At a minimum, certified athletic trainers hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited athletic training program. If not, they must meet other requirements set by the Board of Certification.
These educational programs focus on five general areas:
Students must receive formal education in:
The preparation timeline below outlines the suggested courses:
|Grade Level||Example Courses|
Not only do students receive academic studies, students also participate in a variety of clinical training practice settings, such as high schools, colleges, universities, emergency rooms, hospitals, health care clinics and physicians’ offices.
Schools that provide training for this career should be accredited to provide this type of training. Accreditation can be verified through the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE).
In order to become a Certified Athletic Trainer, you must complete the certification exam administered by the Board of Certification for the Athletic Trainer. Depending on whether you're a member of the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA), the certification fee varies.
Members pay only $34, while non-members pay $50. The exam is administered five times per year, each having a window of nearly two weeks.
Exam results are posted in BOC Central™ and mailed 2-4 weeks from the last day of the exam window via bocatc.org. You can find more information, registration, practice exams, and the candidate handbook here.
Although it is not necessary for entry into the field, your prospects will be much better with a master's degree than a bachelor's.
If you intend to continue and complete and master's program, you should aim to maintain a high GPA during your undergraduate career since most graduate schools require a minimum of a 3.0 for consideration. A GPA of 3.4-3.8 is ideal.
Athletic trainers are required to maintain a certain number of continuing education units (CEUs) during their certification maintenance period.