NBA Athletic Trainers

Are you as passionate about the NBA as you are about health and wellness? If so, becoming an NBA athletic trainer could be your ideal job.

But there are only 30 NBA teams – which means the number of available NBA athletic trainer jobs at any given time is relatively low. So if you want to get hired for this job, you’ll need to come up with a great process and stick to it.

That’s why we’ve put together this article. It covers everything you need to know about athletic trainers in the NBA so you can come up with a winning strategy for becoming one.

What is an NBA athletic trainer?

NBA athletic trainers are medical specialists whose main job is ensuring that NBA players remain healthy enough to play in games consistently. They do that by completing the following tasks.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Provide preventative treatment and education to reduce the rate of injuries on the team
  • Help injured athletes rehabilitate more efficiently by coming up with targeted rehab plans and executing them
  • Educate the team and the organization about the importance of different types of health topics
  • Identify and evaluate injuries
  • Provide first-aid and emergency medical care to injured athletes
  • Maintain accurate injury records and medical information for every player


NBA athletic trainers need to possess a variety of strengths to be effective in this role. Here are the most important qualities for someone who wants to become an NBA athletic trainer to focus on developing:

  • Medical expertise
  • Ability to treat a wide variety of injuries
  • Strong communication skills
  • Familiarity with basketball and basketball players

A recent survey of head athletic trainers also found that the following character traits are essential for athletic trainers to possess:

  • Trustworthiness
  • Honesty
  • Dependability
  • High ethical standards

If you don’t possess all of these characteristics yet, don’t worry. You can start developing them now to get yourself ready for this job.

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How much do NBA athletic trainers make?

If you’re interested in this job, you’re probably wondering how much an NBA athletic trainer makes? The answer could influence whether or not you ultimately decide to pursue this job.

The average NBA athletic trainer salary ranges from about $55,000 – $56,000 per year. But the salary for an individual trainer could be higher or lower than this based on factors like:

  • The team that they work for
  • How long they’ve been in the league
  • The amount of general professional experience they have as an athletic trainer

NBA athletic trainers tend to earn considerably less than coaches, and it’s why many athletic trainers in the NBA also have a second income stream, which they work on during the off-season.

For example, some trainers partner with local colleges and high schools to offer athletic training classes. Others have brand deals with major companies like Nike and Adidas.

There are plenty of opportunities for reputable NBA trainers to earn much more than their NBA salary. It’s not uncommon for someone in this line of work to earn more than $1 million annually.

How do you become an athletic trainer in the NBA?

If you’re still thinking about becoming an athletic trainer for the NBA, there are four major steps you’ll need to complete to get there. We’ll take a look at each in this section.

1. Education

First, the baseline education requirement for an NBA athletic trainer is a bachelor’s degree in athletic training or a related field. But the number of people with bachelor’s degrees who apply for this type of work is very high.

If you want to stand out from the crowd, then you may need to earn a master’s degree to do so. Earning one of these degrees from a university with a great reputation can make finding a job a little easier for you.

2. Certification and Licensing

Once you graduate from school, you won’t be able to begin working as an athletic trainer right away. Instead, you’ll first have to pass a comprehensive test administered by the Board of Certification (BOC).

Additionally, after you’ve passed this test and earned your license, you’ll still have to complete ongoing education requirements to maintain it.

3. Experience

Many more people want to become NBA athletic trainers than there are available NBA athletic training positions. That means if you want this job, you’re going to have to stand out from the competition you face for them.

Gaining valuable experience is one of the most effective ways to do that. But NBA teams don’t provide clear instructions for the specific type of experience they’re looking for in applicants.

That’s why it’s a good idea to simply focus on doing as much as you can at the intersection of basketball and athletic training. That could include each of the following:

  • Volunteering to help out at youth sporting events
  • Working with your college basketball team
  • Creating online training programs to help basketball players take better care of themselves
  • Participating in training camps led by current NBA trainers

Whatever you can do to prove your commitment to this career and training expertise is a step in the right direction.

4. Networking

Perhaps the most crucial part of getting a job as an athletic trainer in the NBA is networking. If you make the right connection, your chances of getting a job in the league go up tremendously.

There are a few different ways to network.

One option is to focus on meeting people through NBA events. For example, you could attend as many instructional camps for aspiring NBA trainers as possible. These should give you the chance to meet existing NBA trainers, who may be able to put in a good word for you when you start applying for jobs.

Another idea is to network through social media. If you can build a solid social media following on a popular platform like Instagram, players will start taking notice. And if some decide to start working with you, then your chances of getting hired by a team will go up significantly.

Getting your career started

Are you ready to start looking for NBA athletic trainer jobs? If so, check out We provide the most up-to-date list of the top NBA athletic trainer jobs. That way, you can apply for them right away and give yourself the best chance of getting hired.

So why wait? Sign up to get discovered today!