Earn Your Degree to Become a Professional Athletic Trainer

by Ben Kissam

Athletic trainers are the unsung heroes of a sports team. Because much of their job is to help prevent injuries for athletes of all ages and skill levels, their role is crucial to the success of any team.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, athletic training jobs will grow 19 percent between 2018 and 2028 (that’s an addition of nearly 6,000 jobs). This is great news if you’re considering entering the field, but even with new opportunities on the horizon, athletic training jobs are competitive. Getting the right degree is the first step toward becoming a professional athletic trainer.

Here’s how Azusa Pacific University’s M.S. in Athletic Training can help you get ready to succeed within the workforce.

Why Do You Need a Master’s Degree?

According to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), only one out of three high schools in the United States has a full-time athletic trainer. That number is expected to grow substantially, and there will be thousands of other young professionals vying for the same opportunities as you.

As demands increase, however, earning a master's in athletic training will soon be essential in the field. In the coming years, industry changes will require a master's degree in order to complete the Board of Certification exam and become a professional trainer.

When you earn your degree at APU, you’ll receive hands-on training from qualified professors who will equip you to succeed in the real world, all through a Christ-centered perspective.

What APU’s Athletic Training Program Offers

Here are three benefits for students who pursue a master’s degree in athletic training program with Azusa Pacific University:

1. A Program Geared Toward Board Certification

Jennifer Livingston, program director for the M.S. in Athletic Training at APU, noted that the school’s accreditations gives students the opportunity to take the exam and become certified upon graduation. “Without accreditation, the graduates are not eligible for the BOC exam,” she explained.

The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE)—which is sponsored in part by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA)—develops, maintains, and promotes minimum education standards to ensure quality training programming. Meanwhile, the BOC exam, or Board of Certification exam, ensures that new professional athletic trainers meet industry standards and have a way to continue their education beyond school.

The master’s program at APU is geared specifically toward being eligible to sit for the BOC. And APU athletic training students have a 97 percent pass rate, which is 3 percent higher than the nationwide average pass rate, according to the CAATE.

2. Valuable Clinical Experiences

Many aspiring athletic trainers hope to work with high-level college or professional athletes. Others prefer to work with younger athletes, or in a clinical or rehabilitative setting.

At APU, students are exposed to a variety of clinical experiences as part of the program, ranging from different Division II sports teams, local high schools, medical offices, and physical therapy facilities. With the opportunity to work with a number of different levels of athletes, students get to experience what it’s like to work in different environments and what kind of career they want to pursue.

Plus, there’s a newly renovated biomechanics lab equipped with the latest technology (like 3D motion capture cameras and force platforms) to help students develop a deep understanding of human movement. No matter what your career goals are, APU’s master’s degree program is sure to give you the hands-on experience you need to head in the right direction.

3. A Chance to Learn Through a Christian Worldview

Another aspect of APU’s programming that sets it apart from others is its focus on integrating a Christian worldview into the role of an athletic trainer. One way the school’s instructors achieve this is by approaching injury prevention and treatment holistically.

For example, one of the courses in the program focuses on handling psychosocial issues such as eating disorders, anxiety, substance abuse, and response to injury—all very real issues student-athletes deal with every day. You’ll be able to do more than provide physical training and injury prevention; you’ll be capable of serving others to help them thrive.

Curious to learn more about becoming a professional athletic trainer? Contact a representative of the M.S. in Athletic Training program at Azusa Pacific University for more insight.