion.  An Athletic Trainer and a Personal Trainer are not the same.  The two careers are greatly different.   A Personal Trainer works with individuals on improving health and fitness.  An Athletic Trainer is a health professional administering treatments and preventive techniques.  The reason this clarification is necessary is because of the great difference in career requirements.

To get started in a career as an Athletic Trainer requires education.  Currently 47 states in the USA require a Bachelors Degree to be licensed as an Athletic Trainer.

Does It Require an Athletic Trainers Degree to Enter the Field?

The simple answer is Yes.  To become an Athletic Trainer you will need to pursue a Bachelors Degree from one of the 343 universities accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE).

The good news, with 343 different universities and sports medicine colleges providing programs you can find one near you, or in any corner of the country you would like to attend college. The curriculum revolves around a medical focus.  Some of the areas of study you will be enjoying are:

  • Human Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Nutrition
  • Biomechanics
  • Psychology

National Athletic Trainers AssociationThe education is well rounded helping you to both learn the skills necessary to apply treatments and to properly interact with your clients and patients.  Many curriculums include courses in business management.

This is to prepare you for managing a team of assistants, managing a budget, holding meetings, and other critical skills for the profession.

Important Career Note: Athletic Trainers in High Schools are almost always required to teach.  This necessitates not only being licensed as a trainer, but completing a teaching certification, too.  Keep this in mind as you plan your career.

While an Athletic Trainers salary may have been one of the top questions on your mind, hopefully you now understand what it will take you to work towards becoming a licensed Athletic Trainer and enjoying one of the rewarding jobs available.