Physical Training Major and Undergraduate Degree Program Info

Physical training is used by health care team members in a variety of athletic and health care environments. There are currently no undergraduate degrees titled 'physical training'; however, training is offered through athletic training programs.

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Essential Information

The Associate of Science (A.S.) in athletic training is a program primarily designed for students pursuing careers in athletic or physical training. In this two-year program, students take a variety of courses, including those related to anatomy, nutrition and injury treatment.

The Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training program is ideal for students who have completed an associate's degree in athletic training program, gained experience in the field or just have an interest in working in fitness, health care or sports. There are currently 25 programs in the country that are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). In these four-year programs, athletic training majors will gain experience in CPR, sports medicine, injury prevention methods, assessment, exercise and other physical and athletic training areas. They may also choose to specialize in anatomy, nutrition and injury treatment.

Workshops and certificate programs are also available for students interested in continuing their education in physical training.

Associate's Degree in Athletic Training Program

Students may consider an A.S. athletic training program that is accredited by the Athletic Training Education Programs (ATEPS). Many programs offer transfer courses for four-year athletic training programs while fulfilling the associate's degree requirements. Students should be able to demonstrate basic to intermediate skills in math, reading and English. Some programs require students to submit ACT or SAT scores, as well as complete an assessment test. The Associate of Science in Athletic Training program may also require students to complete general education courses prior to completion. Students can develop a foundation in athletic and physical training through classroom or lab courses.

These include:

  • Social science
  • Nutrition
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Physical science with lab
  • Athletic injury

Bachelor's Degree in Athletic Training Program

Prospective athletic training majors will typically need to submit their medical records and information, letters of recommendation, essay and written or oral examination. Some colleges and universities have a pre-athletic training program and will require students to complete the general education courses with a grade of C or higher prior to full admission. In addition to clinical experience and internships, students may also develop athletic and physical training skills.

This is accomplished through the following courses:

  • Foundations of athletic training
  • Personal fitness
  • Rehabilitation methods
  • Kinesiology
  • Health psychology
  • Safety and first aid

Popular Career Options

Although many athletic or physical training careers require certification, graduates of an associate's degree program may apply their training to a number of jobs. These jobs include the following:

  • Elementary school coach
  • Self-enrichment coach
  • Recreation assistant

Graduates of a bachelor's degree program in athletic training are prepared for entry to mid-level positions. These include positions as:

  • Physical trainers
  • University athletic coaches
  • Professional sports program managers

Continuing Education

Students who are interested in general or specialized physical trainer certification may consider workshops and certificates. These are offered by the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine), ACE (American Council on Exercise) or the NSCA (National Academy of Sports Medicine).

Athletic and physical trainers may consider furthering their education through a post-graduate certificate, master's or professional degree program. They can utilize their undergraduate education, training and experience to pursue a sports medicine or physical therapy doctoral program.

Through hands-on and in-class training, associate's degree programs in athletic training help prepare students for entry-level careers in physical training, such as entry-level coaches and assistants. A bachelor's degree program in athletic training may prepare students for mid-level employment including psychical trainers, athletic coaches and sports program mangers.

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