Applying for NFL Athletic Training Internships? Here's a Guide. (2022)

As far as athletic training positions go, there are few as highly sought after as those in the NFL. Why? The glitz and glamour of professional football plays a role, but they also offer an opportunity to work in some of the best facilities and on the cutting edge of the industry. With the NFL athletic trainer salary set relatively high, somewhere around $45,000 to $75,000[i], there can be a lot of competition to get your foot in the door! If you’re asking yourself how to become an athletic trainer for the NFL, the first step is to get an internship! Easier said than done, right? With application pools of well over a thousand, it can be more than a little intimidating. How do you make your application shine? At the University of Idaho, we’ve heard this question a lot, and we have some tried and true tips share.

Let’s start with some background.

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What is Athletic Training?

I could write an entire blog post answering this question alone! The experts at the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) define it as, “Athletic trainers are highly qualified, multi-skilled health care professionals who collaborate with physicians to provide preventative services, emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention, and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions.”[ii]

To gain certification, athletic trainers graduate from a Master’s in Athletic Training Program that has been certified by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). This allows graduates to sit for the Board of Certification (BOC) exam. After passing the exam, they take Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to keep their accreditation active. Athletic trainers work in a variety of settings. However, since you’re reading this blog, you are probably wondering…

What do NFL Athletic Trainers do?

You may only see NFL athletic trainers on television briefly on Sunday afternoon, but you’re only seeing a small fraction of their job. Like physicians, they are on-call 24/7. According to Geoff Kaplan, head athletic trainer of the Houston Texans, “During the season, you work six months straight without a day off. Depending on if we’re traveling or not, we’re working between 80 and 90 hours a week. During training camp we’re working 110 to 120 hours a week”[iii] What are these athletic trainers doing? They are providing therapeutic treatments like ultrasound, hydrotherapy, and soft tissue mobilization. They are monitoring practices and leading injury prevention strategies. They are doing everything they can to keep the athletes and patients in top condition and ready to play. There have been a lot of changes and advancements in technology for athletic trainers, and the NFL is on the cutting edge of all of it. They often have quick access to MRI, ultrasound, and x-ray machines for diagnosis. There are concussion and helmet studies, computer models, innovations in protective gear, and new procedures to help treat athletes and get them back on the field as quickly as possible.

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It takes a lot of passion and commitment to be an athletic trainer for the NFL. Are you ready? Great! Let’s get your internship application ready!

Tips to apply

Applying for an internship at the NFL is a lot like applying to any internship. There are three big pieces to consider: applying at the right time, having high attention to the right details, and making your application stand out. Let’s go through each of these.

When to apply

The best time to apply is in the autumn. Applications are typically reviewed in October and November.

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Attention to the right details

Think about how you want your application to arrive. Many reviewers prefer paper copies. Are you going to choose a legal envelope or cram your materials into a smaller one? Are you going to print the address with your computer, or hurriedly scrawl it on with a hot pink pen? You can tell a lot about a person from how they choose to do these things, and you want to be sure you are showing off your professional best.

Consider the details that matter. It matters that you correctly spell the name of the person you are writing to. If you are applying to multiple teams, it matters that your mail merge matches up the correct names and addresses. We all make typos, but it matters that you take the time to have someone look over your materials and correct those before you send it out. It matters that you take the time to sign your name at the bottom of your cover letter.

What doesn’t matter? Fancy thick paper doesn’t matter. Copying and pasting the team logo on top of your letter doesn’t matter. Designer fonts and charming formatting doesn’t matter. As an athletic trainer, you’re expected to pay attention to the important details and filter out the noise. Let your internship application reflect that.

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Making your application stand out

Let’s look at how to shine in each of the three parts of your application.

Cover letter

Writing a cover letter can be a bit of a daunting task. The easiest way is to repeat all the things that are on your resume. Bad idea! Instead, think of your cover letter as your opportunity to introduce yourself and tell your story. Don’t be a bullet-list of education and experiences. Instead, reveal who you are as a person. How do you tell a compelling story about yourself? Consider these questions:

  • What led you to Athletic Training?
  • What inspires you in this field?
  • Why are you applying for the NFL Internship Program?

Give yourself time to think and rethink your letter and craft it carefully. The cover letter should bring your strengths and drive to the reviewer. If it doesn’t, don’t be afraid to scrap the whole thing and try again.

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Resume

Out of the hundreds of resumes pouring in by mail, how do you make yours stand out? Experience! Collecting experience begins long before you sit down to write your resume. It means going to a school that leads the pack in athletic training education. It means saying “yes!” to relevant experiences when they present themselves. It means networking at National, regional, and state athletic training conferences and being open to meeting new people and learning new skills. It means stepping out of your comfort zone from time to time. Your resume should not include your time waiting tables, but it should definitely include your time volunteering with a non-profit or mentoring at the local high school. Including extracurriculars sparks the reviewers’ interest, and shows you are more than a name with a degree. And it goes without saying, be sure to include any relevant experience you’ve had working with football or a related sport. Also emphasize techniques that could set you apart, like manual therapy or movement assessment.

References

The standard number of references is three. Include those that you’ve worked with in a clinical setting. It is awesome if you can include someone with name recognition, but few people are lucky enough to have that opportunity. Instead, focus on those who are close to the profession, and as recent as possible. A faculty member who has worked closely with you in the last year is a good bet. Your supervisor at the coffee shop isn’t. Be sure to ask for permission before you include your references’ names and check to make sure you have current contact information.

Putting it all together

That’s it! Are you ready to apply? Your last step should be getting a professional to read over your materials. Here at the University of Idaho our friends over at Career Services sit down with current students and alumni to read over application materials and provide feedback. Faculty are also great resources. Don’t be afraid of constructive criticism; it is an opportunity to learn, grow, and ultimately become a better candidate. Good luck!

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FAQs

How hard is it to get an internship with an NFL team? ›

The National Football League is run much like a major corporation, with year-round opportunities for both interns and full-time hires in positions that range from sports management to finance and marketing, but these opportunities are considered highly competitive.

How do you become an NFL intern? ›

To find and apply for an internship in the NFL, one must utilize the league's representative job listing site, Teamwork Online. Here, the league and its various teams post job and internship openings, their details, and application instructions. The main NFL website does not typically provide these listings.

Why do you want to be an athletic trainer? ›

One of the most obvious reasons to become an athletic trainer is the unique opportunity to work with athletes of all ages and skill levels. Whether you are an athlete or you just love the game, you can pursue your passion of sports and a rewarding career.

What is Nbata? ›

The National Basketball Athletic Trainers Association (NBATA) is a professional organization of highly skilled certified athletic trainers who provide specialized health care and critical support services to the athletes and organizations of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and NBA G League.

How do you increase your chances of getting an internship? ›

How to Increase Your Chances of Getting a College Internship
  1. Leverage Your Existing Network. One of the most effective ways to get any position is to have a personal referral. ...
  2. Don't Be Afraid to Cold Call. ...
  3. Set Up Informational Interviews. ...
  4. Don't Give Up.
6 Jan 2022

How much does an NFL intern make? ›

Hours, Compensation and Housing:

Interns for the NFLPA are limited to a 27.5-hour work week. The NFLPA provides an hourly stipend of $15.00 and will pay commuting costs or parking. For any other additional information or questions not answered, please check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

What do NFL interns make? ›

Average NFL Players Association Intern hourly pay in the United States is approximately $14.00, which meets the national average.

Where do NFL interns live? ›

If an intern is working directly for the NFL, the main location is in New York City. But other interns are scattered across the country, located where the team is located.

What are the 8 personal qualities of an athletic trainer? ›

Here are some traits that can help you land a job with your dream team:
  • Confidence. ...
  • Communication Skills. ...
  • Detail-Oriented. ...
  • Compassion. ...
  • Good Decision-Making Abilities. ...
  • A Love for the Field.

How do you become an NFL athletic trainer? ›

Seasonal Internships

The majority of NFL teams require that seasonal internship applicants are certified athletic trainers and have either graduated from an accredited undergraduate or graduate Athletic Training Education Program (ATEP). They often start in the spring and extend through the end of the NFL season.

How much do athletic trainers make in the NBA? ›

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.

How many athletic trainers do NBA teams have? ›

The National Basketball Athletic Trainers Association (NBATA) is comprised of fifty-seven dedicated athletic trainers servicing the organizations of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

What is the easiest NFL position? ›

Some of the easiest positions in football include: Punter. Defensive Tackle. Fullback.

Whats the easiest job in the NFL? ›

1. Running back. It's a no-brainer that running back is the position at which a freshman will have the easiest time seeing the field. Mentally, it's not a very complicated position besides the pass protection aspect.

What NFL position makes the least money? ›

Long snappers get paid the least of any position in the NFL

The long snapper position is one of the least important positions on a football field, and as a result is the lowest-paid position on average, according to rankings provided by Spotrac.

What is a good number of internships to apply to? ›

Applying for only a few internships

Internships are often highly competitive, with many applicants applying for a single position. To increase the likelihood that you will earn an interview and, ultimately, an internship, you should apply to 10 to 20 internships every two or three weeks.

What percentage of interns get offered a job? ›

56% of all interns in the United States have accepted job offers from the company they interned for. An additional 14% of all interns in the U.S. are given a part-time job offer after completing their internship.

What GPA do you need for internships? ›

Don't include your GPA unless it is exceptional or the employer specifically asks. In general, if you need a certain GPA to apply, recruiters look for applicants with a 3.0 or greater.

Do you get paid for NFL training camp? ›

All players at minicamp receive team-provided food, lodging and a per diem. During preseason training camp according to the NFL collective bargaining agreement, first year players receive $1,700 per week and veterans receive $2,900 per week in per diem.

How much does the NFL pay athletic trainers? ›

Division I: 25th-percentile, $38,000 per year; 75th-percentile, $79,662 per years. Division II: 25th-percentile, $35,000 per year; 75th-percentile, $63,000 per years. Division III: 25th-percentile, $35,000 per year; 75th-percentile, $65,000 per years.

Do NFL tryouts get paid? ›

First, NFL players do get paid during training camp. The amount of money depends on if the NFL player is a veteran or a rookie. According to CBS Baltimore, rookies will earn "per diem" payments from the first day of preseason training camp until one week prior to the NFL's regular season.

How many hours a week does a NFL athletic trainer work? ›

Like physicians, they are on-call 24/7. According to Geoff Kaplan, head athletic trainer of the Houston Texans, “During the season, you work six months straight without a day off. Depending on if we're traveling or not, we're working between 80 and 90 hours a week.

How much do NFL Waterboys get paid a game? ›

Nowadays, batboys get about 9-10 dollars per hour. In most cases, batboys work 8-9 hours a day in each home game. As a result, they can get around $19,000 to $20,000 per season.

Do NFL Waterboys get benefits? ›

According to Stack.com, NFL waterboys make $53,000 on average per year. This number is even higher when compared to some other workers. In addition, they also receive other benefits such as free equipment or souvenirs. The NFL waterboys are also the closest to the players we often watch on the field.

Do NFL players stay in hotels for training camp? ›

By training away from the facility, players stay at a hotel or other accommodations near campus. In Los Angeles, for example, a lot was made last year of quarterback Jared Goff and tight end Tyler Higbee being roommates and how that might play out on the field.

How long do NFL training camps last? ›

How long is NFL training camp? Training camp runs approximately two weeks long, ending just in time for each team's first preseason games. Most teams kick off the preseason the week of August 11. The Hall of Fame game, featuring the Raiders vs Jacksonville Jaguars, is the first game of the preseason on Aug.

Can you meet players at NFL training camp? ›

There are usually many opportunities at these camps to meet players. The NFL publishes a list of dates and locations for each team online a month before. There may be a designated area after each training session for fans to meet the players.

What are the five 5 qualities that successful trainers must possess? ›

The Top 5 Qualities of a Good Trainer
  • Trainers are Strategic Thinkers and Partners. A trainer is a strategic thinker. ...
  • Trainers are well-versed in Instructional Design. ...
  • Trainers are Project Managers. ...
  • Trainers are Facilitators of Change and Learning. ...
  • Trainers are Evaluators.

What are the disadvantages of being an athletic trainer? ›

A few negatives to becoming an Athletic Trainer are dealing with a lot of injuries, working a lot of long hours, parents and coaches disagreeing with the trainer's diagnosis and recommendations, and working within small…show more content…

What are 5 characteristics of a trained athlete? ›

Summary. So there you have it – the five physical qualities all athletes should be training: Mobility, speed, power, strength and conditioning.

What is a typical day for an athletic trainer? ›

On a typical day, the roles and responsibilities of an athletic trainer include: Providing athletic training services. Applying tape, bandages, and braces to protect or prevent injuries. Evaluating injuries and providing first aid.

What are the 5 domains of athletic training? ›

BOC-certified athletic trainers are educated, trained and evaluated in five major practice domains:
  • Prevention.
  • Clinical Evaluation and Diagnosis.
  • Immediate and Emergency Care.
  • Treatment and Rehabilitation.
  • Organization and Professional Health and Well-Being.

What school has the best athletic training program? ›

Our Top Pick

Why It's #1: The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor is the number one ranked school on our Best Accredited Bachelor's in Athletic Training Programs list.

What are the 6 domains of athletic training? ›

The six domains of athletic training are injury prevention, clinical evaluation and diagnosis, immediate care, treatment, rehabilitation and reconditioning, organization and administration, and professional responsibility.

What is the highest paid athletic trainer? ›

The highest salary for an athletic trainer is around $77,000 per year. These salaries often go to those with extensive experience in the field, with any one given employer, or those finding employment in an area where their talents are highly sought after.

Is becoming an athletic trainer worth it? ›

Athletic trainers earn a good living doing what they love. And Texas is in the top five highest salary states for athletic trainers! The median annual wage for athletic trainers is $49,860, which is higher than the median wage for all occupations.

Do athletic trainers travel with the team? ›

Athletic Trainers work with the pro teams.

They are needed from the first training day to beyond the last game. At a professional sports level, athletic trainers can average $53,000 a year. They will travel with the team and be with the players for every home and away game.

How much do NBA Waterboys get? ›

Reports add that waterboys newly hired get paid around $100 per game. While $58,000 is a base figure, those with experience in nutrition can be paid as high as $100,000 annually by a team. As per the NBA waterboy job description, it has many dynamic demand as the person interested needs to be in their best health.

What is the highest paying occupation? ›

Highest Paying Occupations
OCCUPATION2021 MEDIAN PAY
General internal medicine physiciansThis wage is equal to or greater than $208,000 per year
Family medicine physiciansThis wage is equal to or greater than $208,000 per year
Emergency medicine physiciansThis wage is equal to or greater than $208,000 per year
17 more rows
8 Sept 2022

How much do G league trainers make? ›

NBA G League coach's salary

The G championship coaches make, on average, $75,000 annually. In addition, the NBA G League assistant coach's salary is also reported to be the same as his counterpart's.

Do athletic trainers only practice on athletes? ›

Athletic trainers provide medical services to all types of patients, not just athletes participating in sports, and can work in a variety of job settings.

How many athletic trainers are female? ›

Research Summary.

There are over 27,556 athletic trainers currently employed in the United States. 46.9% of all athletic trainers are women, while 53.1% are men. The average age of an employed athletic trainer is 39 years old.

› ... › Career Path ›

Considering a career as an athletic trainer? These health professionals work with athletes in therapeutic settings to help rehabilitation after an injury.
Athletic trainers are sometimes mistaken for athletic coaches because of the word 'trainer'. However, an athletic trainer is actually a highly qualified...
Athletic trainers (ATs) partner with doctors and health care professionals to provide emergency care, clinical diagnosis and injury recovery/rehabilitation.

Can you intern for an NFL team? ›

You don't have to be a professional athlete to intern with the NFL. Anyone who is fond of football and sports is welcome. NFL interns work in a variety of departments where they learn the ins and outs of the sports business and how that business keeps 120 million fans happy.

How much do NFL team interns make? ›

Hours, Compensation and Housing:

Interns for the NFLPA are limited to a 27.5-hour work week. The NFLPA provides an hourly stipend of $15.00 and will pay commuting costs or parking. For any other additional information or questions not answered, please check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

How much does an intern in the NFL make? ›

What is the average salary of NFL Intern? NFL Interns earn $71,000 annually, or $34 per hour, which is 81% higher than the national average for all Interns at $30,000 annually and 7% higher than the national salary average for ​all working Americans.

What do NFL interns make? ›

Average NFL Players Association Intern hourly pay in the United States is approximately $14.00, which meets the national average.

How many hours a week does a NFL athletic trainer work? ›

Like physicians, they are on-call 24/7. According to Geoff Kaplan, head athletic trainer of the Houston Texans, “During the season, you work six months straight without a day off. Depending on if we're traveling or not, we're working between 80 and 90 hours a week.

Where do NFL interns live? ›

If an intern is working directly for the NFL, the main location is in New York City. But other interns are scattered across the country, located where the team is located.

How much do NFL sideline trainers make? ›

Division I: 25th-percentile, $38,000 per year; 75th-percentile, $79,662 per years. Division II: 25th-percentile, $35,000 per year; 75th-percentile, $63,000 per years.

What is the lowest paying job in the NFL? ›

What NFL position has the lowest average salary? At the bottom of the salary leaderboard is special teams, averaging $2.775 million. Among the special teams contingency, kickers consistently occupy the highest-paid spots over punters and long snappers.

Do you get paid for NFL training camp? ›

All players at minicamp receive team-provided food, lodging and a per diem. During preseason training camp according to the NFL collective bargaining agreement, first year players receive $1,700 per week and veterans receive $2,900 per week in per diem.

How much money do athletic trainers make in the NFL? ›

Athletic trainers in the NFL make an average of $75,000 per year. Some have reported making as much as $100,000 per year. Athletic trainers in the NFL may have significantly more responsibilities and confidentiality restraints than those working for common employers and company types.

How much do NFL Waterboys get paid a game? ›

Nowadays, batboys get about 9-10 dollars per hour. In most cases, batboys work 8-9 hours a day in each home game. As a result, they can get around $19,000 to $20,000 per season.

Do NFL tryouts get paid? ›

First, NFL players do get paid during training camp. The amount of money depends on if the NFL player is a veteran or a rookie. According to CBS Baltimore, rookies will earn "per diem" payments from the first day of preseason training camp until one week prior to the NFL's regular season.

Do NFL Waterboys get benefits? ›

According to Stack.com, NFL waterboys make $53,000 on average per year. This number is even higher when compared to some other workers. In addition, they also receive other benefits such as free equipment or souvenirs. The NFL waterboys are also the closest to the players we often watch on the field.

Do NFL scouting interns get paid? ›

As of Oct 28, 2022, the average monthly pay for an Intern Football Scouting in the United States is $3,544 a month.

How many weeks do NFL practice squad players get paid? ›

How much money do NFL practice squad players make? Players with two or fewer accrued NFL seasons earn at least $11,500 per week, which equals $207,000 for 18 weeks spent on the practice squad. (A player accrues a season when they are on full-time pay status for at least six regular-season games).

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