Athletic Training at College of San Mateo - Athletic Training Careers
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Athletic Training
Athletic Training Careers

To become an athletic trainer you will need to attend, and graduate from a school CAATE accredited program that is approved by the Board of Certification (BOC), and pass the BOC exam. 

What is an athletic trainer?

Athletic Trainers (ATs) are health care professionals who collaborate with physicians. The services provided by ATs comprise prevention, emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions.

Five Domains of Athletic Training

  1. Injury/Illness Prevention and Wellness Protection
  2. Clinical Evaluation and Diagnosis
  3. Immediate and Emergency Care
  4. Treatment and Rehabilitation
  5. Organizational and Professional Health and Well-being
What does an athletic trainer do on a daily basis?

Duties will vary depending on the setting you are in.  In a traditional school setting some of the duties include:  injury care, treatment, and rehabilitation injury prevention (taping, padding, etc.), emergent & non-emergent first aid and evaluation of injuries, communication to doctors, coach, and parents, game preparation, treatment and injury record keeping, counseling athletes on various topics. In a physical therapy office or outreach sports medicine clinics, you may work within the clinic or office in caring for patients.  If they are connected with a local high school, you may be sent to the school in the afternoon to take care of their sports teams. Non-traditional settings include (but are not limited to):
  • Professional rodeo, ballet
  • “X” games
  • NASA Kennedy Space Center
  • Federal Law Enforcement Training Center
  • Movie/Film industry
What path does an athletic trainer follow?

The National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) was founded in 1950 for athletic trainers across the country to share ideas and provide continuing education for the profession. Standards were developed in 1969 for athletic trainers to become “certified.” Over the years these standards have evolved to include: bachelor’s degree from CAATE Accredited Athletic Training Educational Program (ATEP), practical clinical experience under supervision, passes the Board of Certification examination consisting of a computer-based practical test, and a simulation test.  “ATC” is the designation used for athletic trainers who have met these standards.

What particular skills are needed to succeed in the profession?
  • Organization
  • Communication
  • Get along with everybody
  • Flexibility
  • Reliability
  • Good Health
How does one advance in the profession?
  • Increase education level. Currently, most states have their own requirements/regulations. ATC status must be maintained by 75 hours of continuing education every 3 years. Most athletic trainers have master’s degrees; a few have Ph.D.  Other certifications include: EMT, CSCS, RPT, PTA, PA, teaching credential, et al
  • Develop professional network.
  • Keep in touch with past employers, class mates, professors, and other allied health care professionals.
  • Have a plan, and do your research on your professional endeavors.
  • Being in the right place at the right time
What universities are CAATE accredited in the state of California? 
Where can I go for more information about athletic training?

Do you want to volunteer or need to fulfill requirement to satisfy observation hours for a college course?

Email Pat FitzGerald at or Sabrina Deans at for more information.