The world of athletics is thrilling, but keeping those athletes in top shape requires skilled professionals behind the scenes. Enter the athletic trainer: a healthcare provider specializing in preventing, diagnosing, and treating injuries in athletes and physically active individuals. But what is an athletic trainer salary?

With any career choice, compensation is a big factor. Here’s what you can expect to earn as an athletic trainer:

The National Average: A Balancing Act

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for athletic trainers in the US is $54,878 (as of May 2023). This translates to roughly $26.43 per hour. However, it’s important to remember that this is just a national average. Athletic trainer salaries can vary depending on several factors.

Location, Location, Location

Just like many professions, geography plays a significant role in athletic trainer salaries. The BLS reports that certain states, like Connecticut and New Jersey, tend to offer higher wages. For instance, the average athletic trainer salary in Connecticut can reach $58,939, while New Jersey offers an average of $77,540 ([invalid URL removed], March 2024).

Experience Matters: From Rookie to Veteran

As with most careers, experience is a key factor influencing salary. Entry-level athletic trainers, fresh out of school, can expect a lower starting salary compared to seasoned professionals with years of experience under their belts.

Where You Work Makes a Difference

The setting you work in can also affect your paycheck. Athletic trainers employed by professional sports teams or prestigious universities might command higher salaries compared to those working in high schools or clinics.

Beyond the Numbers: Stepping Up Your Earning Potential

While factors like location and experience play a major role, there are ways to boost your earning potential as an athletic trainer. Pursuing additional certifications in specific areas like sports nutrition or strength and conditioning can open doors to new specialties and potentially higher salaries.

The Takeaway: It’s Rewarding, But Not Necessarily Lucrative

A career as an athletic trainer offers the opportunity to work in a dynamic environment, helping athletes perform at their best. However, if financial compensation is your top priority, there might be other healthcare professions that offer a higher earning potential.

That being said, if you’re passionate about sports medicine and helping athletes recover from injuries, then the rewards of this profession can go far beyond the paycheck.

And as a bonus, athletic trainers can work per diem!