Athletic trainers work with athletes to prevent, diagnose and treat sports-related injuries. Most states require these professionals to be licensed or certified. To get certified, candidates must successfully complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited professional athletic training program and pass a certification test. Complying with ongoing continuing education requirements is required to maintain certification.
Average Certified Athletic Trainer Salary
The average salary of an athletic trainer is $44,720 as of May 2013, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest 10 percent of athletic trainers earn $26,120 per year or less, while the highest 10 percent earn $66,060 or more.
Factors Contributing to Salary
The most recent salary survey by the National Athletic Trainers' Association, conducted in 2011, noted that the education level of a certified athletic trainer has a direct impact on average annual salary. Those with a bachelor’s degree earned an average annual salary of $46,176, increasing to $51,144 with a master’s degree and reaching $76,262 with a doctorate degree. The type of employer a certified athletic trainer works for has a significant impact on their salary. Athletic trainers working for NFL teams earned the highest average salaries, at $128,438 per year, while those employed by recreational and youth sports leagues earned the lowest average salaries, at $38,994 per year. The area of the country where an athletic trainer works can also impact their salary, as those working in middle America earned an average of $46,474 per year and those in the far West states earned an average of $59,300 per year.
Standard Work Environment
Most athletic trainers work full-time. The majority are employed by colleges, universities, school districts, professional sports teams, hospitals, clinics, physicians’ offices and fitness centers. Those working with a sports team typically work nights, weekends, holidays and are required to travel with the team to away games.
Future Job Outlook
Athletic trainers are expected to see a 21-percent increase in employment from 2012 to 2022, resulting in 4,900 new jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This growth is attributed to the population’s increasing awareness of sports injuries and advances in injury prevention. New positions will be predominately focused on college athletes and youth sports leagues. Additionally, as the populated ages, but continues to remain active, athletic trainers will be needed to treat injuries sustained by active middle-aged and elderly adults.
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