This article describes the field of athletic training and the reasons why you may want to consider earning a master’s degree as an athletic trainer. It also will tell you about programs that are available for online master’s in athletic training and related degrees.
The general field of athletic training is becoming one of the leading career in the US as there is more of an emphasis today on staying healthy and preventing long term illnesses that cost the healthcare system.
Athletic trainers work with people of all ages and people with all types of skills. Athletic trainers may work with those from very young children all the way up to senior citizens. An athletic trainer usually works under the supervision of a doctor or other licensed health care professional. Some of their core responsibilities include:
- Recognizing and evaluating different injuries
- Provide emergency care or first aid
- Develop and implement rehab programs for athletes, students or the elderly who have injuries.
- Design new programs to prevent injuries among all ages of students.
An athletic trainer also may have considerable administrative responsibilities. These can include meeting regularly with coaches and athletic directors to work on budgets; implementing new athletic training policies; and budgeting.
Most athletic trainers work in schools, universities, colleges and high schools. Some also work in fitness centers, hospitals or even doctors’ offices.
To become an athletic trainer, you need to have at least a bachelor’s degree, more athletic trainers today have a master’s degree. If you are considering a program as an athletic trainer, you should be looking for an accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education or CAATE.
Also, you may want to earn your certification as an athletic trainer from the Board of Certification for the Athletic Trainer (BOC).
Becoming an athletic trainer is a logical career choice today because the employment in the field is expected to increase by at least 20% by 2024, according to the latest US government statistics. There are many reasons for this, but one of the newest explanations for the high demand is that there is much more knowledge today about the dangers of sports injuries among our youth.
Current research suggests that the effects of head injuries, such as concussions, can be particularly bad and dangerous for children. Concussions are a risk for anyone, but the brain of a child is still in the development phase. If a child gets a concussion, it can lead to very serious problems for the rest of their lives.
Today, many public schools are required by their state to have certified athletic trainers in their sports programs. Athletic trainers are usually part of the staff of a school. So, if there is any injury, the athletic trainer may be the first person on the scene. This makes the position of great importance for the school or organization. Therefore, the demand for these professionals should continue to rise.
Another factor in the increase in need for athletic trainers is that there are much more advanced ways to treat and detect injuries today, so there will be more need for an experienced trainer to help with these issues.
As you are weighing a career as an athletic trainer, we recommend that you investigate the following online master’s programs:
Master of Science in Athletic Training
This advanced athletic training master’s program online with A.T. Still University will provide you with highly advanced, evidence-based techniques that will help you to improve the health outcomes of your clients.
This master’s program is a two year athletic training degree, and it is designed to result in the student’s certification by the Board of Certification for athletic trainers. The program provides you with a high level of excellence in athletic training and gives you the resources and opportunities to excel.
This program also is accredited by the CAATE. Some of the occupations that you will be able to qualify for after you graduate are:
- Athletic training supervisor
- Clinical instructor
- Resident athletic training instructor
- Sports medicine coordinator
- Clinical education coordinator
- Certified athletic trainer
This online degree program also features clinical rotations that you are required to complete under appropriate clinical supervision. You will be able to work in an athletic training environment under the direction of a health care professional, and also will work in many different health care and education settings.
Master of Science in Athletic Training
The University of South Florida also offers a highly regarded Master of Science in Athletic Training. This is one of the only athletic training programs online in the US that is provided from inside a medical college. The goal of this two year degree program is to prepare all athletic training graduates for ultimate professional and personal success, and also setting high standards for athletic training around the country.
The clinical rotation part of this program will offer you real life athletic training experience, as well as your classroom and laboratory training. Your clinical education portion is part of four different classes that are four credit hours each.
All parts of this clinical rotation experience stresses collaborative learning from experienced athletic trainers and health care providers. You will be assigned several week rotations that will offer you many different athletic training experience with different ages of patients.
Your classes are organized into the following competencies:
- Evidence-Based Practice
- Prevention and Health Promotion
- Clinical Examination and Diagnosis
- Acute Care of Injury and Illness
- Therapeutic Interventions
- Psychosocial Strategies and Referral
- Healthcare Administration
- Professional Development and Responsibility
The curriculum is based upon a medical type of model. Most of the didactic training is in Year 1, and you will have most of your clinical education in Year 2. The program is 60 hours and while there is not a thesis, you do have to complete a capstone project. That part of the program is completed in your Research in Athletic Training class.
Your coursework will include these:
- Physical Exam I
- Health and Wellness I
- Clinical Experience I
- Medical Conditions
- Health and Wellness II
- Prevent Sudden Death I
- Professional Practice
- Advanced Athletic Training
Master of Science in Athletic Leadership
This is a fully online master’s program offered by Clemson University that addresses the great need for effective coaching leadership in organizations around the US. This two year degree is designed with the needs of the athletic coaching community in mind. It is made to give coaches and administrators with the tools they need to succeed in leadership roles in athletic training.
It is a 36 hour program, with two classes taken in each of three academic semesters each year. Some of the classes are offered in synchronous format and others are asynchronous.
Your classes, which includes a clinical rotation of 400 hours, will feature:
- Leadership Development
- Ethical Issues
- Legal Issues
- Administration and Organization of Collegiate Athletics
- Research Methods
- Marking and Communication Responsibilities
- Intercollegiate Athletics and Finance
The field of athletic training in general is an excellent one to consider because of the much higher demand for athletic training services in many types of schools and universities around the country. Given how litigious American society can be today, many educational establishments want to protect themselves and their students by having highly trained athletic trainers available.