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Amy Burton

Amy BurtonK-State graduation year: 2001
Degree: B.S. Kinesology Dec. 2001
Other degree received: M.Ed Adult & Community College Education May 2004 -- North Carolina State University
Current employer: USD 470 Arkansas City Public Schools
Position: Head Athletic Trainer



How many times, if any, did you change your major during college?

Three times; I started with Biochemistry, then to Nutrition-Exercise Science and then finally to Kinesiology knowing that I wanted to become an Athletic Trainer.

Describe the process of choosing your major.

I grew up thinking I wanted to be a Pediatrician and I came to K-State with that career path in mind. However, I did not want to commit the time to study and sacrifice my social life my freshman year. It became very clear that becoming a doctor was not a priority for me. I changed my major to Nutrition-Exercise Science and I soon realized that nutrition classes are chemistry in disguise. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do and I sort of fell into athletic training. And I loved it!

What activities/organizations were you involved in while in college?

Alpha Chi Omega Sorority

Describe the process of finding your first job.

I suppose you could say going to grad school was finding my first job. I had every intention of going to grad school and working as the Athletic Trainer for the track program at K-State. However the summer after I graduated I decided I wanted to see what other universities had to offer. I interviewed with several universities at that National Athletic Trainers' Association Convention. North Carolina State offered me the best opportunity.

My first full-time job was at Oklahoma State University working Cowgirl Basketball. I actually only did a phone-interview before being hired. I was recommended for the job by one of my former Athletic Trainer professors at K-State. Lucky for me it was the break I needed to get hired!

Briefly describe a typical day at your job.

My typical day starts at 1:30pm. I get to school, catch up on paperwork and then start preparing for practice. School is dismissed at 3:15 and it’s a mad rush to get everyone ready for practice by 3:45. I cover practice until every one is finished which is by 8pm at the latest. I cover all home sporting events and travel with football and wrestling with an occasional away basketball game here or there.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love that I get to interact with my athletes and know them on a personal level. I know my patients families. I see my patients nearly every day. I know when they’re sad, when they’re happy, and I can help make their day better.

What are the most challenging aspects of your job?

It is a struggle at times to deal with the odd hours we work as an Athletic Trainer. Obviously working in the high school is less than when I was working at the university level, but overall it’s hard at times to balance.

What advice would you give someone interested in your field?

It’s a great field. Athletes will always get hurt and they will always need an Athletic Trainer to fix them. I think that you will see Athletic Trainers in every high school and at most little league events in the next 10 years. The field is expanding!

Has your career path taken any unconventional turns that you never would have expected?

I never thought I would work at the high school level. I thought I would be a lifelong college Athletic Trainer but things change and priorities change. I do not regret making the change. However, I sure do miss being on the sidelines during football games or playing for the Big 12 title.

What were the major lifestyle changes your first year out of college that made the transition hard from college to the world of work and how did you adapt?

Luckily I married a man who also works in athletics so he understands the demands of my career. He understands that most days I have no idea what time I will be home from work and that changes happen everyday that make my day difficult to predict. However as I have aged and decided I wanted to have a family that is when working at a high school over a college became much more intriguing.

What job have you enjoyed the most and why? 

I am lucky that at every step I have loved doing what I was doing while I was doing it. Each stop from K-State to North Carolina State to Oklahoma State to Arkansas City High School has taught me what it means to be an Athletic Trainer. I love what I do.

What was the one thing you did in college that has had the most impact on your life or career?

I was in the Athletic Training Room whenever I had time. I didn’t just go in when I had to get hours. I think that’s one thing that helped me the most. I saw more than other students did and was given more responsibility because I was around so much. And it turn was recommended for my first job by one of the Athletic Trainers I worked under.

What tips do you have for current undergrads about opportunities they should definitely take advantage of while they are in school?

I wish I would have interned in the summer with a professional team or working for National Cheerleaders Association at cheer camps. I also wish I would’ve finished my degree in Spanish. The doors that could’ve been opened if I was bilingual.

Was there a specific person in college who had a significant impact on your life or career?

Shawna Jordan. At the time she was one of our professors as well as the head AT for the track program. She taught me how to be a female in a male-dominated profession. She was a great mentor and continues to be a great friend.

What didn't college teach you that you wish you would have known before you started your career?

How to balance work and family-life. How to hold my ground when a coach is screaming at me. There is so much you learn as a first year GA and then again your first year on staff.


For more information, Amy can be reached at amy.burton@usd470.com