How to Become an Athletic Trainer: the Untold Guide

Did you know that as an athletic trainer, you can expect to earn an average salary of $52,049 per year? This career offers you a unique chance to make a positive impact on athletes’ lives while pursuing a deeply rewarding path. πŸ’ͺπŸ€

Now, it’s time for us to understand the secrets of “How to Become an Athletic Trainer.” So, grab your stopwatch and athletic gear because we’re about to jump on this exciting blog together. πŸ’ͺ

As of August 27, 2023, the average athletic trainer income in the United States was $53,819; however, the normal compensation range is $49,265 to $59,347. Salary ranges can vary significantly based on a variety of crucial aspects, including schooling, credentials, supplementary talents, and the length of time you’ve been working in a given field.Β 

Questions you should ask yourself before starting your career as an athletic trainer

Before jumping into the career tips, I recommend you ask yourself if you are deciding to become an athletic trainer.

I have built a list of questions below that will help to determine if you are inclined to become an athletic trainer.Β 

  1. What attracts you to becoming an athletic trainer? Do you have a genuine interest in becoming an athletic trainer?
  2. Do you possess the required physical fitness and stamina demanded for the role? 
  3. Are you willing to follow the complete nutrition/ diet necessary to become a fit athletic trainer?
  4. Are you prepared to provide your full commitment toward becoming an athletic trainer?
  5. Do you have any long-term goals associated with becoming an athletic trainer?
  6. Are you comfortable working as an athletic trainer for the rest of your life? 
  7. Do your financial goals meet your expectations if you choose to work as an athletic trainer?

Who Is an Athletic Trainer?

Athletic trainers (ATs) are highly qualified healthcare professionals who offer services and treatments in line with their education, training, and state laws under the direction of or in partnership with doctors. 

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the expected employment growth of athletic trainers is said to increase by 14% by the year 2032, which is more than average compared to other occupations. 

Athletic trainers serve as essential parts of the healthcare team and provide a variety of services, such as primary care, injury prevention, wellness education, emergency treatment, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic interventions, and rehabilitation. Athletic trainers uphold the NATA Code of Ethics and conduct themselves ethically πŸ€•.

Athletic trainers and personal trainers should be distinguished from one another since they serve diverse patient groups and have different educational backgrounds, skill sets, and professional duties. Athletic trainers go through demanding academic training as well as clinical training using a medical paradigm. 

Around 70% of ATs have a master’s degree, and they normally possess a bachelor’s or master’s from an authorized university. Further research on sports trainers’ education is advised to go further into their educational pathπŸ“.

Scope of Athletic Trainers in the Future

Athletic trainers are in demand, and employment opportunities have shown a huge spike in the past few years. Every year, there are about 2,700 job openings for athletic trainers in the USA on average. 

With the expected employment growth of 14%, as projected by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The future awaits with several opportunities for Athletic Trainers. 

The global athletic market size in the year 2021 was valued at $11 billion. Considering various factors in the industry, the global athletic market size is projected to be valued at $18.85 billion by the year 2031, as per research. Thus creating multiple opportunities for athletic trainers across the globe. 

I am listing a few top market players that are highly recommended if you find any future opportunities.Β 

  • Infrasonic Monitoring
  • Fitoop
  • Team Taylor
  • SwitchedOn Training Inc
  • SerenaFit
  • Encompass Health
  • Briotix
  • Athletico

Expert Skills Required

I am mentioning a few skills that you should consider mastering if you want to become successful as an athletic trainer. 

  • Understanding the human body’s structure and assessing injuries
  • Ability to design rehabilitation programs 
  • Knowledge of therapeutic exercises and modalities
  • Expertise in planning injury prevention programs 
  • Effective communication skills to build rapport with athletes
  • Strong physical fitness and stamina
  • Awareness of various aspects of health and well-being 

I recommend you watch Drills To Improve Your Mobility on YouTube for free to improve your ability to become an athletic trainer.Β 

How much can an athletic trainer earn?

As of May 25, 2023, the median salary πŸ’Έ for Athletic Trainers in the United States is approximately $53,355. However, the specific salary range typically spans from $48,839 to $58,835, which can vary based on various factors such as educational qualifications, certifications, additional skills, and years of experience in the field.Β 

How to Become an Athletic Trainer

Let us now discuss how you can become an athletic trainer. 

Earn a degree in higher education.

  • Most businesses need athletic trainers to hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in a relevant field, such as exercise science, kinesiology, biology, or another subject. 
  • It is important to register in a program that has been granted accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education since you will be qualified to receive certification once you have completed the program. 
  • You will learn how to assess and treat injuries, provide basic first aid, and create plans to avoid diseases as you progress through this curriculum πŸ’―.Β 

Fulfill clinical training requirements.

  • Many accredited programs provide students with the chance to fulfill clinical training obligations, enabling them to acquire hands-on experience within a medical or healthcare setting. 
  • Throughout this training, you will have the opportunity to observe seasoned athletic trainers and carry out fundamental responsibilities under their guidance. 
  • It is advisable to consider undertaking your clinical training in settings such as high schools, colleges, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, or doctor’s offices, as it allows you to apply the knowledge acquired in the classroom to practical situations in the real world πŸ§’.

Obtain certification

  • After completing a bachelor’s degree from an accredited program, you can pursue certification to practice as an athletic trainer. 
  • Most states require certification to obtain an athletic training license. 
  • You can reach out to the Board of Certification for the Athletic Trainer to schedule the certification examination. 
  • The board provides study resources and practice exams to assist you in preparing for the test πŸŽ“.

Develop a curriculum vitae.

  • Once you have obtained certification as an athletic trainer, it is essential to create a comprehensive curriculum vitae (CV) to apply for athletic training positions. 
  • When composing your CV, emphasize your education, clinical training, and certification to demonstrate to potential employers that you possess the necessary skills and competencies in athletic training. 
  • Additionally, if you have previous experience working in a gym, fitness center, or similar setting, include that information on your CV πŸ“.

Explore the option of pursuing a master’s degree.

  • A significant number of athletic trainers opt to pursue a master’s degree as a means of setting themselves apart from other applicants. 
  • Take the time to research graduate programs that align with your specific career aspirations and objectives. 
  • In a master’s program, you will typically engage in a combination of advanced coursework and practical clinical experience, enabling you to enhance your skills and acquire a comprehensive knowledge of the athletic training profession πŸ“œ.

Responsibilities of an athletic trainer

Athletic trainers work not only with athletes but also in various settings such as sports teams, healthcare facilities, and educational institutions.

While providing primary care, injury prevention, and rehabilitation, they also fulfill responsibilities such as assessment, treatment planning, record-keeping, collaborating with healthcare professionals, and staying updated on advancements in sports medicine. ‡️

Comprehensive Health Assessment for Training and Player Well-being

  • Athletic trainers evaluate players’ health in conjunction with coaches, athletes, and medical specialists, taking into account things like injuries, physical fitness, and performance. 
  • They aid in the creation of effective training, recuperation, and player well-being programs through this assessment process πŸ’ͺ.

Personalized Programs for Optimal Performance and Well-being

  • Athletic trainers have a critical duty to provide individualized workout and diet programs. 
  • They create specialized programs to maximize performance, improve physical fitness, avoid injuries, and advance general well-being by analyzing each person’s requirements and goals. 
  • These programs include a variety of workouts, nutritional suggestions, and lifestyle adjustments to help athletes reach their top performance levels 🎯.

Effective Communication

  • One of the most important aspects of an athletic trainer’s job is communicating with players, coaches, and family members. 
  • They have conversations to define fitness and health goals, making sure that everyone is on the same page and collaborating for peak performance and well-being πŸ‘¨β€πŸ«.

Tailored Training and Recovery Plans for Enhanced Athletic Performance

  • Athletic trainers are essential in creating specialized training and recovery plans for athletes. 
  • Trainers provide comprehensive strategies to improve performance, avoid injuries, and help athletes on their path to peak physical fitness by evaluating their physical condition, identifying strengths and weaknesses, and taking into account unique sports needs 🧠.

Expert Evaluation and Treatment for Sports-Related Ailments

  • Athletic trainers apply their skills to correctly evaluate and treat players using their experience with sports-related ailments. 
  • They can recognize and treat a variety of ailments because of their specific training, which aids athletes in getting better and regaining their best physical condition πŸ’«.

Guiding Athletes to Specialized Medical Care and Therapy

  • Athletic trainers evaluate injuries and decide if an athlete needs additional medical treatment, which is an important part of their job in the healthcare of athletes. 
  • When required, they recommend athletes to specialists who can offer specialized care and therapy to ensure the athlete’s health and recuperation πŸ’ͺ.

Supporting Athletes on the Road to Recovery

  • Athletic trainers are essential in supporting and closely monitoring injured athletes as they recover and go through rehabilitation. 
  • To promote a safe and efficient recovery and assist athletes in regaining their physical skills and returning to top performance, they offer counsel, carry out treatment programs, and monitor progress πŸ‘€.

Tips to Improve Your Athletic Career

Starting a profession as an athletic trainer necessitates a persistent dedication to development and advancement.

You will be able to improve your abilities, have a long-lasting effect, and have a fulfilling and prosperous career in sports training by putting the advice and tips from this article into practice.Β 

Together, let’s read through the tips! ‡️

Enhancing core strength

  • Enhancing core strength is crucial, regardless of your athletic discipline, whether you’re a cross-country runner or a football player.
  • Many underestimate the significance of the core muscles, which play a fundamental role in maintaining balance and coordinating the movements of other muscle groupsπŸ’ͺ.

Keeping a balanced diet is essential.

  • For you to achieve success in your athletic endeavors and maximize your performance, maintaining a balanced diet is essential. 
  • Consuming fatty foods, unhealthy snacks, and sugary beverages might harm your body and slow down the healing process. 
  • Making nutritional changes may be difficult, but they are crucial.
  • Reduce your intake of unhealthy foods gradually and replace them with more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein at each meal. 
  • Avoid excessive diets and complex regimens; instead, concentrate on sustainably modifying your lifestyle 🎯.

Master the Fundamentals

  • It is common for athletes to be eager to engage in rigorous training right from the start. 
  • While this enthusiasm is commendable, it often results in injuries. It is crucial to have a solid understanding of the fundamentals. 
  • Even experienced athletes can benefit from exercises aimed at enhancing foundational skills. 
  • Prioritize activities that improve aerobic capacity, build overall strength, enhance mobility, and condition the body πŸ’―.Β 

Push Your Limitations

  • Continuously challenging yourself is vital to your athletic development. 
  • As you train over time, your workouts may start to feel easier, but that should not be a reason for complacency.
  • It is important to constantly strive to push your limits and avoid getting too comfortable in your training routine. 
  • When athletes become complacent, they reach a plateau and hinder their progress. 
  • The body adapts to the familiar exercises, and the intensity decreases, limiting further improvements πŸ“ˆ.

Enhancing your cognitive abilities

  • Enhancing your cognitive abilities is an integral part of improving as an athlete. 
  • It’s not just about training your body; you also need to train your brain to optimize your performance in any sport.
  • During gameplay, you must quickly identify opportunities, make rapid decisions, and effectively communicate with your body for immediate reactions. 
  • Even a slight delay in cognitive processing can have a detrimental impact on the outcome of a play πŸ‘¨β€πŸ«.

Top athletic courses in the United States

If you aspire to become an athletic trainer, exploring the top educational opportunities in this field can be a valuable step toward developing your skills and pursuing a successful career. Various reputable colleges and universities across the United States offer exceptional athletic training programs. 

These programs, ranging from renowned institutions to accredited college programs, provide comprehensive training, expert guidance, and practical experience for aspiring athletic trainers to refine their abilities and excel in this field. ‡️

Exercise Science and Kinesiology Pre-Major

  • Kinesiology encompasses a wide-ranging domain that explores the intricacies of movement, function, and performance and the impact of these factors on overall well-being. 
  • Within this field, exercise science serves as a specific area of study, delving into the human body’s response and adaptation to physical activity. 
  • It delves into the underlying mechanisms that influence the effects of exercise on the body.

Bachelor of Science (BS) in Exercise Science and Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

  • Physical therapy is a fulfilling and sought-after profession that contributes to the well-being and vitality of individuals. 
  • As a physical therapist, you have the opportunity to significantly improve the quality of life for your patients by aiding in their recovery from injuries, facilitating their return to beloved activities, and safeguarding against future health issues. 
  • This program provides a comprehensive curriculum leading to a dual degree, namely a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Exercise Science and a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree.

Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science

  • Exercise science is a field that encompasses various areas such as exercise and sport physiology, analysis of movement, training, and conditioning, as well as sports and exercise psychology. 
  • Within exercise science, there is a sub-discipline called sports science, which focuses on examining the factors that impact sports performance and devising strategies to enhance it.

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Sports Management

  • The recently introduced sports management program aims to equip students with the necessary analytical and technical skills required to excel in various career opportunities within the sports industry. 
  • Through specialized courses and practical training, students will enhance their managerial abilities. 
  • The program will cover topics such as sports economic trends, risk management, and the legal and financial aspects that are crucial for effective sports management.

Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and Sports Performance

  • The undergraduate program, Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and Sports Performance, focuses on developing educators who demonstrate exemplary teaching methods in the PK-12 educational environment. 
  • Additionally, the program aims to produce professionals who actively promote and facilitate high-quality physical activity opportunities for individuals of all ages. 
  • The curriculum places significant importance on practical field experience, internships, and opportunities for professional growth and development.

Free Courses

Basics of Sports Medicine

What it offers: The course will fill you with knowledge of the modern role of medicine in sports. 

What you will learn: The course will take you deeper into understanding various practices and applications of treatment in the modern world of sports. You will learn about the evolution of sports medicine and different types of career opportunities in the field. The module covers everything from sports and medicine to nutrition and weight management. All this for free. Enroll now!

First Aid for Sports

What it offers: The course addresses several concepts and principles of first aid for sports. The course will help you examine common and severe injuries and help you assess them with first aid methods and techniques.  

What you will learn: You will learn everything, from the introduction to learning about different types of injuries and assessing them with professional techniques. The course is designed in a way that banishes several first-aid myths and provides you with knowledge that will help you excel in the athletic field.Β 

Diploma in Diet Planning and Meal Prep

What it offers: The course explains the significance of nutrition and reveals different ways to modify a balanced diet to achieve fitness goals. 

What you will learn: 

  • The course is divided into nine modules to provide you with every minute detail; thus, it is referred to as a diploma in diet planning and meal planning. 
  • You will learn the fundamentals of diet planning, nutrition theory, setting up your meal plan, and getting started on your journey. 
  • You will understand the importance of tracking diet, the importance of hydration and minerals, the role of vitamins, and coaching tools. 
  • After the completion of the course, you will be granted a certificate of diploma in diet planning and meal prep that will be super useful in carving your career.Β 

Top Athletic Schools in the World

If you have a passion for sports, an interest in helping athletes excel, and a drive to learn and improve, a career as an athletic trainer may be the perfect fit for you. It takes dedication, continuous learning, and hands-on experience to become a skilled athletic trainer. 

Here are the top 5 renowned institutions offering exceptional athletic training programs to kickstart your journey. ‡️

University of Alberta

  • In Canada, the University of Alberta stands as a leading institution in the realm of sports. 
  • With a wide range of varsity sports programs, including basketball, cross-country, curling, football, golf, hockey, rugby, soccer, swimming, track and field, volleyball, and wrestling, the university offers ample opportunities for student-athletes. 
  • Overseeing more than 23 teams and a student body of over 500, the university’s athletic department is dedicated to fostering athletic excellence.Β 

University of Alabama

  • The University of Alabama offers a wide range of sports opportunities, including football, gymnastics, basketball, baseball, rowing, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming/diving, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. 
  • The university has achieved remarkable success with 25 NCAA Championships, numerous conference championships, and individual accolades.

St Mary’s University, Twickenham

  • St Mary’s University College provides a diverse range of more than 20 student sports clubs, and they encourage students to suggest additional sports that they feel should be included. 
  • The college boasts impressive facilities such as three sports halls, a gymnastics center, a dance studio, an athletics track, and two training pitches. 
  • With its extensive offerings and top-notch amenities, this college certainly deserves recognition as one of the top 10 sports academies worldwide.

German Sport University Cologne

  • The German Sport University Cologne holds the distinction of being the largest and most esteemed institution for physical education and sports science in Germany. 
  • It attracts aspiring individuals from Germany who are keen on pursuing a career in sports and obtaining a degree from the renowned German Sports Academy in Cologne.
  • However, before students can even be considered for admission, they must complete a demanding physical examination. Whether it’s basketball, badminton, swimming, or even endurance running, this university stands at the forefront of athletic excellence.

University of Birmingham

  • Sport is a big part of student life at the University of Birmingham, and the uni regularly finishes in the top three of the BUCS championship. 
  • Non-Stanford, a graduate of the university, celebrated securing the 2013 Elite Women’s ITU World Triathlon title in September.
  • It is just one of many famous sporting alumni from the university, which certainly deserves to be one of the top 10 best sports academies in the world.

Where to find athletic opportunities online?

Are you a future athletic trainer looking for rewarding career opportunities? Look nowhere else! In the current digital age, the internet has developed into a useful resource for getting in touch with subject-matter specialists and learning about a broad range of athletic training opportunities throughout the world. 

Whether you’re just starting or hoping to raise your professional reputation, this blog will help you fit your aims and desires. ‡️


  • Imagine the incredible opportunity of accessing lessons from the world’s top coaches instantly, right from your device. Well, that possibility is now a reality. 
  • CoachTube, which was launched recently, has become the ultimate platform for empowering coaches by equipping them with everything they need to deliver online instructional training. 
  • With a vast collection of both free and premium courses, you can gain lifetime access to invaluable expertise.


  • The official website of the National Basketball Association (NBA) hosts renowned basketball players who share their expertise in skills and drills. 
  • It provides a comprehensive platform featuring news, articles, videos, player profiles, chat transcripts, schedules, and statistics. 
  • While focusing on basketball, this valuable resource offers beginners an excellent opportunity to learn the fundamentals directly from current NBA players.


  • If you have experience as a volunteer youth coach, you may already be familiar with PlaysportsTV. 
  • This platform is dedicated to assisting the 6 million volunteer youth coaches with a vast library of over 3,000 instructional videos. 
  • It serves as a valuable resource, enabling coaches to enhance their coaching skills, win more games, and positively impact the youth they are mentoring. 
  • PlaysportsTV’s online youth sports training is designed to provide an enjoyable and straightforward approach to learning how to play sports.

Glazier Vault

  • If you are a professional coach, you are likely familiar with Glazier Clinics, renowned for its exceptional clinics where top coaches share their expertise. 
  • Now, they have launched a website that allows coaches to access excellent training from the comfort of their homes. 
  • Glazier Clinics provides a wide range of drills, coaching topics, and speakers tailored to coaches at every level, offering valuable resources to help improve your coaching and achieve better results in the upcoming year.

Key takeaways

Although being an athletic trainer may seem difficult, I would say everything is possible with hard work and devotion. 

Give it your all, keep at it via diligent labor, and take advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow. Who knows? You could advance to become the next well-known name in sports training! πŸ’ͺ

Do you still have any queries related to the topic? Drop your questions below in the comment section, and we will reach out to you soon! 

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