Certified Athletic Trainer: Certification and Career Facts

Athletic trainers work with athletes to treat their injuries and prevent future performance issues. Continue reading to learn the requirements for gaining certification and working as an athletic trainer. Explore bachelor's and master's degree programs in this field, and review the job duties, career outlook and salary potential for certified athletic trainers. Schools offering Fitness Trainer degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Certified athletic trainers are allied health care professionals who specialize in muscle and bone injuries. As a certified athletic trainer, you work under the supervision of physicians and often collaborate with health care professionals to treat their patients.

Responsibilities Prevent, diagnose and treat sports and athletic injuries
Certification Must graduate from an accredited program and pass Board of Certification exam
Job Outlook 19% increase from 2012-2022

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Do Certified Athletic Trainers Do?

You evaluate and diagnose sports injuries as they occur and work with injured athletes to develop a treatment plan to manage and rehabilitate the injury. Many times, you also educate patients on injury prevention, the proper use of rehabilitative equipment and home exercises.

Employment opportunities are available in a variety of settings, including high schools, universities, orthopedic clinics and hospitals. You also spend a good amount of time in outdoor environments and often spend long hours standing. If you work for sports teams, you may have long, irregular hours that are determined by the game and practice schedules of the team.

How Do I Become Certified?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), to work as an athletic trainer most states require that you are licensed and registered; this requires certification from the Board of Certification (BOC) (www.bls.gov). To gain certification, you must graduate from an accredited athletic training program and pass the BOC examination.

Typically, you need to earn a master's degree to find employment in the field, but you can earn certification with just a bachelor's degree. Additionally, to be eligible to take the certification examination, you must have an endorsement from the program director of your athletic training program.

What is the Job Outlook?

The BLS predicts that the employment of athletic trainers will increase at a rate of 19% from 2012 and 2022. This rate is faster than the average rate for all other occupations, and employment opportunities in high schools and in the health care industry should be good. The BLS further expects that employment with sports teams will remain competitive, as athletic trainers compete for a smaller pool of jobs.

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  • George Mason University

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    Popular programs at George Mason University:

    • Master

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  • The George Washington University

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    Popular programs at The George Washington University:

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  • Strayer University

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    • Maryland: Baltimore, Beltsville, Towson
  • Indiana Wesleyan University

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  • Everest

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    • Virginia: Woodbridge
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  • University of Delaware

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