Top 25 Athletic Trainer Interview Questions
1. Being an athletic trainer can be a stressful position. How do you handle stress and pressure?
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Athletic Trainer
January 28th, 2017

Career options for an athletic trainer are vast. An athletic trainer can work on a multitude of patients ranging from the general public in need of physical rehabilitation to amateur and professional athletes. An athletic trainer can work in a hospital setting, a rehabilitation clinic, a school/university, for a particular sports team, or for the military.

The tasks of an athletic trainer vary greatly and they include tending to minor injuries such as twists and sprains. An athletic trainer will properly fit the athlete to their athletic equipment and ensure that any physician recommended regimes are followed by the individual in their care. If the athletic trainer is working for a sports team, they are required to be present for every game, practice, and training session.

Athletic trainers should be strong and fit as they will be required to assist, and be an example to, their patients and athletes. This includes heavy lifting, supporting another persons weight from time to time and giving exercise demonstrations. This is a physically demanding career.

If an athletic trainer is working for a sports team they may be required to give presentations and training in regards to the dangers of performance enhancing drugs and other forms of drug and alcohol abuse.

An athletic trainer is considered a healthcare professional so a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree in a health related field is required for most positions. In addition to a Bachelor's Degree, most states have their own licensing requirements for athletic trainers.
Athletic Trainer Interview Questions
2 of 37
Why do you think you are the best athletic trainer for us?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
You guys should hire me because I already know about athletic trainer and how it works.
 
2.
I get so committed to something almost nothing else matters. When I became and Athletic trainer I learned this is what I want to do. So I ended up spending everyday in the ATR not but force but by choice. And Chosing to help people is a commitment I want to make. And I feel like committing to this position feels right. When I picture my self working here I see a future a way to grow and I also see something I love to do and do daily. I see my self commiting my life to this job.
 
3.
Because I am a real hard worker and I will always do my best.
 
4.
I strive in pressure and I have worked in many different collegiate surrounding.
 
5.
You should hire me because I can bring a high quality of rehabilitation care to the athletes of this school to get them back to sport and keep them healthy.
 
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Tell me about a situation where you had to quickly adapt to inevitable changes as an Athletic Trainer.
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Just over a year ago I was finishing my second year working as an athletic trainer at a college, with volleyball and softball specifically. We had a team of 5 and I knew my athletes well. I did all my own rehabs and treatments with my athletes. When I got my current job at a high school, I had to quickly adapt to taking care of a wide range of athletes, learning how to talk to parents, and learning how to refer injuries out for physical therapy.
 
2.
When I was working with a baseball team I had to.
 
3.
The most prominant situation I can think of was an injury (broken leg) that I had to take care of in an environment where I had none of the tools I needed to work with. I was able to act quickly and think outside the box to make sure that person was as safe and as comfortable as possible while I splinted the leg and transported them to the hospital.
 
4.
Weather changed schedule.
 
5.
There's been a lot of times when practice times or fields changed from what was scheduled so I had to be flexible.
 
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What are the general assessment steps that you take with a new patient?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
The steps I would follow are to first try and understand how the problem arose, such as a communication issue, injury mechanism, etc. Then take the necessary actions to calm the situation down and take care of what needs to be taken care of.
 
2.
Investigate, so I do my research, I ask other individuals with the same education as I do as to how they would handle it, find someone who I know has had a similar problem and ask how they solved it. Then I apply the information I have gathered and apply it to my own beliefs and make a decision about what would most benefit the program or individuals.
 
3.
I stay calm and think of all the possible scenarios before making a decision.
 
4.
Eliminate dangers to the patient, Recognize the goal of my decision making, Think about past experiences and outcomes, Decide which approach is most appropriate and who is the most appropriate person to contact in regards to the problem.
 
5.
Breath, assess emergency situations, weigh options.
 
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Are you able to adapt to a wide variety of people, situations and environments?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Every semester I had to change placements and get acquainted with new people, situations and environments.
 
2.
I have worked in a very diverse school system and have spoken to athletes and parents whose first language was not English. I worked with my home university and a university where many of the athletes were from South America and did not speak much English, so I did their treatment each day in Spanish. I feel that it helped them comply with treatment and feel more confident that they could overcome their injuries. I have also had football games where the field turned to mush and all the players were slipping and falling and becoming injured. I was able to encourage them, saying that it would only be another hour until we headed home, and that because we were ahead something good would come of the rainy, miserable night.
 
3.
I grew up in a small town with 200 students in a graduating class to a college like Penn State where I knew no one and learned to make new friends easily. I've been to many summer camps in my youth where I would be alone and have to adapt to make the best of it. I had to make a bad living situation my sophomore year into a decent one by eventually just having to move out but we tried to work it out.
 
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What three words would you use to describe yourself?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Professional dedicated responsible.
 
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As an Athletic Trainer, what do you believe is your best asset?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
My ability to think quickly on my feet about how to preserve my athlete's well being.
 
2.
I think my best asset as an athletic trainer is how quickly I learn new techniques and how eager I am to learn and try new things.
 
3.
I always act professional and stay calm.
 
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What is your top diet or nutrition recommendation to your patients?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I covered a high school rugby game where there were a lot of pretty serious injuries. First, I had an obviously broken ankle on the opposing team; fortunately family friends were there that were able to take him right to the hospital. Then, I had two kids collide and both sustain concussions. One lost consciousness so I had to triage; I called an ambulance for the kid that lost consciousness and then evaluated the other kid when the first was taken care of.
 
2.
At a college lacrosse tournament, a player was tackled in front of me close to the sideline. He lay on the ground clutching his shoulder. My preceptor was on the other side of the field helping someone else. I helped the athlete onto the bench and immediately noted a gross deformity medial to his shoulder. I asked the athlete if he could lift his arm and he could not. I called my preceptor and told her I suspected a clavicular fracture and that I had gotten the sling and ace bandage ready for her to stabilize the athlete's arm, while instructing the athlete to keep the position of his arm close to his body. After my preceptor put the sling on and had returned to her task across the field, the athlete's arm slipped down out of the bandage that was holding it, causing him more pain. I had to re-stabilize the athlete's arm and wrap it more securely myself. I then talked to the coach, suggesting that the athlete go to the nearest hospital immediately. The coach argued that since the team was out of state, he wanted to wait two days to go back to their home state before taking the athlete to the hospital. I told the athlete and the coach that they should go to the hospital as soon as possible to rule out complications and get an x-ray, because we wanted to get him better as soon as possible. Finally, because I was assertive, the coach made the decision for someone to drive him to the hospital.
 
3.
At a summer soccer camp we had a girl go down after getting kicked in the back of the neck and we made the decision to spine board her and call 911. It all happened in less than 2 minutes.
 
4.
When I was born I had to decide wether to breath or just die.
 
Question
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Why do you want a career as an athletic trainer?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I want to provide prophylactic and rehabilitative care for athletes to help them become stronger as they overcome their injuries, but moreover, I want to make a difference in the lives of the young people I help by showing them that there can be a reliable and caring person who is always there for them, no matter what their personal situation may be. I value the athletic training career as a way of life, a way to help others and be part of a team and a family while broadening my knowledge of orthopedics at the same time.
 
2.
I find working with athletes rewarding because they want to do what they do. They put their minds and bodies through so much for their sport and I think working with them and helping them achieve that goal is so satisfying. I always knew a career in the health field was something I wanted to pursue and working around sports is a great combination of my passions.
 
3.
I knew that I never wanted a 9-5 career where I was stuck at a desk all day with little interaction with people. I love being outside and I love sports, and I knew I wanted a job where I had the chance to help and better someone every day.
 
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Who would you say inspires you?
 
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How do you evaluate if an athlete is ready to be back in the game?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
In my state, ATCs are not allowed to make the return to play decision. I will first ask the advice of the team physician and communicate the athlete's symptoms and my findings to come to a concensus, so that I understand the additional rehabilitation that my athlete must undertake before the physician gives me permission to allow the athlete to return to play.
 
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What type of training program do you use for yourself?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I do not exercise as much as I should, but when I do, I begin with a light aerobic warmup before strength-power exercises, choosing full body exercises and keeping the weight light but performing 20 or more repetitions to achieve hypertrophy. For my aerobic workouts, I find a quiet park with running trails and run 2 miles at a steady pace, walk to the soccer field, and complete 8 laps of interval training by running half a lap at a sprinting pace and then walking the other half. I cool down by doing walking lunges up the steep hill to where I park my car.
 
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What type of physical therapy equipment are you best versed in?
 
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What are your salary expectations?
 
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Do you feel that you are currently paid what you are worth?
 
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Describe your three greatest accomplishments to date.
 
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What is the riskiest decision you have made? What was the situation? What happened?
 
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Where do you see yourself five years from now?
 
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Do you think honesty is always the best policy?
 
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How can we motivate you on the job?
 
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What do you know about our organization?
 
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While attending university/college, what was your most challenging course, and why?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Biomechanics was the most challenging course because I had not taken physics or calculus and it contained a lot of those elements. Whereas all of the other course curriculums contained a practicum section, Biomechanics was situational and mathematical. There was a disconnect for me between the actual application of the forces of the body we were learning about and the way I would imagine an athlete going through the motions described in the math problems. I also did not understand why calculating how fast a boat will travel across a river was so important. Many of the math problems did not pertain to real-world examples in sports medicine. The teacher lost me, talking way over my head even during help sessions, and I believe I could have done better if I had found a way to apply each problem to sports medicine and rehab principles. This is why I feel that I should study Biomechanics in greater detail if I go on to complete a Master's degree.
 
Question
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While attending university/college, what was your favorite course, and why?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
General Medical Conditions of the Athlete. I love medicine, and differential diagnosis of non-orthopedic illnesses comes easily to me. I also love orthopedic and osteopathic medicine, but I had to study a lot harder in those classes than in Gen Med because it is like second nature.
 
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In your career as an athletic trainer, have you ever come across an injury that made you queasy? Or, any situation where you could not service the athlete?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
When a male athlete was hit in the groin area during a wrestling match, although I am familiar with injuries to male anatomy, I decided to have the male coach accompany the athlete to the locker room, telling the coach to ask the athlete specific questions about his injury and that the athlete should perform a self-examination and report back to the coach. I then asked if everything was ok, and the coach reported that the athlete was ok, just sore. He was able to walk it off and get back in the match. It did not make me queasy, as it is just anatomy, but I am female, so I did not want the male student to feel uncomfortable with a female handling the questions. There was an athlete who was inappropriate toward me and the other females. When the athlete attempted to make physical contact with me in a way that made me uncomfortable (trying to hug me, in a way that was not innocent or appropriate), moving away from him, I immediately turned to my preceptor, and in front of the athlete, stated plainly that I would not provide treatment or taping for him unless my preceptor was in the room supervising at all times. Although the athlete did not leave me alone after that, my preceptor was able to correct him when he made me uncomfortable.
 
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Give me a time when you went above and beyond the basic requirements for a patient.
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
When one of the football players who did not have many resources at home tore his ACL, I provided treatment for him after surgery to mobilize tissue and begin the range of motion phase of his rehab. When he was ready for physical therapy one week later, I accompanied him to each session, noting his progress and providing information to his guardian about how his scar should be healing and how to clean it. With proper patient education and guardian cooperation, he was able to begin football the next year stronger than he had been before.
 
2.
This girl at the high school had lower back problems and my preceptors wanted me to write up her rehab. Well I didn't really have much experience with back injuries except in class but this girl was very determined to get back and wanted to try anything so with the help of my preceptors I researched every rehab exercise we could do and other alternative ways to help her.
 
3.
I made a noose and instead of just showing it, I used it ;)
 
Question
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Is there any form of therapy or a specific type of situation that makes you uncomfortable?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Getting too deep into my personal life with individuals I am not close with.
 
2.
When an athlete makes inappropriate comments or gestures or acts in a way that invades my personal space in an inappropriate manner, I feel the need to report the behavior to the coach and have the coach or the parent accompany and supervise the athlete during each therapy session to avoid my personal discomfort and professional liability disputes.
 
3.
Large spaces, enclosed places, being high up, and being very low to the ground.
 
Question
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How well do you work in conjunction with other athletic trainers?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I can always learn new material or treatment techniques from other trainers who have more experience, and working with others is a great way to network and meet other professionals within the NATA. I enjoy being part of a team and feel that working together increases the efficiency of treatment, opportunity for delegation in handling emergency situations, and the enjoyment of the sporting event.
 
2.
I work very well with other people. I've been on sports teams since I could kick a soccer ball and being apart of a team is something I enjoy a lot.
 
Question
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Ten years from now do you still see yourself in the athletic training industry?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I see myself settled down working in a college setting. Also, I have been thinking that at some point I may go back to either PT school or get my PhD to be a professor, so I may be completing that.
 
2.
Yes, I will work as an Athletic Trainer for as long as possible. I do wish to continue my education with a Master's degree in athletic training, as many employers require this. I may also apply to medical school for orthopedic surgery, so that I may still work in conjunction with athletic trainers, but I find that I enjoy my part of caring for athletes throughout their day more than I would as a physical therapist, seeing many patients but not getting the chance to get to know the athletes and form a bond with them. Athletes rely on us every day to make sure they can keep their life and their body together. Without us, they would not be as prepared to take on daily challenges. Athletic training is a lifetime commitment.
 
3.
I see myself working at a D1 school as an athletic trainer working with my own team. Maybe working with a US Olympic team as well. Just furthering my knowledge on manual therapy.
 
Question
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Tell me about the most severe injury you have come across in your career as an athletic trainer.
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
During a football game, there were 2 ATCs, 3 intern student trainers, and a team manager, who was a student, but was trained in basic level EMS services. The star running back was tackled and motionless on the ground in fencing posture. Two ATCs, one intern, and the manager ran onto the field. The manager was not supposed to but the hurt kid was her friend so she thought it was ok. The athlete was unconscious during primary assessment but responded to pain and reported painful tingling and numbness in his extremities and his neck, and could not move his extremities. I was calling 911 and reporting the incident to EMS. The kid's mom was trying to run onto the field, hysterical, and the coaches were trying to keep her back but were yelling and cussing at the referees that the kid responsible for hurting him should be suspended from play. The intern got angry at the manager, who was trying to help spine board the athlete, but she was getting in the way, and was asked to leave by one of the ATCs, so I had to step in and try to keep everyone calm while handling the athlete with care. We got him loaded on a gurney and he had to be life flighted to the hospital because the EMTs suspected cerebral edema. He was diagnosed with a severe concussion but did not require surgery. He recovered and was cleared a month later.
 
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Tell me about your post-secondary education and how it prepared you for a career as an athletic trainer.
 
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Are you experienced in collaborating with physicians and other health care practitioners in order to create a strong rehabilitation program for a patient?
 
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Have you ever developed a client training program from scratch?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Yes, I took an Exercise Prescription and Strength and Conditioning class, in which I learned to create workout and training programs for individual clients based on their needs and state of physical fitness.
 
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Have you ever worked with patients who have disabilities or unique challenges?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I have not worked with Special Olympics teams or students with intellectual disabilities, but I have worked with students who have physical disabilities, Asperger's Syndrome, and Autism. I have found that these students require more emotional support and are not comfortable sharing symptoms, often times hiding pain and discomfort until the injury becomes more severe.
 
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As an athletic trainer, you need to assess a clients' progress carefully and regularly. Are you strong with documentation and report writing?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Yes, I am comfortable writing daily clinical logs, gathering contact information, writing SOAP notes and referrals to the Physical Therapy clinic and team physician, and creating follow up reports on therapy and/or rehabilitation progress to send home with athletes and parents.
 
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Have you ever worked as part of a team with a head coach or another trainer?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Yes, my preceptors and I worked sports events with a system where we would run out on the field and perform the primary assessment, and by the time the ATC arrived with the kit, we could report initial findings and tell how we would proceed. I also worked events where I was responsible for communicating with the coaches while my preceptor supervised, but I had to act on my own and then take corrections from my preceptor.
 
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As an athletic trainer are you able to recognize the signs of steroid or other performance enhancement drug use?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Yes. The male athlete is usually overly irritable, violent, and aggressive toward others while withdrawing from the group and becoming more introverted. Hair loss, voice deepening, gynecomastia, shrinking of genitals, excessive muscle gain inconsistent with workout intensity, insomnia, and inability to fight common infections are common symptoms of steroid use.
 
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What makes you a great problem solver?
 
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Rachelle Enns
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