An athletic trainer works one-on-one with athletes or for a sports team. Their purpose is to prevent, diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries caused by athletic activities. They often work with sports medicine physicians and physical therapists to accomplish these goals. Anyone considering becoming an athletic trainer should understand the salary potential so that they can make an informed career decision.
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Average Annual Salary
In May 2018, the average annual salary for an athletic trainer was $$47,510. This is the median annual wage for all full-time athletic trainers. The expected job growth for people in this line of work is expected to be 23 percent between 2016 and 2026. This should fuel an increase in salary as employers try to attract the best candidates. The growth will be fueled by a growing population of middle-aged people who enjoy being active and want to prevent an injury or treat a mild one before it becomes severe.
Highest and Lowest 10 Percent of Earners
The range of salaries for athlete trainers is wide. The lowest 10 percent of earners had an annual salary of less than $31,000, while the highest 10 percent of earners had an annual salary of more than $70,000 in 2018. Those with the highest salaries may have more years of work experience. They may also work for well-known professional sports teams or highly ranked colleges that are known for their athletic programs. The highest earners may also have longer work hours or a requirement for extensive travel when the athlete or team goes on the road for competitions and games.
Job Environment and Location
The job environment also has a direct impact on the salary potential for athlete trainers. Those who work in educational services have the highest average annual salary, which is $50,650. The trainers who work in the private medical practices of specialty healthcare providers such as occupational therapists or sports medicine doctors have the lowest average annual salary of $44,240. Athlete trainers in the hospital setting, military and law enforcement have earnings that are in the middle of the range. The geographic area is also important for the trainer’s salary potential. Those who work in urban settings or upscale college towns typically earn a higher annual salary, but this is also related to the cost of living in such places.
How a Trainer of Athletes Could Earn More
There are several ways that a trainer could increase their income. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, trainers who work on weekends or who travel with teams may be able to earn overtime wages or increase their salary through these additional efforts. Some trainers also take on secondary or part-time jobs on a seasonal basis. For example, they might work full-time in a sports medicine department at a teaching hospital and part-time for a high school baseball team.
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It is also important to keep in mind that salaries tend to increase with the number of years of experience. An athletic trainer who receives additional training or credentials may also be able to command a higher salary. The much faster than average job growth expected in this field should also hasten the growth of salaries.