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7 Things New Athletic Trainers Should Know Entering the Field

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Making the transition from student to certified athletic trainer (AT) is an exciting time, as you finally get to begin the journey of a new career. However, just like any other industry, it can be overwhelming to taking in all the details that come with the start of a new position.

Before starting your new AT journey, take into consideration these seven tips that can help you on your first day and throughout your entire career:

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Being the “new guy” comes with uncharted waters that bring some uncertainties. As a new AT, it is important to ask questions. After all, it is better to get something right the first time then have to redo it all over again. I can guarantee your supervisor, coaches, peers, and even your athletes would much rather you ask questions rather than miss details of an important task. Asking questions shows your interest and complete involvement in any role or situation. Just ask!

  1. Have confidence.

Starting out in your first role as a certified AT can be filled with countless emotions:  You are extremely excited to be entering the field you worked hard for in school; You are nervous about completely being on your own now; You might even be nervous about making a good first impression your superiors, peers and athletes. When you step into your role as an AT, step into the position with confidence! Even when you don’t know the solution to a situation, if you work with confidence you will be able to find a solution and provide support to the athletes, coaches and parents.

  1. Be proactive and not reactive!

In any new situation, it can be easy to make excuses. For example, I’m sure you have heard someone say “Oh, I’m new. I had no idea that was how this was supposed to be done.” Rather than make excuses, try to stay proactive in your role by being up to date with expectations from your athletic director or supervisor during any given season.  Things can change quickly and the more you stay updated on expectations, the more successful you will be!

  1. Be courageous and step outside your comfort zone.

The best way to grow in your career is to continually take on challenges. For example, pick up the coverage you might be intimidated by or go to a physician lecture even if you might not know any one there. Live outside your comfort zone! Don’t be deterred by something just because you may have never done it before. If you are not comfortable in something, do not hesitate to reach out to others for guidance and help.

  1. Learn from your peers and support them along the way!

If you are lucky enough to work closely with other ATs who have been in the field for a while, make sure to learn from them! They are a great resource and can immensely help in your transition over from student to certified. However, keep in mind that you can also be a great resource to them. You are fresh out of school and may know a new technique or an effective way to treat/prevent an injury. It’s all about teamwork!

  1. It’s okay if you don’t know everything, but never stop learning.

After finishing up school, it can be easy to get caught up in the work aspect of things and forget why you became so interested in this field. As an AT, you should never stop learning. There are always new advances coming out in treatment, prevention and rehabilitation. Stay hungry and stay humble! Keep learning new techniques and looking for new certifications to advance your career. Do not settle for what you know from school. You should NEVER stop learning.

  1. Take time for yourself.

Know the difference between when you are working and when are off. Manage your schedule so you are efficient with your time. Create boundaries so you are establishing when your office is open and when you are available for phone calls. Be consistent with your athletes so they know what to expect from you. Just remember that if you have to say no to a request, be sure to explain the “why” behind your reasoning. When you have set time aside to unwind and relax, try to do something fun – read a book, go for a run or binge watch your favorite show. Find ways to re-energize so that your time in the athletic training room is meaningful for everyone involved.

Enjoy Your Journey

Starting a new career is an exciting time, and you should be proud of your accomplishments. Make sure to enjoy this journey and all of the experiences that come with it. If you are a new AT that is looking for career opportunities after school, click the button below to browse Athletico’s current openings.

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