The most recent NATA salary survey (2014) data1 tells us that ‘The average entry-level salary for ATs increased from $34,623 to $38,214’ from 2011 to 20141. The average salary in 2014 for an athletic trainer with 1-5 years of experience is $41,5681. The average salary for an athletic trainer with a master’s degree in 2014 was $54,6601. Do we really think it is acceptable for these institutions to offer employment for such little compensation? Some of the institutions listed below do offer other additional incentives such health care plans or provide on-campus housing. However, larger institutions offer these positions with the motive that working for their prestigious athletic department and the associated experience alone is compensation enough that they only need to provide an insufficient and insulting stipend.
I do not think this is appropriate and I believe that it is detrimental to our profession. As a profession we are currently campaigning for increased salaries in order to better align ourselves with other healthcare professions. This growing trend of intern athletic trainer positions is counter-productive as we attempt to advocate for fair reimbursement. My suggestion to the institutions that are advertising these positions is; If you want someone to perform the tasks of a full-time certified athletic trainer, then hire a FULL TIME ATHLETIC TRAINER. Advocate for our profession within your institution. If you are in need of the services of a full-time athletic trainer then present and justify this to your department/ institution, so that they can provide the money to fund one sufficiently.
Below is an example of what we believe is an unacceptable job description expected of an intern athletic trainer. We have removed the name of the institution so that it may remain anonymous. It is not our goal to make an example of specific institutions but to make an example of the trend of ‘internship’ positions as a whole.
______ University Sports Medicine seeks a Certified Intern Athletic Trainer to provide comprehensive health care for student-athletes in its intercollegiate athletic programs. The position is responsible to adhere to the university mission and ensure that policies and procedures are followed in the ______ University Sports Medicine Center. The Certified Intern Athletic Trainer must have a Bachelors degree in athletic training and have taken the NATABOC exam by April 11, 2015 to be considered for this position. The candidate ultimately must be certified by July 11, 2015. Candidates must also be eligible for licensure at time of application and be licensed prior to start date. This position will assist in providing coverage for Football year round with full travel responsibilities as well as being the primary athletic trainer for a combination of 1-2 of the following sports with limited to no travel depending on the sport: M/W Tennis, M/W Golf, M/W Track and Women's Swimming. Other duties include assisting in coverage of the ______ University Sports Medicine Center, and other home events as assigned by the Director of Sports Medicine. This position will pay a stipend of $8000 over 10 months from August 2015 through May 2016.
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