Athletic trainers within the sports medicine industry help prepare athletes for competition and treat injuries during and after games. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the need for trainers will grow by 37 percent between 2008 and 2018, as more recreation facilities and companies add staff to keep even amateur athletes healthy and cut overall medical costs. The increase in available openings also means more competition to achieve the highest level in the field: working for a professional sports team.
Obtain a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training is the recognized source for establishing undergraduate programs in the United States. Particular fields of study include biology, physics, nutrition and pre-med courses involving injury recognition and management.
Intern with a sports medicine professional. Learn office protocol, athlete preparation and primary treatment options while establishing valuable contacts within the profession. Commit to working long hours and accept every assignment to learn as much as possible during your internship.
Volunteer to earn experience working with athletes. Local sports leagues and schools often will seek assistance from trainers to help prior to competitions or during games. You will provide important hands-on experience because it allows you to show your knowledge and independence. Include all volunteer service on your resume.
Seek a higher degree to improve your resume and knowledge. A master’s degree or doctorate will be attractive when professional sports employers consider your application, as advanced education will prove your commitment to achieving the highest level in your field.
Take and pass the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training’s national certification exam to earn your professional credential.
Apply for employment with a college or minor league team. You will need employment experience to work your way to the big leagues of professional sports. When hired, establish yourself with excellent work ethic and attitude. Maintain a list of contacts within both medicine and athletics who will lead to your advancement to the pros in the sports medicine field.