Sports Trainer Career Outlook and Overview and Requirements

Sep 15, 2019

Working as a sports trainer requires significant formal education. Learn about the degree programs, job duties and licensure requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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A career as a sports trainer requires a bachelor's degree, and, in many states an athletic trainer license is required. With a master's degree, there may be more job opportunities or room for advancement within the field.

Essential Information

Sports trainers are healthcare workers who teach athletes and others how to prevent and treat sports injuries. They work under the supervision of licensed physicians and can be employed in many settings, such as a school or health club. A bachelor's degree from an accredited program is mandatory, and many trainers hold master's degrees. In most states, athletic trainers must be certified or licensed, which usually requires completing an approved degree program and passing an examination.

Required Education Bachelor's degree required, but many hold master's degrees
Other Requirements Most states require licensing
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 19%
Median Salary (2018)* $47,510

Sources: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Sports Trainer Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipated that the employment outlook for sports trainers, or athletic trainers, would grow faster than the average career, expanding 19% between 2018-2028, due to sports trainers' role in reducing healthcare costs through injury prevention in both athletics and the workplace. Job growth was expected to be concentrated in youth leagues and schools.

Sports training professionals can fill administrative positions, which include responding to new technologies in health and management, as well as working with larger populations on preventative healthcare such as ergonomics.

Sports Trainer Overview

Working under the supervision of a licensed physician or with other healthcare providers, sports trainers help prevent and treat injuries. These allied health professionals are often the first on the scene when a sports injury occurs and take a leading role in injury prevention. Trainers work with athletes to build muscles and develop correct training techniques, as well as teaching athletes and others home exercise and therapy programs.

Sports trainers work with professional athletes, secondary and postsecondary schools, hospitals and businesses with workplace wellness initiatives. Sports trainers working with university teams are often required to work up to 12 hours a day during a season and a 40-50 hour week otherwise. The median annual wage for athletic trainers was $47,510 in May 2018, according to the BLS.

Sports Trainer Education Requirements

While a bachelor's degree is often required as the minimum for sports trainers, about 70% of sports trainers have a master's degree or doctorate, according to the National Athletic Trainers' Association. Athletic trainers at high schools may also teach classes such as health, requiring the trainer to hold a teaching certificate.

Sports trainers work with athletes to help prevent injuries, or diagnose and treat injuries that occur. They work under the supervision of licensed physicians or other healthcare providers, and may work with professional athletes, college and high school students, or businesses with wellness initiative programs. From 2018-2028 the BLS predicts a job growth rate of 19% for sports trainers, which is much faster than average when compared to all occupations.

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