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What is an athletic trainer?

An athletic trainer (AT) is an allied health professional specializing in the prevention, evaluation, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses. Certified athletic trainers should not be confused with other professionals with similiar titles such as personal trainers.  Prospective ATs must earn a Bachelors degree or Master's degree from an entry-level Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) accredited program prior to sitting for the Board of Certification Exam. However, as of 2022, all athletic training education programs must transition to offering a Masters in Athletic Training degree (click here for more detail). After passing the national board exam, athletic trainers are awarded the credential of ATC and must apply for the appropriate state credentialing in the state that they will be practicing . See for more information.


How do I become an athletic trainer?

To become an athletic trainer, you must first earn a degree from a CAATE accredited athletic training education program. Accredited programs include formal instruction in areas such as injury and illness prevention, first aid and emergency care, assessment of injuries and illnesses, therapeutic modalities, therapeutic exercise, anatomy and physiology, and nutrition. Classroom learning is supplemented by hands-on clinical education experience with a variety of patients and in a variety of settings. Visit CAATE’s website for more information about accredited programs. Once you have completed your degree, you must then pass a comprehensive exam administered by the Board of Certification. Once certified, continuing education requirements must be met to remain certified.

Which Kentucky Schools have Athletic Training Education Programs?

What are the different job opportunities after I become certified?

Traditionally, athletic trainers have worked with high school, college and professional athletic teams. However, today, athletic trainers can be found working almost anywhere people are physically active. This includes sports medicine clinics, hospitals, emergency rooms, the military, law enforcement training academies, industrial and commercial industries, the performing arts, NASCAR, Indy Car, and professional rodeo. See the NATA’s youtube channel for interviews with people working in these various settings.

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