Becoming An Athletic Trainer

What is an Athletic Trainer?

  • Athletic Trainers (ATs) are health care professionals who collaborate with physicians to provide preventative services, emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions.
  • Students who want to become certified athletic trainers must earn a degree from an accredited athletic training curriculum. Accredited programs include formal instruction in areas such as injury/illness prevention, first aid and emergency care, assessment of injury/illness, human anatomy and physiology, therapeutic modalities, and nutrition. Classroom learning is enhanced through clinical education experiences.
  • To become an athletic trainer, candidates must graduate with a degree in Athletic Training from an accredited athletic training program and successfully pass the Board of Certification (BOC) Exam.  To practice as an athletic trainer in most states, the individual must also be credentialed within the state.  Degrees in physical therapy, exercise science, strength and conditioning or others DO NOT qualify the candidate to sit for the BOC examination. Visit our BOC exam and pass rate page for more information on the exam. You can also view our accredited programs’ graduates performance on the exam on our Program Outcomes page.
  • Soon all Professional Athletic Training Programs will only result in Masters Degree.  More information about the degree can be found below.
  • For more details on what services a practicing athletic trainer provides prospective students can view pictures below, and also visit this webpage:
  • Visit our ATCAS Central page to apply to multiple programs with just one application

    Athletic Training Students In Action:

    Athletic Training Students in Action

    The Professional Degree:

    Through the fall term 2022 students may enter an accredited program at either the bachelor’s or master’s degree level. Prospective students are encouraged to contact programs individually to determine if or when a specific program plans to transition to a master’s degree.

    The current Standard for Professional AT Programs is:  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).

    Prospective students should contact programs individually to determine the planned timeline to transition to a Masters degree. Additionally, students should determine if the program plans to offer an undergraduate preparatory component of their program to which a student can matriculate straight from high school, or if the program will solely be offered at the graduate level; requiring an undergraduate degree for admission.
    Additional FAQs regarding this transition are answered below:

    What is the timeline for implementation of the master’s degree requirement for Professional Programs?

    Baccalaureate programs may not admit, enroll, or matriculate students into the athletic training program after the start of the fall term 2022.

    I’m in an accredited bachelor’s program now. Will I need to also obtain a master’s degree before I can be eligible for the BOC exam?

    Current students enrolled in a program will not have to obtain a master’s degree to be eligible for the exam. When an implementation date is established, future students will know how to select their institutions to ensure they meet the requirements.

    Can I enter an accredited athletic training program right from high school?

    Some programs may offer an undergraduate preparatory component to their program, while others may require their students to already hold an undergraduate degree in a related field. Students should contact prospective programs individually to determine their admission requirements.

AT Research Agenda

The Athletic Training Research Agenda is meant to identify research priorities and unify research with clinical practice. Every member of the AT community has a stake so take action to ensure and improve patient care. Together, we can advance the profession.  Use the infographics below to learn more!