An athletic trainer works for an athlete or team to keep athletes in prime shape for peak performance. Along with giving personalized workouts, these trainers also help their clients recover quickly after a game or a training session. How an athlete can recover is just as important as the training as they want their clients to avoid injury.
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How to Become an Athletic Trainer
According to O*NET OnLine, over 70% of the athletic trainers surveyed hold master’s degrees. This makes sense as athletic trainers are generally hired by professional sports teams or professional athletes. Education is a significant difference between a personal trainer and an athletic trainer as most personal trainers hold certifications. Athletic trainers must complete an accredited program in athletic training to be able to sit for an exam (called the BOC exam). States regulate the practice of athletic training and passing the BOC exam meets the necessary requirements to legally practice. There requirements to meet in order to sit for the BOC exam are outlined on the Board of Certification for the Athletic Trainer (link opens in a new tab) website.
Job Description of an Athletic Trainer
Along with ensuring the athletes in their care are in shape to perform, athletic trainers also play a major role in injury prevention. They would ensure their client is taking appropriate preventive measures by applying items like bandages or tape to areas of concern. If their athlete becomes injured, they would also work with physical therapists to ensure their rehabilitation is as successful as possible. They would monitor their client’s progress and try to prevent future injuries from occurring.
You can learn more about what a day in the life of an athletic trainer looks like by reading an interview from the BOC website titled In Depth Look: Athletic Trainer for World Wrestling Entertainment (link opens in a new tab). In the interview, Tara Halaby (Physical Therapist and Athletic Trainer) discusses her career as an Athletic Trainer for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
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Free Teacher and Student Resources
The BOC website offers a host of posts that any person interested in exploring athletic training as a career would find helpful. Two such posts include what it’s like to be an athletic trainer in the military (link opens in a new tab) and an interview with an assistant athletic trainer (link opens in a new tab) for the Major League Baseball League.
Athletic Trainer Career Video 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.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Athletic Trainers.
National Center for O*NET Development. 29-9091.00. O*NET OnLine.
The video is Public Domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.