Athletic trainers are healthcare professionals who specialize in preventing, diagnosing, and treating musculoskeletal injuries in athletes and physically active individuals. They play a vital role in keeping athletes safe and on the field. But what qualifications do they need? The key to a successful career as an athletic trainer lies in obtaining the proper certifications.

The Gold Standard: Board of Certification (BOC)

The most crucial certification for aspiring athletic trainers is the “Athletic Trainer Certified” (ATC) credential offered by the Board of Certification (BOC). To be eligible for the BOC exam, candidates must graduate from a Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) accredited program. These programs are rigorous, combining classroom learning in anatomy, physiology, and exercise science with extensive clinical experience.

Passing the BOC Exam

The BOC exam is a comprehensive assessment of an athletic trainer’s knowledge and skills. It covers topics like injury evaluation and rehabilitation, emergency care, and therapeutic modalities. Passing this exam demonstrates an athletic trainer’s competency in providing safe and effective care to patients.

Maintaining Certification

Maintaining BOC certification requires ongoing commitment to professional development. Athletic trainers must complete continuing education courses to stay up-to-date on the latest practices and techniques in the field.

State Licensure

While BOC certification is nationally recognized, some states also require athletic trainers to obtain a state license. License requirements vary by state, but typically involve passing an additional exam and meeting specific practice hour thresholds.

Beyond the Basics

While the BOC certification is the foundation, some athletic trainers pursue additional certifications in specialized areas like performance enhancement or sports psychology. These additional credentials can enhance their expertise and open doors to new career opportunities.

By obtaining the necessary certifications and licensure, athletic trainers demonstrate their commitment to providing high-quality care to athletes. The BOC certification is the gold standard in the field, ensuring that athletic trainers possess the knowledge and skills to help athletes perform at their best while staying safe from injuries.