Athletic Training Major FAQ
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Q: What is an Athletic Trainer?
A: Athletic trainers are unique health care providers who specialize in the prevention, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses. They provide care for people in a variety of settings including high schools sports teams, physician’s offices, sports medicine clinics, large corporations, universities, NASCAR, performing arts, and professional sports teams. Whatever the setting, athletic trainers help people participate and safely return to their activities.
If you want to become a certified athletic trainer, you must attend a college or university that offers an accredited Athletic Training Program, like Truman. Accreditation is granted by The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education, CAATE.
In addition to graduating from an accredited program, all athletic trainers must pass the Board of Certification (BOC) examination. Once they graduate and pass the certification examination, certified athletic trainers are ready to work anywhere injuries and illnesses happen.
Q: What is different about the Athletic Training major*?
A: First, when you are an athletic training major*, you are actually doing athletic training. Each semester you will take practicum course in which you apply your athletic training skills in actual injury situations. It gives you excellent experience and unlike most majors, you know what you are getting into before you graduate.
The application process is the second difference. In order to major* in athletic training, you must apply and be accepted into the major separately from your primary Truman application.
Q: Do I have to apply?
A: Yes. The Athletic Training major* requires a separate application than the one used to apply to Truman. All accredited athletic training education programs are required to do this. Since there are limited spaces in the program, this process is competitive.
Q: What if I am an athlete?
A: You cannot participate on a Truman athletic team and major* in athletic training.
The profession of athletic training is enticing because of the unique opportunity to combine a love for sports with a desire to work in healthcare. Naturally, it’s appealing to current and former athletes. Many students who are interested in attending Truman State University as varsity athletes also wish to become athletic trainers.
To be clear, the Athletic Training Education faculty and staff strongly encourage you to take advantage of co-curricular activities available on campus. They are also dedicated to ensure all athletic training students meet the requirements for the Athletic Training Program. Your clinical experiences must be of the quality to enable you to pass the Board of Certification (BOC) exam and enter your field as a qualified professional immediately after you graduate.
It is not possible to meet the demands of varsity sport participation at Truman and complete these requirements, which often would conflict with the your sport obligations – especially during afternoons, evenings, weekends, and non-traditional competitive seasons.
Choosing whether to play a sport or major* in athletic training is a very difficult decision. We suggest you talk both with the coach of the sport you are interested in and the AT faculty to help make your decision.
Q: What if I want to be a physical therapist also?
A: Since athletic training and physical therapy are similar, it is relatively easy to prepare for a profession in both.
The athletic training major* is tremendous preparation for physical therapy school. Athletic training majors* will learn about modalities and rehabilitation, how the human body responds to exercise, and they will work with patients on a daily basis.
Physical therapy requires a minimum of a Master’s degree. All physical therapy schools have a specific set of pre-requisites that must be met in order to be accepted to that school. Most physical therapy programs require 2 biology courses, 2 physics courses, 2 chemistry courses, and 2 psychology courses in addition to an undergraduate degree. You can easily meet these pre-requisite courses within the athletic training major* or as electives.
Q: What can I do in High School to prepare myself?
A: Start by learning more about the profession. Find an athletic trainer at a high school, clinic, or hospital that will let you shadow them. Ask them lots of questions and spend enough time with them to learn what they really do.
Start researching schools. You must attend a school that has an accredited athletic training program. Narrow down your list of schools and make a visit to your top choices.
The National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) offers a special membership for high school students. Check out the advantages of membership including scholarships and workshops on their H.S. Student web page.
Finally: Study hard. Get good grades in science classes and take a course in anatomy or sports medicine if it is offered in your school. Athletic training programs are looking for students who are well prepared.
Q: What if I want to transfer to Truman from another university?
A: If you are attending a university that doesn’t offer athletic training, or you are simply excited about Truman’s Athletic Training Program, transferring to Truman may be a good option for you. We are always looking for good students.
There are a few things to consider first:
- Our program requires 7 semesters to complete the clinical coursework. Since we do not accept transfer credit for clinical coursework, this would require at least one additional semester of school for most transfer students.
- Being accepted to Truman does not guarantee acceptance into the athletic training program. All students must apply separately.
- All transfer credit is determined by the Truman registrar and program director. Our transfer policy will help you understand which courses are most likely to transfer. To learn more about transferring to Truman, see Transferring Credit.