Athletic Training & Sports Medicine
Area of Study

Athletic Training & Sports Medicine

Athletic Trainers are health care professionals who work directly with high schools, colleges and professional teams to help prevent injuries and provide emergency care as needed.

Athletic Trainers identify sports injuries, provide treatment protocol, and guide rehabilitation of injuries through professional collaborations with physicians in the field and in clinical settings.

Students in Northeastern's Athletic Training Program gain entry-level knowledge and skills in prevention, recognition, treatment and rehabilitation of athletic injuries, which helps students successfully transfer to a four-year college or university-accredited program. Students develop essential written and oral communication, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

The Athletic Training Program is a balance of academic rigor and hands-on experience. Students have the opportunity to participate in and complete hands-on projects by working directly with the college's varsity athletic teams in their freshman and sophomore years, unlike four-year schools where this experience is reserved for juniors and seniors.

Students who complete an associate's degree often continue their studies in Athletic Training at a four-year college or university.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of athletic trainers is projected to grow 17 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 2,500 openings for athletic trainers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Demand for athletic trainers is expected to increase as people become more aware of the effects of sports-related injuries, and as the middle-aged and older population remains active. The effects of concussions are particularly severe and long lasting for child athletes. Although concussions are dangerous at any age, children’s brains are still developing and are at risk for permanent complications. Some states require public secondary schools to employ athletic trainers as part of their sports programs. Because athletic trainers are usually onsite with athletes and are often the first responders when injuries occur, the demand for trainers in schools should continue to increase.

Sophisticated treatments in injury prevention and detection are projected to increase the demand for athletic trainers. Growth in an increasingly active middle-aged and older population will likely lead to an increased incidence of athletic-related injuries, such as sprains. Sports programs at all ages and for all experience levels will continue to create demand for athletic trainers.

Insurance and workers’ compensation costs have become a concern for many employers and insurance companies, especially in areas where employees are often injured on the job. For example, military bases hire athletic trainers to help train and rehabilitate injured military personnel. These trainers also create programs aimed at keeping injury rates down. Depending on the state, some insurance companies recognize athletic trainers as healthcare providers and reimburse the cost of an athletic trainer’s services.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the median annual wage for athletic trainers was $48,420 in May 2021.