What Can You Do with a Master’s in Athletic Training?

Athletic Training football

Whether your undergrad degree is in business, biology, health sciences, math, psychology, or any other major, a Master’s degree in Athletic Training can prepare you for an exciting career working with athletes. As an athletic trainer, you rush to the field, pitch, or court when a player goes down. Working closely with physicians, you help athletes in emergencies and throughout the rehabilitation process. And while your undergraduate program may have given you fundamentals of business, sports, or healthcare, a Master’s Degree in Athletic Training can put you in the middle of the action. And 70 percent of ATs now have master’s degrees. With a master’s degree, you’ll have the advanced knowledge and training that will prepare you to work with athletes, sports teams, performing artists, and public safety officials.

Professional Athletic Trainer

A Master’s Degree in Athletic Training can put you on the path toward a career with a professional sports team. You’d travel with the team from game to game, and when a football player is tackled or hockey player hits the boards, you’re the first person to take action. Under the supervision of a physician, you provide emergency care and then use state-of-the-art equipment, including enhanced MRIs and digital X-ray systems, to evaluate injuries. You also use info from the CDC and other health agencies to refine your treatments and rehabilitation procedures.

Collegiate Athletic Trainer

At the college level, you advise college athletes and coaches on injury prevention and care, proper diet and nutrition, rest, and rehabilitation. Your tasks are similar to what you do for professional athletes but influenced by the developing bodies and minds of your athletes. Some of the responsibilities you might have include:

  • Assist with injury prevention and rehabilitation
  • Schedule physical exams and refer student athletes to doctors
  • Implement concussion protocol, including steps to prevent them and recover
  • Maintain the athletic training room to ensure safe and sanitary conditions
  • Inform coaches of student athlete injuries
  • Prepare reports for college administration and collegiate associations
  • Act as a liaison between student athletes, parents, coaches, and administrators
  • Maintain professional relationships with health care providers 

High School Athletic Trainer

Similarly, you could become an athletic trainer for high school students. In this environment, education is a key component of your job, both in and out of the classroom. As the AT, you provide information to students, parents, and coaches on preventative care and wellbeing. You aim to keep the injury count low and to reduce the rehabilitation time for students to prevent absenteeism. Your day-to-day may also include injury evaluation, routine rehab exercises, care coordination with school nurses, and weather and safety evaluations.

Performing Arts Athletic Trainer

The sports arena isn’t the only place where your Master’s Degree in Athletic Training could be valuable. Ballet companies, opera houses, and theaters hire athletic trainers to assist performers of all kinds. As a performing arts athletic trainer, you identify the factors that can cause injury, such as instrument placement, footwear, and props, and find ways to alleviate their impact. You conduct tests to evaluate physical abilities and guide artists through posture and core exercises that can prevent injury. You also coordinate safety procedures during performances and work with venues to understand their protocols.

Public Safety Athletic Trainer

You may not think of your local firefighter as an athlete, but imagine carrying the equipment used to battle a fire while wearing heavy protective clothing and air tanks? Law enforcement and firehouses tap athletic trainers to protect those who protect the community. You improve health and safety for firefighters, police officers, EMTs, and other emergency personnel to ensure they stay safe on the job. You identify risks and ensure public safety professionals avoid basic health issues such as dehydration, heat stress, or infections while on the job. And you perform routine health screenings and provide rehabilitation for those who are injured so they can get back to their jobs more quickly.

Clinical Athletic Trainer

Athletic trainers also work in hospitals. In this setting, you might help physicians in orthopedics, emergency sports medicine, and surgery and casting. Under their direction, you perform routine physicals, provide sports training and education on nutrition, and evaluate and rehabilitate injuries. With your help, physicians can see more patients and improve the quality and efficiency of the healthcare process.

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