Preparing for an athletic training career in high school

High school athletes or sport fans interested in a career in sports should consider athletic training. Students can begin preparing for this career in high school.

Attention sports fans! Along with watching sports on television, listening to sports radio, searching the Internet on the latest sports stories and statistics, or even playing a sport in high school or a recreational sports league, can you see yourself involved in a career in sports? If you are a high school athlete, think about the importance of preparing for a second career after a sports career. The NCAA has data illustrating that the odds of receiving an athletic scholarship or moving on to play a professional sport are challenging.

Whether you’re an athlete, a sports fan or both, ask yourself the following questions relating to a career in sports. Do you like helping people or working with people? Do you like exercising or participating in a physical activity to get in shape? Are you interested in the physical training aspect of sports? If you said yes to any of these questions, Michigan State University Extension recommends athletic training as a career option to think about.

First, what is an athletic trainer? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, athletic trainers specialize in preventing, diagnosing and treating muscle and bone injuries and illnesses. Along with a sports setting, athletic trainers can work in various settings such as secondary and intermediate schools, sports medicine clinics, hospital emergency rooms and rehab clinics, occupational settings, performing arts, law enforcement and military, and physician offices.

Some majors to consider for pursuing the athletic training career are athletic training, exercise science and kinesiology. Here are some things to consider for becoming an athletic trainer from an article by Lindsey Thompson, Demand Media, in the Houston Chronicle:

  • Minimum of a bachelor’s degree (most employers at the collegiate and professional levels want a master’s degree).
  • Choose a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education.
  • Gain knowledge in the body-related sciences (anatomy, biology, physiology and biomechanics).
  • Gain knowledge in the nutritional sciences, dietetics and sport sciences.
  • Participate in hands-on extracurricular experiences.

Students interested in athletic training as a career can get started in high school. It is important to take science courses to prepare for the college curriculum or major of an athletic trainer. Getting involved in a sport as an athlete is an option to prepare for a career in athletic training. If playing a sport is not an option, becoming a team manager or an assistant for one of the teams will help in preparation. Helping out with the recreational youth sports leagues is another option.

High school is a good time to begin preparing for an athletic training career, so take advantage of the opportunities or look for ways to create the opportunities to take the right steps in becoming an athletic trainer. 

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