As an athletic trainer and a travel enthusiast, I have often thought about how to merge both of my passions. After attending a lecture on International Athletic Training at the Great Lakes Athletic Trainers’ Association annual meeting several years ago, I began researching which countries might present realistic opportunities.
I recently had the opportunity to travel to Ireland to speak with Dr. Siobhan O’Connor, Assistant Professor in Athletic Therapy and Training at Dublin City University. She was able to provide insight into the ways Athletic Rehabilitation Therapists (ARTCs) impact the Irish sports medicine landscape, as well as share how an athletic trainer from the states could pursue the profession in Ireland.
What is the athletic training landscape like in Ireland?
Predictably, many ARTCs cover sporting events in the way that athletic trainers do here in the United States. However, only the most elite teams in Ireland can support having full time coverage. Most club or university teams only have coverage for games if they can afford it, while many teams go uncovered completely.
Dr. O’Conner noted that ARTCs typically use an app designed to efficiently communicate the need for coverage, including location, time and pay. If you plan to move to Ireland for an athletic training career, Dr. O’Connor suggests moving in the spring or summer since most teams need coverage during those seasons. It is also important to note that networking is crucial in Ireland since the medical community is relatively small compared to the United States, so picking up a lot of coverage tends to build a solid foundation for your presence in Ireland.
What does this mean for athletic trainers here in the United States looking for a career in Ireland?
The answer to this question depends on the individual. Dr. O’Connor estimates there are roughly 200 ARTCs in the country of Ireland in comparison to roughly 24,000 in the United States.1 She suggests that if athletic trainers want to experience the culture of Ireland while building a career in AT, they should try finding positions that include both athletic training and working as a physiotherapy aide in a hospital setting. This type of position is ideal especially if one lives outside of downtown Dublin, as it includes quite a bit of the work athletic trainers are excellent with, like exercise implementation and rehabilitation planning. Most doctors and physiotherapists will have aides build and implement the programs for their patients as long as the aide has proven to be competent.
How does one become certified in Ireland?
Athletic trainers from the states are able to obtain the certification for becoming an ARTC without any additional education. Through an MRA (mutual recognition agreement), athletic trainers from the United States are eligible to take an exam in Ireland as long as they meet the emergency care certification guidelines. The exam consists of two parts – a written and a practical. Once an athletic trainer meets emergency care guidelines, passes the exam, and obtains malpractice insurance, they are able to practice in Ireland as an ARTC. For additional information on the certification process, including immigration, visit Athletic Rehabilitation Therapy Ireland.
International Sports Medicine
It is important to note that there are many travel opportunities within the athletic training profession for those who do not want to relocate to a different country. In fact, a variety of Athletico’s athletic trainers have had experience traveling the globe with the teams they support. Read Athletico’s U.S. Soccer blogs for some insight into these experiences.
Hopefully this sheds some light on the sports medicine landscape in Ireland and maybe even sparked some interest in researching athletic training opportunities overseas. Personally, I hope to continue my travels and learn more about sports medicine across the globe.
The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.