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What Does an Assistant Athletic Trainer Do?

What Does an Assistant Athletic Trainer Do?

Athletic trainers play a critical role in the health and well-being of athletes at all levels, from amateur to professional. One important role within the athletic training profession is that of the Assistant Athletic Trainer.


This position involves providing support to the Head Athletic Trainer and working closely with athletes to prevent and treat injuries. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the duties, requirements, skills, salary, work environment, and career prospects of an Assistant Athletic Trainer.

Whether you’re a current athletic training student or just considering a career in the field, this overview will give you a comprehensive understanding of what it takes to succeed as an Assistant Athletic Trainer.

Assistant Athletic Trainer Duties and Responsibilities

The primary duties and responsibilities of an Assistant Athletic Trainer include:

  • Assisting the Head Athletic Trainer with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of athletic injuries
  • Evaluating and assessing injuries and developing and implementing rehabilitation plans
  • Communicating with athletes, coaches, and healthcare professionals about injury status and rehabilitation progress
  • Maintaining accurate medical records and documentation for each athlete
  • Preparing and distributing injury reports and rehabilitation updates
  • Assisting with the development and implementation of injury prevention programs
  • Assisting with the administration of athletic training programs, including scheduling, budgeting, and equipment management
  • Participating in continuing education and professional development opportunities
  • Staying current with the latest advancements and technologies in athletic training and rehabilitation.

Assistant Athletic Trainers work in a variety of settings, including schools, colleges, universities, professional sports teams, and healthcare facilities. They typically work as part of a team and must be able to collaborate effectively with other athletic trainers, athletes, coaches, and healthcare professionals.

Assistant Athletic Trainer Job Requirements

To become an Assistant Athletic Trainer, the following requirements must be met:


  • A bachelor’s degree in athletic training or a related field is required.
  • Some employers may require a master’s degree in athletic training or a related field.


  • Completion of an accredited athletic training education program is required.
  • Many employers require certification from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA).


  • Some employers may require previous experience as an athletic trainer, although this is not always necessary.
  • Experience working with athletes in a sports medicine setting is typically preferred.

Certifications and Licenses:

  • Certification from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) is required in most states.
  • A license to practice as an athletic trainer is required in most states, which may require passing an exam and completing a specified number of continuing education hours.

It’s important to note that requirements may vary by state and by the employer, so it’s a good idea to check the specific requirements in the state and area where you plan to work.

Assistant Athletic Trainer Skills

Assistant Athletic Trainers must have a combination of technical, physical, and interpersonal skills. Some of the key skills required for this role include:

  • Technical knowledge: Assistant Athletic Trainers must understand anatomy, injury prevention and rehabilitation techniques, and sports medicine.
  • Physical fitness: Assistant Athletic Trainers must be physically fit as they must perform various physical tasks such as demonstrating exercises, taping and wrapping injuries, and transporting equipment.
  • Communication skills: They must communicate effectively with athletes, coaches, and medical personnel. They must be able to explain treatment plans and provide clear instructions.
  • Interpersonal skills: Assistant Athletic Trainers must be able to build positive relationships with athletes and other members of the sports medicine team. They must be able to work well as part of a team and collaborate effectively with others.
  • Organization skills: They must be organized and keep track of multiple tasks and schedules. They must be able to maintain accurate and detailed records of injuries, treatments, and rehabilitation progress.
  • Adaptability: Assistant Athletic Trainers must be able to adapt to changing situations and work effectively under pressure. They must be able to work with athletes from different sports and backgrounds and adjust their approach accordingly.
  • First aid and emergency response: They must be able to assess and treat injuries, provide first aid, and respond to emergencies. They must have a solid understanding of emergency procedures and protocols.

Assistant Athletic Trainer Salary

The salary for an assistant athletic trainer can vary based on several factors, including the level of experience, the type of organization they work for, the location, and their level of education. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for athletic trainers is $47,510.

The top 10% of athletic trainers earned more than $74,830 per year, while the bottom 10% earned less than $31,520 per year. Salaries can also be influenced by additional certifications, such as becoming a Certified Athletic Trainer, as well as advanced degrees in a related field.

Assistant Athletic Trainer Work Environment

Assistant athletic trainers typically work in a sports or athletic setting, such as a school, university, professional sports team, or sports medicine clinic. The work environment can be fast-paced and physically demanding, as assistant athletic trainers are often required to be on their feet for extended periods of time, move around frequently, and perform hands-on treatments.

The work environment may also be noisy, with background noise from athletic activities and events. Additionally, assistant athletic trainers may be required to work outside in varying weather conditions and to work irregular or extended hours, including weekends and evenings, to accommodate athletic schedules and events. However, the work can also be rewarding and offer opportunities to interact with and make a positive impact on athletes and clients.

Assistant Athletic Trainer Trends

The athletic training field is constantly evolving, and here are some of the latest trends in assistant athletic training:

  • Technology Integration: With advancements in technology, assistant athletic trainers are increasingly utilizing technology to enhance their work, such as using wearable devices to track athletes’ performance and injury rehabilitation progress and utilizing electronic medical records to keep track of patient information.
  • Emphasis on Injury Prevention: There is a growing emphasis on injury prevention in sports and athletics, and assistant athletic trainers play a crucial role in helping to prevent injuries from occurring. This includes developing and implementing injury prevention programs, educating athletes on safe practices, and utilizing the latest research and best practices in injury prevention.
  • Collaboration with Other Health Care Providers: Assistant athletic trainers are increasingly working in collaboration with other healthcare providers, such as physical therapists, chiropractors, and doctors, to provide a comprehensive approach to athlete care.
  • Focus on Mental Health: Mental health is becoming an increasingly important issue in sports, and assistant athletic trainers are playing a key role in addressing the mental health needs of athletes. This includes providing support and resources to athletes, as well as addressing mental health issues that may impact performance.
  • Career Advancement Opportunities: With the growing recognition of the importance of athletic training, there are increasing opportunities for assistant athletic trainers to advance their careers, including pursuing advanced degrees and certifications and taking on leadership roles within the athletic training field.

How to Become an Assistant Athletic Trainer

To become an assistant athletic trainer, you typically need to complete the following steps:

  • Earn a Bachelor’s degree: Most employers require a Bachelor’s degree in athletic training or a related field such as exercise science, sports medicine, or kinesiology.
  • Complete an accredited athletic training program: You must complete an athletic training program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE).
  • Obtain certification: You must pass the Board of Certification (BOC) examination to become a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC).
  • Gain experience: You can gain experience by volunteering, working as an athletic training assistant, or through an internship.
  • Obtain a state license: Some states require athletic trainers to be licensed. Check with your state’s regulatory board for specific requirements.

In addition to these steps, you should develop strong interpersonal and communication skills, have a strong work ethic, be able to work well under pressure, and have the ability to work as part of a team. You should also have a passion for helping people and an interest in sports medicine.

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Assistant Athletic Trainer Advancement Prospects

The advancement prospects for assistant athletic trainers can vary based on their experience, education, and the type of organization they work for. Some common career paths for assistant athletic trainers include:

  • Head Athletic Trainer: Assistant athletic trainers with significant experience and education can advance to become head athletic trainers, responsible for overseeing the athletic training program and managing a team of assistant athletic trainers.
  • Sports Medicine Director: Those who have experience and expertise in athletic training may choose to advance to the role of sports medicine director, where they manage the medical staff for a sports organization or university athletic department.
  • Athletic Director: Some assistant athletic trainers may choose to pursue a career in athletic administration and advance to become an athletic director, responsible for overseeing all aspects of a school’s or organization’s athletic programs.
  • Physical Therapist: Some assistant athletic trainers may choose to pursue additional education and certification in physical therapy and transition to a career as a licensed physical therapist.
  • Sports Performance Coach: Others may choose to use their knowledge and expertise to become a sports performance coach, helping athletes improve their physical performance through training and rehabilitation.

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Assistant Athletic Trainer Job Description Example

Assistant Athletic Trainer Job Description Example:

Title: Assistant Athletic Trainer

Reports to: Head Athletic Trainer

Overview: The Assistant Athletic Trainer is responsible for providing preventive and therapeutic care for student-athletes. This position works under the supervision of the Head Athletic Trainer and is a critical member of the athletic training team.


  • Assess, diagnose, and treat injuries sustained by student-athletes
  • Develop and implement rehabilitation programs for injured student-athletes
  • Communicate with physicians and other healthcare professionals to coordinate care for student-athletes
  • Educate student-athletes on injury prevention and proper nutrition
  • Attend and participate in practices and games as necessary to provide care for student-athletes
  • Maintain accurate records of student-athlete injuries and treatments
  • Assist in the day-to-day operations of the athletic training room


  • Bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training or a related field
  • NATA (National Athletic Trainers Association) certification
  • Current CPR/AED certification
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Strong organizational and record-keeping skills
  • Ability to work flexible hours, including evenings, weekends, and holidays as needed

Physical Demands:

  • The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to perform the essential functions of this job successfully. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to stand, walk, and sit. The employee must also lift and move equipment and materials weighing up to 50 pounds.

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