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Athletic Training: One Degree, Five Career Paths

Want an exciting career in the growing field of athletics training? Here are just five of the career paths you could pursue from this one degree.

The numbers don’t lie: The field of athletic training is experiencing explosive growth. The Bureau of Labor projects jobs in athletic training will grow 23% through 2026, more than three times faster than the average occupation in large part because of changing demographics.

Unlike personal trainers, people who study athletic training follow a medical model including a clinical education and is recognized as a healthcare profession. In fact, athletic training as a field of study is recognized by the American Medical Association, Health Resources Services Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services, which helps qualify athletic training graduates for many jobs in the healthcare field.

A degree in athletic training can set you upon a number of career paths, from working in a hospital setting to employment with some of the nation’s most prestigious sports teams. Though average athletic trainer salary currently sits at just over $55,000 per year, that number can be expected to rise as demand for healthcare professionals increases, and overall salaries range between $38-83,000 nationwide.

Athletic trainers must graduate from an accredited program such as Hofstra’s BS in Athletic Training which is designed to meet the entry-level athletic training competencies and proficiencies identified by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Executive Committee on Education and is in line with the requirements established by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE).


So what can you do with a degree from an athletic training program? Here are five of the most popular careers paths stemming from this one degree:

Professional Sports Trainer

It’s fair to say that the goal of many students in athletic training programs is to work for a major league sports team. And why not? A position with a sports team carries a high level of prestige, while allowing practitioners to be on the cutting edge of their profession. In addition to possessing a solid understanding of all the concepts that go into athletic training – nutrition, anatomy, biomechanics, and physiology, just to name a few – you must also be skilled at networking in order to land a job with professional sports team. That’s why the best athletic training programs are linked with a robust career services department.  

School and Intercollegiate Athletics Trainer

Just like professional athletes, athletic trainers often to have to work their way up to the top through the school and college ranks. However, a position with a college sports organization might be just as lucrative for an athletic trainer. One huge benefit is that there are significantly more school and college teams throughout the country than professional sports teams, and while still intense, the competition for an athletic trainer position would be more manageable. The experience you can gain with a school or college sports program is invaluable, and can propel you on your career path towards whatever ultimate goal you have in mind.

Performing Arts Trainer

If you’re more of a creative-type than a sports fan, you may want to consider a career as an athletic trainer for the performing arts. The two areas in the performing arts with the most need for athletic trainers are on the stage and on the screen – namely, dancers and stuntmen. Both typically need immediate, on-site medical care to treat any injuries that occur during a performance, as well as performing preventative care. The care you provide will help lower costs, making you a valued, behind-the-scenes resource for the production company.

Athletic Trainers for the Military

An exciting new career opportunity is to work with the military. Certified athletic trainers have been increasingly employed by the armed forces to teach proper form to troops and prevent injuries. Simply search one of the civilian military job sites for a specific branch such as the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard for some of the more common military job codes associated with athletic training. Note that each branch of the military has their own hiring process and policies, and some will hire only civilians or contractors to work as athletic trainers, so be sure to search civilian sites as well.

Sports Medicine Clinician

An orthopedic urgent care center is just one example of a non-hospital medical setting where an athletic training education can help you quickly move up the ranks, while also helping out patients in need of critical care who cannot otherwise see an orthopedist. Since athletic trainers are experts in injury triage, they’re a perfect fit for urgent care centers where patients suffer from sports-related or sports-type injuries like sprains, fractures, dislocations, and joint damage. In this role, athletic trainers can provide patients with acute care and education, which may help the patient avoid having to see a sub-specialist or physical therapist. This alone is a huge benefit to the patient, as it could save them a significant amount of time and money.Interested in learning more about a degree in athletic training? Check out Hofstra’s Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training program, where you can discover more about the program’s curriculum, requirements, and graduation rates. Or request more information on our program.