Last Updated on July 23, 2021
Athletic Training Master’s Degree Programs
From high school sports through the collegiate ranks all the way to the pros, athletic trainers dedicate their professional careers to helping athletes persevere through the injuries inherent to sport. Behind every great athlete who has made it to the collegiate or professional ranks is perhaps dozens of dedicated athletic trainers who have been by their side during tough times, helping to monitor and rehabilitate injuries and design recovery plans. Athletic trainers are the heroes behind the scenes in sports, and their work helps the entire sports industry recover quicker and be their best night in and night out.
A master’s degree in athletic training brings graduates to the intersection of sports, medicine, and science. The field of athletic training holds exciting careers in the sports industry in a wide range of locations. Athletic trainers work with high school, college, and professional sports teams, and at sports medicine clinics. They work in the military, at hospitals and research institutions, with performing artists, and as private consultants. Helping people stay healthy and maintain peak performance both on and off the athletic field is what a career in athletic training is all about.
A master’s degree in athletic training could be the foundation you need to launch a fulfilling career helping individuals live richer lives and achieve their very best. If working in an exciting, dynamic environment with competitive athletes is a priority for you, an advanced degree in athletic training deserves consideration.
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What is an athletic trainer?
According to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, Athletic Training includes treating, diagnosing, and preventing injuries and ailments related to physical movement.
The American Medical Association therefore considers athletic training as a healthcare profession. Athletic training includes examinations, making diagnoses, treating, preventing, and rehabilitating injuries and medical conditions, whether in an athlete or any other person. In contrast to personal trainers, athletic trainers must possess more skills and qualifications. They use a medical model for professional education that includes didactic and practical medical training.
Trainers work as part of a collaborative health-care system like specialized doctors. In collaboration with doctors and specialists, they help prevent injury and illness, protect health and wellness, evaluate medical conditions, diagnose problems, provide emergency care, and create and administer treatment and rehabilitation plans.
Career prospects for athletic trainers
Job prospects for Athletic Trainers are strong. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that between 2019 and 2029 this occupation will grow much faster than the national average of other jobs. This means that employers will compete to hire you, you can have your choice of jobs, and you’ll be able to find a position that suits your interests very well – whether it be a job that involves lots of travel or finding an employer that offers excellent benefits.
As technology and science advance, our understanding of the body—what it’s capable of, how to maximize results, build speed and strength, increase mobility, heal injuries, and train effectively—is advancing too. Professional and collegiate teams are devoting more resources than ever to their training staff in order to stay competitive and protect their athletes from injuries.
This field won’t just help you find work for a team; as our population ages, more and more people are looking for help from professional athletic trainers in order to stay healthy and mobile and enjoy pastimes that they love from amateur sports to training routines.
Job settings for licensed sthletic trainers
Athletic trainers work within all NCAA divisions as well as at the intramural, club, and junior teams of the more than 1000 colleges and universities in the U.S., preventing and treating injuries for the more than 460,000 collegiate athletes in this country.
AT’s design and deliver athletic training curriculum and content for degree programs and liaise with the Athletic Training certification boards and governing bodies to coordinate courses and tests relating to licensing AT’s.
Professional Sports Teams
Professional sports teams employ AT’s to work with athletes at all levels of their organizations from farm teams to the big leagues.
Public and private secondary schools employ AT’s to work with student athletes.
AT’s work with doctor’s offices, clinics, and hospitals to provide non-athletes with the high level of athletic training-based care and treatment strategies that have proven successful with elite athletes.
Working as independent contractors or as part of the Government Civil Service system, licensed athletic trainers are increasingly working with members of the US military, helping to diagnose, treat, and prevent injuries related to military training.
Professionals working in fields that require a high degree physical activity can benefit from the help of athletic trainers. AT’s are employed by a wide variety of companies from oil rig workers to construction contractors and more.
From stage productions on Broadway and in Las Vegas to big name singers, many top tier performing artists work with licensed Athletic Trainers to stay healthy and performing at their best.
The prevention strategies and treatment that AT’s provide to law enforcement and emergency services personnel helps reduce healthcare costs due to chronic and traumatic injuries and keeps first responders healthy and at their best.
Why pursue a master’s in athletic training?
In the past, the standard degree for a licensed athletic trainer was a bachelor’s of athletic training. However, that standard is changing and future ATs will need to hold master’s degrees to earn certification. The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education recently decided that the minimum professional degree level will change from a bachelor’s degree to a master’s degree.
With that added level of education comes many benefits, including a statistically higher probability that you will stay in the field of Athletic Training, find gainful employment, and forge a successful long-term career path with higher pay and job satisfaction. The change reflects the increasing scope of practice of AT’s within sports and medical organizations, and also their importance to the industry. In order to make the master’s degree more accessible and streamlined, some programs are now offering programs that combine bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the same program.
To be competitive as an athletic trainer and work with the best, you’ll need to first get yourself into a program that meets your needs while allowing you opportunities to learn from the top experts in the field, including doctors, athletic trainers, scientists, and coaches. Be prepared to read, write, and research both on your own and in collaboration with other students. Sharpen your critical thinking skills as you help others set and achieve training goals, diagnose and heal injuries, and improve their performance on the field.
What information is covered in a master’s of athletic training program?
To be successful as an athletic trainer, you’ll need a solid, medically-based understanding of the physics and science of movement, the processes that allow bodies to get stronger, faster, more flexible, and more precise, and what’s happening during injuries and recovery. Optimizing the type, duration, intensity, and frequency of workouts is key to patients and clients achieving results, whether that means competing at a high level, staying active into their 70s, recovering from an injury so they can return to work.
As a master’s in athletic training candidate, your classroom studies will be paired with supervised clinical education in the field. You’ll study the theory behind topics such as nutrition, strength training, evaluating injury, and then apply this information in real-life settings. In addition, expect to learn how to function as a member of an organization and manage the staff, facilities, and logistics involved in the work, whether at a clinic, in an athletic team, or at school. Upon graduation, you will be fully prepared to take a certification test and begin your rewarding career as a fully licensed athletic trainer.
The changes in remote education brought about by COVID-19 could make for some opportunities. Athletic Training courses may soon be at least partially completed online, for example, and this could make for some cost saving opportunities in the near future.
Below you will find our comprehensive list of school listings for athletic training degree programs. We hope that this list will help you save time in your search for the program that suits you best.