What Are the Best Schools for Athletic Trainers?

Keep reading to learn about three top athletic training programs. Get the details about school rankings, degree options, areas of concentration and program requirements. Schools offering Fitness Trainer degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are Characteristics of the Best Schools for Athletic Trainers?

To become an athletic trainer, it will be best for you to pursue a Master's Degree program aimed at either Exercise Physiology, or Physical Therapy. When considering a school, you should aim at finding schools with an abundance of programs and excellent facilities. These schools should have strengths in kinesiology, health, and recreation or physical therapy. Also schools that give hands-on training are a plus, for example, gaining practical experience by working with the university's athletic teams or military personnel. Graduates of bachelor's degree programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education, including those below, are eligible to take the Board of Certification (BOC) exam to become Certified Athletic Trainers (www.caate.net)

Three Top Schools for Athletic Trainers

Baylor University in Waco, TX

Baylor tied for 72nd on U.S. News & World Report's national universities list in 2015 and ranked fifth in physical therapy in 2015. The School of Education's Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation offers a Bachelor of Science and an Master of Science in athletic training. The department also offers a Ph.D. with an athletic training emphasis.

While earning your bachelor's degree in education with an athletic training major, you'll work 12-20 hours per week with Baylor's Big 12 Division I student athletes or at off-campus sites. The Marrs McClean Gymnasium contains laboratories for exercise science and technology, biochemical nutrition, athletic training and human anatomy.

You could also earn degrees in exercise physiology, physical education, recreation and leisure or health sciences for pre-physical therapy, pre- med or other health professions. Baylor collaborates with the U.S. Army to produce master's- and doctoral-level uniformed physical therapists. These degrees are available:

  • B.S. in Exercise Physiology
  • B.S. in Education - Physical Education and Coaching with Teacher Certification
  • B.S. in Education - General Studies in Health, Human Performance and Recreation
  • B.S. in Health Science Studies
  • B.S. in Recreation and Leisure Services
  • M.S. in Athletic Training
  • M.S. in Exercise Physiology
  • Master of Physical Therapy
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Kinesiology, Exercise Nutrition and Health Promotion

Indiana University in Bloomington

IU tied for 75th in 2015 on the national university list compiled by U.S. News & World Report. Its kinesiology majors graduating in 2011 with an athletic training emphasis had a 100% first time pass rate for the certification exam compared to a national average of 43%. IU facilities offer 15 athletic training sites, ranging from Sembower Field to the university gymnasium, tennis and aquatic centers.

You'll start clinical rotations in your sophomore year and conclude with an in-depth senior experience in one sport or setting. As a kinesiology student, you could also major in exercise science, physical education or health and fitness. The department helps train fitness experts for U.S. Navy bases at Pearl Harbor, Norfolk and San Diego.

The M.S. in Kinesiology with an athletic training emphasis is one of only 15 advanced training programs certified by the National Athletic Trainers' Association. You could specialize in lower extremity and soft tissue injuries. These related degrees are offered by the Department of Kinesiology:

  • B.S. and M.S. in Athletic Training
  • B.S. in Exercise Science
  • B.S. in Kinesiology, Health Fitness Specialist
  • M.S. in Kinesiology, Applied Sport Science
  • M.S. in Kinesiology, Biomechanics
  • M.S. in Kinesiology, Ergonomics
  • M.S. in Kinesiology, Exercise Physiology
  • M.S. in Kinesiology, Physical Activity, Fitness and Wellness
  • Ph.D. in Kinesiology, Biomechanics
  • Ph.D. in Kinesiology, Clinical Exercise Physiology

University of Connecticut in Storrs

UConn tied for 57th in the 2015 U.S. News & World Report national university evaluation. They offer a variety of programs like the athletic training program in the Department of Kinesiology. You can major in exercise science or social science of sport with concentrations in coaching and administration or sport management. Most UConn athletic training students pursue graduate education. You could complete a master's program in exercise science or master's and Ph.D. programs in sports management. The Department also offers the Doctor of Physical Therapy.

You'll use the Athletic Training Learning Laboratory, enjoying a student-to-instructor ratio of 6:1 in laboratory courses. Resources include the Korey Stringer Institute for prevention of sudden death in physical activity. Clinical sites range from local high schools and universities to the Tri State Rehabilitation and Sports Center, The Nayden Clinic and local orthopedic practices. These following programs are currently available:

  • B.S. in Athletic Training
  • B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Exercise Science
  • B.S. in Strength and Conditioning
  • B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Sport Management
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy
  • Ph.D. in Sport Management

Other Schools with Kinesiology Programs

College/UniversityInstitution TypeLocation
Elmhurst College4-year, PrivateElmhurst, IL
Boston University4-year, PrivateBoston, MA
Houston Baptist University4-year, Private Houston,TX
Arkansas State University4-year, PublicJonesboro, AR
University of Mississippi4-year, PublicUniversity, MS
Morehead State University4-year, PublicMorehead, KY
Kansas State University4-year, PublicManhattan, KS
Cornell College4-year, PrivateMount Vernon, IA
Dakota State University4-year, PublicMadison, SD
Georgia State University4-year, PublicAtlanta, GA

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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