The Youth Sport Safety Alliance, Student-Athlete Bill of Rights, and increasing concussion legislation is creating a platform to promote Secondary School Athletic Training and potentially a greater need. However, barriers still exist…
Although Athletic Trainers are highly educated health care professionals, much like nurses, some states still require things like a teaching credential to practice… why is that? Is it because a teaching credential enhances our ability to provide medical care to the physically active? Or is it because employers still want ways to ask Athletic Trainers to do two jobs for the price of one?
Career counselors, conferences, job postings, Athletic Trainers and even professional program directors may suggest that having a teaching certification upon completion enhances marketability. The Journal of Athletic Training even published original research on this in 1995 with program directors advising students to take advantage of the courses while in their athletic training program and get certified if you have any desire to work in the secondary school setting. This is fundamentally wrong… and in the current climate where even dual credentialing as another health care provider carries its own added pressures, why can’t we just be who we are? Athletic Trainers? Students in our programs need to be focusing on their future careers in ATHLETIC TRAINING!
This is not to say we don’t think Athletic Trainers could also be teachers, if that’s what they want. But, don’t think you should be compensated for both, be trained adequately at both? Just a warning though; Athletic Trainer/Teachers work 60-70 hours per week and risk the same retention issues of those in college/university athletics.
Now, it is time to advocate! Educate school principals, superintendents and athletic directors about the roles you play as an Athletic Trainer. We should be hired for what we are; healthcare professionals who are not a by-product of a teacher (a skilled job in and of itself), but a necessity for quality care of secondary school students and student-athletes.
Zachary Winkelmann LAT, ATC