Athletic trainers treat and often help to prevent injuries, especially those associated with playing sports. They typically work closely with physicians to coordinate an injury treatment plan, and they aid an athlete during the rehabilitation process. They are often in attendance at sporting events and may be required to travel with a team on a regular basis.
If you enjoy sports and being around sports, then being an athletic trainer is a good way to be involved without having to go through the rigors of playing or needing to possess the required athletic ability. You can also gain the satisfaction of playing an important role in helping ensure that athletes are performing at their physical peak.
A disadvantage of being a trainer is that your work hours can be long and unpredictable. You are at the mercy of an athlete’s or a team’s schedule, so you will likely be working many nights and weekends. You may also be required to come in early to spend time treating individual injuries and to conduct therapy sessions.
In addition to treating injuries, athletic trainers can also play a role in keeping injuries from occurring. They can design programs such as stretching routines that can aid in the prevention of ailments such as muscle pulls. They can also proper wrapping techniques that can limit the occurrence of ankle or knee injuries. They can educate athletes as far as proper playing techniques that will also limit injury risk.
It can be difficult to become an athletic trainer. A bachelor’s degree is a minimum requirement, and according to the National Athletic Trainer’s Association (NATA), 68 percent of trainers hold a master’s degree. Most states also require meeting the standards of the Board of Certification (BOC), which involves passing a difficult examination. Additional medical courses may also be required to maintain certification.
The athletic training field is one that should continue to be in demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a 24 percent increase in the number of athletic trainer positions through 2016. The largest area of growth is expected to be in the health care industry. Athletic training positions tend to be relatively stable, as low industry turnover is experienced.