According to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), the number of certified athletic trainers has been steadily growing over the past few years. NATA itself has more than 35,000 members, and overall, it is estimated that there are 42,000 certified athletic trainers working in different settings across the United States.
The increasing popularity of this profession means that job prospects are excellent for new graduates. If you are looking to start a career as an athletic trainer, you may want to familiarize yourself with things like starting salaries, wage variations across different states, and which professional settings or industry sectors pay the highest salaries to athletic trainers.
Athletic Trainer Salaries Across the USA
According to data published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, athletic trainers can earn anything between $35,000 and $75,000 a year. Newly qualified athletic trainers can expect to earn starting average annual salaries of $39,000. Just like in other professions, salaries vary greatly from state to state.
There is high demand for qualified athletic trainers in states like California, Texas, New Jersey, Massachusets, New York, Florida, and Illinois. The highest average salaries are typically offered in New Jersey ($67,000), Texas & Virginia ($52,000), California ($51,000), New York & Vermont ($49,000), and Pennsylvania ($45,000). At the lower end of the scale we find salaries in Ohio ($36,000 , Rhode Island ($34,000), Minnesota ($29,000), Tennessee ($28,000), and Oklahoma ($27,000).
When it comes to determining your athletic trainer salary, experience is another important factor that must be taken into consideration. The most significant salary increases are available to trainers in late-career stages, since at this point salaries can be up to 34 per cent higher than the national average. Mid-career wage increases stand around 2 per cent over the national average, whereas experienced trainers (with more than 10 years’ experience of the job) can expect to earn wages that are 16 per cent higher than those of newly qualified trainers. For example, the national athletic trainer salary for professionals with 5 to 10 years’ experience is $45,000, and wages can be as high as $52,000 for trainers who have over 15 years’ experience.
It is important to note that geographical location and experience are not the only factors that can affect salaries, as they also vary depending on the employment setting in which trainers carry out their jobs. Since 2003, annual wages have been increasing in a select number of professional settings, which include youth sports centres (41% increase), professional sports (31%), high schools (16%), and the healthcare industry (15%).
This means that an inexperienced athletic trainer working in the professional sports industry could be earning more than an experienced trainer working at a hospital. For example, average annual salaries are $53,000 for trainers working at schools; $48,000 for those working at junior colleges; $44,000 for those working in hospitals; and $41,000 for trainers working in smaller clinics and other healthcare settings.
Athletic Trainer Jobs
There are a number of opportunities available for new and experienced Athletic Trainers. Check out the Athletic Trainer Job Board to see what jobs are available in your area.