Athletic Trainer Certificate and Certification Programs

Since a certificate isn't sufficient education to become an athletic trainer, the next option is to earn a bachelor's degree. See some of the courses usually required in these programs, and read about what's needed for admission. Also, learn about the certification and continuing education options.

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Essential Information

Certificate programs in the field of athletic training are usually tailored towards personal trainers only. There are also no diploma programs available in athletic training. For an individual who wishes to become an athletic trainer, a relevant education option is a bachelor's degree in athletic training. Program admissions requirements differ, but many ask applicants to have a high school education and show proof of certain coursework with a certain grade point average.

A bachelor's degree program in athletic training allows students to develop skills and gain knowledge in the area of athletic training. Specific skills and knowledge gained through a program can include risk management, injury prevention, therapeutic procedures, client assessment and evaluation, athletic nutrition and exercise procedures. After completing a bachelor's degree program, students may pursue certification through the Board of Certification (BOC) by passing an examination.

Education Prerequisites

Admission into an athletic training program typically involves meeting academic requirements and proving an interest in the field. Programs are often very competitive and admission is selective. Most schools expect applicants to complete some foundation courses with a minimum grade point average before being allowed to apply for entrance to a program. Schools may also require applicants to provide proof of their intended career path and plans through a personal essay. Schools may require students to undergo an evaluation of their work in athletic training.

Course Topics

Athletic training programs focus on providing students with a strong knowledge of the general practices and procedures used in athletic training. Students also learn about body functions and movement as a basis for the knowledge needed as an athletic trainer. Courses can prepare students to work with people of all fitness levels who are training in a variety of sports. Programs usually contain multiple clinical courses that allow students to learn through hands-on practice. Topics covered in the curriculum may include:

  • Kinesiology
  • Sports nutrition
  • Sports injury evaluation
  • Anatomy
  • Risk evaluation
  • Exercise techniques

Popular Career Options

Most bachelor's degree programs in athletic training prepare students to become athletic trainers upon graduation. Programs also prepare graduates for professional certification through the BOC. Graduates may work in a variety of settings, including:

  • Medical facilities
  • Colleges and universities
  • Professional sports programs

Continuing Education and Certification Information

Certification as a Certified Athletic Trainer (CAT) is available through the BOC. To become certified, according to the BOC, a person must graduate from a Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education bachelor's degree program and pass the BOC examination (www.bocatc.org). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), licensing is required in 47 states (www.bls.gov). Licensing typically requires being BOC certified.

Graduates of undergraduate athletic training program may consider continuing on to the master's degree level, where a degree in kinesiology could offer a concentration in athletic training, or a degree in athletic training could offer degree options in subjects like sports medicine or education. These programs could lead to work in universities, corporations or professionals sports.

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