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Overview of the Athletic Training Profession

Athletic Training is an allied health profession that was recognized by the American Medical Association in 1991.  Athletic Trainers, under the direction of a licensed physician, provide care for patients within five areas of clinical practice:

  • Injury/illness prevention and wellness protection
  • Immediate and emergency care
  • Clinical evaluation and diagnosis
  • Treatment and rehabilitation
  • Organizational and professional health and well-being

Athletic Trainers are specialists in the area of sports medicine; sports medicine is a general term that refers to a very broad scope of care and services that are necessary to maintain the overall health and performance of those who are physically active or who participate in sports.

The National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) is the professional association for Athletic Trainers whose mission it is to promote the profession of Athletic Training.  It was founded in 1950 when a core group of about 200 athletic trainers met in Kansas City to discuss the future.  The growth of the athletic training profession has been on a moderate to fast increase. Today, the NATA membership spans the globe and includes more than 30,000 athletic training  professionals.  To learn more about the profession of Athletic Training, visit http://www.nata.org

Career Outlook

According to the US Dept of Labor, most athletic training jobs are related to sports, although many also work in non-sport settings:

  • 1/3 of all athletic trainers work in hospitals, physician offices, and other health settings
  • 1/3 work in public and private educational settings
  • 20% work in the fitness and recreational sports centers

Employment of athletic trainers is expected to grow much faster than the average of all occupations through 2014.  Job growth will be concentrated in health care industry settings, such as ambulatory health care services and hospitals.  Growth in sport-related positions will be somewhat slower.

Ensuring Quality Education

These organizations work collaboratively to ensure the content and quality of Athletic Training Education in the United States.

  • American Academy of Family Physicians
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine
  • Commission on the Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE)
  • National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA)