How Much Do Sports Trainers Make?

How Much Do Sports Trainers Make?

Becoming a Sports Trainer: Preparation, Opportunity and Earnings

If you have an interest in both healthcare and athletics, but don't want to spend years in school, consider becoming a sports trainer. Trainers are an integral part of any sports program, and help care for athletes on and off the field, as well as in medical settings. Many sports trainers have noted that the profession can offer flexible hours, something that is important to working parents.

Job Description

Sports trainers, also known as athletic trainers, provide healthcare for athletes on the playing field, during practice sessions and in clinical settings. Trainers always work under the supervision of physicians and other healthcare professionals and are trained to identify, diagnose and treat sports-related injuries. As a trainer, you'll also be responsible for keeping records on injuries and the physical condition of the athletes under your care. In addition, you may be involved in designing and implementing rehabilitation programs for injured athletes.

Education Requirements

To become an athletic trainer, seek out bachelor degree programs that are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most states require athletic trainers to be licensed by the state or hold professional certification. The Board of Certification for the Athletic Trainer (BOC) requires graduation from a CAATE accredited program and a passing score on the BOC exam before you can earn certification.

According to the BLS, the average median annual salary for sports trainers was $45,630 in May 2016. The top 10 percent of earners made more than $69,140, and the bottom 10 percent earned less than $30,300.

About the Industry

The BLS notes that 38 percent of athletic trainers work for schools, 15 percent work for hospitals, another 15 percent work alongside speech, physical, and occupational therapists, 10 percent work in fitness centers and 6 percent are self-employed. As a trainer, you'll probably have an office for doing paperwork, but you can expect to be out and about much of the time. This is particularly true if you are working with a school or professional sports team as you'll be expected to be present at both home and away competitions. Sports trainers who do work with teams can plan to travel a lot, something that you should take into consideration if you have young children at home.

Years of Experience

A survey by shows that sports trainers can expect to earn more as they progress in their careers. These numbers show how earnings correlate with experience:

  • 0-5 years: $38,000 
  • 5-10 years: $41,000 
  • 10-20 years: $46,000 
  • 20+ years: $52,000 

Job Growth Trend

The BLS projects that athletic trainer jobs will grow by 22 percent between 2016 and 2026. This rapid growth is due to several factors, including increased awareness of athletic injuries. You can maximize your chances of getting a job, and advancing in your career, by obtaining a degree from a CAATE accredited program, as well as obtaining and maintaining professional certification.