Employment of athletic trainers is projected to grow 14 percent from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations.
About 2,700 openings for athletic trainers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.
Demand for athletic trainers is expected to increase as people become more aware of the effects of sports-related injuries, and as the middle-aged and older population remains active. The effects of concussions are particularly severe and long lasting for child athletes. Although concussions are dangerous at any age, children’s brains are still developing and are at risk for permanent complications. Some states require public secondary schools to employ athletic trainers as part of their sports programs. Because athletic trainers are usually onsite with athletes and are often the first responders when injuries occur, the demand for trainers in schools should continue to increase.
Sophisticated treatments in injury prevention and detection are projected to increase the demand for athletic trainers. Growth in an increasingly active middle-aged and older population will likely lead to an increased incidence of athletic-related injuries, such as sprains. Sports programs at all ages and for all experience levels will continue to create demand for athletic trainers.
Insurance and workers’ compensation costs have become a concern for many employers and insurance companies, especially in areas where employees are often injured on the job. For example, military bases hire athletic trainers to help train and rehabilitate injured military personnel. These trainers also create programs aimed at keeping injury rates down. Depending on the state, some insurance companies recognize athletic trainers as healthcare providers and reimburse the cost of an athletic trainer’s services.
Most athletic trainers work full time. Athletic trainers who work with teams during sporting events may work evenings or weekends and travel often.
The median annual wage for athletic trainers was $53,840 in May 2022. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $39,670, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $78,000.
In May 2022, the median annual wages for athletic trainers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows: