Look around you – people these days are on the move. We’re learning more, trying more, doing more. And when the level of physical activity increases, the risk for injury rises as well. That’s where the certified athletic trainer comes in: whether it’s an athlete of any age or an industrial worker performing physical tasks or even an average citizen delving into recreational athletics, the certified athletic trainer can help.

The certified athletic trainer is a qualified health care professional educated and experienced in the management of health care problems associated with physical activity. In cooperation with physicians and other health care personnel, the athletic trainer functions as an integral member of the health care team in secondary schools, colleges and universities, professional sports programs, sports medicine clinics, and other health care settings. The athletic trainer functions in cooperation with medical personnel, athletic personnel, individuals involved in physical activity, parents, and guardians in the development and coordination of efficient and responsive athletic health care delivery systems.

The athletic trainer’s professional preparation is directed toward the development of specified competencies in the following domains: risk management and injury prevention, pathology of injuries and illnesses, assessment and evaluation, acute care of injury and illness, pharmacology, therapeutic modalities, therapeutic exercise, general medical conditions and disabilities, nutritional aspects of injury and illness, psychosocial intervention and referral, health care administration, professional development and responsibilities. Through a combination of formal classroom instruction and clinical experience, the athletic trainer is prepared to apply a wide variety of specific health care skills and knowledge within each of the domains.

Where are people active? That’s where you can find certified athletic trainers.

Secondary schools

Public and private secondary schools offer special job opportunities for certified athletic trainers. Parents and administrators are discovering the benefits a certified athletic trainer can offer in preventing and caring for injuries. Many certified athletic trainers also teach classes at the high school level.

Colleges and universities

Certified athletic trainers’ jobs in colleges generally fall into two categories: Athletic department and staff assignment. A majority of colleges and universities now require a master’s degree for employment.

Combination teacher/athletic trainer

Employment in this setting remains stable with little turnover.

Professional sports

In this setting, certified athletic trainers work only one sport, such as football, baseball, basketball, hockey or soccer. Although teams operate only a few months per year, certified athletic trainers work year-round conditioning and rehabilitating athletes. Fewer jobs are available in this practice setting due to the limited number of teams.

Sports medicine clinics

This growing setting provides certified athletic trainers the opportunity to work with a number of different health care professionals and a diverse patient population. In addition to athletic injury rehabilitation, many clinics provide athletic training services for secondary schools.


Online Resources

Board of Certification for the Athletic Trainer

Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education

National Athletic Trainer’s Association

Mid-America Athletic Trainers’ Association

NAIA Athletic Trainers Association

Kansas State Board of Healing Arts

American College of Sports Medicine

American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine

American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons

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