Bachelor’s in Athletic Training Overview
The goal of an athletic training major is to enable students to work as licensed sports trainers who focus on preventing, diagnosing, treating, and rehabilitating illnesses and injuries in physically active individuals. The curriculum offers a good mix of in-class education and practical training to prepare students to become skilled allied healthcare providers.
All the quantitative and qualitative clinical abilities required to identify, assess, treat, care for injuries are taught in an athletic training Bachelor program track. You will learn to evaluate patients of all ages using knowledge of anatomy and physiology. All professional areas, such as injury prevention, clinical examination, diagnosis, immediate and emergency treatment, therapy, rehabilitation, as well as professional and organizational well-being, must be well-understood by a Certified Athletic Trainer. This article will outline everything there is to know about a Bachelor’s in athletic training.
What is A Licensed Athletic Trainer?
The titles “personal trainer” and “athletic trainer” are often used interchangeably, leading to confusion. There is a whole range of differences between a personal trainer and an athletic trainer, though. An athletic trainer is a licensed medical professional specializing in the treatment of athletes and their injuries and illnesses. In contrast, A personal trainer is someone who designs and leads workout routines for those who want to get into, or remain in, good health and physical condition.
In the ten years spanning from 2021 to 2031, demand for athletic trainers is predicted to increase by 17%. Simply put, the market needs more athletic trainers. To become a certified athletic trainer, one must earn a Bachelor’s degree, but many also add a Master’s, from a reputable professional athletic training program and then also pass a rigorous exam from the Board of Certification.
Once licensed, athletic trainers are obligated to continue their education to maintain their certification and keep it current, just like other healthcare workers. Athletic trainers must also follow their state’s practicing laws and work under the supervision of a physician. Athletic trainers (ATs) are medical professionals working with doctors to offer preventative care, emergency treatment, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention, and rehabilitation for injuries and illnesses.
Licensed athletic trainers offer services like:
- Applying tape, bandages, and braces, to prevent harm and infection
- Identifying and assessing injuries
- Providing on-site emergency care, first aid assistance, and CPR
- Designing and implementing injury rehabilitation plans
- Developing and implementing comprehensive strategies to protect athletes from illness and injury
- Educating athletes about health and safety measures, including stretching, diet and nutrition, hydration, etc.
What Do Licensed Athletic Trainers Do?
An athletic trainer can work in many different settings depending on their specialization and place of employment. Sports injury management, prevention, and recovery are possible areas of specialization for athletic trainers. They are often the first medical personnel on the scene when an injury occurs. They also must collaborate with doctors and other medical professionals to provide emergency, injury follow-up care, and develop injury prevention and treatment programs for athletes.
A doctor may consult with sports trainers to discuss a patient’s condition and any treatment plan adjustments to meet short and long-term goals. Several sports medicine professionals maintain regular contact with a team physician or a consulting physician. They occasionally communicate between the injured athlete, the treating physician, the coach, and the athlete’s family.
Injury Prevention and Response
Any staff responsible for the health and well-being of their sport’s athletes, including their injuries, should include one or more athletic trainers dedicated to the oversight of this care. They are frequently the first to respond to accidents during practices or competitions. In fact, the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) has rules and regulations regarding the presence of sports training staff members and minimums per number of athletes or campers attending a practice, game, camp, or clinic.
Additionally, athletic trainers are prepared to treat athletes who have sustained catastrophic sports-related illnesses and injuries, such as heat stroke, critical dehydration, and cardiac arrest. They are trained to remain calm before being able to get athletes’ required attention from emergency medicine professionals.
Athletic trainers are crucial in the identification, evaluation, and treatment of concussions as well as in supporting essential choices regarding return to play. There is significant pressure on athletes, both internally and externally, to bounce back quickly, and, in the case of a concussion, often return to play appears possible sooner than is realistically safe. ATCs can discern where an athlete is on the return to the classroom and return to play spectrum to minimize the risk of re-occurrence. Sports trainers are typically the primary decision-makers in providing advice on concussion management and prevention education to team coaches, parents, and athletes.
Patient Population and Working Environments
Athletic trainers treat diverse patients, from amateur and professional athletes to patients who live active lives requiring orthopedic relief and rehabilitation. According to the NATA, typical clientele can include:
- Elite amateur and professional athletes
- recreational athletes and generally active individuals
- people who suffer from musculoskeletal injuries
- Those looking to improve their strength, conditioning, fitness, performance
Athletic trainers provide services in a wide range of locations and circumstances. These may consist of the following:
- Clinics specifically designed for athletic training
- Schools (K-12 and colleges or universities)
- Outpatient rehabilitation clinics
- Non-emergency medical facilities
- Community-owned and operated facilities (parks, playgrounds, swimming pools, etc.)
- Corporate workplaces (government and commercial)
- Military bases veteran’s hospitals
- Professional sports leagues
- Performing arts centers
What are the Benefits of a Degree in Athletic Training?
Choosing an Accredited Athletic Training Program
1. Multiple Talents And Skills
Athletic trainers are valuable members of any medical care team because of their education and experience. There aren’t many (if any) other healthcare professionals that can develop relationships with patients and athletes as well as be there to provide care before, during, and after an injury. Establishing that level of trust with patients inevitably leads to higher success rates in following through with treatment plans and rehabilitation exercises, ultimately getting athletes back in the game quicker.
This kind of presence necessitates instruction from athletic training programs that equip students to comply with any requirements that a team or athlete may have as well as react appropriately under pressure and high-stress situations. Athletic trainers possess the dynamic talents needed for ever-changing workplaces.
2. Increasing Understanding And Awareness
Getting a degree in sports training will help you learn more about various facets of the healthcare industry. Among several other things, you will learn about prevention, clinical examination, diagnosis, treatment. This specialized degree advances your education and enables you to impart your knowledge to patients so they can use it to improve their daily lives and lead happier and healthier lives.
3. Unmatched Value
The value athletic trainers bring to the patients, teams, organizations they deal with is an underappreciated advantage of this profession. Athletic trainers frequently offer affordable, high-quality care to historically marginalized groups. Additionally, working with an athletic trainer is the only regular contact with the medical system for many young patients.
A well-known and dependable healthcare professional on the sidelines and in the clinic is one advantage of having an athletic trainer. Few healthcare professionals can interact with, treat, and see the same patients day in and day out. This constant, and often immediate, access to medical care fosters a positive relationship between the patient and medical staff.
Along with the increase in options for athletic training in CAATE Accredited Athletic Training Programs, the job title might also lead to careers in various other locations and non-sports-related fields. You would be eligible to work in a wide range of places in this line of employment, including clinics, corporate offices, warehouses, gyms, etc.
6. Engage with Athletes
Working with athletes of different ages and abilities is one of the most evident benefits of becoming an athletic trainer. You may combine your love of sports with a rewarding career, whether you are a former player or simply have a passion for competition. As an athletic trainer, you assist athletes in maintaining their health and getting back into tip-top shape so they can carry on with their favorite activities and compete at the highest levels.
Types of Athletic Training Accreditations
Students majoring in athletic training will earn a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training and be qualified to take the Board of Certification (BOC) exam upon completion of their degree. The athletic training program aims to guarantee that program graduates have completed all prerequisites for the BOC exam.
The primary accrediting authority for this line of work is The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. Studying at a CAATE-approved athletic training program is recommended to have the best job prospects upon graduation.
Based on instructional standards approved by national professional organizations for those working in medicine and allied health, the CAATE offers a review process of the program’s educational material.
- American Academy of Family Physicians
- Children’s Medical Society of America
- The American Orthopaedic Society practices sports medicine
- Athletic training education is certified by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management
- National Association of Athletic Trainers
These groups have worked together to create, uphold, and support suitable standards of excellence for athletic training education programs and to recognize outstanding programs.
What Will I Learn in an Undergraduate Athletic Training Program?
Most bachelor’s degrees in athletics require four years of study and practice. First-year students typically begin their studies as Pre-Athlete Training majors, completing prerequisite courses and clinical observation. The students then spend three years in the program’s professional and clinical education phase. The clinical education phase typically includes both on-campus and community-based clinical fieldwork. During their studies’ professional and clinical education phase, students will complete courses that enable them to comprehend athletics-related health promotion, fitness testing, and training procedures.
Student outcomes for this course include the capacity to prevent, evaluate, treat, rehabilitate, and document athletic training-related injuries. You also get the ability to assess and understand the psychological, behavioral, and interpersonal needs of athletes and the sports medical professionals who care for them. Students will learn to communicate effectively, which is essential for a future in the field of sports training as an allied health professional.
Athletic Training Course Curriculum
Like with any degree program, course curriculum differs by institution. The majority of program curricula consist of pre-professional and professional phases. In the pre-professional phase, students take courses such as Introduction to Athletic Training, Athletic Training Principles, Emergency Care and First Aid, Basic Athletic Training, Health and Fitness, etc. Students are occasionally required to observe qualified athletic trainers in various settings.
In the professional phase, students acquire the skills and training essential to perform their tasks. The course offerings include the following:
- Clinical Evaluation of Athletic Injuries
- General Medicine in Athletic Training
- Rehabilitation of Athletic Injuries
- Human Anatomy and Physiology
- Athletic Training Clinical
- Sports Nutrition
Additionally, some curricula incorporate lab classes, particularly in the third and fourth years. For instance,
- Rehabilitation of Athletic Injuries Lab
- Therapeutic Modalities Lab
- Exercise Physiology Lab
- Human Anatomy and Physiology Lab
Some programs also provide students with internship opportunities. Throughout the courses, students acquire both theoretical and practical expertise. For instance, students learn about the human body’s various systems, general medicine in athletics, etc. Laboratories and fieldwork are used for practical training.
What Are The Standard Entrance Requirements to Enroll in an Undergraduate Athletic Training Program?
Admission to any athletic training program is highly competitive. Therefore, substantial scientific and medical preparation is necessary before enrolling in a professional course. Typically, the curriculum consists of two phases: the pre-professional phase and the professional phase.
Pre-Professional Phase Entry Requirements
To get a leg up at the collegiate level, students should complete courses in human anatomy, physiology, chemistry, biology, and physics to be program-ready. Furthermore, they must have succeeded in core math classes.
Many institutions provide general education core classes that students complete to meet the requirements for entrance to the pre-professional level program. Gen Eds as they’re often referred, are meant to equip students with the knowledge of biology, physiology, algebra, and other disciplines necessary for admissions to athletic training-specific programs.
Professional Phase Entry Requirements
Before being allowed to enroll in the professional phase, students must complete the pre-professional phase. Various institutions have different standards for admission to the professional stage. Specific criteria, such as
- The most recent transcript indicates a minimum of 40 or 60 semester hours of completed credits
- 3.00/4.00 overall grade point average or higher (some programs have a higher GPA standard)
- A completed written application
- CPR and First Aid Certification from the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association as a professional rescuer or any other healthcare provider in good standing
- Two letters of recommendation are typically needed: one from a university faculty member who is a certified athletic trainer and another from an unbias source that can speak to the character of the applicant
- A personal statement outlining the student’s goals and motivations for wanting to get into the athletic training field
Some universities may have additional requirements and, ultimately, interview performance and fulfillment of all other admission requirements often serve as the deciding factors in whether or not a candidate is accepted into a program or not. The hope, of course, is that an acceptance letter arrives soon after meeting all requirements.
What is the Career Outlook for Athletic Trainers?
As mentioned earlier, the need for athletic trainers is only anticipated to increase over the next decade. As people become more conscious of the impacts of sports-related injuries and as the middle-aged and older population continues to be active, the demand for athletic trainers is anticipated to rise. For young athletes, concussions have particularly negative and persistent impacts.
Concussions can be harmful, but children’s and young athletes’ developing brains are even more vulnerable to long-lasting effects if they do suffer a concussion. In fact, due to this fact, many public secondary schools in some states are required to employ athletic trainers as part of their sports programs. The need for sports trainers in schools will only continue to increase.
Outside of the school environment, several employers’ insurance providers are concerned about rising insurance costs and workers’ compensation expenses, particularly in regions and jobs where on-the-job injuries are common. For instance, military facilities recruit athletic trainers to assist in training and rehabilitating injured military members. These trainers also develop programs designed to reduce injury rates. On the other hand, insurance companies in some states that consider athletic trainers as healthcare professionals may cover the cost of an athletic trainer’s services upfront as they see this as an investment into long-term cost savings.
The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE)-accredited Bachelor’s or Master’s degree programs, as well as the Board of Certification (BOC) for the Athletic Trainer certification, will provide applicants with the best employment possibilities.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that job openings in this industry will expand by 23% between 2016 and 2026, three times more than the average for all professions. In addition, the Department of Health and Human Services, the American Medical Association, and the Health Resources Services Administration all recognize athletic training as a medical specialty, opening even more doors.
Average Athletic Trainer Pay
Athletic trainers made an average of $45,630 a year in May 2016. The salary at which half of the employees in a profession made more money than that quantity and half made less is known as the median wage. The bottom 10% earned less than $30,300, while the top 10% made more than $69,140. Sports trainers typically have full-time jobs.
Recent graduates interested in athletic training have a wide range of options for putting their abilities to work and improving the health of athletes and active people alike. You’ll want to look into the variety of possibilities as you develop in your athletic training program and prepare for your profession after completion.