The Standards for Accreditation of Professional Athletic Training Programs (Standards) are used to prepare professional athletic trainers. Each institution is responsible for demonstrating compliance with these Standards to obtain and maintain recognition as a CAATE-accredited professional athletic training program. A list of accredited programs is published and available to the public.

These Standards are to be used for the development, evaluation, analysis, and maintenance of athletic training programs. Via comprehensive and annual review processes, CAATE is responsible for the evaluation of a program’s compliance with the Standards. The Standards provide minimum academic requirements; institutions are encouraged to develop sound innovative educational approaches that substantially exceed these Standards. The Standards also contain a glossary of terms used throughout the process; the definition provided in the glossary must be applied as stated.

Editorial Changes to the Standards
The editorial changes listed below were approved by the Commission.  The editorial changes are highlighted in red.   The intent of the standard remains the same, these are editorial changes only.
  • Standard 48: The variety of patient populations, care providers, and health care settings used for clinical education must be consistent with the program’s goals and objectives. Replacing “mission statement”
  • Standards 67: An active communicable and/or infectious disease policy as determined by the institution must be established and made publicly available.
  • Standard 68: Students must read and sign the program’s active communicable and/or infectious disease policy as described in Standard 67.
  • Standard 88: Program Admission, Retention and Advertisement: If the program uses a secondary selective admission process, this must be stated in institution publications. The standards and criteria must be identified and publicly accessible. Replaces “university”
  • Standard 49: Clinical placements must be non-discriminatory with respect to race, color, creed, religion, ethnic origin, age, sex, disability, sexual orientation, or other unlawful basis. Replaces wording to be consistent across all program standards.

Changes to the Standards
The changes listed below were approved by the Commission and were released to the public in September 2015.  The changes are highlighted in green.

  • Standard 2: CAATE accredited professional athletic training programs must result in the granting of a master’s degree in Athletic Training. The program must be identified as an academic athletic training degree in institutional academic publications. The degree must appear on the official transcript similar to normal designations for other degrees at the institution. (Timeline for Compliance with Standard 2: Baccalaureate programs may not admit, enroll, or matriculate students into the athletic training program after the start of the fall term 2022)
  • Standard 23: Clinical Education Coordinator: The Clinical Education Coordinator must be allowed release/reassigned workload to meet the institutional responsibilities for Clinical Education. The Clinical Education Coordinator’s release time must be comparable to similar health care programs in the institution. If no such similar program exists at the institution, then benchmark with peer institutions.

Clarification to Standards and Glossary
The clarifications listed below were approved by the Commission and were released to the public in November 2015.

  • Inherent in any Standards that pertain to establishing policy is the assumption that the programs must also abide by those policies. Failure to do so will be cited as non-compliant with the associated Standard.
  • Associated Faculty (Glossary): Associated faculty – Individual(s) with a split appointment between the program and another institutional entity (e.g., athletics, another program, another institutional department). These faculty members may be is evaluated and assigned responsibilities by multiple two different supervisors.

Edits to Standards and Glossary
The clarification and updates listed below were approved by the Commission in September 2016 and released to the public in November 2016.

  • Preceptor (Glossary): A certified/licensed professional who teaches and/or evaluates students in a clinical setting using an actual patient base.
  • (EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2017) Standard 28: All faculty who instruct athletic training skills necessary for direct patient care must possess a current state credential and be in good standing with the state regulatory agency (in states where their profession is regulated). In addition, faculty who are solely credentialed as athletic trainers and who teach skills necessary for direct patient care must be BOC certified.  Standard 29 will be eliminated.
  • (EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2017) New Standard: The institution must demonstrate honesty and integrity in all interactions that pertain to the athletic training program.
  • (EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2018 – Changes in red) Standard 7: Assessment Measures: The program must collect data for the following assessment measures:

    • The program’s BOC examination aggregate data for the most recent three test cycle years must be provided and include the following metrics: Number of students graduating from the program who took the BOC examination, number and percentage of students who passed the examination on the first attempt, and overall number and percentage of students who passed the examination regardless of the number of attempts

    The program’s employment/placement rate for the most recent three graduating cohorts within 6 months of graduation. (This will use the student employment/placement categories currently available within student profiles in eAccreditation)

    The program’s retention and graduation rates for the most recent three academic years.


    (Retention rate (modified from United States Department of Education): Measures the percentage of students who have been admitted to the professional program who return to the institution to continue their studies the following fall.)

    (Graduation rate (taken from United States Department of Education): Measures the progress of students who began their studies as full-time, first-time degree- or certificate-seeking students by showing the percentage of these students who complete their degree or certificate within a 150% of “normal time” for completing the program in which they are enrolled.)

    The proposed changes to Standard 7 would subsequently impact Standard 8, although the wording of Standard 8 would remain the same

CAATE Standards for the Accreditation of Professional Athletic Training Programs

2012 Standards for Professional Bachelor’s Programs

2012 Substantial Equivalent Standards for International Professional Programs

2020 Standards for Professional Programs – Substantive Change of Degree

2020 Substantial Equivalent Documentation for non-US Programs – Standards and Instructions

Pursuing and Maintaining Accreditation AND 2020 Standards For Professional Masters Programs.  These Standards become effective for Professional Programs at the Masters level for the 2020-2021 academic year.

2020 Standards Crosswalk

2020 Curricular Content Standards Clarification

Tables for the 2020 Standards:

2020 Professional Standards Updates

Contemporary Expertise: Additional Information

Implementation and Guide to the CAATE 2020 Professional Standards