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Athletic Therapist

Athletic therapists are experts at injury assessment, prevention, and rehabilitation. They provide care and reconditioning for active individuals.

Also Known As

Certified Athletic Therapist, Therapist

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Other Professional Occupations in Therapy and Assessment (3144) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Other Professional Occupations in Therapy and Assessment (D044) 
  • 2011 NOC: Other professional occupations in therapy and assessment (3144) 
  • 2016 NOC: Other professional occupations in therapy and assessment (3144) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Other Professional Occupations in Therapy and Assessment
2006 NOC : 3144

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group


Interest in mentoring patients by providing treatment and advising them on how to deal with their mental and physical abilities; and in consulting with other health care professionals to evaluate treatment plans


Interest in co-ordinating, initiating, designing and implementing specialized therapy programs for the general patient population and in the community; may conduct research in respective field of specialization


Interest in operating - manipulating equipment and following procedures to implement treatment plans by carrying out specialized therapy sessions employing techniques such as art, athletic, dance, music or recreational therapy or remedial gymnastics; and in observing and analyzing patients during treatment sessions

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests


Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Updated Mar 31, 2020

Athletic therapists are responsible for injury prevention, emergency and acute care of injuries, and assessment and rehabilitation. They also develop conditioning programs. Most provide on-field and clinical care of musculoskeletal injuries for professional and recreational athletes. Their goal is to help clients return to sport and recreation activities safely.

Athletic therapists also work preventively. They help athletes and active individuals learn how to avoid injury. They also help them improve their physical abilities and make their lifestyles more active. They sometimes work with the public too. For example, they may help seniors recover after surgery to replace a hip or knee.

Athletic therapists may perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Evaluate musculoskeletal function, posture, and gait
  • Recognize, assess, manage, and rehabilitate musculoskeletal injuries
  • Recognize, assess, and manage concussions
  • Do ergonomic assessments
  • Plan, implement, and supervise warm-up, flexibility, strength training, and conditioning programs for rehabilitation
  • Select, fit, and repair equipment
  • Apply prophylactic or supportive taping, splinting, or bracing
  • Provide basic emergency first aid and life support
  • Use manual therapy techniques (such as massage or soft-tissue mobilization), therapeutic modalities (such as therapeutic use of water, cold, or electricity), and therapeutic exercise to recondition musculoskeletal injuries
  • Act as a liaison between athletes and coaches
  • Monitor budgets, supervise staff and student therapists, and perform other administrative duties
  • Develop emergency action plans
  • Do sales and marketing for various brands
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg

For athletic therapists in private practice, hours of work and other working conditions vary depending on the clinic.

Athletic therapists who work with professional sports teams work long and physically demanding hours. They must be present at all competitions and practices. Depending on the sport, this may require frequent travel or evening and weekend work.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Athletic therapists need:

  • Manual dexterity
  • Physical stamina
  • Excellent interpersonal and teamwork skills, including sensitivity to the needs of others
  • Patience, tact, and persuasive abilities
  • Flexibility and creative-thinking skills
  • The ability to work in stressful situations

They should enjoy working with people, designing therapy programs, and using equipment to implement treatment plans.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Other professional occupations in therapy and assessment
NOC code: 3144

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 28 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Nov 03, 2021 and May 16, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Interview patients and review reports from health care professionals to determine patients' current and potential functioning levels
Record observations, write progress reports and consult with other health care professionals to evaluate treatment plans
Design specialized therapy programs to maintain, rehabilitate or enhance movement, musculoskeletal functioning and performance in sports, work and recreation
Prepare a treatment plan for each patient
Observe and analyze patients during treatment sessions
Initiate, design and implement specialized therapy programs
Implement treatment plans
Conduct research in the field of specialization
Personal Suitability: Effective interpersonal skills
Personal Suitability: Team player
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary

To work as an athletic therapist, employers require applicants to be certified by the Canadian Athletic Therapists Association (CATA). This includes successful completion of a bachelor’s degree and an Athletic Therapy program at a CATA-accredited school. For more details, see Certification Requirements and the CATA website.

Required Education

The following schools offer programs and courses that meet this occupation’s educational requirements. Other eligible programs and courses may be available.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no legislation regulating this occupation. However, employers require applicants to be certified by the Canadian Athletic Therapists Association (CATA) and to be members of the Alberta Athletic Therapists Association (AATA).

To apply for certification, candidates must:

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree
  • Hold a valid Standard First Aid and Basic Life Support (BLS), or CATA-approved equivalent
  • Hold a valid First Responders certificate or CATA-approved equivalent
  • Successfully complete the Athletic Therapy program at a CATA-accredited educational school
  • Successfully complete the National Certification Examination within 2 years of graduating from an accredited institution
Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Athletic therapists work for:

  • High schools
  • Post-secondary schools
  • Private clinics
  • Professional, national, and recreational organizations
  • Municipal governments
  • Industrial workplaces
  • Insurance corporations
  • Hospitals

Athletic therapists may work as rehabilitation specialists, return-to-work specialists, or non-physician experts. They may work on their own or with other health care professionals. These can include family physicians, orthopedic surgeons, chiropractors, massage therapists, or physiotherapists.

Athletic therapists are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 3144: Other professional occupations in therapy and assessment. In Alberta, 80% of people employed in this classification work in the Health Care and Social Assistance [pdf] industry.

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Trends and events affecting overall employment, especially in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

In Alberta, the 3144: Other professional occupations in therapy and assessment occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.8% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 56 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Salaries for certified athletic therapists vary greatly. Often, athletic therapists work on a term-contract basis.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Other professional occupations in therapy and assessment

2016 NOC : 3144
Average Wage
Per Hour
Average Salary
Per Year
Average Hours
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 3144 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.68 $76.09 $37.84 $35.81
Overall $17.77 $87.82 $44.90 $42.63
Top $20.91 $101.29 $49.98 $47.67

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information
Health Care & Social Assistance

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Physical Education and Recreation
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Alberta Athletic Therapists Association (AATA) website:

Canadian Athletic Therapists Association (CATA) website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2020. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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