Athletic Training is a healthcare 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 mission of the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) is to promote the profession. 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 professionals. Learn more about the profession of Athletic Training.
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
Recent studies show that athletic training has been one of the fastest growing professions in the last decade. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth is expected to increase an additional 20-25% between 2016-2026 as a result of increased awareness associated with sports-related injuries and activity levels of middle-aged and older adults.