Traditionally, athletic trainers work in high schools and colleges. If you get a high school, naturally classes are occurring during the day, so you will work mostly second shift. You also travel with some teams to away games and some of those do occur on the weekend. College, you may work a blend of first and second shift along with travel with your assigned a team or teams. The schedule will depend on what team or teams you are assigned to and what their schedules consist of.
Athletic trainers also work in nontraditional settings such as orthopedic clinics and physical therapy clinics. These opportunities offered a great potential to work first shift, but some are also open a bit later where you could work a blend of first and second shift. Some clinics do offer weekend hours as well, so you may have to work some Saturdays.
One of the up-and-coming fields that athletic training is getting into is occupational medicine or the industrial athletic trainer. Industry has started to realize the value of an athletic trainer, and being experts in ergonomics and biomechanics, we are able to assist in keeping the industrial worker healthy and injury free in the workplace. This may also include drug and alcohol testing workers in the event of an injury.
I noticed your hashtags at the end. If you are looking to work with athletes, I would recommend athletic training. If you are looking to work with the general population, I would recommend physical therapy. Although, physical therapy does offer a sports specialty, they are not generally on the sidelines unless it is a very large Division I program or professional sports team.
Note that athletic training is moving to an entry-level masters degree. You’ll get a bachelors degree in a related field first, and then complete two more years in athletic training. Physical therapy is a clinical doctorate with four years at the bachelors level and three years at the doctorate level. One more year of school and a lot of money is certainly something to consider between the two career fields.
I hope this helps.
Chris recommends the following next steps:
- Contact your sports medicine doctor near you to ask to speak to shadow an athletic trainer.
- Contact your local physical therapist and asked to shadow a physical therapist or physical therapy assistant.