There are a variety of athletic training degree programs available to students, depending upon their interests and specialization. Most athletic training degree programs focus on optimizing athletic performance as well as diagnosing, managing and rehabilitating sports-related injuries. Individuals who want to pursue athletic trainee degrees will be exposed to areas revolving around kinesiology, psychology, nutrition and biomechanics as they learn how to assist athletes in competing at optimal levels.
Kinesiology is one of the more popular athletic training degree programs. This specialty entails the scientific study of how the human body moves and operates on a mechanical level and is the combination of a variety of disciplines, including biomechanics, anatomy and physiology. A student who is pursuing an education in this field will learn about various body structures and muscle functions. This type of program generally lasts about four years and will prepare a student for a career in physical education, fitness management or clinical research.
Many athletic training degree programs revolve around the field of biomechanics. This specialty is often seen as a sub-discipline of kinesiology. This specialty focuses on the science of body movement and is used to help athletes develop better techniques that can improve their performance. For example, the principles of biomechanics can be implemented to improve the swing of a golfer or the jump shot of a basketball player. Students who are pursuing degrees in biomechanics will be responsible for learning the principles that govern motion, friction and inertia. Upon completing this type of program, students will be prepared to begin careers in roles such as as sport technique consultants, research analysts for sport companies or strength coaches.
There has been an increase in athletic training degree programs that revolve around nutrition. Elite athletes often have rigorous training regimens, and improper nutrition can have detrimental effects on their performance. Studies have shown that proper nutrition is required to obtain optimal performance, so there has been an increasing demand for athletic nutritionists. Students in this field will discover techniques and strategies for diagnosing eating disorders, managing weight and using supplements for optimal nutritional gain.
Sports psychology is another degree program the focuses on the relationship between the mental preparation of an athlete and his or her athletic performance. Individuals who are studying in this field learn about the use of goal setting, imagery and positive affirmations as ways for athletes to perform better in their respective sports. In addition to performance improvement, sports psychologists also work with athletes to help them overcome injury and progress through the rehabilitation process.