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Opportunities for employment as an athletic trainer have changed dramatically in recent years. Athletic trainers no longer work only in athletic training clinics at the college, university, or secondary school level. The employment opportunities for athletic trainers are more diverse than ever. A discussion of the various employment settings follows.


Today, more than 40 percent of certified athletic trainers are employed in clinics and hospitals—more than in any other employment setting. The role of the athletic trainer varies from one clinic to the next. Athletic trainers may be employed in an outpatient ambulatory rehabilitation clinic working in general patient care; as health, wellness, or performance enhancement specialists; or as clinic administrators. Their job may also involve ergonomic assessment, work hardening, CPR training, or occasionally overseeing drug-testing programs. They may also be employed by a hospital but work in a clinic. Other clinical athletic trainers see patients during the morning hours in the clinic. In the afternoons, athletic trainers’ services are contracted out to local high schools or small colleges for practice, game, or single event coverage. For the most part, private clinics have well-equipped facilities in which to work. In many sports medicine clinics, the athletic trainer may be responsible for formulating a plan to market or promote athletic training services offered by the clinic throughout the local community.


Some athletic trainers work in clinics that are owned by physicians. Although virtually all athletic trainers work under the direction of a physician, those employed as athletic trainers in physician practices actually work in the physician’s office, where patients of all ages and backgrounds are being treated. The educational preparation for athletic trainers allows them to function in a variety of domains, including injury prevention, evaluation, management and rehabilitation, health education, nutrition, training and conditioning, preparticipation physicals, and maintenance of essential documentation. Although contact with only the physically active population may not be as great as in other employment settings, the athletic trainer in a physician practice can expect regular hours, few weekend or evening responsibilities, opportunity for growth, and, in general, better pay. All these factors collectively make these positions attractive for the athletic trainer. Potentially, many new jobs can be created as physicians become more and more aware of the value that an athletic trainer in a physician practice can provide.


It is becoming relatively common for industries to employ athletic trainers to oversee fitness and injury rehabilitation programs for their employees. The athletic trainer working in an industrial or occupational setting must have a sound understanding of the principles and concepts of workplace ergonomics, including inspecting, measuring, and observing dimensions of the work space, as well as specific tasks that are performed at the workstation. Once a problem has been identified, the athletic trainer must be able to implement proper adjustments ...

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