What are the Different Athletic Trainer Careers?

Allison Boelcke
Allison Boelcke
An athletic trainer may work with football players or other professional athletes.
An athletic trainer may work with football players or other professional athletes.

An athletic trainer is a health professional who works specifically with athletes to prevent and treat sports-related injuries. He or she can develop programs to prevent further injuries and can help determine when an athlete can return to competition. There are various types of athletic trainer careers for a trainer to specialize in.

Many high schools have athletic trainers on staff. They usually stand on the sidelines at practices or games along with the coaches in order to swiftly respond to any injuries. A high school athletic trainer often has another faculty job during the day, such as being a teacher, since his or her trainer responsibilities are generally only needed for a limited number of after school hours.

Many baseball teams employ athletic trainers.
Many baseball teams employ athletic trainers.

Colleges and universities offer many opportunities for athletic trainer careers. An athletic trainer who works for a smaller college may serve as a trainer for multiple sports. Trainers at larger universities usually have an athletic trainer concentrate solely on a designated team during its season.

Athletic trainers can pursue a career in professional sports, such as basketball, football, baseball, or hockey. These kinds of athletic trainer careers are year-round rather than just during the sport’s season. A trainer who is employed with a professional sports team generally travels on the road to be at all the team games or matches. Professional athletic trainers work all the games during the season, as well as supervise team practices and any preseason training camps.

An athletic trainer may develop safe exercise regimens or better techniques for athletes.
An athletic trainer may develop safe exercise regimens or better techniques for athletes.

Sports medicine clinics can provide employment for trainers. Athletic trainer careers at sports medicine clinics involve working with injured athletes rather than on the sidelines. Trainers help recognize and treat injuries, as well as assist athletes in physical rehabilitation. Sports medicine athletic trainers may also teach workshops for high school or college level athletic trainers.

Sports medicine clinics can provide employment for athletic trainers.
Sports medicine clinics can provide employment for athletic trainers.

Some physicians offices and hospitals also employ athletic trainers. The trainers use their knowledge of working with patient injuries in order to provide extra assistance to busy healthcare facilities. Athletic trainers can help treat physical injuries or at least perform an assessment so doctors can have more opportunities to reach more patients.

Athletic trainers may work with runners preparing for a marathon.
Athletic trainers may work with runners preparing for a marathon.

Law enforcement and the military may provide opportunities for athletic trainers. Trainers can work with police officers or members of the military who are going through physical training exams or boot camps. An athletic trainer may supervise and treat any injuries, as well as give advice on how law enforcement officers or military members can keep themselves in optimal condition.

Athletic trainers may have sparring matches with clients to help them build upper body strength.
Athletic trainers may have sparring matches with clients to help them build upper body strength.

Athletic trainer careers can also be found in areas that are not directly related to sports. Many performing arts companies, especially traveling shows, hire athletic trainers to have on-hand to treat performer injuries. Trainers may also travel with musicians and singers and implement training exercises to keep up the performers’ endurance for tours.

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Discussion Comments

croydon

@MrsPramm - Sometimes people just kind of fall into this career as well. My mother worked as an athletic trainer for a while for people with developmental disorders and she was hired on the basis of being a social worker rather than because she knew anything about fitness. She had to teach herself the basics and just adapt a program to her students.

bythewell

@MrsPramm - I've always thought of an athletic trainer job as something that someone has to take up as a career, rather than a part time hobby, but I suppose I usually encounter people who are working with teams, rather than individual clients.

My father was actually pretty well known as an athletic trainer in our region for a while, and he was very good at what he did. He had a degree in physiology rather than one in sports science though, so I suppose you can come at it from a lot of different angles.

MrsPramm

My sister is starting to gravitate towards this career. She already has a job that she loves, but in her spare time she does a lot of training for triathlons and other kinds of races and she's become a bit of a guru for her friends and other members of the clubs she's in. She's starting to formally coach some of them and is planning to use them as references to get herself into the athletic trainer programs she needs to beef up her resume, as well as eventually for advertising her services.

She's not planning on quitting the other job, and will just take on a few clients every year, mostly because she just really enjoys it. I've got to say that it's definitely not a bad thing to have a fitness expert in the family, although I think her races are a little bit too hardcore for anything I could handle.

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    • An athletic trainer may work with football players or other professional athletes.
      An athletic trainer may work with football players or other professional athletes.
    • Many baseball teams employ athletic trainers.
      Many baseball teams employ athletic trainers.
    • An athletic trainer may develop safe exercise regimens or better techniques for athletes.
      An athletic trainer may develop safe exercise regimens or better techniques for athletes.
    • Sports medicine clinics can provide employment for athletic trainers.
      Sports medicine clinics can provide employment for athletic trainers.
    • Athletic trainers may work with runners preparing for a marathon.
      Athletic trainers may work with runners preparing for a marathon.
    • Athletic trainers may have sparring matches with clients to help them build upper body strength.
      Athletic trainers may have sparring matches with clients to help them build upper body strength.