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About Athletic Training

Athletic Training

Athletic Training is an AMA (American Medical Association) recognized Allied Health profession that emphasizes the delivery of health care to physically active and athletic populations. Athletic Trainers are the highly educated and skilled professionals that deliver those services. The athletic trainer functions as an integral member of the sports medicine team in secondary schools, colleges, universities, professional sports, clinics, industries, and other health care settings. The athletic trainer works under the direction of a licensed physician and is responsible for prevention, recognition, management, and rehabilitation of physical activity/athletic injuries. He/she functions in cooperation with medical personnel, athletic personnel, individuals engaged in physical activity, parents, and guardians in the development and coordination of efficient and responsive athletic health care delivery systems.

Sports Medicine and Athletic Training

Sports Medicine is a very global term. Sports Medicine professionals may include Orthopedic Surgeons, Sports Medicine Physicians, Physical Therapists, Athletic Trainers, Dietitians, Exercise Physiologists, Sport Psychologists, etc. Athletic Training is one facet of Sports Medicine.

What Athletic Trainers Do:

The six domains of the Athletic Training profession identified by the 5th edition of the Role Delineation Study include:

   1. Prevention of injuries
   2. Clinical Evaluation and Diagnosis
   3. Immediate care of injuries
   4. Treatment, rehabilitation, and reconditioning of injuries
   5. Organization and administration
   6. Professional responsibility

Employment Opportunities

    * High School/Junior High School
          o Athletic Trainer
          o Teacher/Athletic Trainer
    * Junior College/College/University
          o Athletic Trainer
          o Faculty/Athletic Trainer
          o Faculty-Education and Research
    * Professional
          o National Football League
          o National Basketball Association
          o Major League Baseball
          o National Hockey League
          o Major League Soccer,
          o Major League Lacrosse
          o Professional Golfers’ Association
          o Ladies Professional Golf Association
          o WNBA
          o NASCAR
          o Tennis Tour
          o Minor Leagues
    * Clinic/Hospital
          o Rehabilitation
          o Outreach (high schools, colleges, etc.)
          o Physician Extender
          o Performance Enhancement
          o Employee Health and Fitness
    * Corporate/Industrial
          o Ergonomics
          o Work Hardening
          o Rehabilitation
          o NASA
    * Other
          o Fitness Industry
          o Law Enforcement
          o Military
          o Product Development and Research
          o Product Marking and Sales
          o Performing Arts
          o Rodeo
          o Youth Sports


The average salary of an entry level athletic trainer is about $35,000 and the average of all athletic trainers is approximently $45,000. Professional salaries are probably the highest at around $60,000-$70,000. Athletic Trainers may also receive perks such as bowl rings, per diems, and playoff shares. Individuals interested in the profession should also consider the importance of benefits. Benefits can easily equal one-third the cost of the salary.


Prospective entry-level professionals must have a Bachelor's degree and BOC, Inc. certification to meet the minimum requirements of almost all jobs. First, formal academic training must be completed. Traditionally, the major might be in athletic training, physical education, exercise science, or a variety of related disciplines. With the transition to accreditation as the sole means of preparation, all programs will be designated "athletic training" in some form or fashion in the future. Educational programs include coursework in areas such as human anatomy, biomechanics, nutrition, exercise physiology, and athletic training. Educational programs also include extensive "clinical experience" requirements under the supervision of certified athletic trainers.

There are currently 366 CAATE accredited programs in the United States. University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Carroll College, Carthage College, University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Marquette University, Concordia University, University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Wisconsin Milwaukee are the only institutions in Wisconsin.

Certification and Licensure

An athletic trainer becomes "certified" after completing an educational program requirements and passing the examination administered by the BOC, Inc. (Board of Certification). Exam content is based on the aforementioned 6 domains of the role delineation study. Forty-three of the fifty United States have some form of state regulation. The State of Wisconsin requires licenses for athletic trainers in the same way that a physician or nurse would be licensed.

Continuing Education

Once certified, athletic trainers are required to keep their training up-to-date and advance their knowledge. Certification is maintained through participation in continuing education experiences and adhering to the standards of practice.

Important Personal Attributes

Most athletic training positions tend to require longer hours outside of the typical 8-5 working day. Athletic Trainers need to:

    * be organized and good time managers
    * have good communication skills
    * have a strong desire to help people
    * be able to overcome stress
    * be interested in constantly learning

Empathy and a good sense of humor are also very important. People who are physically active serve as better role models and tend to have a better understanding of what an injured person is going through.

A Day in the life of an Athletic Trainer

The work day of an athletic trainer is very much dependent on the type of setting in which the athletic trainer is employed. In the traditional (college/university) setting an athletic trainer may begin the day by treating athletes prior to their classes. The day would continue with teaching and/or administrative (insurance, record keeping, etc.) responsibilities. After lunch, athletes would be guided through rehabilitation and treatment sessions. Immediately before practice athletes would be prepared for practices (taping, bracing, etc.). The athletic trainer would then head to practice (depending on the nature of the sport) to watch for and respond to injury situations. The day would conclude with the athletic trainer administering post practice treatment and completing paperwork. Constant communication with coaches, athletes, parents, and physicians would be maintained throughout these processes.

Professional Organizations

Most athletic trainers belong to the NATA (National Athletic Trainers' Association). The NATA has been in existence since 1950 and there are currently about 25,000 members. Almost half of the membership is female. There are also regional and state organizations governing athletic training. Wisconsin is in GLATA (Great Lakes Athletic Trainers' Association). The state organization is WATA (Wisconsin Athletic Trainers' Association). NATA, GLATA, and WATA all have yearly meetings. Many athletic trainers belong to additional organizations and hold additional credentials.

The National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) is a non-profit organization responsible for the advancement of the athletic training profession. It exists to promote the highest of educational standards for athletic trainers and health care for the physically active.

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by Sipes, Robert C last modified Mar 09, 2010 09:37 PM
Our Accreditation


The UW Oshkosh Athletic Training Program is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE), with our current continuing accreditation cycle during the 2018-2019 academic year.