5 Career Opportunities with a Master’s in Athletic Training

5 Careers in Athletic Training

Are you passionate about sports, fitness, and helping others achieve peak performance? An M.S. in Athletic Training might be your key to unlocking exciting career opportunities in sports medicine and performance enhancement.

From working with athletes to cutting-edge research in biomechanics, there are many paths you can take with this advanced degree. Let's delve into why pursuing a Master's in Athletic Training is a smart choice, then explore five rewarding career paths awaiting you.

Why should I get a master’s degree in athletic training?

Before we explore career opportunities, let's understand why pursuing a master's degree in athletic training is advantageous. With a master's degree, you gain specialized knowledge and advanced skills. For example, professional credentialing, specialization opportunities, networking, career advancement, and research opportunities. These all set you apart in the competitive field of sports medicine.

5 Careers in Athletic Training: Athletic Trainer, Physical therapist, Occupational Therapist, Exercise physiologist, Biomechanist


  • You'll practice topics such as:
  • Injury prevention
  • Rehabilitation techniques
  • Exercise physiology
  • Biomechanics

This wide net of study will prepare you to help athletes of all ages train, recover from injuries, and improve their health and performance. 

Additionally, many employers prefer candidates with advanced degrees, which can open doors to higher-paying positions and career advancement opportunities.

5 Career Paths in Athletic Training

Picture this: You’ve completed your master’s in athletic training. Now, where can you work? What will your title and salary be? Let’s explore five career paths available to students who study Athletic Training at the postgraduate level.

1. Athletic Trainer

Average Salary: $49,860

Job Growth: 16% (2020 to 2030)

As an athletic trainer, you'll work with athletes to prevent, diagnose, and treat sports-related injuries. You'll be responsible for developing injury prevention programs, providing immediate care on the field or court, and overseeing athletes’ rehabilitation processes. 

Athletic trainers can find employment in various settings, including:

  • Colleges and universities
  • High schools
  • Professional sports teams
  • Hospitals
  • Rehabilitation clinics

2. Exercise Physiologist

Average Salary: $50,280

Job Growth: 15% (2020 to 2030)

As an exercise physiologist, you'll focus on how the body responds to exercise and physical activity. You'll conduct fitness assessments, design personalized exercise programs, and monitor patients’ progress to improve general health and performance.

Exercise physiologists can be found in:

  • Fitness centers
  • Corporate wellness programs
  • Rehabilitation facilities
  • Research labs
  • Sports teams

3. Occupational Therapist

Average Salary: $86,280

Job Growth: 16% (2020 to 2030)

With a master's degree in athletic training, you can pursue a career as an occupational therapist. Here, you’ll help individuals regain independence and improve their quality of life post-injury or illness.

Occupational Therapists assess patients’ physical and cognitive abilities to develop customized treatment plans and improve functional independence in daily activities. They may also assess what specialized equipment would best help a patient in their daily lives.

Occupational therapists work in:

  • Hospitals
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Schools
  • Community settings

4. Physical Therapist

Average Salary: $91,010

Job Growth: 18% (2020 to 2030)

Similar to occupational therapists, physical therapists help individuals recover from injuries, improving their mobility and function. You’ll provide hands-on treatment, therapeutic exercises, and education to facilitate patients’ recovery processes.

Physical therapists work in:

  • Hospitals
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Nursing homes
  • Schools
  • Sports medicine facilities

5. Biomechanist

Average Salary: $92,620

Job Growth: 6% (2020 to 2030)

As a biomechanist (also known as bioengineer or biomedical engineer), you'll combine your knowledge of human anatomy and movement with advanced technology to analyze and optimize athletic performance.

You'll conduct research, collect data using motion capture systems and force plates, and provide insights into how athletes can improve their technique and reduce the risk of injury. While specific salary data for biomechanists varies, professionals command competitive salaries due to their specialized expertise and contributions to sports science research.

Biomechanists work in:

  • Research institutions
  • Sports technology companies
  • Universities
  • Professional sports organizations


Who are you called to be?

Pursue your purpose at PLNU.


PLNU & San Diego Padres Biomechanics Lab

If you're considering pursuing an M.S. in Athletic Training, Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) offers a top-tier program that prepares students for success in the field.

Our new PLNU + San Diego Padres Biomechanics Lab represents a dynamic collaboration between academia and professional sports, aimed at:

Pitcher in the new biomechanics lab


  • Enhancing player performance
  • Minimizing injury risks
  • Advancing research in sports science

Here, students engage in groundbreaking research alongside industry professionals, which provides invaluable skills and insights for careers in athletic training.

Alongside our Sea Lions student-athletes, San Diego Padres players have access to cutting-edge technology and expertise. Our lab is equipped with:

  • Advanced motion-capture technology
  • Ball-tracking equipment
  • Force platform technology

The lab provides comprehensive biomechanical analysis for pitchers, hitters, and athletes of all disciplines, and together, we strive to unlock new insights into human movement and athletic performance. 

Concentrations to fit your goals

PLNU’s M.S. in Athletic Training also features three (3) concentrations of study to choose from to help you be more successful in your area of interest:

  • Anatomy Education
  • Biomechanics
  • Sport Performance

Related programs

In addition to the master's in Athletic Training program, PLNU offers several related graduate programs that may interest prospective students:

These programs provide diverse pathways for individuals interested in pursuing careers in healthcare, sports medicine, and allied health professions.

Take the next step

Ready to embark on a rewarding career in Athletic Training or a related field? Explore the graduate programs offered by Point Loma Nazarene University and take the next step toward achieving your professional goals.

Whether you aspire to become an athletic trainer, exercise physiologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, or biomechanist, a master's degree can help you turn your passion for fitness and healthcare into a fulfilling career.

Are you interested in learning more? Read on to see what a day in the life of a PLNU Athletic Training graduate student looks like.

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