Athletic training and personal training are two different occupations that are commonly confused professions.
Personal trainers are individuals who show people how to exercise, eat healthily, and work out correctly.
On the other hand, athletic trainers are highly qualified, multi-skilled healthcare professionals who examine, diagnose, and treat athletic injuries.
Why become an athletic trainer?
If you enjoy sports and working with athletes, then becoming an athletic trainer is a great career path to consider.
With a growing job market, there are many opportunities for those who decide to pursue a career as an athletic trainer. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates this field growing 16% faster than the average rate of all occupations from 2019-2029.
The average pay for an athletic trainer also comes in around $48,500. However, you can earn more with advanced certifications and years of experience.
How to become an Athletic Trainer
To become an athletic trainer, you need to graduate from an accredited professional program with either a Bachelor’s or Master’s level degree. The program will teach you skills in a list of areas such as:
- Therapeutic interventions
- Acute care for injuries and illnesses
- Clinical examination and diagnosis
- Prevention and health promotion
- Health care administration
To earn your Bachelor’s Degree, you will need to complete a total of 120 credit hours, which is broken down by:
- General Education: 30-40 credit hours
- Major: 80 credit hours
- Open Elective: 0-6 credit hours
To find accredited programs, you can search the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education’s (CAATE) website and find the right location and school for you. Once you earn your degree, you’ll be required to complete an exam administered by the Board of Certification.
It’s important to note that you’ll still need to continue with ongoing training and education after becoming certified. Meaning, you’ll never truly be done with learning.
Athletic Trainer Professional Network/National Association
To stay informed on education, find athletic training news and resources, or connect with other trainers worldwide, many athletic trainers choose to join the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA). The association also serves as a great networking tool to stay connected with others in your field worldwide.
Those who recently passed their board exam and didn’t have a lot of experience could help you with your job hunt.
You don’t have to be a former athlete to become an athletic trainer, but if you have a passion for sports and healthcare, this might be the perfect field for you. Working with athletes in various settings could be a very exciting opportunity. First, make sure you enroll in an accredited program that sets you up with the knowledge you need to be successful and ace your board exam.