How to Become an Athletic Trainer: FAQs

What types of employment are available with an Athletic Training (AT) degree?

There are many Athletic Trainer job opportunities and settings available upon graduation such as the following:  high schools, clinics, many healthcare settings, graduate schools, colleges, fine arts, armed forces, professional teams, and even physician extenders, which is becoming very popular with Athletic Trainers. Certified athletic trainers are health care professionals who specialize in preventing, recognizing, managing and rehabilitating injuries that result from physical activity. As part of a complete health-care team, the certified athletic trainer works under the direction of a licensed physician and in cooperation with other health care professionals, athletics administrators, coaches, and parents.

How do I apply for the Athletic Trainer program?

The student must declare AT as a major and complete the required AT coursework and be officially accepted into the program.  Students need to take certain pre-requisite classes and then enroll in an Introduction to Athletic Training class.  Providing the student gets a C or better in the required pre-requisites and an A or B in the AT 100 class, he or she will be officially accepted into the program.  An official interview process could occur as well.


Do I need to have my CPR and First Aid complete prior to application?

No.  Students will become certified in CPR and FA during a class they are required to take within the athletic training program curriculum.


When will I know I got accepted into the Athletic Training program?

Students will be notified with a letter after the interview process is complete.  Some may be accepted with probationary status based on meeting requirements.  This is at the discretion of the program. Students will be notified by an official letter shortly after the spring semester of their freshman year.


If I apply this year and don’t make it into the program can I reapply next year?

Yes.  If a student should happen not to make it into the program, he or she can reapply the following year.


How many students will you accept into the program?

Accreditors require programs to have a “manageable number” of students conducive to learning environments.  Thus, the numbers may fluctuate, but most likely between 15-20 each year, will be accepted.


Can I major in AT if I want to pursue a career in a professional healthcare setting?

Yes.  There is a pre-professional track, which incorporates many of the pre-requisites for a lot of postgraduate healthcare professions.  Degrees such as physical therapy, physician assistant, chiropractic, master’s degree’s in health-related fields, can all be pursued with a bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training.  It is up to the student, however, to complete all pre-requisites for a given professional degree based on the requirements of a chosen University or College.


Are any of the core classes online?

No.  None of the AT classes are online: however, some of the General Education classes may possibly be taken online.


How many years is the Athletic Training Program once I am admitted?

The program is six semesters once the student is admitted, which spans three academic years.


Can I work and be in the program too?

Because of the clinical education component of the Athletic Training Program, it is very difficult to work while in this program. Although it is not prohibited, it is very difficult, because of the clinical practicums.


Can I be an athlete and be an Athletic Training Major?

Yes.  You may attempt to do both.  The program will work with a student-athlete as much as possible regarding clinical hours.  However, the student will be responsible to obtain the same amount per clinical practicum as a non-athlete.


Can I minor in Athletic Training?

No.  Athletic Training is a stand-alone, four-year undergraduate degree.


Why is the program not listed as “accredited” like some of the other schools I have researched?

As a new program, the WLU AT program has to go through an accreditation process.  All AT programs in the country that advertise “accredited” have gone through this same process.  It entails a self-study and site visit by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE.)  This can’t happen until the entire curriculum is running with all classes.  Therefore, it won’t happen until there are freshman, sophomores, juniors and seniors in the cohort.


Are there summer internships involved with the curriculum?

Nothing is required; however, internships can be set up with various settings if a student chooses to.  If so, it will be linked to a practicum class.  This will occur on a case-by-case basis.


What is the minimum GPA required to remain in the Athletic Training program?

Students must maintain at least a 2.8 cumulative GPA and earn nothing lower than a C in all AT major classes.


Where are the clinical sites for the students?

Students are required by the CAATE to receive clinical experiences in a variety of setting.  The WLU AT program has clinical sites which include local high schools, physical therapy clinics, and a general medical facility, in addition to its own University athletic training rooms.