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Factors to Consider When Selecting an Athletic Training School

Higher Education Articles March 22, 2015

Bachelor’s degree programs in athletic training teach students how to diagnose, treat, and prevent joint, bone, and muscle injuries related to physical activity. Throughout the nation, students can find over 300 programs available.

Selecting an Athletic Training School

Individuals wishing to major in athletic training should look into the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) program in the subject. Four-year universities offer these programs through their human physiology, sports science, and health departments.

Enrolled students are ready for entry-level work, but those who seek advanced roles may require a master’s degree. In this article, we take a look at the factors you must consider when you select an athletic training school:

Hands-on Opportunities

Importantly, athletic training bachelor’s degree programs must offer clinical, hands-on experience. Athletic training students at major schools work with teams of collegiate athletes. Students enrolled in other schools can avail local professional-level teams and high school sports teams.

They may also commonly see opportunities for clinical experience at local clinics and hospitals; however, connections to numerous health facilities in the area may be maintained by some schools, while other schools may maintain far fewer connections.

Work Experiences and Internships

At some schools, clinical opportunities are augmented by internships; these include work with international programs, local hospitals, and professional teams. Students can potentially use this extra work to gain a professional advantage after they graduate.

Certification and Accreditation

The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education accredits athletic training programs, thereby ensuring that schools follow a set of professional athletic training educational standards. Only applicants that graduate from an accredited program can gain certification through passage of the national certification exam.

Advanced Study Choices

When you select an athletic training school, look beyond the bachelor’s degree and check whether the school also offers a master’s degree. While a bachelor’s degree holder may be able to get employment working alongside health-care providers and physicians in sports clinics and hospitals, master’s degree holders are preferred by many employers. A master’s degree could also enhance employment opportunities, especially at the professional and collegiate levels.

Bachelor’s Programs in Athletic Training

Schools may offer a bachelor’s degree program in athletic training as a concentration or emphasis within a major in kinesiology or health science or as a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Athletic Training. In order to gain admission to most programs, students must possess a grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.5, pass a written exam, and attend an interview; they may also be required to have obtained CPR certification.

A student typically begins a three-year athletic training program in his or her sophomore year due to observation hours and prerequisite courses he or she would have to complete before being accepted by the school. Core coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Nutrition
•Clinical studies
•Anatomy
•Human and exercise physiology
•Biomechanics

Many schools prefer an emphasis in teaching, and experience can be gained by students as educators in a corporate setting, college, or high school. In 2009, licensure or registration was compulsory for athletic trainers in 47 states (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

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