My Career as an Independent Athletic Trainer
Level 1: Amatuer
Welcome Players! My career did not follow a typical progression. I went against the grain at almost every step of the way. This article details how I got to where I am - and provides context to the next generation of professionals that is looking to use their expertise to take back control of their life and career.
Strength & Conditioning
Life as an Entrepreneur
Message to You
This post details my life and career as an ATC. For more readings like this one - subscribe below!
I was never a ‘good’ student.
I got suspended in almost every level of grade school (sans elementary school).
I was subject of an intervention that tried to see me change majors in college.
I was on academic probation and risked getting kicked out of graduate school my second year.
When I finished school, I never once worked for a team, organization or company.
I interned for thousands of unpaid hours, my first job was paid under the table and I opened my first LLC at 22 years old.
Ever since then I’ve made my living as an Independent Athletic Trainer working as a sub-contractor to provide services in a variety of places.
I’m a fully licensed and certified Athletic Trainer and entrepreneur whose business took me across the country (and into Mexico at one point) working with professional athletes, business moguls, celebrities, and F500 executives.
This is how I broke into the field of Private Sports Performance and how I made my mark as an Independent Athletic Trainer leveraging my knowledge and skills by starting a business.
I was lucky.
I knew what I wanted to go to college for. Many kids have no idea what they want to do - and that’s alright. I actually believe at that age most people shouldn’t know what they want to do with their life.
But I did. Like I said, I was lucky.
I had played sports my whole life, almost every one available. Football, Baseball, Basketball, Soccer, Lacrosse, Track & Field. You name it I played it.
I genuinely loved sports.
In High School I focused on just one: Football. I wasn’t good enough to play in College, I knew that, whatever I ended up doing I wanted it to be in the sport industry. Stemming from my relentless desire to improve physically through training and practice; one day I opened the notes in my phone and wrote:
“I want to help athletes to perform at the best of their ability”
It was this sentence that shaped my desire to go into a sport performance related field, although I didn’t really know it at the time.
That year I ended up spraining my ankle pretty bad, missing 2 weeks of practice and spending some time in the Athletic Training room.
So when it was time to pick a college major, I said I want to be an Athletic Trainer. I can be around sports and I can help athletes perform. I get to do both the things I wanted. I didn’t fully understand the medical involvement of ATC’s at the time, but that was OK.
My clinical rotations consisted of:
Women’s Field Hockey (5 months)
Women’s Basketball (3 months)
Football (3 months)
Aquatics: Swimming, Diving, & Synchronized Swimming (9 months)
A Local High School (7 months)
OSU Sport Medicine Clinic (2 months)
A clinical rotation is when a health-related profession student (in this case AT) works part-time under the Athletic Training and Sport Medicine staff in the Athletics Department, learning skills and applying knowledge from class in the real-world environment of the sports team while under trained supervision.
I learned early on that while the Athletic Training profession is a noble profession and absolutely critical to the health and performance of athletes in an organized setting - it was also wrought with unfair treatment and lifestyle dysfunction for the professionals.
A Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) typically works for a sport team or organization. They can also be employed by a hospital or health center, and then contracted to sport coverage.
They work long hours, being on-site for practices and games showing up earlier than the team and staying for many hours after. Their treatments with players are planned around practice, of which they also have to be at. They have extensive clinical documentation necessary for all procedures. They are required to be on-call for not just most hours of the day, but most times of the YEAR.
They are trained to save lives in emergency and catastrophic situations at the most severe level. They are expertly trained in musculoskeletal injury evaluation, treatment, and management along with acute and chronic rehabilitations. They are well versed in pharmacology, illness prevention and management, and general medical condition evaluation.
You would think with the extensive training and valuable skills they bring to the table that the compensation would match.
Here is information from the US. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
While the mean annual wage may be ~$54k, students can expect to see salary compensation of ~$40k as an entry level assistant Athletic Trainer.
And that’s if they’re lucky. There is a large supply/demand problem where young professionals fight to work at coveted D1 universities or Professional Sports Teams. There are a finite amount of these positions, so if applicants want to have competitive resume they will take one of two routes to get there:
Taking a year-long internship where they work full-time as an ATC. It’s really more of a “work for 1-year with bottom-tier pay and we’ll let you put the position on your resume” than it is an “internship”
Become a Graduate Assistant (GA) where they work full time as an ATC for a university covering a sport in exchange for a tuition waiver and (very) small stipend
Let’s look at examples of the two routes a graduating ATC student can take to position for the goal of working their dream job (in the pro’s or power 5 D1 conference).
Here is a major D1 University’s job posting for a temp Intern Athletic Trainer.
Ok, so $15/hour is *checks notes* $3/hr more than minimum wage.
I’m sure the responsibilities of this job are similar to minimum wage, right?
I mean - this reads as a JOKE! $15/HOUR?!?
“Ability to work long hours, including early mornings, late nights, weekends, holidays, overtime, non-traditional work hours, extended periods of time without days off, travel, and be on-call as a regular part of this position.”
It’s honestly unreal that this is a serious job posting. But the larger problem within the Athletic Training Profession is that there are people who succumb themselves to this and accept the position. This University should be ashamed.
If a professional isn’t willing to subject themselves to a full-life commitment for 20% more than minimum wage, they could go back to school as a GA with a tuition waiver.
Let’s see what they earn for their full-time efforts.
One of my peers, who was a GA at the time, once calculated his hourly pay during his GA position to be $1.70/hour.1 That's not enough to cover cost of living for any city in the country, much less food.
One dollar, seventy cents per hour. For a licensed, certified healthcare professional who could be and would be responsible for the safety and health of an entire cohort of student-athletes.
But let’s say that against all odds, a young go-getter was determined to work their way into a coveted position as an Athletic Trainer for a Pro Sports team.
After 6-7 years, a $200k undergraduate degree and a $100k graduate degree, this professional gets their dream job as an Assistant Athletic Trainer. Their entry level pay? They earn =/<$50k/year salary. Minus taxes of course. And cost of relocating to the city they’re in. And cost of living. They’ll have to pay off those students loans as well. Good luck saving for a house!
And what if they want to take a vacation when their sport is in-season? No.
What if they planned a trip for after the season and their team ended up making the playoffs? Cancel the trip. Got to go to work.
Ok, well if their team wins that’s at least cool right?! They should get a bonus! Do they? Nope. Just weeks of more long arduous work hours. They’re on salary remember, no double-OT pay here. But hey that championship ring is cool!
And if that person wants to settle down and raise a family? Good luck. You have to be at work early and leave work lately. Nearly every day for at least 7 months out of the year. Date night with your partner? Better plan a few years in advance.
While this may be an exaggerated scene of life as an Athletic Trainer this was certainly my perception of it as a student. Many of the employees who taught at the university were single, or if they had family often talked how they don’t get to spend as much time with them as they’d like. While I believe they knew they didn’t get paid enough, there was an assumption that if they stayed in the position long enough their annual 2-5% raise will make it worth it one day.
There is always one (1) Head Athletic Trainer in these organized settings. That person will make 6-figures, easy. Often times $150k+. And the common theme between them? 25+ years in the profession, started at the bottom, fought up the ladder and earned the position. I would take mental note of the people in these positions as well - often single.
That was not the life I wanted to live. While I liked the idea of Athletic Training, I was not willing to sacrifice my life to do it.
To those professionals currently in those positions fighting for equity and equality - do not be mistaken. I salute you, I respect you, and I certainly feel for you.
But I knew from the start that would not be the life I was going to live.
Strength & Conditioning
When I came to the conclusion that I had no intention of pursuing a career as a traditional Athletic Trainer - I began looking for a way out. This was around my sophomore year of college.
I was not willing to leave AT school. I was pot-committed for better or worse. I looked laterally to an industry where my medical background and ATC license would be of value and I found that in Strength & Conditioning (S&C). The hours were less because they had no in-game or practice duties, only the time required to administer the workouts and effort that goes into planning/executing them.
The environment was more relaxed, there was less regulatory oversight (no documentation of every interaction like the medical field), and the pay ceiling was certainly much higher.
Of course this was not without its drawbacks. S&C coaches still had to work much of the year with little flexibility, there was immense hierarchal structure, and similar to athletic training the higher pay-scales were reserved for the coaches that had been around the longest.
Worse though was that entry level coaches were paid far less than athletic trainers. Entry level S&C coaches could expect somewhere between $20k-$30k/year salaries. I thought that if I could stack my skills and resume enough, I would be able to enter the S&C world mid-tier and work up from there.
I began asking if I could shadow S&C coaches in various sport teams at tOSU. The coaches gladly let me in to shadow workouts early in the morning because I was an AT student. I signed up for the NSCA and attended local conferences to network.
I found a mentor in the Exercise Physiology department who was willing to let me practice my programming with him - writing workouts for sample athletes every week and then going over them with me.2
I volunteered to work at OSU’s Exercise Physiology Lab under this mentors advice that it would look be looked upon favorably in the future. For a semester three days a week I woke up at 2am, worked in the lab reading research and assisting to conduct experiments from 3a-7a, and then went to class half-asleep by 8am.
Throughout my Junior year I was sold.
Athletic training is OUT. Strength & Conditioning is IN.
I would finish my ATC degree to leverage the sport medicine knowledge & healthcare professional license and begin my career as a strength & conditioning coach. I was weighing going to graduate school for a S&C-related field but was undecided.
My first step to seeing this reality was of course a S&C internship. The summer after my junior year I took a 3-month full-time unpaid internship at a private sport performance facility in San Francisco. I believed this would be exactly what I needed to not only build out my resume for graduate school but more importantly to gain valuable experience coaching.
The facility I interned at was semi-private, meaning that the coaches (and interns) would be at the facility from 6a-6p (with breaks for meals of course) and the clients could come in during open hours and complete their workout at any time they want.
Seeing as this was San Francisco during the tech boom, of course the facility had developed their own app to digitally-deliver training programs complete with instructions, sets, reps, and videos. It was a very cool model that allowed us as coaches to help whoever needed it the most but also still be hands-on and individualized with our instruction.
I learned a lot in my time there. Not only did I learn how to coach, but I learned about this third industry I hadn’t been exposed to yet: Sport Performance.
This was a relatively new term, something that encompassed all aspects of athletic potential instead of being funneled into Strength, Conditioning, or Rehabilitation. Sport Performance was the idea that you would treat the athlete as an individual and their training would consist of whatever would make the biggest improvement for them.
This was new to me because typically S&C programs are developed at the team level to get the greatest % of athletes better. You can’t individually program for 100+ football players. But in this world of private sport performance, that’s exactly what you get to do.
If the athlete has dysfunction or pain, their program would include rehab-like exercises. If they need to get bigger, faster, stronger - strength & conditioning. If they have poor movement efficiency, it was movement drills and kinetic force transfer exercises.
You didn’t create the program until you got the athlete!
Needless to say at the end of my experience there I was in love. Not only did I favor the autonomy of programming and enacting change at the individual level for the client or athlete, but as I learned in the private sector:
You can get paid a hell of a lot more too.
Premier service. Premier price.
One thing I loved about the sport performance industry was that even in my brief three-month stint I could feel the tangible impact made on someones life.3
Clients show their appreciation when you help them reach their goal! It’s not an expected result like in Athletic Training. The athletes are all expected to receive treatment. Expected to get rehabilitation. It’s a normal part of the process. They wouldn’t know what to do without it.
In the private sector many clients had not experienced a level of high quality care before so when provided they return with substantial amounts of gratitude. I found it provided a degree of fulfillment I never got while an AT student.
Returning to college my senior year I had re-developed my career plan.
Strength & Conditioning was now OUT. Sport Performance was IN.
I would still finish my undergraduate in Athletic Training to earn my certification and medical licensure, and would pursue a Master’s degree in a Strength & Conditioning-related program to fortify my skills before seeking to work at a private sport performance facility.
Throughout my last year of college I researched top graduate programs and did my best to learn the landscape of the sport performance industry. It was more pronounced than I had thought. Many former S&C Coaches either left their traditional role with a team entirely to open up their own private facility, or stayed in their role and used it to grow their private facility.
I learned that many professional athletes train privately in the off-season instead of with the team. I learned that there were ample opportunities to work within sport performance all across the country. But most importantly, I saw that in the majority of cases, regardless of size or prestige of the facility, Certified Athletic Trainers were nowhere to be found.
I was impatient much of that last year - knowing I could have the opportunity of a lifetime to bring medical knowledge into sport performance and help bridge the gap between sport medicine and strength & conditioning. After all, that’s how I viewed sport performance: training along the complete spectrum of athletic potential individualized to the person.
I applied and was accepted to three Graduate programs - all were Strength & Conditioning programs under the Exercise Physiology/Kinesiology umbrellas.
One program had a heavier emphasis on research & lab testing
One program was heavy on S&C internships with the athletic teams
One program emphasized preparing you to be a S&C coach & entrepreneur in the real world
Can you guess which one I picked?
After a 30 minute conversation with the Program Director in which he said, “I’ll take you to the promised land all you have to do is follow me” I enrolled in the University of Miami’s Exercise Physiology Graduate Program with a Concentration in Strength & Conditioning & Fitness Entrepreneurship.
I chose UM for a few reasons outside of just their specific program.
Miami was a hot-spot for athletes of all levels in the off-season
Had its own budding sport performance scene full of rising facilities
I felt the program at UM would prepare me to hit the ground running when I finished
I moved to Miami in August in order to start school in September, and in the weeks before classes started I got a text from the owner of the facility that I interned at a year prior.
He saw I was in Miami and as we caught up mentioned he had a friend who ran a private facility that he thought I would mesh well with. He offered to make the introduction and I graciously accepted.
I connected with him and we spent an hour talking at his facility. We chatted about approaches to training, how I felt my ATC degree would serve me in the sport performance industry, and the things his facility specialized in.
I left thankful I had a chance to talk to someone who was in a position I wanted to get to. I was happy to make the connection and hoped it could be useful on my journey in the future.
What I didn’t expect was to receive a call a few days later. It was the owner of the facility - he wanted to offer me a job! Well, not quite a job. You see his facility was another business model I had yet to experience. It was a training collective: the facility rented out the space to independent contractors (trainers) who were free to use it at will with their clients. No profit share on the amount of sessions, no kickbacks; just the pre-arranged monthly “rent” that the trainer paid to the gym. They were then free to charge however much they wanted between them and their clients.
I was offered to come in as an “intern” but with the understanding that the internship was more-so a period to allow me to learn the ropes of how independent trainers ran their businesses, how to work with high-profile clientele and essentially to ease into the process without needing to pay the gym rent without knowing what I was doing.
For 3 months I was at the facility every day. Before class, after class. Cleaning when needed. Watching every training session that I could. Asking questions to everyone about everything. The collective of trainers were some of the greatest group of people I could have been around. They were seasoned vets and took me in as a young-gun who knew nothing about running a business. They didn’t have to; they weren’t getting paid to. But they did anyway. To those that helped teach me I am grateful many times over.
I learned how to conduct a training session. Not the coaching, the soft skills. How to greet a client at a door. How to set-up their workout. How to answer their questions before they asked.
Premier service. Premier price.
I learned how to make sales calls. How to be confident when negotiating a rate with a client. How to schedule. How to clean up the weights immediately after finishing; not at the end of the session. How to work in a shared space with 10+ other trainers.
I learned how to be a professional in the industry.
As I spent more time around the gym the facility allowed me to take over parts of sessions. First just stretching clients before their workout, then taking certain blocks, then filling in for light sessions. Not only was I gaining experience, but I was building trust. Eventually I was conducting sessions with professional athletes, some big names too.
After three months, towards the end of the year, I had a meeting. The owner thought I was ready; ready to transition into a role as an independent trainer and start taking my own clients. They were willing to help funnel me my first few clients to help get the ball rolling and were going to scale my pay-rate for rent accordingly until I had established at least a small book of business.
I was ready. On Dec. 26, 2017, I filed for my LLC. I set up a business bank account, got my FEIN number, got professional liability insurance, and set up a payment processor.
I had officially started my business as an Independent Athletic Trainer.
Work + Graduate School
For the next year and half I worked full-time as an Independent Trainer and attended graduate school full time.
I would go to classes in the morning and take clients in the afternoon. I told all my clients from the start that my schedule would be semi-restricted based on classes and they all understood.
I opted out of the school internships with the athletics teams - one of the very few to do so. I already had my dream job! I was living it! I often thought of leaving school and just concentrating on work.
But I was pot-committed again. I was determined to finish my degree.
It was stressful to be working two things full-time. I took a lot of pride in my work as a trainer. Any mistakes or failures with my clients fell heavy on my shoulders. On top of extensive work required for graduate school there was no time for a personal life.
But the grind eventually paid off. With no shortage of drama, failures, and a few gracious helping hands from my professors, I graduated with my M.S.Ed. in Exercise Physiology (w/ a concentration in Strength & Conditioning).
I didn’t celebrate finishing school. I didn’t even attend the ceremony. I opted to get my diploma in the mail and I don’t even remember the day I graduated. All I cared about was going back to work!
I finally could just concentrate on my career and providing the best possible service to the clients and athletes I was working with. I genuinely loved my job!
When I finished school, I had been working for nearly two years at a top private sport performance facility in Miami.
I had established a reputation for using my background in sports medicine to be a bridge from rehabilitation to sport performance training.
I had developed a plethora of unique skills as a manual therapist and formulated my own unique framework for rehabilitating chronic injuries through movement.
I demonstrated that I could coach elite athletes at high level and could represent myself with integrity and professionalism.
Life as an Entrepreneur
I used to think of myself as an Athletic Trainer & Sport Performance Specialist.
The latter was a term I made up to try and separate my service from that of a Strength & Conditioning Coach. No one really knew what an ATC was outside of organized settings, so I thought the terminology shift could give me an edge.
While I am those things, I think what gets overlooked the most is that first and foremost, I’m an entrepreneur.
The services I provide are related to Athletic Training and Performance Training, but as an independent contractor I’ve always had to run my business first.
This was something I was never taught in school. Neither undergraduate nor graduate.
They didn’t teach me:
How to pay taxes (1099’s are very different from W2’s)
How to build a website
How to set up a payment processor or a scheduling software
How to have difficult conversations with clients
How to fire a client
How to market your business so you could attract new clients
How to determine how much work you should do pro bono to build rapport vs. putting your foot down and charging for your time and worth
When to give and when to take in negotiations
How to manage finances
How to budget accordingly
How to get personal health insurance
How to communicate with players, agents and team staff/personel
How to have a contract for travel services so that you’r not chasing down invoices 1+ months after completion of the service at risk of not getting paid
How to hire a CPA
How to seek legal help and attorney consultations
How to handle intimidation; professional bullying
How to develop warranties and waivers
How to get physician standing orders
How to establish relationships with banks
I had to learn all those things myself.
I had help of course - but I still had to learn it.
I was fortunate enough to have a father who owned and operated his own company for 25+ years to help guide me on business structure. I had peers and colleagues who helped me develop professionalism and confidence. I had mentors who I could talk to when I was having doubts.4 I had clients who directed entire corporations help me on creative direction and strategy. I had friends with skills in design and technology help at no cost.
And of course one of the most valuable resources of all - the internet.
If google had a search limit I would have hit it in the first month. I cold-emailed and cold-called other professionals asking for help. Many of them obliged!
That’s how I found out an ATC could practice legally as an independent by obtaining standing orders. I emailed the founder of a company that provided ATC contracting services. I explained my situation and asked what she did to provide medical care legally. She was gracious enough to not only get on a 30 minute call to explain it to me, but sent me the actual document she used and just told me to change the name of the company!
And these are all things that have absolutely nothing to do with the job itself.
I still have to perform the evaluations, assess for the source of dysfunction, treat, manage, and rehabilitate injuries.
I still have to take CEU’s to maintain my licensure.
To learn new skills and practice tips skills outside of clients to perfect my craft.
To document of all my medical sessions (I did not want to mess around with the statute of limitations).
I have to develop training programs, short-term and long-term, and then show up to coach every day. Sometimes it’s only 4 or 5 sessions a day. Sometimes it’s 11 or 12 or 13 sessions a day. In-session. On the floor, training.
I don’t have a normal full-time job.
I have a 24/7, 365/year job. I work on weekends. I work on holidays. I work early and I work late. (kind of sounds like that shitty university internship, huh?)
But what comes along with that is the ability to make my own schedule.
I don’t have to work. When I don’t, I don’t get paid. I could take a month off to travel the world. Of course there’s no guarantee my clients would still be there when I get back - but I could. If I get sick I can cancel sessions - my clients understand. If I want to travel to see my family I can do so whenever I please.
I don’t have to take sessions at 6am, or 8pm. But if I do I make more money.
It’s not even as clear-cut as an exchange of time-for-money services. When a client pays for my services, they aren’t just paying for the one hour I spend with them. This is something I take great pride in:
They’re paying for me, as a professional, to be on their team.
This means when their family member needs help, I give it. When they have a question, I answer. When they invite me to events, I go. We exchange birthday gifts and holiday parties. It’s a very special relationship that’s hard to explain.
For some clients I spend more time with them than they do their best friends! Think 5-days a week for an hour a piece, plus spillover time, for sometimes months on end. The trainer-client relationship is one that’s deeply embedded in personal life!
I learn as much from them as I like to think they learn from me.
Every aspect of being an entrepreneur and an Independent Athletic Trainer revolves around full unencumbered commitment. There are no days off - no times where I can go home and “leave work at the office”. I am thinking about it, All. The. Time. That is my livelihood. I have no guaranteed income.
I could wake up tomorrow and all my clients be gone. They could move, get injured, lose their job and have to cancel training. I can’t afford not to work as hard as I can every single day. At least that’s how it feels. That’s what comes with being in charge. You get what you put in. But you get what you put in.
There’s no job security - but there’s also no limit as to how much money you can make.
I was able to pay for my last semester of graduate school out of pocket from the money I made while training. I also had to pay for it out of pocket because I lost eligibility for my student loan, but that’s another story.
All of these things are part of the career of being independent. I concede that it may not be for everyone. I talked about why I never wanted to be a traditional Athletic Trainer, but by all accounts this is not an easy route to take. I hope to make it clear that although it may seem like I have achieved some level of success, it was not without failures. Many of them.
All in all - I am the captain of my own ship (corny but true).
Whether I sink or swim is solely dependent on ME. There are no other factors at play. If I work hard enough, for long enough, I WILL be successful. No bureaucracy. No ladder-climbing. There is always politics - but less of it.
I relish the opportunity to be the helm.
That’s what life as an Independent Athletic Trainer has given me, and can offer you - full control of your future.
Things I’ve done
To-date I no longer work at that facility that took me in as a young graduate student. I’ve grown and moved on to new ventures - ones that my heart and head are more in line with.
In that time I’ve worked with over a thousand individual clients.
Professional athletes, future hall of famers, players from nearly every major professional sport, athletes in atypical sports such as auto-racing and dance, cyclists and runners, doctors, surgeons, CEO’s of F500 companies, entrepreneurs and business moguls, celebrities, artists, kids, moms, grandpa’s, folks with chronic conditions I had once not known existed.
I’ve travelled across the country on a private jet.
I’ve gone to NBA games on player tickets.
I’ve been kicked out of pro team training facilities.
I’ve gotten to stay at luxury residences in world-class destinations.
I’ve been trusted. I’ve been lied to. Conspired against.
I’ve gotten cease and desists. I’ve gotten thank you cards & gifts.
I’ve gotten FaceTime calls in the middle of night when a client’s had an emergency.
I’ve been a shoulder to cry on for people struggling with things I wouldn’t have imagined.
Hired. Fired. Hired again.
Paid extra. Ghosted on payments.
I’ve chased down unpaid invoices for months.
I’ve been cursed at. Thanked.
I’ve gotten insights from people that charge thousands of $ for consultations.
I’ve gotten advice, both personal and professional from clients that are experts in their field.
I’ve gained friends FROM clients and lost friends AS clients.
But most importantly…
I’ve loved every second of it.
All the effort, planning, trials and tribulations, mistakes, failures and successes.
They were all worth it.
I couldn’t imagine living out my career as any other way.
With all that being said - my career is still in its infancy. While I look back and think that I’ve done so much, there is still so much that I have yet to do.
As I’ve lived these experiences - my focus grows more narrow. The breadth of experiences have given me a more refined belief for what I want my future to hold. It’s in these beliefs that I chase new opportunities. If you want to follow along - you can do so right here by subscribing to this Substack:
To the Future:
To the younger generation and students that this was written for - my intention is not to sway you to follow my career path. Far from it.
I simply encourage you to not be defined by the paths others walked before you.
I was never told this was a possibility while I was in school. You read my path. I stumbled my way into it. I was in the right place, right time, multiple times. I met the right people, said the right thing, and went the right direction.
I messed up more than my fair share of times.
But as Athletic Trainers, or healthcare professionals, you have a set of skills that far surpasses societies associated value. Don’t let organizations worth (literally) billions of dollars tell you you’re only worth $50k a year.
You have the skills and knowledge to save lives. Improve lives. Change lives. You are indispensable, reliable, and flexible. You can cover multiple professions in one. You are a swiss army knife. You filled in for the shortage of medical staff at hospitals during COVID. You can get a phlebotomy certification to administer needles and medication. You are more qualified to evaluate musculoskeletal injuries than most orthopedic physicians.
You can work in a variety of industries that have nothing to do with sports and make an impact. A real impact in peoples lives. And get paid to live a good life too. Not minimum wage. Not scraping by.
I took the route of independence and entrepreneurship.
It was far from perfect. I almost failed at every step of the way.
But I didn't.
And now I’m here, almost 10 years later from that initial note I wrote in my phone as a high-schooler, with the same goal:
“I want to help people perform at the best of their ability.”
The message I want to convey is that just because no one’s done what you want to do - doesn’t mean it’s not possible.
If you are willing to work hard - you can find your own path of success too.
Whatever it is that you choose to do, Good Luck.
For all students and future students, should you have questions - you need only ask.
Disclaimer: This is written through MY perspective on the industries as I experienced them. I am not speaking for any industry in absolute. This is not medical advice. The content is purely educational in nature and should be filtered through ones own lens of common sense and applicability.
While I do not remember nor have the exact calculations - I am confident this accurately reflects the landscape of current pay structure for Graduate Assistantships
Thanks Ciaran! Have you ever heard of HIIT training?!
I’ll never forget the SFFD member who had suffered a cardiac event. He wanted to return to the force but needed to be cleared for advanced physical training. Because of the history of his heart he wanted to make sure he trained with true professionals - if he was pushed too much he would be at risk for another cardiac event. I loved working with him. By the time my internship ended, he had passed his physical training exam and was back working at the Fire Department. He came back to drop me off a t-shirt as a thanks for helping him get back to where he wanted. I still have that shirt to this day.
With respect to privacy, I want to make sure I offer my sincerest and greatest gratitude to those mentors that helped get me to where I am today. In no order: Coach G., Tyler, Stew, Jimmy, Ciaran, Lauren, John, Jeff, Brian, Wes. Without you, nothing I have done would be possible. Thank you.