Opportunities within the athletic training profession are constantly increasing and diversifying. Have you considered any emerging settings?
The term athletic trainer probably makes you think of someone working on the sidelines, someone in professional sports or with a collegiate team. And it’s no surprise. According to the National Association of Athletic Trainers, 66 percent of all athletic trainers work in a college/university setting, professional sports, secondary schools, or with students. But emerging settings are also on the rise, and 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 they can even 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 where workers are regularly lifting and transporting heavy objects as well as municipal organizations like the local fire department, police force, and public works.
In the past, these type of companies, particularly the municipal ones, would simply send their employees to the hospital by way of ambulance as soon as 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 and 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 what type of sprain has taken place and how serious the injury is. From there, the athletic trainer can recommend next steps for care like seeing a primary care doctor in an office setting. This can often save the organization thousands of dollars by avoiding ambulance trips to the ER when that level of care is not needed.
Many health care 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.
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.
While professional sports is 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.
With so many job options and career avenues to choose from, you really can carve out a career for yourself wherever you want. As a part of our Master of Science in Athletic Training program, we immerse our students in many different clinical settings to give them the chance to gain a wide range of experience. All of this helps to inform their career path and make them aware of the many different opportunities they really do have.
You have the same opportunities. So, where will you go next?
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