Athletic Trainer Major and Undergraduate Degree Program Info
Athletic trainers are healthcare professionals who assess, treat and teach prevention of injuries for athletes. One cannot get a job as an athletic trainer without at least a bachelor's degree. A B.S. in Athletic Training or a similar degree is the only viable undergraduate major for would-be athletic trainers.
Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training
Athletic trainers do not actually train athletes in the practice of a sport. The closest thing to training that they do is teaching injury prevention methods. An athletic trainer identifies and treats injuries of physically active people, from major league superstars to junior varsity high school squads.
Students in an athletic training major begin to recognize both internal and external injuries. They learn treatment methods and common factors that lead to injury. Coursework sometimes includes classes on coaching, because knowing what coaches ask of athletes can help the athletic trainer determine how those athletes could get hurt. A bachelor's degree program usually requires little more than a high school diploma for admittance.
Besides classroom lectures, curriculum for the bachelor's degree program includes hands-on clinical experience with patients (under supervision) in an athletic training practice. Courses may include:
- Human anatomy
- Recognition of injury
- Bandaging and strapping
- Medical ethics
- Coaching methods for various sports
- Emergency response
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The expected rate of employment is actually quite high, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). From 2010-2020, employment of athletic trainers is expected to grow 30%. The May 2012 BLS figures showed that athletic trainers earned an average of $44,010 a year (www.bls.gov).
Continuing Education Information
After completing the bachelor's degree program, students looking to go directly into the workplace must first be licensed by the Board of Certification. This process involves an examination and future adherence to the Board's standards, such as continuing education. About 70% of today's athletic trainers also hold master's degrees, reports the National Athletic Trainers' Association (www.nata.org). Some athletic training jobs require a graduate degree.
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