Quick Guide to Finding Work as an Athletic Trainer

Are you a qualified athletic trainer looking for work? Or perhaps you’re in school hustling to become a member of the field, and want to know what it will be like when you’re working. The Go4 team has assembled some tips about working as an athletic trainer, especially if you have the spirit for per diem work.

An athletic trainer is a licensed medical professional who has an immense duty of care to their patients, including designing rehabilitation-from-injury programs and authorizing return to play decisions. You will need both the right education and experience to work as an athletic trainer.

Earning the title of Certified Athletic Trainer will not be done quickly. Until recently, it was a path where the minimum education needed was a Bachelor’s degree done over 4 years. Now however, you will need to progress to a Master’s degree, adding another 1-3 years to that timeline, before you will be acceptably qualified.

However, the educational requirements for an athletic trainer do not stop there! You will need to take the BOC (Board of Certifications) examination that will let you practice as an athletic trainer. This also has to be maintained, requiring a bi-annual re-registration. As part of this re-application process, you will need to demonstrate that you have amassed enough further education points by keeping your knowledge up-to-date and attending relevant lectures and conferences and completing CEUs.

Working as an athletic trainer means working as a medical professional. You’ll be in charge of vulnerable patients who trust you for a high quality of care. It’s important that you keep your knowledge base up-to-date so you can provide the best standard of care.

Work experience is another key part of finding work as an athletic trainer. 
Athletic training student will often start applying for internships during their final year of undergraduate course work. Not only does this give you a chance to build your skills and gather that much-needed experience, but it also has another professional benefit. You will begin to network with the teams and situations that you will be working in once you are fully qualified, and this will help you gather the contacts you need for a successful career.

Another great way to get industry experience, once you have qualified, is by taking on per diem athletic trainer work. Once you’ve passed your BOC exam and have your state licensure, you can bolster your resume and LinkedIn profile by working per diem positions that will introduce you to new settings, sports, and patient panels. This way, you can not only build your skill-set further, but will also have the chance to experiment with settings and see which best suits your work style. The Go4 platform is the NATA’s preferred partner for per diem athletic trainer work, so don’t be afraid to explore the platform further. Picking up shifts in a variety of settings will improve your overall knowledge and experience bases! 

Finding work as an athletic trainer
Armed with the right education and experience, you can start a successful career as an athletic trainer. Many trainers choose to continue with per diem work, finding the rates lucrative and enjoying the chance to work with a variety of athletes in a number of different settings.

Should you prefer to find a permanent position, however, athletic trainers work in a variety of places. Of course, you can become the team athletic trainer for a pro-team, but it can be difficult to break into that field without connections and will need hustle. A wide range of school and colleague settings let you work with teams and athletes, however.

Or you can look to medical settings, instead. Many specialist sports injury clinics, as well as more general medical settings, could benefit from your expertise. There’s also a wide range of more unusual environments that need athletic trainer expertise, including some you may not immediately think of. This includes industrial settings, and even in law enforcement, theater, and the military.

Anywhere that sees people put their bodies on the line for sports and entertainment, and where peak physical fitness is a key component of their job, will need an athletic trainer. Will that trainer be you? With the right willingness to hustle, and the hard work and motivation to assemble the qualifications you need, develop your professional networking, and impress your employers, an athletic training career can be a lucrative and enjoyable one, especially if you find you enjoy the challenges of per diem work.

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