Master's Degrees in Athletic Training

Find out about topics you'll study in a master's degree program in athletic training. Learn about program prerequisites, online study, common courses and graduation requirements. Schools offering Fitness Trainer degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Kinds of Master's Degree Programs in Athletic Training Are Available?

You will find that there are generally two kinds of master's degree programs available: The Master of Science (M.S.) in Athletic Training and the Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Kinesiology. The M.S. program is considered entry-level; the curriculum prepares you for the Board of Certification (BOC) athletic trainer exam. The M.Ed. program is post-professional, and usually designed for students who have already received BOC certification.

Degree OptionsM.S. program prepares students for BOC exam; M.Ed. program is post-professional
PrerequisitesCPR and AED certification; BOC certification for post-professional program and possible clinical observation hours for entry-level programs
Online AvailabilityNot typically available online due to practical experience requirements
Common CoursesSports psychology, human physiology, kinesiology, nutrition
Other Degree RequirementsClinical rotation, criminal background check, final thesis or research project
Median Salary (2018) $39,820 (for all fitness trainers and instructors)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 10% growth (for all fitness trainers and instructors)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Are There Any Prerequisites?

For a post-professional program, you must be a graduate of an entry-level program with BOC certification, or be eligible for certification as an athletic trainer. The entry-level program doesn't require you to have an athletic training-related undergraduate degree, but you might be required to complete clinical observation hours with a certified athletic trainer. You may need to take some additional undergraduate courses, like biology, anatomy or physics. Most programs will also require you to be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) usage.

Can I Study Online?

Due to the laboratory and practical experience requirements of this program, it is not typically available online. Some of the required prerequisite courses may be taken online, however, depending on the school you choose.

What Courses Will I Take?

You will take courses in a variety of topics covering the fields of sports medicine, dietetics and biology, including:

  • Nutrition
  • Human physiology
  • Sports psychology
  • Kinesiology
  • Athletic rehabilitation
  • Biomechanics

What Are the Other Requirements for Graduation?

Practical experience is an important part of both the M.S. and the M.Ed. program, and you'll be expected to complete a clinical rotation at a rehabilitation center, school or professional sports facility. Depending on the state in which you attend school, you may be required to undergo a criminal background check as well as a drug test before being allowed to take a clinical assignment.

Completion of a final thesis paper or research project is usually required in order to graduate. Your work may be published in a peer-reviewed journal or other scholarly publication.

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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