I'm a Current College Student
We're the Guide. You Make the Choice - AT4Me.
Congratulations on deciding to become an athletic trainer! Whether you're about to get your bachelor's degree, or already on an AT track, we're here to offer all your resources in one easy place. Looking for your Master in Athletic Training program? Or are you an MAT student and need study guides for the BOC exam? You're well on your way to becoming an AT. Let us help reach your goals.
Undergrad Juniors and Seniors
ATs work with a diverse patient population and are trained and educated on a variety of health care topics including orthopedic injuries, concussions, heat illness, sudden cardiac arrest and more. To become an AT, candidates must attend an accredited educational program at the master's level and, in most states, successfully pass the national certification exam. ATs must also work under the direction of a physician and within the regulations of their state.
Steps to Becoming an Athletic Trainer
Find an accredited Master of Athletic Training program. If you're already on an AT Track, go to Step 3. If you're in a traditional bachelor's program, click below.
Apply to the program. Or you can apply through the AT Centralized Application System, which allows you to apply once to participating programs.
Get certified. The Board of Certification for the Athletic Trainer certifies ATs. After you become certified, check with your state to see if licensure is required.
Prerequisites for Most Accredited Programs
Most accredited programs require certain courses to be completed before getting your master's. These are:
Master's Degree Programs - What You'll Be Learning.
Using a medical-based education model, athletic training students are educated to provide comprehensive patient care in five domains of clinical practice, which are listed below. The educational requirements for accredited athletic training education programs include acquisition of knowledge, skills and clinical abilities along with a broad scope of foundational behaviors of professional practice.
Students must receive formal instruction in the following specific subject matter areas:
- Patient-centered care
- Interprofessional practice and interprofessional education
- Quality improvement
- Health care informatics
- Patient/client care including care planning
- Examination, diagnosis and intervention
- Prevention, health promotion and wellness
- Health care administration
- Evidence-based practice
MAT Students - Clinical Immersion Programs
Clinical immersion programs offer a hands-on, internship-style education, allowing students to work for organizations or businesses while still in school. To facilitate the discovery of these valuable opportunities, the NATA has created the Clinical Immersion Program. To take advantage of this incredible resource, simply become a student member, access the Gather networking platform and navigate to "Volunteer and Student Immersion Opportunities" tab.
Certified Students - Continuing Education
After you become certified as an athletic trainer, you'll have to stay up to date on the latest developments in athletic training through continuing education. CE requirements are meant to ensure ATs continue to:
- Stay on the cutting edge in the field of athletic training.
- Explore new knowledge in specific content areas.
- Master new athletic training-related skills and techniques.
- Expand approaches to effective athletic training.
- Further develop professional judgment.
- Conduct professional practice in an ethical and appropriate manner.
NATA provides athletic trainers with a range of continuing education opportunities through workshops, webinars, home study courses and the NATA Clinical Symposia & AT Expo.
Residencies are comprehensive educational programs that provide athletic trainers with a structured curriculum, mentorship and a blend of didactic and clinical components. These programs aim to enhance and broaden the knowledge and expertise gained during professional education. The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) accredits post-professional degree and residency programs. For more information, please visit CAATE's website.
Numerous universities provide both Clinical Doctorate of Athletic Training (DAT) and Academic Doctorate of Athletic Training (PhD, EdD). Doctors of athletic training excel as clinicians, educators and administrators, equipped with advanced knowledge and skills to analyze, develop and implement practical solutions. They aim to enhance the delivery of athletic health care and improve the health outcomes of physically active individuals and communities. Doctoral education holds great significance for the profession, particularly for athletic training educators.
ACADEMIC DOCTORATE (e.g., PhD, EdD):
The highest academic degree given by universities, this degree is typically required for a faculty position in academia, such as a research scientist role or an assistant, associate, or full professor.
CLINICAL DOCTORATE (e.g., DAT, DHSC):
A post-professional advanced practice doctoral degree includes both research and clinical components. The primary objective of attaining this degree is to become a clinical scholar equipped with advanced knowledge and skills essential for delivering exemplary patient care and assuming leadership roles at the highest level.
From networking to scholarships, find resources to help realize your dreams of becoming an athletic trainer. Find information on NATA Student Membership, NATA Career Center and AT terminology list.
About Athletic Training
Did you know that athletic training began in the late 1800s, before iPhones, computers and even sports medicine existed? View profiles of the first athletic trainers, current athletic trainers and future outlook.
NATA Student Membership
By becoming an NATA student member, you’ll receive access to a plethora of benefits, from access to the mentorship program to discounts on the BOC exam application fee and much, much more.