How Do I Become a Certified Athletic Trainer?

Certified athletic trainers are health care professionals who help athletes and other physically active people to prevent and recognize injuries related to physical activity. They also help clients to manage and rehabilitate such injuries. To become a certified athletic trainer, one must earn at least a bachelor's degree in athletic training and pass a certification test. Schools offering Fitness Trainer degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Certified Athletic Trainer Education

Aspiring certified athletic trainers must have at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited athletic training program and meet criteria set by the Board of Certification Inc. ( Nearly 70% of athletic trainers go on to earn master's or doctoral degrees in their field, according to the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA,

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Pay (2014) $43,370
Entry-Level Education Bachelor's degree
Job Outlook (2012-22) 19% (Faster than average)
Work Environment Educational facilities (Colleges, Universities, and professional schools)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Students pursuing a bachelor's degree in athletic training will study first aid and emergency care, assessment and prevention of injuries and illnesses, anatomy and physiology, and nutrition. Clinical field work also is an important part of athletic training curricula and is generally done at sports medicine clinics, high schools, or colleges.

Schools with Accredited Programs

More than 330 schools have undergraduate athletic training programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education ( Some of the biggest and most well-known are:

  • Arizona School of Health Sciences
  • Indiana University
  • Western Michigan University
  • University of North Carolina
  • Temple University
  • Ohio State University - Main Campus
  • The University of Texas at Austin
  • Michigan State University


The Board of Certification Inc. (BOC) sets industry standards for athletic trainers. Candidates for certification must hold a bachelor's degree from a CAATE-accredited athletic training program, be certified in emergency cardiac care, and pass the BOC certification exam. Certified athletic trainers must amass continuing education credits to qualify for recertification.

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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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

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