Ask most people what an athletic trainer does, and they’re likely to say that they help get you in shape and keep you fit. However, this is not completely accurate. Often confused with fitness trainers, athletic trainers specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation of muscle and bone injuries and illnesses.
Recognized by the American Medical Association as allied health professionals, they are often the first responders on the scene when injuries take place, providing immediate assessment and care to those in need. Athletic trainers may also work closely with doctors in the clinical setting, providing consultation and offering treatment under the guidance of licensed physicians. Additionally, they might be employed in a capacity where they educate people on ways to reduce risk of injury and offer advice on proper exercise and physical therapy.
With the proliferation of online accredited colleges offering sports management and exercise science degrees, students have been afforded a flexible opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge required to enter into this growing profession. If you’re interested in the physiology of the human body and the prevention of physical injuries, a career as an athletic trainer might be right for you.
Online Exercise Science Degree: Becoming an Athletic Trainer
In order to become an athletic trainer, it is essential that you earn your bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited school prior to sitting for your licensing exam, which is administered by the Board of Certification.
One way to prepare for a career as an athletic trainer is through enrolling in a sports management or exercise science degree program. Within such a program, you may study the anatomy, physiology, and biophysics of human movement and learn concepts of exercise and physical therapy. Some of the topics that may be covered, include:
- Motor behavior and development
- Rehabilitative therapy
- Exercise science
There are a number of programs that offer coursework in exercise science, and working toward your online exercise science degree can afford you a level of flexibility that might not be available at on-campus institutions when it comes to class schedules.
Because there is a significant hands-on aspect to exercise science, in addition to your online college classes, you will have to undertake some face-to-face training and demonstration in order to earn your bachelor’s degree. If your eventual goal is to become an athletic trainer, check to see if your online exercise science degree program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education before enrolling.
A Growing Field
As a result of the increasing emphasis on health and fitness, the demand for qualified athletic trainers has grown significantly, and that trend is expected to continue into the foreseeable future. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of athletic trainers is projected to expand by 37% through 2018, a rate much faster than the average for all occupations. In addition to the healthcare industry, athletic trainers often find employment with sports teams, ranging from the high school to the professional level.
If you desire a hands-on, scientifically-oriented career that is challenging and rewarding, you should give serious consideration to becoming an athletic trainer. The first step is earning your exercise science degree. Be sure to find out the specific requirements of the various online exercise science degree programs and select one that’s right for you.