An athletic trainer might make you think of someone working on the sidelines, or someone in professional sports. And it’s no surprise. According to the National Association of Athletic Trainers, 66% of all athletic trainers work in college/university settings, professional sports, secondary schools, or with students. But emerging settings are also on the rise. With them come new job opportunities that extend far beyond the field.
“Many prospective athletic training students and young athletic training professionals think this is all nights, weekends, and sports,” said Dr. Katherine Liesener, Athletic Training Program Director and Assistant Professor of Health and Human Performance. “And yes, if they choose to work in the sports setting, there may be non-traditional work hours. But many of my students are eager to learn about, and possibly seek employment in, our emerging settings. Settings that may provide opportunities to work more traditional hours.”
So, if you’ve been thinking about an athletic training career but have held off making a move because you fear that your options are too limited, fear no more. Athletic trainers are present in several emerging workplaces and can hold traditional 9-5 jobs. Here are just a few of the settings that you could work in as an athletic trainer. Settings that you may not have considered before.
Occupational or Industrial Settings
Companies and organizations that require their employees to maintain high levels of activity on the job are continuing to see the value of having an athletic trainer on staff. Working in this type of industrial setting can include companies like Harley-Davidson. Municipal organizations like the local fire department, police force, and public works also are lifting and transporting heavy objects.
In the past, these types of companies would simply send employees to the hospital by ambulance whenever something went wrong. This avenue of care, especially for less serious injuries like simple sprains, can drive up employee care costs. But with an athletic trainer on staff, injuries can be vetted more thoroughly. Companies can seek out more cost-efficient routes of medical care. For example, if someone were to suffer a sprain on the job, an athletic trainer can quickly identify the type of sprain and how serious the injury is. From there, the athletic trainer can recommend the next steps for care like seeing a primary care doctor in an office setting. This can often save an organization thousands of dollars by avoiding ambulance trips to the ER when that level of care is not needed.
Many healthcare facilities are also seeing the value of having athletic trainers on staff to assist doctors and other care providers in areas like sports medicine and orthopedics. For example, when a patient comes in with an injury, an athletic trainer can take care of the initial evaluation to assess the injury and even provide a suggested diagnosis to the primary care provider, saving the doctor valuable time. By having athletic trainers on staff, healthcare facilities are also saving thousands of dollars, while also having more time for patients who actually need more care and medical attention.
According to Dr. Liesener, some surgeons are even making a practice of taking their athletic trainers into surgery to give them a chance to follow a patient from initial evaluation through treatment and possibly rehabilitation.
Yes! Even the military needs athletic trainers. According to the Armed Forces Athletic Trainers’ Association, athletic trainers can be found throughout the Air Force, Navy, Army, Marines, and Coast Guard. In addition, they are represented throughout other areas of the military including US Service Academies, Navy Special Warfare, School of Infantry, Officer Basic School, Initial Entry Training/Basic Training Units, Recruiting Depots, Navy SMART Centers, and Army Musculoskeletal Action Teams.
In these roles, athletic trainers work to both prevent injury as personnel complete training and transition into active duty as well as rehabilitate individuals when they sustain injuries. For athletic trainers who want to take their work a step further by serving those who serve our country, this is the perfect fit.
Concordia University was announced as one of the Nation’s most Military friendly universities. The athletic training program at Concordia provides a number of opportunities and those looking to serve our country can do so by becoming an athletic trainer.
While professional sports are typically what comes to mind when athletic trainers are mentioned, even the jobs in this area of athletic training can be uncommon ones. For example, Cirque du Soleil, professional bull riding, and NASCAR are all considered to be a part of the professional sports category and they all use athletic trainers, too. Here in the Greater Milwaukee Area, we even have athletic trainers working with our local ballet company, the Milwaukee Ballet, and the Brewcity Bruisers, our local female roller derby team.
If professional sports are not where your goals are, there are always organizations looking for athletic trainers in your community. Local high schools, club sports programs, and community colleges are all places that need athletic trainers.
Athletic Training at Concordia
With so many job options and career avenues to choose from, you really can find a career wherever you want. With our Master of Science in Athletic Training program, we immerse our students in many different clinical settings to give them a wide range of experiences. All of this helps to inform their career path and make them aware of the many different opportunities they really do have.
Athletic trainers play a vital role in the health system. They are often the first step in the prevention of injuries related to physical activity. Concordia offers a unique education with hands-on clinical experience in numerous settings and is supervised by healthcare professionals. The program equips students with skills to be ready to succeed in the athletic training field. While also accomplishing the goal of training students through the holistic development of mind, body, and spirit.
This blog was originally published on November 12, 2015. It has been updated to reflect current information.