Positions that value profession

March 26, 2013

Have you ever taken a job for experience? That job that is simply a foot in the door or a step in the right direction. Perhaps it is simply resume fodder. I will admit it, I have. That job that is available and seems like the best choice at the time. Maybe we get desperate. After all, we do need to eat.

As I look through the Career Center I wonder how many of these jobs are actually worthwhile. How many of these jobs actually value the worth of the athletic trainer? How many of these internship positions are looking for a cheap certified with the promise of “experience?”
There are companies out there that do “outreach” to schools. Many times this is nothing but ‘pimping’ the athletic trainer to a school for presumed profit. There is no value to the school that does not pay for a service or pays so little that the service is essentially given. If I am selling shoes and give you a pair of shoes for $1 are you going to value them as much as one that I sell you for $75? Which would you presume to have more worth? The shoes do the same thing and provide the same functions. Would you expect that both are of equal quality?

Physical therapists have taken issue with physician-owned physical therapy practices because they put the physical therapist at a disadvantage. Athletic trainers need to stop accepting that physical therapists are the best or preferred employment means. We should take a stand against physical therapists devaluing the services that athletic trainers provide. They tell others and us that we should not be doing rehabilitation. They take this important skill away from so many ATs. At the same time they determine our salaries and tell us what they think we are worth.

This has to end. We need to stop taking jobs that do not show value for our profession. I have taken a job that I hoped I would be able to prove my worth once I got in. Three years later nothing has changed and I was stuck in a position that continued to not respect the athletic training profession. We all make mistakes.

Unfortunately you already have the answer for not taking these jobs. Someone else will take it. We, as a profession, need to stop taking jobs that devalue our profession. It’s simple, but it only works when more than one of us actually does it. Our new graduates need to know what they are worth and understand that some jobs are not helpful for the profession. Until we have more opportunities that understand our value we will have difficulty doing this.

The solution is to create a position that does value your skill set. That private school that only wants an athletic trainer for 20 hours a week at $20/hour is not a good position. But that physician office that can use you as a physician extender full time at a competitive salary because of the cost-savings that you can demonstrate may be a better position. That college that wants to pay you $25,000 is not valuing the work that you do. But maybe the school district that recognizes the need is a responsible fit.

Not all positions are equal and it is difficult sometimes to weigh that out. It would be my desire to see athletic trainers open their own clinics and demonstrate their value to the patient. It will be the day when athletic trainers no longer work for physical therapists and simply put money back into their pockets without being valued. The madness needs to end. We are a valuable profession that is driving talented professionals out of it because our profession believes that it is okay to give away services. Stop giving it away.

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