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Athletic Training

About 2,500 openings for athletic trainers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

athletic training


Athletic trainers work with people of all ages and all skill levels, from young children to soldiers and professional athletes. Athletic trainers are usually one of the first healthcare providers on the scene when injuries occur on the field. They work under the direction of a licensed physician and with other healthcare providers, often discussing specific injuries and treatment options or evaluating and treating patients, as directed by a physician. Some athletic trainers meet with a team physician or consulting physician regularly.

To enter the occupation, athletic trainers typically need a degree from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). Although some jobs are available for workers with a bachelor's degree, many athletic trainers have a master's degree.

The Board of Certification for the Athletic Trainer (BOC) offers the standard certification examination that most states use for licensing athletic trainers. Certification requires graduating from a CAATE-accredited program and passing the BOC exam. To maintain certification, athletic trainers must adhere to the BOC Standards of Professional Practice and take continuing education courses.

Assistant athletic trainers may become head athletic trainers, athletic directors, or physician, hospital, or clinic practice administrators. In any of these positions, they will assume a management role. Athletic trainers working in colleges and universities may pursue an advanced degree to increase their advancement opportunities.

The median annual wage for athletic trainers was $48,420 in May 2021. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $36,960, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $76,180.

Sports programs at all ages and for all experience levels will continue to create demand for athletic trainers. With high levels of participation by children and youth in individual and team sports, athletic trainers will be needed to manage emergency and non-emergency situations that arise. The popularity of college sports and continued participation by student athletes will increase demand for these workers to help athletes prevent and recover from injuries and perform at their highest level.

Meanwhile, growing numbers of middle-aged and older people are remaining physically active. Their continued activity will likely lead to an increase in athletic-related injuries, such as sprains. Athletic trainers will be needed to provide sophisticated treatments in injury prevention and detection.

The How to Become One tab describes how to prepare for a job in the occupation. This tab can include information on education, training, work experience, licensing and certification, and important qualities that are required or helpful for entering or working in the occupation.

Athletic trainers (ATs) are highly qualified, multi-skilled health care professionals who render service or treatment, under the direction of or in collaboration with a physician, in accordance with their education, training and the state's statutes, rules and regulations. As a part of the health care team, services provided by athletic trainers include primary care, injury and illness prevention, wellness promotion and education, emergent care, examination and clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions. The NATA Code of Ethics states the principles of ethical behavior that should be followed in the practice of athletic training.

Athletic trainers improve functional outcomes and specialize in patient education to prevent injury and re-injury. Preventative care provided by an athletic trainer has a positive return on investment for employers. ATs are able to reduce injury and shorten rehabilitation time for their patients, which translates to lower absenteeism from work or school and reduced health care costs.

The athletic trainer licensing program is administered by the Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing. The Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development adopts regulations to carry out laws governing athletic trainers in Alaska. It makes final licensing decisions and takes disciplinary actions against people who violate licensing laws. This program was enacted by the Alaska State Legislature (HB 160 History), (AS 08.07.010) in 2014 and went into effect on September 16, 2014.

If you become an athletic trainer, your job prospects are good: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this field is projected to grow 23% between 2016 and 2026, three times faster than the average for all occupations. Athletic training is recognized by the American Medical Association, Health Resources Services Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services as a health care profession.

Athletic trainers, also known as ATs, specialize in the management, prevention, and recovery of injured athletes. Many times, athletic trainers are the first medical professionals on the scene after an injury. Athletic trainers collaborate with doctors to provide emergency and follow-up care and develop injury prevention and treatment programs for injured athletes.

Athletic trainers work with patients to provide treatment and rehabilitation, offer athletic training coverage for a high school or college, and present coaches' workshops and other sports medicine educational programs.

In addition to sports teams, companies hire athletic trainers as a medical service to employers and their employees. Athletic trainers may even assist offices with ergonomics or preventing workplace injuries. Employment can also be found in the military, performing arts and dance companies, and medical sales.

When hiring athletic trainers, employers often look for candidates who are compassionate and detail-oriented and have strong decision-making and interpersonal skills. Many athletic trainers are passionate about sports and have great job satisfaction by working with athletes.

The average annual salary for an athletic trainer is $48,420, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This figure is dependent on experience, qualifications, and location. The field is relatively small so jobs are competitive, especially for positions with professional and college sports teams.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment of athletic trainers in the U.S. to grow much faster than average. One reason is due to an increased awareness of the effects of sports-related injuries. Secondly, the middle-aged and older population are remaining active, providing a need for athletic trainers.

Michigan State University has a long and proud history in Athletic Training, medical health care, and Athletic Training Education. Michigan State University's Athletic Training Program has been supervised and directed by five head athletic trainers throughout the past ninety years. The head athletic trainers are Jack Heppinstall, who worked from 1914 until 1959, Gayle Robinson, who was the head athletic trainer from 1959 to 1973, Clint Thompson from 1973 until 1985, and Jeff Monroe from 1985 through 2013. Sally Nogle was appointed in July, 2013 as the current head athletic trainer at Michigan State University. Gayle Robinson continued his work in the athletic training room at Michigan State as a full time staff athletic trainer from 1973 until 1982.

As a 23 year-old British immigrant, Jack Heppinstall arrived at Michigan Agricultural College in 1914 to become the first head athletic trainer in its history. Heppinstall left Michigan State temporarily in 1948 to return to his native England as an athletic trainer for the United States boxing and wrestling teams in the Olympics in London. He worked at Michigan State for a span of 45 years serving under the guidance of six MSU presidents, five athletic directors, and three team physicians. Heppinstall was selected president of the National Athletic Trainers' Association in 1939 and inducted into the National Athletic Trainer's Association Hall of Fame in 1962 as one of the 26 charter members of the NATA.

Gayle Robinson became the only assistant athletic trainer to Jack Heppinstall in 1946, prior the becoming the head athletic trainer at Michigan State University in 1959. He was named Michigan State's head athletic trainer until 1973, whereupon he remained as a staff athletic trainer until 1982. Gayle worked the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany, and was inducted into the National Athletic Trainers' Association Hall of Fame in 1976.

Clint Thompson served as an assistant athletic trainer under Gayle Robinson from 1964 to 1970 before moving to Colorado State University. Thompson returned to Michigan State University in 1973 as the head athletic trainer until 1985. His staff consisted of three full time assistants, four graduate assistant athletic trainers, and 13 undergraduate students.The full-time staff began the integral mission of developing the apprenticeship program's educational preparation with clinical skill development for the undergraduate and graduate athletic training students preparing for the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) Certification Examination. Thompson's professional experiences with the NATA Journal of Athletic Training initiated a clinical environment for research, inquisitiveness, and professional development among his full time staff, graduate students, and undergraduate athletic training students. 041b061a72


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