By Stephanie Davey, MEd, ATC, PES
Athletic Training is a rewarding but demanding profession. Most sports fans see the glamorous side when athletic trainers are seen on TV taking care of the college and professional athletes on the field. In part, this has led to an increase in the popularity of the profession. According to the National Athletic Trainer’s Association and the Bureau of Labor Statistic, the athletic training profession is expected to grow by 21% by 2022.
As awareness of athletic injuries increases, the demand for athletic trainers is increasing as well. This is especially true at the high school level. More emphasis is being placed on high school sports safety, so more high school students and student athletes are being made aware of the athletic training profession. Many high school students are developing interest in the profession. Here are a few suggestions to help guide your or your student’s interest.
1. Connect with your high school’s athletic trainer. Many high schools have athletic training programs that allow students to assist the certified Athletic Trainers in the day to day activities of the sports medicine program. If your high school doesn’t have a program, ask the Athletic Trainer if you can help or observe them. Observe pre and post practices and games in addition to the actual practices and games.
2. Take the right classes in high school. Many high schools offer sports medicine classes. It’s obvious to take those classes, but also make sure you’re taking as many science based classes as possible. Strong bases in biology, chemistry, physics, anatomy and physiology will make your post secondary education significantly easier.
3. Research the educational requirements involved in becoming an Athletic Trainer. NATA.org and bocatc.org are two important website to know and study. Every Athletic Trainer must pass an exam to become a Certified Athletic Trainer. The educational requirements are changing from a bachelor’s degree to a master’s degree. The change is expected to be implemented in 2022.
4. Talk to advisors at the college or university you want to attend. Find out if they will have a Master’s Athletic Training degree and what the application process and requirements will be.
Athletic training is a very rewarding profession. However, it’s important to understand that it can also be very demanding. If you or your student is interested in Athletic Training, do as much research as possible before starting your education.