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Athletic Training

Athletic Training Career Information

What is Athletic Training?

Athletic Training is an allied health profession dedicated to the prevention, care and rehabilitation of injuries in physically active people.  Certified Athletic Trainers are medical professionals who are experts in injury prevention, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation, particularly in the orthopedic and musculoskeletal disciplines. Certified Athletic Trainers work with physicians and other members of the sports medicine team to help safely return people to their physically active lifestyle. The athletic trainer specializes in: injury prevention, clinical evaluation & diagnosis, immediate care, treatment, rehab and reconditioning. 

Athletic Training Regulation

Most states regulate the practice of Athletic Training through either licensure or registration. In Ohio, the Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Athletic Training Board was formed to interpret, implement and regulate the practice of Athletic Training in Ohio. More information can be found at State of Ohio Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, & Athletic Trainers Board.

On the national level, the National Athletic Trainers' Association works to further develop the Athletic Training profession. Information about this organization can be found at http://www.nata.org/.

The Board of Certification is responsible for regulating coursework and the National Examination to become a Certified Athletic Trainer.  Candidates are required to have an Athletic Training degree from an accredited four-year college or university. More information and a listing of accredited universities can be found at Board of Certification.

Where are Athletic Trainers Employed

High Schools

Athletic Trainers in the high school work to prevent and treat athletic injuries, which may happen during practice or competition. Some athletic trainers teach at the high school during the day, while others may work at a sports medicine clinic. More information can be found at on the Secondary School Athletic Trainers' Committee link from http://www.nata.org/. (Membership required.)

Colleges or Universities

At the college or university level, the athletic trainer covers practice sessions and competitions, supervises the clinical experiences of the undergraduate and graduate student athletic trainers, and may teach sports medicine courses.  All college and university athletic training programs must be approved by the Committee on Accreditation of Allied Medical Programs CAATE, (The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education), in order for the students to sit for the Board of Certification Examination. A list of currently approved programs can be found at http://www.caate.net/.

Sports Medicine Clinics

In a sports medicine clinic, athletic trainers have a variety of responsibilities. They work with patient treatment and rehabilitation and provide coverage for a high school or other organizations on a daily basis or for game events. Additionally, they may conduct coaches' clinics or other sports medicine educational programs for allied medical professions or the general public.

For Professional Athletic Teams

Athletic Trainers also work with any number of professionaI athletic teams. Football, baseball, basketball and ice hockey employ full time Certified Athletic Trainers and most have one or two Assistant Athletic Trainers who help provide athletic training health care year-round to athletes. Information is available from NFL, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League.

Industrial or Corporate Settings

An emerging employment opportunity for Certified Athletic Trainers is called Industrial or Corporate Athletic Training. Currently, companies are hiring ATC's to work in factories and apply techniques used to return athletes to play on people who are injured at work. Some companies also see the benefit of preventing injuries and illness by having athletic trainers conduct wellness screenings and assessments to promote healthy lifestyles for companies. More information about this area can be found at the Clinical, Corporate and Industrial Committee from the NATA.

Other Links:

Become a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC)
Great Lakes Athletic Trainers' Association
National Athletic Trainers' Association
Ohio Athletic Trainers' Association
Ohio Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Athletic Trainers' Board

For more information:

Go to the Athletic Training health topic, where you can:

This article is a NetWellness exclusive.

Last Reviewed: Apr 20, 2011

Vincent J O'Brien, ATC Vincent J O'Brien, ATC
Head Athletic Trainer
Clinical Instructor at the School of Allied Medical Professions
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University