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How to Build Your Career as an AT

by Kelly Sipka, AT, ATCLeave a Comment

You did it! You passed the BOC, got your licensure, and even landed your first Athletic Training position. Being a brand-new Athletic Trainer is both exciting and nerve-wracking. You have all the skills and knowledge from school, but no one is familiar with you yet. The seasoned ATs at your team meeting talk about the cool minor league hockey game they got to cover, or one just had lunch with a physician and their clinical team, and you’re still trying to figure out this new role. You have probably asked yourself, “How did they do it? How did they build their career as an AT, and how can I do it too?

Introduce Yourself:

Introducing yourself is a good start to building your career as an AT; let people know who you are. This can begin by talking amongst your work peers at team meetings or saying a quick hello to your Regional Director and Clinic Manager. Building your inner circle can be the initial push you may need. One Athletic Trainer from your team may need coverage for an event at their school, and they ask you to cover. If there are no schedule conflicts, cover the event! By helping out your colleague, a good work relationship has begun. By having good communication among your coworkers, they can help set you up for success.

Be Open to Covering Events:

Covering sporting events are your contracted school can be fun, especially when you know the participating athletes. However, athletics occur everywhere and are year-round. A lot sporting event manager often reaches out to our team manager asking for Athletic Training coverage. First, high five to those sporting event managers for utilizing Athletic Training Services! Typically, after an event manager reaches out, the team manager sends out a message asking for coverage. If you have free time and no scheduling conflicts, cover the event! By providing coverage, we are showcasing Athletic Trainers, and you are showcasing you! You’ll see some cool occurrences, your skills will grow, and you could leave the event learning about a new sport. Plus, if you do a great job, the event manager may ask for you, yes, YOU, to return for the following year. Covering events outside of your contracted school can create a great memory and get more aligned with your Athletic Training skills.

Networking and Relationship Building:

Commonly, Athletic Trainers are hired through hospital systems or physical therapy clinics. That said, there are several opportunities to build relationships within your company. If you are halfway decent at golf and get asked to attend a golf outing, accept the invitation! This is one of many fun ways to interact with your team and even work on your golf swing! Regardless of how well or not-so-well you golf, a relationship has been made. Another great way to build your career is by meeting the physicians in your area. More likely than not, these physicians will see the athletes. To ensure good communication throughout the athlete’s injury journey, familiarize yourself with the physician and the clinical staff. Introducing yourself and learning about the physician and their specialties can go a long way.

Be an Athletic Trainer:

I know what you are thinking; I already am an Athletic Trainer. How can I build my career if I am already doing what I am doing? There is showing up for work and being present at work. Be the Athletic Trainer that shows up for work with their best foot forward. Be the Athletic Trainer that responds to the work emails, even just to let the original sender know they are unable to cover this time. Be the Athletic Trainer whose focus is quality of care. Be the Athletic Trainer that is present at practices and games. Be the Athletic Trainer who is always prepared and ready. Be the Athletic Trainer who loves being an Athletic Trainer! When you are the best version of yourself, it does not go unnoticed. Building your career starts with YOU. You can do all the listed above, but it truly comes down to attitude and how you present yourself. Be a team player, have a good attitude, and put yourself out there. Being the best version of yourself will set you up for success.

There is a reason why we use the phrase building your career and not landing the top spot. This is a career where you are always learning. Building your career does take time, but the journey is just as important. Opportunities will eventually begin to appear. As long as you are willing to work hard, be flexible, and, most importantly, enjoy being an Athletic Trainer, the opportunities will not be too far to reach.

Athletico Careers

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.

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Kelly Sipka AT, ATC, has been a Certified Athletic Trainer since June 2017. She has been employed through Athletico Physical Therapy since 2019 at Grandville High School in Grandville, Michigan. Kelly hopes to help newly Certified Athletic Trainers advance in their career. In Kelly's free time, she enjoys distance running, spending time with her two cats, attending concerts with her husband and friends, and online shopping!

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