In order to become a certified athletic trainer, it is necessary to earn a bachelor's degree and pass a board exam. There are also relevant master's and doctoral degree programs in this field.
Schools with Athletic Training Programs
The following schools all offer accredited athletic trainer programs.
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)|
|Ohio State University||Columbus, OH||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$10,037 in-state, $27,365 out-of-state (undergraduate)**|
|University of Florida||Gainesville, FL||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$6,381 in-state, $28,659 out-of-state (undergraduate)**|
|Michigan State University||East Lansing, MI||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$13,560 in-state, $36,360 out-of-state (undergraduate)**|
|University of South Florida||Tampa, FL||4-year, Public||Master's||$12,375 (master's, 2016-2017)*|
|University of Wisconsin - Madison||Madison, WI||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$10,415 in-state, $29,665 out-of-state (undergraduate)**|
|University of Michigan||Ann Arbor, MI||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$13,856 in-state, $43,476 out-of-state (undergraduate)**|
|Florida State University||Tallahassee, FL||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$6,507 in-state, $21,673 out-of-state (undergraduate)**|
|Temple University||Philadelphia, PA||4-year, Public||Master's, Doctoral||$15,354 in-state, $21,042 out-of-state**|
|Boston University||Boston, MA||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Master's||$47,422**|
|Indiana State University||Terre Haute, IA||4-year, Public||Master's, Doctoral||$6,984 in-state, $13,716 out-of-state**|
Sources: *School's website, **National Center for Education Statistics
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College Selection Criteria
Consider the following when looking for athletic training schools:
- Programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) are likely to provide a quality education in athletic training.
- To become certified by the Board of Certification (BOC), individuals must complete an accredited program and pass the BOC exam.
- When considering post-professional research-focused programs, it can be helpful for students to find out if the school has particular research specialties or if there are faculty members at the school with whom they share research interests.
- Because clinical experiences are often required, students might want to choose a school that offers opportunities in settings that match their career goals.
Bachelor's Degree Programs
Bachelor's degree programs for athletic trainers provide a comprehensive overview of the field of sports medicine. Students take basic science coursework in anatomy, physiology and kinesiology, and they also develop clinical skills in injury diagnosis, prevention and recovery. Internships or practicums may be included in the curriculum, and students must also complete general education requirements prior to graduation. It is important to note that many schools are phasing out bachelor's degree programs because CAATE recently announced that, starting in 2022, a master's degree would be the minimum requirement for certification.
Master's Degree Programs
Professional master's degree programs for aspiring athletic trainers prepare students with the biomedical knowledge and clinical skills they need for a career in the field. Graduates are eligible for the BOC exam. Another option is a post-professional master's degree for certified athletic trainers. These programs combine research in the field with advanced clinical practice, so students are typically required to complete practicums and write a final master's thesis.
Doctoral Degree Programs
Post-professional PhD programs in athletic training are similar to those at the master's degree level, as they include both basic science and practice-related coursework, but they also heavily emphasize research. Prior to graduation, students are expected to submit a research-based doctoral dissertation in a topic. For experienced trainers who are more interested in doctoral-level clinical training, Doctor of Athletic Training (DAT) programs are available. These programs may be offered online in order to accommodate the needs of working athletic trainers.
A master's degree from an accredited athletic training program is the most common path to becoming a trainer, but other undergraduate and graduate degrees are available for students who want to pursue studies in this field.