So you dream of working on the sidelines with elite athletes, keeping them in peak condition for the NFL season. Becoming an athletic trainer for the NFL is a challenging but rewarding path. But how to become an NFL Athletic Trainer?

Academic Foundation:

  • Bachelor’s Degree: Aim for an undergraduate degree in exercise science, kinesiology, or a related field. This builds a strong foundation in human anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics – crucial for injury prevention and rehabilitation.
  • Master’s Degree: You’ll need a Master of Science in Athletic Training (MSAT) from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) [CAATE accreditation athletic training ON Athletic Training Educational Committee]. These programs provide the specialized knowledge and clinical experience needed.

Certification and Licensure:

  • National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) Certification: Passing the Board of Certification (BOC) exam administered by the NATA is mandatory for practice.
  • State Licensure: Each state has its own licensing requirements. Check with your state’s athletic training board for specific details.

Gaining the Edge:

  • Internships: NFL teams offer competitive internship programs. Seek out summer and seasonal internships during your master’s program to gain hands-on experience in a professional sports setting.
  • Networking: Attend conferences, workshops, and NATA events. Connect with professionals in the field, especially those with NFL experience. Building strong relationships can open doors to future opportunities.
  • Continuing Education: Staying up-to-date on the latest sports medicine advancements is crucial. Pursue continuing education courses to maintain your certification and refine your skills.

Beyond the Basics:

  • Strength and Conditioning Knowledge: Understanding strength and conditioning principles helps design effective rehabilitation programs and improve overall athlete performance.
  • Mental Toughness and Teamwork: The NFL environment is fast-paced and demanding. Develop mental resilience and the ability to collaborate effectively within the athletic training team.
  • Passion for the Game: A genuine enthusiasm for sports medicine and a love for the NFL will fuel your dedication throughout this challenging but rewarding journey.

Remember, becoming an NFL athletic trainer requires a sustained commitment to education, experience, and excellence. With hard work, dedication, and the right approach, you can reach the sidelines and provide top-notch care to America’s football heroes.