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How difficult is it to become an athletic trainer?

I am an athlete and my main goal is to play at the college/professional level. I've always been interested in doing this as a backup if sports don't work. I would like to be able to help other players recover from injuries and things like that.

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Joseph’s Answer

Becoming a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) can be difficult. It is a medical degree, so there is a lot of information to learn. When I went through my undergrad we had to do a bunch of prerequisite classes, do observation hours, and put together a resume and interview. There were only 2 programs that you had to interview to get into. You will have to take anatomy and physiology, examination of upper and lower body, general medical conditions, learn about rehabilitation and physical therapy, learn about emergency care, learn about strength training and conditioning, and you'll be attached to a sport once you're in the program. It can be very intensive. It is very time consuming. You have to really love sports and/or helping people. I usually explain being an ATC is like being an EMT, PTA, and CSCS all rolled into one. We are with the athlete at the time of injury, in the clinic/training room for rehab, then with them on the field getting them back to returning. The profession isn't very well paid across the board. However, it is slowly getting better. There are many settings that ATCs can work in. I work in the high school setting. I also work in a PT clinic in the mornings. Obviously you can work at a college or for a professional or semi-professional program. You can also work in an industrial setting. Amazon hires ATCs. In the industrial setting the job is lot more about ergonomics and trying to avoid overuse injuries for workers.

Joseph recommends the following next steps:

Figure out what level/setting you want to work in.
Figure out what your favorite aspect of being an ATC is.
Figure out what sport you want to work with.
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Debra’s Answer

This is a growing field and you have to determine your long term goal. Many athletic trainers start out in local gyms, fitness facilities, and working for someone who is in the field. If this is your dream, attaining a degree from a college/university can help you with certifications and long-term employment options.
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Jhanelle’s Answer

Hi Ivan! I would highly suggest to start off with obtaining a Bachelor's Degree in Kinesiology. With that degree, you can specialize in Exercise & Fitness Specialist, Rehabilitation Science, or Sports Management & Culture. There are other specialization options, but for your route these might be best suitable. It will open a lot of doors for you and allow you to network with people that may have similar goals. This will also help you branch out and gain experiences through internships and other outlets. Best of luck, you'll do great!
Thank you comment icon Athletic Training is an entry-level Master's program. There is no need to get a degree in exercises physiology. While it is possible to get a BS in exercises physiology and get an MS in Athletic Training, the AT program will already cover most of the required classes for exphys. Joseph Gebke, ATC
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