A Career as a Athletic Trainer
Career Goal - Athletic Training
Athletic trainers help prevent and treat injuries in people of all ages who are physically active. Athletic trainers make sure athletes are in good shape and ready to play. Many of their tasks involve preventing injuries. They show athletes how to exercise correctly and suggest diets to improve athletes' strength. They also verify that players have a physical examination and are cleared to exercise or play.
Athletic trainers help coaches choose equipment that will prevent injuries such as concussions and instruct athletes on the proper use of safety equipment.
Athletic trainers keep track of athletes that already have injuries to begin with, such as a sprained ankle or any type of medical condition they may have. For protection, they tape, wrap, or brace ankles, fingers, or other parts of the body before practices and games. When an athlete gets hurt, athletic trainers do their best to figure out the seriousness of the injury. They provide emergency first aid and may go with the athlete to the hospital. Athletic trainers converse with doctors and physical therapists to set up a therapy routine for the athletes that may need the attention. They also work with the athlete, coach, and family to decide when the player can return to athletics.
Athletic trainers may also have some administrative duties such as meeting with school administrators, the athletic director, or coaches to discuss budgets, training, and schedules.
- Have constant contact with athletes, coaches, and health care professionals.
- Sometimes encounter conflict situations.
- Are responsible for the work outcomes of others.
- Are greatly responsible for the health and safety of athletes.
- Have face-to-face discussions daily with coaches and athletes.
- Work with a group or as part of a team.
- Mostly work indoors if they work at a gym or indoor training facility.
- Mostly work outdoors when they work at athletic fields, sporting events, practices, or job sites.
- Are exposed to disease and infections on a daily basis when working with athletes.
- Work very near people. They provide first aid and care for athletes and other clients.
- Must be exact in their work.
- Rarely consult a supervisor before making a decision.
- Must often meet strict deadlines such as training and game times.
- Repeat the same physical motions.
- Often make decisions that strongly impact their or their organization's reputation.
- May work full time or part time.
- May travel for long periods of time if working for a college or professional team.
- May work long hours during sport seasons.
Career Wages and Outlook
Around $41,520 per year for Minnesota average and $42,090 for U.S. average. This occupation does not have a very good outlook in Minnesota, but that does not mean it is impossible to get into.
Career Related Occupations
- Coaches and Scouts
- Fitness Trainers and Aerobics Instructors
- Licensed Practical Nurses
- Nursing Assistants
- Orthotic and Prosthetic Specialists
- Physical Therapist Assistants
- Physical Therapists
- Recreational Therapists
- Respiratory Therapists
- Veterinary Assistants
Program of Study - Athletic Training
Athletic training programs prepare the student to prevent and treat sports-related injuries that an athlete or any active person may incur on themselves because of their activity.
Athletic training programs include topics such as:
•First aid and emergency care
•Legal and ethical issues
Many colleges and universities offer bachelor's degrees in athletic training which usually takes about four years of full-time study. They also offer graduate degrees in athletic training. A master's degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor's degree and a Doctoral degree two years after that.
Admission into a college doesn't always get you into the program you want to study. Some schools require you to first complete several necessary courses beforehand and maintain good grades before you can apply and be accepted into their programs. These courses usually include some of the following:
•First Aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
•Introduction to Athletic Training
•Introduction to Human Nutrition
•Introduction to Psychology
Program Typical Course Work
The undergraduate program usually includes some of the following:
•Care and Prevention
•Clinical Skills in Athletic Training
•Exercise and Weight Control
•Injury Evaluation and Rehabilitation
•Organization and Administration of Athletic Healthcare Programs
•Pharmacology and Pathology in Athletic Training
•Physiology of Exercise
•Recognizing and Evaluating Athletic Injuries
•Training Room Techniques
Course work in graduate programs that lead to a master's or doctoral degrees vary from program to program. These programs give you many different areas in which to focus your study, such as education, research, or administration. Whichever you choose determines the course work you will have to take in college.
Schools that offer this program
All information needed can be found on the university website. MSU Mankato is a small town rural public university. http://grad.mnsu.edu/research/
Most of what Athletic trainers do on a daily basis include rehabilitation, injury/illness prevention and diagnosis, record keeping, and observation of athletics. But mostly what takes up the time is preventing injuries and diagnosing injuries that happened. What the person I interview enjoyed most about Athletic train was helping others, especially youth, and getting to interact with and teach youth about injury and injury prevention. What she found difficult about the job was working with a wide variety of personalities, and working with challenging or difficult people, adults included. She also said that the interaction was the most fun part of the job, even though it may be the most challenging. What she enjoys personally is helping people, and yes, helping people is part of this career. Seeing the smile on someone's face after they finally are able to get back into there sport is gratifying.
This job requires a lot of flexibility in your schedule, don't ever set dates apart because they will probably be cancelled. To work in this filed you must also have some talent in socializing. This job is very social. Being an athletic trainer means that you have to work on your own most days, but you do work as part of a team to get and give information to other athletic trainers. Questions that you may have to ask other colleagues are often about diseases or situations that you may not be entirely sure about. Decisions on having the athlete return to action are just as important as diagnosis, referrals, and rehab. Athletic trainer don't just work with athletes, they have to work with everybody who is active.
Advancements in athletic training normally require a masters degree. Because of the difficulty of the work and the rarity of it, there are very few people in this occupation. Athletic training is expanding though; it is growing into an industry, no longer is it just sports.
One of the most dangerous parts of the job may be working with students that have skin diseases. The training to deal with these situations deals a lot with anatomy, physiology, and chemistry. There is a ton of memorization involved. The way the trainer I interviewed got into athletic training was by having a network of people. Her friend took her down to talk to the Athletic training director, she fell in love with it, and here she is. The way she learned the most was by working solo in schools.
Plans to Reach my Goal
To reach my goal I plan to study in the areas in which I plan to make my career in high school such as anatomy and the Highstep program that is offered at this school. I also plan on job shadowing the trainer that works at this school and confer with her about courses I will be taking in college and how to study for them. I have already spoken with the director of athletic training at the university that I plan to go to once I graduate. I plan on speaking with other professors to broaden my options if I do not make it into the athletic program. If I cannot make it in that program I plan on studying for music, such as a music teacher, instrument repair, or giving music lessons, and if at all possible I plan on joining a band. If I do make it into the athletic training program and become an athletic trainer, then I would try to become a physical therapist and move up farther in the working chain.