How Long Does It Take To Become An Athletic Trainer?

Being an exceptional athlete requires much effort, focus, and patience. 

The success of elite athletes depends on a large team of experts, including brand managers to help them sell themselves, coaches to help them practice, and sports trainers to help them stay in the sport. 

Although each of these specialists is crucial, athletic trainers deal with injury prevention, treatment, and recovery.

Athletic trainers can work for professional sports teams, in university or high school athletics, in hospitals, or in physical rehabilitation clinics. 

They seek to recognize, avoid, and treat sports-related injuries. 

They play a crucial role in ensuring the health and performance of athletes of all skill levels.

A bachelor’s degree in athletic training is the minimum requirement for athletic trainers, and beginning in 2021, a master’s in science (MS) in athletic training will also be required. 

Most states need a license before granting it, and certification via the Board of Certification for Athletic Trainers (BOC) is the industry standard. 

Except for California, every state mandates licensing.

With a predicted 16% rise in jobs nationwide between 2019 and 2029, the career prospects for this area are excellent (Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020). 

These 5,200 new roles in athletic training result from a rise in the need for trainers as knowledge and worry about sports injuries have grown. 

Additionally, the demand for additional athletic trainers is fueled by the improved sophistication and accessibility of sports injury treatments.

This article will outline what athletic trainers perform, how long it takes to become an athletic trainer, and other frequently asked topics to assist you in learning more about this field of work.

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What is an Athletic Trainer School like?

Athletic trainers are currently required to hold a bachelor’s degree in either exercise science or athletic training. 

Those with a bachelor’s degree in a subject other than athletic training can obtain a post-professional master’s. 

All aspiring sports trainers will be required to earn a master’s degree or higher as of 2021. 

Athletic trainers have various postgraduate options, including master’s residency programs, fellowships, and academic and clinical doctorates. 

The Board of Certification for the Athletic Trainer (BOC) only presently acknowledges orthopedics as a specialized field. 

The online application process allows qualified athletic trainers to request a new specialization.

Is Attending an Athletic Trainer School Worth It?

1. Work Is Diverse

Athletic trainers can put their knowledge and training to use in a variety of situations and sports. 

Athletes need to be trained during the season, prepared during the summer, and assisted in their transition after the season. 

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You can concentrate your practice on player management in-game, injury recovery, or conditioning (becoming and keeping in shape). 

Athletic trainers assist lower-level players with post-injury work, while significant athletes typically use physical therapists for rehab. 

You can treat numerous clients or teams while marketing yourself as an expert if you wish to concentrate on a specific sport. 

You can work across several sports if you wish to broaden your horizons.

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2. There Are No Regular Hours

Trainers participating in competitions, games, matches, and competitions frequently work nights, weekends, and holidays. 

You must adhere to the team’s conference schedule if you are working with or for it. 

When working with a single athlete, you must consider their schedule, which may involve last-minute tournament registrations or match cancellations. 

If traveling is a requirement of your job, keep in mind the time you’ll spend getting to and staying at events.

3. Selling Might Be Necessary

You must find clients if you operate as a freelance trainer. 

This entails engaging in sales activity to generate leads. 

In addition to writing and public speaking, you can design brochures and websites. 

You can put up booths at events or enlist the help of those in your professional network. 

Free trial consultations, training, consulting sessions, and raffle prizes are all options. 

Finding someone who can locate clients for you is necessary if you want to be your boss but dislike selling. 

Typically, they receive a fixed fee or a share of their revenue.

4. The Pay Is Fair

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual salary for athletic trainers in 2021 was $48,420, with the lowest 10% of trainers earning $36,960.

Successful trainers can make six figures, primarily if they deal with professional athletes. 

According to the BLS, the top 10% of trainers made a median salary of $76,180 in 2021; however, to make six figures, you’ll generally need at least a master’s degree, certification, and annual continuing education courses.

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What Schooling Do You Need to Be an Athletic Trainer?

1. Get Educated

Even though the work of an athletic trainer may appear simple, it requires a great deal of training and education to become certified. 

This is especially true if you want to collaborate with doctors to treat conditions like diabetes and obesity. 

You should submit an application to your preferred college after high school graduation.

Your path to earning a bachelor’s degree will soon be underway. 

Get a Bachelor’s degree in athletic training; that’s your best bet. 

You’ll take classes in topics like physiology, anatomy, injury and sickness prevention, and human movement science, among others, in this career.

Your school’s accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education is the second-most crucial criterion, behind only grades. 

You can acquire your license in this manner.

2. Become Experienced

You should practice as much as possible before earning huge money, just like in any other industry. 

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Although companies in the future may hire you despite your lack of experience, gaining some while you’re still in school will likely improve your chances of landing a job. 

While attending school, one can always participate in workshops, internships, health programs, and hands-on training. 

While you are gaining experience, keep up with cutting-edge education and training.

3. Obtain Your License

A license is necessary to practice as an athletic trainer. 

A recognized curriculum must be finished, and you must pass the certification exam to qualify for your license. 

You will then be qualified to work and have obtained your license. 

It would be best to keep all certifications current because your license does expire. 

Discover more about the requirements for licensing by contacting your local NATA or National Athletic Trainers Association.

Before obtaining a license, be certain that you comprehend the following: 

  • How to avoid being sick or injured 
  • How to check out and identify patients 
  • Knowledge of Emergency Care 
  • Health Care Administration Training

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4. Get a Master’s

Your career will be at its pinnacle with a Master’s, and there will be plenty of opportunities for advanced placement. 

Sports medicine, exercise physiology, and advanced athletic training are a few programs you can enroll in with a Master’s degree. 

More opportunities are available to you if you earn a Master’s degree, particularly if you also pursue a business degree. 

Even though a master’s degree is not required to become an athletic trainer, the training and experience you gain can set you far apart from the competition.

Even if you already hold a Bachelor’s degree in another subject, you can still pursue a Master’s degree in athletic training. 

Don’t undervalue yourself; occasionally, after receiving an education, our opinions alter.

How Long Does It Take To Become a Licensed Athletic Trainer?

Training to become an athletic trainer takes about four years. 

These specialists must undergo training and get their four-year bachelor’s degree. 

Those who want to advance their education can finish their master’s degree, which will lengthen it by one to three years. 

Some sports trainers begin obtaining experience while they are still in school. 

Since they also get real-world work experience in addition to their specialized education instruction, these trainers are regarded to have an advantage over others. 

Athletic trainers’ career trajectories could take longer if they pursue particular credentials.

Combining many certification programs, internships, and part-time jobs with standard educational requirements is possible.

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How Much Does It Cost to Become a Licensed Athletic Trainer?

Athletic trainers are employed by college and professional sports teams, hospitals, and clinics to evaluate injuries and offer patient rehabilitation. 

Athletic trainers stand by along the sidelines and locker rooms to offer urgent care and instruction to avoid injuries. 

A bachelor’s degree is required for athletic trainers, which can be obtained from a four-year public or private university.

State residents paid reduced tuition rates, at $5,000 on average, during the 2006–2007 academic year because public colleges received some tax funding. 

For instance, Alcorn State University in Mississippi had a tuition rate of roughly $4,500 each year in 2008–2009, translating into a total cost of $18,000 for in-state students and about $10,700 for out-of-state students. 

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The cost of the four-year bachelor’s program in athletic training at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which accepts students starting in 2008-2009, is around $9,200 each year, or approximately $36,800.

Also, the cost for nonresident students is approximately $11,500 per year.

In 2006–2007, the cost of an athletic training degree at a private college was roughly $20,000 yearly or roughly $80,000 for the whole degree program. 

The cost of attending Ashland University in Ohio for the 2008–2009 academic year is $23,550, or $94,200 over four years. 

The cost of tuition at Sargent at Boston University College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences is $36,540 for the 2008–2009 academic year or $146,160 for the degree program.

Salary and Job Outlook for Athletic Trainers after Study

The median annual compensation for sports trainers is $46,948, according to data from Monster. 

Athletic trainer salaries range from $38,823 for the lowest paid to $59,098 for the most paid. 

Athletic trainers’ pay varies according to their level of expertise and the location where they work. 

For instance, the BLS reports that the typical college athletic trainer’s income is $52,660, slightly more than the median.

Athletic trainers have a good view for the foreseeable future. 

By 2030, the BLS projects a 23% increase in employment in this industry. 

This rate is significantly higher than other jobs in the overall labor force. 

Due to a greater understanding of the impacts of sports-related injuries, more schools are including athletic trainers in their sports programs, which could lead to a rise in the need for athletic trainers. 

Additionally, the profession may expand as an aging population continues to be physically active into their later years.

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In conclusion, an athletic trainer will collaborate with your primary care physician when you have a physical injury, such as spraining your ankle or hurting your back. 

This expertly qualified person can help you before, during, and after an injury by treating and preventing sports-related injuries, easing your discomfort, and enhancing your mobility. 

To prevent further self-injury, these people sent from above will instruct you on how to exercise and play sports safely. 

Because they know how the body should move and the best ways to avoid injuries, you should exercise close to your athletic trainer.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is it worthwhile to become an athletic trainer? 

Athletic trainers can support themselves well by doing what they enjoy. Texas is also one of the states with the highest athletic trainer salaries! Athletic trainers have a median salary of $49,860 annually, which is more than the average salary for all occupations.

Is working as an athletic trainer challenging? 

Endurance and determination are necessary for a profession as an athletic trainer. Every athlete, from football players to golfers, runs the danger of getting hurt. A professional athlete’s career could be destroyed by a little ankle twist that causes terrible agony and weeks of immobilization.

What does an athletic trainer do on an average day? 

An athletic trainer’s duties and roles on a normal day include: Offering athletic training services. Putting on braces, bandages, and tape to guard against or stop injuries. Delivering first assistance and assessing injuries.

Are athletic trainers allowed to own their businesses? 

ATs who operate in developing contexts and private practice are frequently self-employed, run their enterprises, serve as consultants, or provide services in other private settings. Their employment practices influence them more than the environment in which they operate.


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