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Ten things to know about athletic trainers

By Cree Bowen, AT

What is an Athletic Trainer?
Athletic trainers are vital health care professionals who specialize in preventing, diagnosing and treating muscle and bone injuries and illnesses.

What does it take to become an athletic trainer?
Athletic trainers must receive a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited program. Beginning in Fall 2022, a master’s degree will be the minimum entry point into the profession.

What kind of hands-on training do athletic trainers receive?
Athletic training education follows a medical model that includes clinical rotations. Some educational programs may require 100 or more hours of observation for athletic training students. This is on par with what is required of students pursuing other degrees in health care, such as physical therapy or nursing.

What skills are athletic trainers educated in?
Athletic trainers are educated in five domains including injury and illness prevention, clinical evaluation and diagnosis, immediate and emergency care, treatment and rehabilitation and professional health and well-being.

Do athletic trainers need professional certifications or licenses?
Upon graduation, athletic trainers must pass the national examination to obtain certification plus acquire necessary state licensure to practice in most states.

Where do athletic trainers work?
Athletic trainers work in many different settings including youth sports, high school, colleges and universities, physician practice – in a similar capacity to nurses, physician assistants and other professional clinical personnel – rural and urban hospitals, sports medicine clinics, occupational health, public safety, military branches and in the performing arts.

How big is this career field?
There are more than 58,000 certified athletic trainers around the world. Monument Health employs 17 athletic trainers in the region.

What benefits do athletic trainers provide in these settings?
Athletic trainers are able to reduce absenteeism from work, school and sport through injury prevention measures, onsite health care and robust referral networks for specialized care

What are some other benefits of working with an athletic trainer?
Athletic trainers help reduce costs associated with unnecessary emergency room visits and diagnostic tests as well as rehabilitative costs before and after surgery.

Do they help make school sports safer?
Schools with athletic trainers are better at identifying athletes with concussions and work with coaches, families and medical providers to help student athletes recover from injuries and return to play safely.

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