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How Much Money Do Athletic Trainers Make for Professional Teams?

by Laura Woods

Athletic trainers attend all practices and games of the professional sports teams they work for. When players are injured on the field, trainers are usually the first responders. These professionals work with a team of physicians and other health care providers to develop treatment plans for injured athletes. An athletic trainer also works with players to prevent injuries from occurring. The salaries of an athletic trainers working for professional sports teams vary greatly, depending on a number of factors.

Average Salary Range

The average salary of athletic trainers working for professional teams varies greatly according to the individual sport, with football paying the highest wages and racing paying the lowest, according to a 2011 survey conducted by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. Specifically, professional baseball trainers earn an average of $51,451 per year; football trainers earn $128,458; hockey trainers earn $51,251; men’s basketball trainers earn $88,444; performing arts trainers earn $68,207; racing trainers earn $50,000; and soccer trainers earn $50,167.

Highest Average Earners

Athletic trainers for professional sports teams have the highest average annual salary in the field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2012, the average salary of an athletic trainer is $42,090 per year. The states with the highest average annual salary for athletic trainers include $59,090 in New Jersey, $58,680 in Washington D.C., $52,900 in Texas, $51,680 in Massachusetts and $51,350 in South Carolina.

Factors Contributing to Salary

A 2008 NATA survey revealed that a number of factors contribute to the salary of an athletic trainer, including level of education achieved, years of experience in the field and the gender of the professional. For example, the average salary of a professional with a bachelor’s degree was $39,096 per year; $44,707 with a master’s degree; and $65,333 with a doctorate. Additionally, a woman with 25 years of experience in the field earned an average of $57,983 per year, while a man with the same qualifications earned $65,232.

Athletic Trainer Employment Predictions

The BLS estimates that the employment of athletic trainers, including those working for professional sports teams, is expected to increase by 30 percent from 2010 to 2020, which is much faster than average for all occupations. In comparison, jobs for other health care practitioners and technicians are only expected to increase by 16 percent during the same time period. As it is a small, highly specialized field, the estimated growth would only result in approximately 5,500 new jobs.

About the Author

Laura Woods is a Los Angeles-based writer with more than six years of marketing experience. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Pittsburgh and an MBA from Robert Morris University.

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