Salt Lake City Pursue Graduate Athletic Training Programs

Athletic training graduate programs teach advanced techniques to treat and prevent sports related injuries. Graduate athletic training schools may have classes on physical therapy and emergency care methods to address athletic injuries. Courses may also explore techniques such as stretches and training measures to help avoid problems in the future.

Depending on the level of your athletic training graduate program, you may also conduct your own sports medicine research. In this case, you could test the current athletic training theories and maybe even offer suggestions to enhance and forward the field.

About athletic training graduate programs

What is Athletic Training?

Athletic training includes services, exercises, and fitness plans the reduce, treat, or prevent sports related injuries. This could include treatments and procedures involving the following.

  • Immediate Emergency Services
  • Chronic Injuries
  • Preexisting Conditions
  • Physical Therapy
  • Preventative Care

Each of these topics, and more, may be addressed in a graduate athletic training program. This way students might prepare to guide athletic professionals through safe and effective exercise routines and sports performances.

Athletic Training Graduate Program Levels

Athletic training graduate programs may be found at three primary levels.

  • Masters in Athletic Training Programs (MS, MSAT)
  • Doctorate Athletic Training Programs (DAT, EdD)
  • Graduate Certificate in Athletic Training Programs

Each type of graduate athletic training program has its own requirements and goals. For example, a Masters in Athletic Training program may suit someone with a bachelors degree. A doctorate program, on the other hand, may require more experience. Programs vary, so it's important to contact athletic training graduate schools directly to learn more.

Athletic Training Master's Degrees

Masters in Athletic Training programs develop students’ athletic training techniques through courses heavily focused on anatomy and sports related stress. This could help students better grasp how the human body works and learn how to keep it functioning in an optimal way. After studying these fundamentals, students may then move on to examine the treatment of injuries that have already occurred. Rehabilitation procedures could prove vital to reduce the long-term effects of both major and minor injuries.

While Athletic Training Master's programs vary, they typically require students to complete 68 credit hours. Students could earn a Masters in Athletic Training degree in 2 years, depending on enrollment. It’s important to note that masters programs may require applicants to be a currently licensed athletic trainer or certified athletic trainer. For more information, speak with the athletic training school's department head or admissions team.

Potential Athletic Training Master's Program Curriculum

As mentioned, Masters in Athletic Training courses are designed to teach students how  to lessen the negative effects sports could have on the body. This might mean exploring muscle strengthening techniques, how to correct form, or ways to address current injuries with physical therapy. While earning a Masters in Athletic Training degree, students could have the chance to take some of the following courses.

  • Concussions in Sports
  • Sports & Disability
  • Emergency Care in Athletic Training
  • Presentation, Evaluation, and Treatment of Athletic Injuries

Courses vary by program. Be sure to speak with your program director for more information about available classes.

Athletic Training Master's Programs & Certification

Many Masters in Athletic Training programs seek to prepare students for the necessary exams to become a certified athletic trainer (CAT). Typically, Masters in Athletic Training Masters classes reference the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) and the Board of Certification for the Athletic Trainer (BOC) industry standards. These two agencies offer the required examinations students may need to complete to become CATs.i

Both exams aim to test the 5 domains of athletic training and may draw directly from courses you could take during your time in a masters in athletic training degree program. These are as follows.

  • Prevention
  • Clinical Evaluation & Diagnosis
  • Immediate Emergency Care
  • Treatment, Rehabilitation Reconditioning
  • Organization & Administration

Testing materials may vary by state and exam year. Not every athletic training master's program is designed to help students prepare to pursue certification, so contact schools directly to learn more if this interests you.

Athletic Training Graduate Certificate

Athletic training graduate certificate programs are often shorter and more concise programs. This is because they either focus on one specific aspect of AT or act as a general introduction to graduate studies.

Students choosing to pursue a focused program could study a specific AT technique and expand their skill set. For example, yoga and holistic medicines are common graduate certificate concentrations. Students in these programs typically have earned a bachelors in athletic training degree. Therefore, the certificate program may not need to address AT fundamentals. Instead, they could focus solely on a particular aspect of athletic training.

Others may want to pursue a graduate certificate in athletic training to start the graduate journey. In this case, certificate programs offer reduced curriculum to touch on core courses that you may find in an AT masters program. This could include classes in emergency care and injury prevention. Many students who earn this type of graduate certificate go on to athletic training master's programs. Some certificate credits may then be applied towards graduation. However schools vary, so follow up to learn whether this could apply to you.

Athletic Training Doctorate Program

Students typically enroll in athletic training doctoral programs to either conduct research or prepare to teach others about athletic training.

Doctorate in Athletic Training Program (DAT)

Those interested in conducting research and advancing their practice may choose to enroll in a DAT program or PhD. These athletic training doctorate programs may focus on expanding students' understanding of how current AT methods and tactics are developed. Advanced courses then teach ways to challenge the current medical status quo in a constructive matter. This usually consists of testing the effectiveness of rehabilitation, training, and other methods.

As part of these athletic training graduate programs, you could have the chance to take some of the following courses.

  • Quality Improvement & Patient Safety
  • Corrective Techniques
  • Foundations of Orthopedics
  • Comparative Effectives in Athletic Training
  • Epidemiology

Courses may vary by school. Speak with an advisor from your intended AT doctoral program for more information. They may be able to provide you with valuable materials like course guides and curriculum outlines.

EdD in Athletic Training Program

Another option is the doctorate of education (EdD) in athletic training. This type of program focuses on teaching others to use current AT techniques. Classes may be split between advanced AT concepts and educational methods. Due to this dual focus, some courses might be offered in the education department, instead of the AT department. Intended schools could provide you with more information about potential class breakdowns.

Within these programs students may also have the chance to take on a graduate assistant (GA) positions. In these roles, you could potentially teach undergraduate AT students. This could be a great chance to test out your teaching abilities in a real-world setting. Please be aware the availability of graduate assistant positions varies by school. Speak with department or admissions faculty for more information about their GA programs.  

Doctoral Athletic Training Capstones

In addition to coursework, doctoral athletic training programs may have students take part in one of two capstone projects. Those most interested in practical applications of AT may choose to complete clinical rotations. These semester-long experiences could allow students to practically apply their AT knowledge. In many cases, students shadow a professional in the industry throughout their daily routine. As the semester progresses, they may have the chance to work with their own set of patients.

Other students may choose to take the dissertation route to conduct their own AT research. In order to take part in research by an institution, they may be required to take some of the following prerequisite courses.

  • Research Methods & Design
  • Qualitative Research Methodology
  • Implementing and Evaluating a Solution
  • Completing & Disseminating Research Projects

After completing these courses, students may then go on to design their own experiments to test athletic training theories. Subjects could range from enhancing current physical therapy techniques to researching more effective stretches. After collecting data, students could choose two different ways to present their findings. First, students could present a typical dissertation research paper outlining their findings to faculty. Or, students might provide a presentation outlining their findings at an athletic training conference.

Capstone project requirements vary by athletic training school. Check with department faculty for more information.

Who Accredits Athletic Training Graduate Programs?

Athletic training graduate programs are typically accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE).i It’s CAATE’s mission to constantly evaluate athletic training (AT) programs at the undergraduate and graduate level. The goal of this is to continually push programs to enhance and adapt their curriculum to include new techniques and breakthroughs in the field. This may be an important consideration when evaluating athletic training graduate programs, as graduation from a CAATE-accredited program is often a requirement for licensure. Follow up with individual schools or visit the CAATE website to learn more.

Athletic Training Graduate Program Types

Athletic training graduate programs are offered in several different formats so that students might better match their education to their needs. For example, students currently pursuing AT careers may want the convenient scheduling of the online programs. Others way may the interactive experience of an on-campus program. Consider your personal lifestyle, routine, and academic goals to find a format that is perfect for you.

On Campus Athletic Training Graduate Programs

Campus atheltic training graduate programs might be a great choice for students who want to experience hands on learning. Classes might offer visual teaching aids to better illustrate core AT concepts. This could be as simple as using anatomy models to display how certain injuries occur. Or, it could involve medical volunteers coming into the classroom for physical therapy.

Depending on the program, professors may also be able to offer clinical shadowing experiences. During these courses or planned excursions, students could witness how professors go about diagnosing and treating real-world injuries. This could be a great way to see how theories translate to actual applications.

Finally, campus programs may provide access to advanced AT technology. These machines might help monitor things like heart rate, stress levels, and more. However they are often too costly to purchase for home. This way, students could continue to engage with innovative technologies without encountering prohibitive educational costs. Every athletic training graduate school is different, so follow up directly to learn what resources might be available to you.

Online Athletic Training Graduate Programs

Online courses may be similar those offered on campus but with the added benefit of being available anywhere with internet access. Students could log into their courses as their schedule allows. This might be a great choice for those who have already earned a bachelors in AT and are current professionals. This way, they could continue working while simultaneously pursuing their education.

Additionally, online athletic training graduate programs could provide access to campus resources. For instance, many schools stream the AT lectures for students to view. This may allow them to tap directly into the classroom experience. Schools could also make libraries and online databases available. This may help students pursue additional research for their classes or other projects.

Hybrid Athletic Training Graduate Programs

Hybrid courses offer aspects of both these programs. While many courses are still offered conveniently online, students may be required to attend certain core classes on campus. These courses may be lab based and provide access to tools and demonstrations that might not have available at home. Campus portions of hybrid athletic training graduate programs are often shorter. This succinct timeline might make it easier to fit into your busy day-to-day schedule.

Potential Athletic Training Careers

Students who complete athletic training graduate programs often choose to pursue a career as an athletic trainer. Athletic trainers work in a variety of settings in order to reduce and treat sports related injuries. Workplaces could include some of the following.

  • School
  • Hospitals
  • Fitness Centers
  • Sports Arenas

Athletic training positions typically require applicants to hold a bachelors in athletic training. But, master’s degrees are also common. Additionally, many of these positions may require students to earn an athletic training certification before they are able to practice. To do this, students could take either a state’s licensure exam or the Board of Certification for the Athletic Trainer’s (BOC) exam.

In 2016, athletic trainers earned a median salary of $45,630. And, the amount of available positions could possibly be growing much faster than the national average. Employment opportunities for athletic trainers are projected to potentially grow 21% from 2014 to 2024.i

Choosing Athletic Training Graduate Programs

This information may have helped refine what athletic training graduate programs you’re looking for. Maybe you realized that a doctorate could help you teach in the field. Or, perhaps you pinpointed that you want to expand your practical methods with a masters in athletic training program.

Now that you may have an idea of what you’re looking for, browse the list of programs on this page. Click a link for more information about a particular program. While you’re there, you could also request more information about that program. Or, you could refine your list by selected your preferred degree level and program type from the menus on this page.


[i] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/athletic-trainers.htm#tab-4

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