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Overview of Master Degree Programs in Athletic Training

Majors Overview May 21, 2018

This article talks about master’s degree programs in athletic training and their educational requirements, coursework, job and wage outlook, and continuing education options.

Master’s Programs in Athletic Training

Prospective certified athletic trainers for gyms, professional athletes, or personal clients would benefit from enrolling in a graduate degree program in athletic training. Schools most commonly offer a graduate level degree in the field as a Master of Science (M.S.) in Athletic Training.

Most 2-year graduate degree programs in athletic training aim at preparing students to take the state Board of Certification (BOC) exam and earn a certified credential. Because of this, students interested in graduate level athletic training should enroll in a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE).

Students gain expertise in evaluating and treating medical conditions and musculoskeletal injuries related to a sports injury, as well as in providing rehabilitation services and prevention education. Coursework in most master’s degree programs in athletic training is a combination of didactic lectures and hands-on, clinical rotations at physicians’ offices, rehabilitation centers, and sports medicine clinics.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a baccalaureate degree, along with submitting GRE scores and transcripts.


Program coursework may cover research methods related to the field, clinical practices of trainers, and scientific principles of the human body. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Therapeutic exercise and rehabilitation
•Upper and lower extremity and athletic injury
•Illness and injury
•Sports nutrition
•Modalities and equipment of athletic training
•Foundations of Athletic Training
•Orthopedic Assessment
•Training pharmacology

Job and Wage Outlook

In 2016, 27,800 individuals were employed as athletic trainers in the United States (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Secondary schools, elementary schools, and universities employed about 36% of these professionals while physicians’ offices employed 6%. Athletic trainers are expected to see a much-higher-than-average 23% job growth, over the 2016-2026 decade. In May 2016, athletic trainers brought in an average annual wage of $46,630 (BLS).

Continuing Education Options

In 47 out of 50 states, athletic trainers are required to obtain licensure from the Board of Certification (BOC). Gaining a post-secondary degree and passage of an examination will enable these professionals to gain certification.

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