How Much Does an Athletic Trainer Make: A Comprehensive Salary Breakdown

Confident athletic trainer coaching a focused female athlete with the headline 'Athletic Trainer Salaries Unveiled' for a blog on 'how much does an athletic trainer make'.

Are you exploring a career as an athletic trainer or simply curious about the earnings in this field? “How much does an athletic trainer make?” is a common question, and the answer is that an athletic trainer’s average salary is $54,283. However, this can vary based on education, experience, and where they work. Without overwhelming detail, our article pinpoints the key influences on these figures, offering insight into what shapes an athletic trainer’s income.

Key Takeaways

  • Athletic trainers in the U.S. have an average base salary of $54,283, with certified trainers earning more; factors influencing salary include education, certifications, skills, experience, and geographic location.
  • A master’s degree has become the minimum educational requirement since 2022. It can significantly increase an athletic trainer’s salary, potentially earning over $82,000 annually.
  • The athletic training field is expected to grow by 19% by 2028, and trainers can maximize their salary by specializing, networking, and engaging in professional development.

Unveiling Athletic Trainer Earnings: A Snapshot of Financial Potential

Athletic trainers in the United States typically earn an average base salary of $54,283 and an average total cash compensation of $54,329. However, these figures can vary depending on certain factors, such as:

  • Education level
  • Certifications
  • Additional skills
  • Years of experience in the profession

The Certified Athletic Trainer Pay Scale

The certification plays a significant role in an athletic trainer’s salary. Certified athletic trainers earn $4,795 more than non-certified athletic trainers.

The typical remuneration for a certified athletic trainer is $39,670 to $65,857, with an average base salary of $54,283.

Geographic Variations in Athletic Trainer Wages

Geographical location can significantly affect the wages of an athletic trainer, with certain regions offering higher pay than others.

For instance, in Washington, D.C., the highest earners have the potential to earn an annual income exceeding $100,000. In contrast, in New York, athletic trainers can earn over $70,000 annually.

Experience Matters: Seniority and Its Impact on Your Wallet

Experience plays a key role in determining the annual compensation of athletic trainers. Their salaries tend to increase as they accrue more experience, with an average nationwide growth of 39.37 percent recorded since 2004.

The typical base salary for a recently certified athletic trainer is $54,283.

Exploring the Breadth of Athletic Training Venues

Where an athletic trainer works can also influence their salary. Athletic trainers can be employed in a diverse range of athletic and medical environments, such as:

  • Schools
  • Colleges
  • Hospitals
  • Sports medicine clinics
  • Theaters
  • Military
  • Industrial settings

From Sidelines to Clinics: The Athletic Trainer’s Workplace

From the sidelines of a sports event to the clinics, athletic trainers can find employment in diverse workplaces where athletic trainers work. On sports sidelines, athletic trainers primarily concentrate on injury prevention, diagnosis, and immediate care of sports-related injuries for injured athletes during athletic events.

On the other hand, those working in medical clinics have a wider scope, addressing the broader healthcare needs of patients, which includes injury assessment and rehabilitation in collaboration with other healthcare professionals.

Industrial and Corporate Opportunities for Athletic Trainers

While the sports and medical fields are common work environments for athletic trainers, industrial and corporate settings offer unique opportunities. The roles of athletic trainers in industrial settings encompass:

  • Strategic planning
  • Metrics reporting
  • Ergonomics
  • Wellness initiatives

Educational Investment: How a Master’s Degree Can Elevate Your Salary

Education is a key player in the salary game. Athletic trainers who hold a master’s degree can earn a salary of over $82,000 annually, with variations based on the geographical region. Since 2022, obtaining a master’s degree has been established as the minimum educational requirement for aspiring athletic trainers.

Mastering the Field: Higher Education Equals Higher Pay

A master’s degree can positively impact the salary of an athletic trainer. According to salary sources, athletic trainers with a master’s degree earn more than those with a bachelor’s degree.

The typical salary range for an athletic trainer with a master’s degree is between $52,774 and $55,531.

The Path to Becoming a Master-Level Athletic Trainer

So, what does it take to become a master-level athletic trainer? The journey involves satisfying the prerequisites and completing the required coursework in a Master’s program for Athletic Training. The curriculum generally includes emergency care, clinical diagnosis, and therapeutic skills development.

The Financial Trajectory of an Athletic Trainer Career

Examining the financial progression of an athletic trainer’s career shows that salaries have shown significant growth in tandem with experience, evidenced by an average nationwide increase of 39.37 percent since 2004.

Significant career milestones, such as gaining experience, obtaining advanced degrees or certifications, and diversifying work settings, can increase earning potential.

Climbing the Ladder: Career Growth and Salary Peaks

Career growth often translates into salary peaks. Over time, the national average salary for full-time athletic trainers has exhibited an upward trajectory, indicating this expansion in earning potential.

Experienced athletic trainers can typically find the highest-paying positions in the spectator sports industry, where athletic trainers make the most.

Future-Proofing Your Career: Employment Trends and Projections

Future-proofing your career involves understanding employment trends and projections. The profession is anticipated to experience a growth rate of 19% by 2028, indicating an enhancement compared to the growth rates observed in the past decade, ranging from 17% to 23%.

Maximizing Your Athletic Trainer Salary: Tips and Strategies

Various strategies, such as specialization and networking, can help maximize an athletic trainer’s salary. Specializing in a certain area, like sports medicine or rehabilitation, can boost an athletic trainer’s market value and demand, positively impacting their salary.

Specialization: Finding Your Niche for Financial Gain

Finding a niche within the athletic training field can lead to financial gain. Through accumulating years of experience and obtaining additional certifications, specializing as an athletic trainer can result in annual earnings exceeding $70,000.

The Power of Networking and Professional Development

Networking and professional development can significantly expand career opportunities. For athletic trainers, networking is particularly beneficial as it exposes new ideas, information, and opportunities through site connection.

Continued professional development enables athletic trainers to enhance their knowledge, uphold evidence-based practice, and stay current, all of which can positively impact their earning potential.

Visualizing the Numbers: Salary Stats and Infographics

Examining the numbers, the average annual wage for athletic trainers ranges from $39,670 to $47,320, with a median annual wage of $53,840.

The average salary of athletic trainers is positively correlated with their experience level, with an initial salary of $39,670 increasing to a peak of $65,857, resulting in an average base salary of $54,283.

Athletic Trainer Salary Versus Related Careers

Comparisons with related careers show that the average salary of a sports medicine physician is higher than that of an athletic trainer. Physicians in sports medicine earn an average salary of $257,037, whereas athletic trainers earn an average of $54,283.

Benchmarks and Comparisons: How Do Athletic Trainers Stack Up?

On average, athletic trainers earn an annual salary ranging from $39,670 to $47,320. In contrast, physical therapists have a median annual salary of $89,440, and sports coaches can earn $65,140 per year. These salary differences are influenced by diverse working conditions, clientele, training and education requirements, and long hours or conflicts with family time.

Navigating the Financial Aspects of Athletic Training

Effectively navigating the financial aspects of athletic training requires understanding one’s value, engaging in effective salary and contract negotiations, and managing finances well. The professional value of an athletic trainer is influenced by their capacity to monitor patient encounters and outcomes, oversee clinical throughput, reduce time lost due to injuries, and maintain high levels of patient satisfaction.

Understanding Your Worth: Negotiating Salaries and Contracts

Knowing your value and being ready to negotiate salaries and contracts for fair compensation is necessary. Athletic trainers can use strategies like persisting on non-salary terms, defining success metrics for the position, and sparking employers’ interest in negotiating their salary and contract effectively.

Financial Management for Athletic Trainers

Effective financial management is key to maintaining career stability and success for athletic trainers. Best practices include secure proceeding in:

  • Diligent tracking of expenses
  • Establishing an emergency fund
  • Diversifying income sources
  • Automating finances
  • Utilizing secure www resources for financial management


To conclude, an athletic trainer’s salary is influenced by numerous factors, including certification, location, and experience. The diverse workplaces offer unique opportunities, from sports sidelines to medical clinics and industrial settings. A master’s degree can significantly elevate your salary. You can expect salary peaks and increased earning potential as you progress in your career. Specialization and networking are key strategies for maximizing your salary. Remember that understanding your worth is crucial for effectively negotiating salaries and contracts, and effective financial management is essential for a stable career.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much do NFL athletic trainers make?

NFL athletic trainers can earn an average of $75,000 annually, with some making as much as $100,000. As of 2023, the average hourly pay for an NFL athletic trainer in the United States is $26.18.

Can athletic trainers make six figures?

Athletic trainers can make six figures, but it’s uncommon. Salaries for athletic trainers range widely, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $78,000 annually, typically with more years of experience.

Does a master’s degree affect an athletic trainer’s salary?

A master’s degree can potentially increase an athletic trainer’s annual salary to over $82,000.

How does experience affect an athletic trainer’s salary?

Experience tends to increase an athletic trainer’s annual compensation significantly.

How does certification affect an athletic trainer’s salary?

Getting certified as an athletic trainer can increase your salary by an average of $4,795.

Meet The Author:

Parker Franklin

Parker, IFG’s Brand Manager since 2022, began his wellness journey in 2020, leading to a significant personal transformation. He holds a journalism degree from Murray State University and started his career as an award-winning journalist in western Kentucky before transitioning into marketing and PR.

At IFG, Parker is responsible for writing content, managing The Fit newsletter, and overseeing promotions and collaborations with affiliate fitness organizations.

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