Athletic trainer Nate Lucero (right) evaluates Houston Astros baseball player George Springer after Springer was hit by a pitch in 2014

An athletic trainer is a certified and licensed health care provider who practices in the field of sports medicine. Athletic training has been recognized by the American Medical Association (AMA) as an allied health care profession since 1990.[1]

As defined by the Strategic Implementation Team of the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) in August 2007:[2]

"Athletic training is practiced by athletic trainers, health care providers who collaborate with physicians to optimize activity and quality of life for patients both of the physically active and sedentary population. Athletic training encompasses the prevention, diagnosis[3] and intervention of emergency, acute and chronic medical conditions involving impairment, functional limitations and disabilities."

"Athletic training encompasses the prevention, examination, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of emergent, acute or chronic injuries and medical conditions. Athletic training is recognized by the American Medical Association (AMA), Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as an allied health care profession."

To become an athletic trainer, one must have a master's degree from an accredited professional level education program and then sit for and pass the Board of Certification (BOC) examination. By 2023, all accredited professional programs will be required to provide a master's level education. Each state then has its own regulatory agencies that control the practice of athletic training in their state. Most states (43) require an athletic trainer to obtain a license in order to practice in that state, 4 states (Hawaii, Minnesota, Oregon, West Virginia) require registration, 2 states (New York, South Carolina) require certification, while California has no state regulations on the practice of athletic training.[4] Areas of expertise of certified athletic trainers include:


Services rendered by the athletic trainer take place in a wide variety of settings and venues, including actual athletic training facilities, primary schools, universities, inpatient and outpatient physical rehabilitation clinics, hospitals, physician offices, community centers, workplaces, and even the military. Emerging settings for athletic training include surgical fellowship opportunities.[6]

Educational programs

The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) oversees the curriculum standards of all accredited Professional (entry level) and all the institutions.[7] The standards dictate the content of both didactic and clinical practice portions of the educational program. Content areas include:[8]

Post-professional programs

There are several post-professional masters-level athletic training programs. These programs are for credentialed athletic trainers who desire to become scholars, researchers, and advanced practice professionals. Schools with post-professional athletic training masters programs include:[9] A.T. Still University, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Illinois State University, Indiana State University, Indiana University, University of Kentucky, Michigan State University, Western Michigan University, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Ohio University, University of Oregon, California University of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson University, Temple University, Old Dominion University, University of Toledo, University of Virginia, University of Missouri, Weber State University, University of Michigan, University of North Georgia and Winona State University.

There are doctoral programs in athletic training, each with different curricular emphasis.[citation needed][10] Athletic training program in doctoral education is offered by the University of Idaho,[11] Florida International University,[12] A.T. Still University,[10] Indiana State University,[13] Ohio University,[14] Temple University,[15] and Moravian University.[16]

Treatment population and settings

Athletic trainers treat a broad population, from the amateur and professional athlete to the typical patient in need of orthopaedic rehabilitative care. The NATA describes typical clients groups as,

Services rendered by the athletic trainer take place in a wide variety of settings and venues. These may include:

See also


  1. ^ Delforge, GD; Behnke, RS (1999). "The history and evolution of athletic training education in the United States". J Athl Train. 34 (1): 53–61. PMC 1322875. PMID 16558550.
  2. ^ "Strategic implementation team defines profession". NATA News (12/2007): 14. 2007.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Role Delineation Study/Practice Analysis" (PDF). Board of Certification for the Athletic Trainer (6th ed.). Omaha, NE. 2010. Archived from the original on September 6, 2015. Retrieved February 16, 2012.((cite web)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  4. ^ "Map of State Regulatory Agencies". Board of Certification for the Athletic Trainer. Archived from the original on January 23, 2013.((cite web)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  5. ^ "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Athletic Trainers". Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  6. ^ Hunt, Valerie (2006). "Education continues to evolve: post-professional education expands". NATA News (January 2006): 14–19.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "About CAATE". Retrieved 24 January 2013.
  8. ^ "What is an Athletic Trainer?". The Board of Certification Website. 2007. Archived from the original on March 18, 2009.
  9. ^ "Resources". National Athletic Trainer Association.
  10. ^ a b A.T. Still University (November 3, 2023). "Doctorate in Athletic Training online".
  11. ^ "Doctor of Athletic Training-EHHS-University of Idaho". Retrieved 2023-11-03.
  12. ^ Communications, Florida International University-Digital. "Athletic Training". Retrieved 2023-11-03.
  13. ^ "Doctorate in Athletic Training | College of Health and Human Services". Retrieved 2023-11-03.
  14. ^ "Doctor of Athletic Training | Ohio University". Retrieved 2023-11-03.
  15. ^ "Athletic Training DAT | Temple University". Retrieved 2023-11-03.
  16. ^ "Athletic Training | Moravian University". Retrieved 2023-11-03.