Employment of athletic trainers is expected to grow by 30 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. However, because it is a small occupation, the fast growth will result in only about 5,500 new jobs over the 10-year period. As people become more aware of sports-related injuries at a young age, demand for athletic trainers is expected to increase, most significantly in schools and youth leagues.
New research reveals that the effects of concussions are particularly severe and long lasting in child athletes. Although concussions are dangerous to athletes at any age, children’s brains are still developing and are at risk for permanent complications, such as fatal brain swelling and learning disabilities. Parents and coaches are becoming educated about these greater risks through community health efforts. Because athletic trainers are usually on site with athletes and are often the first line of defense when injuries occur, the demand for trainers should continue to increase.
Additionally, advances in injury prevention and detection and more sophisticated treatments are projected to increase the demand for athletic trainers. Growth in an increasingly active middle-aged and elderly 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 military personnel in how to properly lift items or to create training programs aimed at keeping injury rates down. More insurance companies are recognizing athletic trainers as healthcare providers and are reimbursing the cost of an athletic trainer’s services.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition