How to become a certified athletic trainer in the US | Athletic Trainer Degree
Athletic trainer degree programs
How to become a certified athletic trainer
Certified athletic trainers all across the nation fill positions that span everything from your local community sports director to the revered pro sports coach. Some people who choose this career are hoping to land a job that allows them to be on the field, working up close with their favorite sports personalities acting as an intricate part of the professional ball team. Others are more interested in a clinical setting, working in sports medicine with anyone who wishes to live an active lifestyle.
Certified athletic trainer education
Your education begins with a degree program that may have different titles depending on the school you choose. Some athletic trainer degree programs are under the physical education heading. Others will fall under sports medicine. There are also athletic trainer schools that offer an actual degree called “Athletic Trainer”. The athletic trainer masters degree is probably the most sought after. The Bureau of Labor Statistics claims that over 70% of all students who enter this field will complete a master’s degree. Many of the higher paying positions will require you to have at least a master’s and some will insist on a doctorate. You can get a bachelor’s degree and still find employment in this field, however. The main criteria for the program you choose is to check that is accredited so you it will qualify for the BOC allowing you to become a certified athletic trainer.
Preparing for an athletic trainer career
Landing an athletic trainer job starts with completing your education. If you know what kind of job you want, this will help you decide how much education you need. School is only a part of your preparation, however. You are also going to have hours spent in a clinic or working with an athletic team as an intern. Some of this experieince is woven into your degree program so it isn’t extra work that will be expected.
Once you graduate, you will need to check with the Board of Certification (BOC) to see if you live in one of the 47 states that requires certification. If they do, you will need to take an exam in order to receive your BOC certification. Some employers want the job applicant to have a BOC certification even if their state doesn’t require it. One way to get a feel for the employers requisites in your state is to search job boards for employer expectations.
The athletic trainer career
Now that you have finished school, have completed your required internship, and have your BOC certification, you are ready to go to work. But where do you find work? Here are some potential employers that may offer positions for the certified athletic trainer:
--Colleges and universities
--Private companies with health programs for employees
--Government institutions both local, state, and federal
--Professional sports teams
Average athletic trainer salary
Because the athletic trainer career is so varied, so are the salaries. For instance, as a high school coach you may earn an average of $40,000 across the nation. As a director of sports medicine at a major hospital, you will certainly earn a six figure salary. And if you land a job with a winning pro ball team…well that is probably going to be at the top of the athletic trainer career food chain. No matter what athletic trainer job you end up with, the good news is the job outlook for this career. The BLS claims that “Employment of athletic trainers is projected to grow 37 percent from 2008 to 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations, because of their role in preventing injuries and reducing healthcare costs.”
Choosing an athletic trainer career will likely offer you many years of employment during a time when many other careers are less abundant.
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