If you are someone who is interested in health and is sports-minded, becoming an athletic trainer may be a viable career option for you. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the outlook for jobs in the field of athletic training is better than average, with a projected growth rate of 37 percent from 2008 to 2018. Choosing the right school is important if you want to be a certified athletic trainer.
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As a certified athletic trainer, you play an integral part in preventing and treating injuries. Athletic trainers are now accepted by the American Medical Association as allied health professionals specializing in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of muscle and bone injuries. When "athletic trainer" is mentioned, you may think only of a job working with a sports team, but today, athletic trainers also work under licensed physicians and other healthcare providers.
In order to become a certified athletic trainer, you must obtain a bachelor's degree and pass the Board of Certification exam, or be eligible to take the exam. In order to be eligible to take the exam, you must be a graduate of a Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education school. There are currently 360 CAATE schools in the United States. Education-Portal.com lists the University of Texas and Ithaca College, both CAATE, as the top two undergraduate institutions for athletic training. The Princeton Review listed the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor as one of the best Midwestern colleges, as well as a top sports-minded school.
University of Texas
The University of Texas is a public institution and offers a Bachelor's of Science in athletic training through the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education. It is a highly competitive program and admits approximately 15 students per year. According to the annual report for the 2008/2009 academic year, 100 percent of UT's first-time candidates passed the Board of Certification exam that year, while the national average was 50 percent. Students are required to complete clinical rotations, located both on and off campus.
Ithaca College is a private college and is consistently ranked as one of the top schools for athletic training. You begin the athletic training program under the Department of Exercise and Sport Science. As a sophomore, you must apply for admission into the actual athletic training program. Admission is limited and very competitive. Along with the minimum grade point average, you must complete required clinical rotations and write an essay.
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor is a CAATE school, and graduates of the Athletic Training Educational Program will earn a bachelor's of science in kinesiology. Admittance is selective. As a graduate, you will be eligible to take the Board of Certification exam. The school offers a well-rounded education of both academic course work and clinical experiences.