How do I get Athletic Trainer Certification?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2019
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Obtaining athletic trainer certification is necessary if you want to work as a personal trainer with any type of professional sports club as well as many health clubs and gymnasiums. Because the work of the trainer involves understanding the function of both the body and the mind, becoming a certified athletic trainer is not for everyone. However, if you feel the call be become a personal trainer or work in a sports clinic or fitness center, here is what you must do in order to obtain your certification.

Your first step in the journey toward athletic trainer certification is to pursue a degree in a field related to fitness. In many cases, you will need to earn at least a bachelor’s degree in a field such as nutrition, physical therapy or physical fitness. Courses like human anatomy, and psychology are also very helpful for people who want to become fully certified as an athletic trainer.

With an accredited degree in a related field, your next step will be to secure practical experience under the direction of a certified trainer. For the most part, this type of on the job training will be recognized as an internship by many of the agencies that are empowered to grant athletic trainer certification. During this time, you are likely to find yourself engaged in situations involving everything from preparing athletes for competition to providing follow up physical therapy after sports related contests and events have concluded.


Once you have practical experience to go along with your educational credentials, you can approach the agency that is responsible for granting athletic trainer certification in your area. In the United States, this function is handled by state level agencies. It is not unusual for a written or oral exam to be required as part of the evaluation process. To make sure you have met all the necessary requirements for certification in your area, it is a good idea to contact the agency in advance and obtain detailed information on what is and is not required in your jurisdiction.

After complying with all the requirements of the local agency, you will then have your athletic trainer certification and can pursue any number of different career paths. In addition to setting up your own personal training business, you can also seek employment with a professional or semipro sports team, work for a high school or college as part of the athletics department, or even become a member of the staff of a rehabilitation center. Since your certification is often recognized outside the local jurisdiction, you may be able to secure work in other areas of the country by simply filing your existing certification with the agency that oversees the area where your new job is located.


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Post 1

You need to do a lot more than what this article says to become an ATC. It doesn't even mention the BOC and the NATA.

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