How do You Become an Athletic Trainer?

An athletic trainer is a professional who works in tandem with other healthcare workers performing services tailored to athletes. From creating plans for preventative care to providing emergency treatment and making clinical diagnoses, an individual employed in athletic training will have a dramatic impact on the success and health of the athletes he or she treats. Here are the steps required to work in the athletic training profession.

Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

The minimum degree required to work in athletic training is a bachelor’s degree, and students will complete a curriculum that covers many therapeutic areas. Students will take classes in emergency care and first aid, anatomy, and physiology. Future trainers will also learn about prevention of illness and injury, as well as human movement science. To complete future credentialing activities, students must enter a program approved by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE).

Complete an Internship for Hands-On Training

A student or recent graduate of an athletic training program may wish to participate in an internship in advance of taking the BOC test and becoming credentialed. Internships exist in many environments such as summer athletic programs that require assistants. Other internships exist where a student may work as a personal trainer or in an athletic medicine facility. Interns may also participate in school or university athletic programs, as well as conduct research and perform clerical duties as analysts with athletic leagues.

Pass the Board of Certification (BOC) Test

The BOC was created and incorporated in 1989 as a non-profit entity offering credentials to those working in the athletic training profession. The official BOC website offers exam preparation tools, an eligibility tool for new candidates, and resources for maintaining certification throughout one’s career. Passing the test not only helps with the job search, but most employers require a successful test or pending certification before making an offer of employment.

Receive ATC® Credentialing

The National Athletic Trainers Association requires that a candidate for credentialing possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college, as well as a satisfactory grade on the BOC test. Remaining certified means taking continuing professional education classes, and licensure in most states requires continuous certification. The certification process will evaluate candidates in five areas including healthcare administration, emergency care, injury prevention, examination, and therapeutic intervention.

Find a Job or Enter Graduate School

Certified trainers have two paths they may pursue. Those interested in greater income potential will want to investigate graduate school options. Working at the collegiate level often requires some years of experience in the profession or a graduate degree. Athletic trainers interested in entering the workforce swiftly will want to start their job hunt immediately upon gaining certification to work in the state of their choosing.

Anyone interested in the intersection between healthcare and athletic performance may wish to explore work in the athletic training profession. The Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests these professionals will enjoy “much faster than average” growth in the number of jobs available over the next decade. The first step in becoming an athletic trainer is finding an accredited degree program.

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