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NATA Certification Requirements

Instructor: Eric Campos

Eric has tutored in English, writing, history, and other subjects.

Being certified with NATA offers multiple benefits and opportunities to expand your career as an athletic trainer. Check out the requirements for NATA certification and resources that can help you prepare for the Board of Certification (BOC) exam.

Educational Requirements

Formal education is critical to becoming an athletic trainer (AT) and gaining NATA certification. The first step is to obtain a bachelor's or master's degree with a major in athletic training. Be sure that the program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education.

While a bachelor's degree is currently the minimal requirement to become an athletic trainer, the AT Strategic Alliance ruled in 2015 that the athletic training master's degree should become the earliest entry requirement into the field. This change won't happen immediately or even within the next couple of years, so currently certified ATs aren't required to have a master's degree. As it stands, this modification won't take place for at least the next seven years, after which a master's degree in athletic training is required to be able to undergo the Board of Certification (BOC) exam. This change will only affect future ATs who haven't reached high school yet.

Board Of Certification Exam

After satisfying the education requirement, the next step to gain certification is to pass the BOC exam. This will test the applicant's knowledge of five core athletic training principles:

Clinical Evaluation and Diagnosis

Injury/Illness Prevention and Wellness Protection

Treatment and Rehabilitation

Organizational and Professional Health and Well-being

Immediate and Emergency Care

The exam questions are developed by BOC trainers and approved by a group of judges who check the questions and answers against research materials on the subjects. This exam includes a total of 175 scored and unscored questions, and the maximum amount of time allotted for the exam is four hours. Test-takers will encounter several stand-alone multiple-choice questions as well as stand-alone alternative items that can take several forms, including multiple-selection questions, text-based simulation questions, and more.

After passing the BOC, you'll be issued the ATC credential.

Maintaining Certification

To ensure that ATs are up-to-date on the best information and practices, ATs are required to maintain their knowledge base through continuing education. The credit from these studies are measured in continuing education units (CEUs), which must be filled by participating in BOC approved programs. Among the general CEUs, ATs must also fill a fixed requirement of Evidence-Based Practices (EBPs). The amount of required CEUs is based on the year certification was received. ATs certified in 2015, or earlier, are required to complete 50 CEUs, ten of which must be EBPs. ATs who became certified in 2016 are required to have 25 CEUs, including five EBPs.

ATs are also required to be recertified in Emergency Cardiac Care to maintain their effectiveness in life support procedures. Lastly, to maintain the ATC credential, ATs must pay a yearly fee. To be aware of any changes in guidelines and practices of athletic training, ATs should also keep up with the BOC Standards of Professional Practice.

Study.com Resources

Prepare for NATA certification by utilizing Study.com resources to brush up on athletic training topics. Our resources are mobile-friendly and accessible at any time or location. These resources are broken down into video lessons to help you visualize the materials, and written lessons to break down the information into finer details. There are also practice quizzes and tests available to make sure the info is sinking in. Below is a sample selection of relevant materials:

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