What Classes Should I Take to Become an Athletic Trainer?

Athletic training involves examining, treating, and preventing injuries from physical activity. Athletic trainers are usually required to hold at least a bachelor's degree and professional certification to qualify for a job. Keep reading to learn more about specific undergraduate classes in athletic training, as well as career info. Schools offering Fitness Trainer degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Athletic Training Education Overview

Athletic training programs are usually offered at the bachelor's and master's degree levels, and both types of combine traditional classroom learning with hands-on practice. At minimum, you'll need a bachelor's degree to enter this field, and you should look for programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education, since graduation from one of those programs is often required for professional certification. Most bachelor's programs take about four years to complete, and they include some of the following classes.

Human Anatomy and Physiology

In a human anatomy and physiology class you learn about the structure of various parts of the human body. Courses will look at human muscular, circulatory, and skeletal systems. In addition to the traditional classroom environment, most human anatomy classes include a clinical component that provides you with laboratory experience dissecting human cadavers.

Kinesiology

Kinesiology classes will teach you about the science behind human movement. Athletic trainers must take kinesiology courses to discover how different types of exercises affect the human body, particularly the musculoskeletal system. Classes also might look at the particular motor movements needed in different types of sports and what actions might induce injury.

Sports Psychology

Since athletic trainers often must provide mental support to injured or recovering athletes, classes in sports psychology can be useful to your career. Sports psychology classes examine how an individual's exercise practices can affect their overall health, including their emotional well-being. Psychology principles can also be applied to coaching strategies, so that you can learn how to motivate athletes in a supportive manner.

Nutrition

Nutrition courses will show you how different nutrients affect the human body and a person's overall health. You'll learn about the types of foods needed to enhance peak physical performance and maintain proper weight.

Career Overview

Most athletic training positions require you to have a bachelor's degree and professional certification from the Board of Certification (www.bocatc.org). Some positions are only open to job candidates with a master's or doctoral degree.

If you earn an athletic training degree, you might find a job helping people of all athletic skill levels maximize their performance, avoid injury, and treat existing muscle or skeletal problems. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) reported that athletic trainers made a mean yearly salary of $44,720 as of May 2013.

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