An up and coming athletic star shines on the football field as he throws a dramatic pass to his receiver for a touchdown. At first, everyone's eyes were focused on the touchdown, so no one initially noticed the quarterback go down onto the turf. In a moment, however, gasps started to replace the cheers, and a former young athletic star hobbled off to the sideline with the help of two teammates. This event happens extremely often across the country; but fortunately the story does not end there. We push our bodies to their limits, and sometimes our bodies give out under the grueling conditions we put them through.
Thankfully, when we do suffer athletic injuries, there are specialized athletic trainers who can provide the immediately medical support care and long-term therapy that rehabilitates us and star athletes like this quarterback into perfect condition again. When you earn your Associate's Degree as an athletic trainer, you will possess the medical knowledge and skills necessary to help young athletes, veteran players, soldiers, and others get back into shape.
Because athletic trainers are often one of the first healthcare providers on the scene of an athletic injury, it is essential that they have the knowledge and skills to make immediate decisions regarding a person's injury or health. In fact, their job often starts at the preventative end, where they recommend and apply specialized equipment for players, including tape, bandages, and braces. When an injury does occur on the field or court, they must quickly evaluate the injury, provide first aid or more serious emergency care, and provide the immediate follow up steps that are necessary to rehabilitate the player. This might mean referring the student to a physician, or simply working with physicians to develop a personalized plan for the player's rehabilitation.
Athletic trainers can use their abilities to help a wide variety of people, but they are most commonly employed directly where the athletes are: in professional programs at schools and professional organizations. In fact, the majority of athletic trainers work with the athletic programs at colleges and universities, making sure players are in top shape for performance. Less commonly, high schools also require athletic trainers for their young players. Even elementary schools and programs that develop very young athletes have trainers on hand to ensure the safety of players and respond to their potential injuries. Certain athletic trainers work within physicians' offices where they work more as part of a therapy rehabilitation team to get injured players properly diagnosed, treated, and on the therapy regimen that will make them the healthiest the fastest.
Most degree programs have a classroom and clinical component so a future trainer's head and hands can learn what they need to for being effective. In the classroom, they'll go through courses such as anatomy, physiology, nutrition, biomechanics, kinesiology, medicine, and therapy. They'll also in many cases need to acquire certification is things like emergency response, first aid, and CPR. And of course, no program will truly prepare an athletic trainer unless it includes training on interpersonal skills, decision making, and general administrative knowledge.
Fortunately, the story of that young football star didn't have to end with an injury. Instead, with the right intervention by the athletic trainer on the sidelines, the player was able to have his injury appropriately treated within moments. Discussion between the player, his physician, and his athletic trainer quickly developed into a rehabilitation plan that all worked toward achieving. And within weeks the player that might not have returned to the field was able to rejoin his team and throw even more touchdown passes. With your Associate's Degree in athletic training, you will be prepared to deal with athletes injuries and help turn many unfortunate incidents into dramatic moments of healing.
Many schools offer a great athletic training program so you can earn your Associates Degree. To help you decide which is the best fit for you be sure to evaluate the below areas.
Tuition Costs – Tuition cost for an athletic training associates degree can range from approx. $9000 to as high as $35,500. We recommend researching all of the schools and one of the first questions you need to find out is what their total tuition cost is for the degree program including all books and fees.
Accreditation - Is the school accredited by the commission on accreditation of athletic training education (CAATE)? Some of the best schools will have CAATE accreditation and are held to a much higher standard than other schools.
Courses Offered – Do they offer training courses in that focus on a particular sports or type of training? This is important if you have an idea of what type of career you are going into. Athletic training is a large industry with lot of different career paths so make sure to speak with an enrollment advisor and make sure you are enrolling in the right Associate’s program.
Below are just some of the different careers you’ll qualify for upon graduation.
Sports Athletic Department – Are you looking to become a personal trainer within an athletic department? Be part of a team that trains teams in all aspects of fitness and nutrition. Teams need to stay fit and these days more teams hire specialists to help their team improve using strength or agility training methods.
Rehabilitation – As part of a rehabilitation department you’ll be responsible for helping others with injuries received while playing sports. Often these injuries keep the players out of extended periods of time so they are given a rehabilitation plan to follow to shorten their time off.
Fitness Instructor – One of the more common careers you’ll find is that of a fitness instructor or personal trainer. The curriculum you learned during your AA degree will help you with clients to reach their personal goals. You can find employment at fitness facilities and gyms or start your own athletic training company or gym.
3 Levels of athletic Training Accreditations
Level 1 – The professional program that will allow you to sit for the Board of Certification exam.
Level 2 – The post professional program will lead you to a higher level degree.
Level 3 – Allows you to be educated as an athletic trainer