CATA Recommended Minimum Per Diem Pay Rate of $43/hour

Due to the specialized set of health care skills of the Certified Athletic Trainer (AT) and the increased liability exposure in athletic or community-based events, the CATA recommends a minimum pay of $43 per hour for certified athletic trainer services. This rate does NOT include any expenses related to health care supplies (e.g., athletic tape, crutches, or emergency equipment) that the host athletic or community-based event should make available to the certified AT. In the circumstance where the host athletic or community-based event cannot provide an appropriate amount of health care supplies, it is recommended for the certified AT to negotiate before the work for a higher pay rate and/or to be reimbursed for any additional expenses necessary for the AT to provide appropriate health care.

Current certified athletic trainers in California have increased liability exposure due to the lack of state regulation and must ensure that they follow state laws regarding concussions, automated external defibrillators (AEDs), emergency action plans, and other legal requirements. Therefore, the CATA recommends that all per diem athletic trainers purchase professional liability insurance. This minimum recommended per diem pay rate was determined through evaluation of several resources related to hourly pay for certified athletic trainers throughout the country. This data included, but was not limited to:

  • 2020 Median pay across numerous states for per diem services of $42.60/hour (NATA Board of Directors)
  • Increased costs for the certified AT to purchase professional liability insurance
  • Cost of living adjustments compared to other states and since original 2015 CATAminimum recommended per diem pay rate.

Employers should hire only CERTIFIED athletic trainers. The CATA highly recommends that employers decrease their liability exposure by ensuring that athletic trainers have the appropriate education and certification to provide the best possible care. Employers may verify if an applicant is certified as an athletic trainer by visiting the BOC website at and then click on certification verification.There are numerous athletic or community-based athletic events where certified ATs are hired on a per diem basis to either supplement existing athletic training coverage or to be the sole provider of health care services. Certified ATs are the ideal health care provider for athletic and community-based events and can implement a variety of health care services including preventative wrapping and bracing, emergency care, injury evaluation and triage, treatment and rehabilitation, and referral to other appropriate health care providers as appropriate. The certified AT has educational competence in managing numerous emergency care situations including injuries related, but not limited, to: heat illness, concussion, cervical spine injury, musculoskeletal injuries, and preventing sudden death.


Approved by CATA Managing Board, February 2020

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