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Athletic Therapist

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

  • Avg. Salary $69,602.00
  • Avg. Wage $44.90
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 1,500
  • In Demand High
Also Known As

Certified Athletic Therapist, Therapist, Trainer

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) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Interest Codes
The Athletic Therapist is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Other Professional Occupations in Therapy and Assessment

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

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 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 More

Updated Mar 22, 2016

Most athletic therapists provide emergency, on-field and clinical care of musculoskeletal injuries for professional and recreational athletes. Their goal is to facilitate a safe return to participation in sport and recreation activities. They also help athletes and active individuals prevent injury and improve their physical capabilities and active lifestyles. Other athletic therapists may work with the general public by providing aid in post-surgery recovery (for example, helping seniors after hip or knee replacement surgery).

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
  • plan, implement and supervise warm-up, flexibility, training and conditioning programs
  • select, fit and repair equipment
  • apply prophylactic or supportive taping, splinting or bracing 
  • provide basic emergency first aid and life support
  • use physical therapy techniques (for example, massage or soft tissue mobilization) and therapeutic modalities (for example, the therapeutic use of water, cold or electricity) to recondition musculoskeletal injuries
  • act as a liaison between athletes and coaches
  • perform general administrative duties, such as monitoring budgets and supervising staff and student therapists.
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 22, 2016

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.

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

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 22, 2016

Athletic therapists need the following characteristics:

  • good manual dexterity
  • physical stamina
  • excellent interpersonal and teamwork skills, including sensitivity to the needs of others, patience, tact and persuasive abilities
  • flexibility and the ability to think creatively
  • the ability to work effectively in stressful situations.

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

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 22, 2016

To work as an athletic therapist, employers require applicants to be certified by the Canadian Athletic Therapists Association (CATA). However, individuals may work in a therapist role for the first year of employment while completing the certification process.

To apply for certification, candidates must:

  • hold a bachelor's degree
  • hold a valid First Responder certificate, such as First Aid and CPR-HCP or CATA approved equivalent
  • have completed 1,200 hours of on-field and in-clinic practical training
  • successfully complete the Athletic Therapy program at a CATA accredited educational school
  • successfully complete the National Certification Examination that includes comprehensive written and practical exam.

Required Education

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

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 22, 2016

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 22, 2016

Athletic therapists are employed by:

  • professional, national and recreational teams
  • schools
  • private sport medicine and therapy clinics
  • municipal governments
  • industrial workplaces
  • insurance corporations
  • hospitals.

Athletic therapists may work as rehabilitation specialists, return-to-work specialists and non-physician experts. They may also work in conjunction with other health care workers such as 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 in this occupation will be 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 (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 22, 2016

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

Other professional occupations in therapy and assessment

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

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.

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.

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 22, 2016

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 17, 2016. 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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