What is Athletic Training?

Here are a few of the most often asked questions, with some answers,  from parents, student-athletes, and the general public in regards to the profession of Athletic Training.  If you have additional questions or would like more information, please visit the following links:



Q:  What is Athletic Training?

A:  Athletic Training is practiced by athletic trainers (AT’s), health care professionals who collaborate with physicians to optimize activity and participation of patients and clients across age and care continuums.  Athletic Training encompasses the prevention, diagnosis, and intervention of emergency, acute and chronic medical conditions involving impairment, functional limitations, and disabilities.  AT’s work under the direction of physicians, as prescribed by state licensure statutes.  Athletic Training has been recognized by the American Medical Association (AMA) as an allied health care profession since 1990.


Q:  What is an Athletic Trainer?

A:  An Athletic Trainer is a certified health care professional who practices in the field of sports medicine.  Athletic Trainers provide medical services to all types of people-not just athletes participating in sports-and do not train people as personal or fitness trainers do.  There are approximately 40,000 AT’s practicing nationally.


Q:  Do you have to go to school to be an Athletic Trainer?

A:  Yes.  To become an Athletic Trainer one must have a degree from an accredited professional level education program and then sit for and pass the Board of Certification (BOC) examination.  Each state then has their own regulatory agencies that control the practice of athletic training in their state.  Most states (39), including Michigan,  requires an Athletic Trainer to obtain a license in order to practice in that state.

Q:  What Michigan colleges/universities have Athletic Training Education Programs?

A:   The following schools are accredited Professional (entry level) institutions:





Central Michigan University

Eastern Michigan University

Grand Valley State University

Hope College

Lake Superior State University

Michigan State University

University of Michigan

Northern Michigan University

Saginaw Valley State University

Western Michigan University


Q:  What type of classes will I have to take in college?

A:  The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) oversees the curriculum standards of all Professional (entry level) and Post-Professional institutions.  Content areas include:

*Pathology of Injuries and Illnesses

*Orthopedic Clinical Examination and Assessment

*Risk Management and Injury Prevention

*Human Anatomy

*Therapeutic Modalities

*Conditioning and Rehabilitative Exercises

*Pharmacology and Psychosocial Intervention and Referral

*Nutritional Aspects of Injury and Illness

*Healthcare Administration

*Professional Development and Responsibility


Q:  What type of job can I get as an Athletic Trainer?

A:  AT’s treat a broad population, from amateur and professional athletes to typical patients in need of orthopaedic rehabilitative care.  Services rendered by the athletic trainer take place in a wide variety of settings and venues.  They may include:

Schools (K-12, college/university)

Outpatient Rehab Clinics


Physician offices

Community facilities

Workplace Health (Commercial/Govt.)

Military Installations

Professional Sports organization (NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, Nascar)