The Top Qualities Teams Want in an Athletic Trainer (2023)

The Top Qualities Teams Want in an Athletic Trainer (1)

When you're looking for a job as an athletic trainer — or any job for that matter — it's important to have all your ducks in a row. From proper certification and education to a variety of meaningful experiences, athletic training is as much about what you can do and how you do it as it is about what you know.

Competition for jobs as a trainer can be fierce, as more and more sports lovers realize the joy and satisfaction that can be had working in the field, on the court, or on the pitch.

If you're hoping to score your dream job working with your dream team, then you need to play to win. Here are some of the top qualities teams are looking for when they're hiring and interviewing potential athletic trainers.

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It probably goes without saying, but a passion for sports, athletic endeavors in general, quality health, and people is something you'll need to possess and embody in order to get the job you're gunning for.

While wearing a tie or other attire emblazoned with your favorite team's logo will certainly showcase some of your commitment and energy, your passion needs to also show up in your cover letter, resume, and in the interview process when you answer tough questions and talk about why you enjoy doing your job.


Athletic trainers have to contend with a wide range of personalities over the course of a normal day.

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There are the players you serve, the coaches, the team's support staff, team owners and managers, administrators, players' families, other trainers — in short, a trainer doesn't get to work in a vacuum, and she needs to believe in herself and her abilities.

Because of this reality, it's essential that you exhibit confidence in yourself and your training during the entire hiring process.

Great Interpersonal Skills

One of the most essential skills a great trainer has at his disposal is the ability to interact well with almost any type of person in almost any setting. Great interpersonal skills won't just ensure you're nice to have around. Smart teams and strong programs know that an athletic trainer who is able to establish and maintain good rapport with athletes is going to have an easier time treating them, listening to them, and getting them to rehab properly.

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When you interview, make sure you exhibit how good you are with people by:

Good Decision Making

The Top Qualities Teams Want in an Athletic Trainer (2)

While even the best athletic trainer in the world can't be right 100 percent of the time in determining the exact nature of an injury right when it occurs in practice or during competition, a good trainer still exhibits excellent decision making given the information available to her.

From detailed knowledge about the human body to detailed knowledge regarding how athletes do and don't talk about their pain, the best trainers can make good decisions that protect athletes in the short term, while also ensuring their long-term health as well.

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Empathy is the ability to identify and feel what another person is going through — even if you haven't had that same experience yourself. Because an athletic trainer is someone who oversees an athlete's health, and, when injured, road to recovery, she needs to be empathetic enough to realize how difficult health and recovery can be.

From your cover letter to your final interview, be sure to emphasize the role empathy plays in your approach to training, since the people you're trying to convince to hire you believe it's an essential quality to keeping their athletes in the best shape possible.

Attentive to DetailThe Top Qualities Teams Want in an Athletic Trainer (3)

From note taking to conversation, being attentive to details is an asset for anyone engaged in healthcare, but for the athletic trainer, it's especially vital. Athletes — especially high-level and elite athletes — are notoriously hard working, and their desire to compete can keep them from telling the whole truth, or even realizing it, when they get hurt or injured.


Because of this reality, it's essential that athletic trainers see and hear the details. From reviewing game film to noticing slight changes in range of motion or response times, an attentive athletic trainer is a valuable asset in a situation where emotions and desire to keep playing can muddy the waters.

From practicing empathy to showcasing your passion, you can snag the job of your dreams by exhibiting the qualities teams are looking for in an athletic trainer.

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