How to become an Athletic Trainer?

It takes many years for people to figure out what they want to do for a profession. Athletic training is moving to a master’s based profession. This means that those interested in becoming an athletic trainer obtain a 4 year undergrad degree in a related field of their choosing and then pursue the 2 year accredited athletic training master’s degree. Upon completion of this degree the student is then eligible to sit for the national exam.

Steps to becoming an Athletic Trainer:

1.In order to become an athletic trainer you have to graduate from an accredited bachelor’s or master’s program in order to be eligible to sit for the national certification exam. The Board of Certification (BOC) is the national certification governing body for the exam.  Many undergraduate athletic training programs are being phased out due to the switch to the emphasis on the master’s degree.The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education is the accrediting body for undergraduate and graduate athletic training programs. There are over 360 accredited athletic training programs in the country!


2. Once you complete an accredited program you are now eligible to sit for the national exam. The national exam consists of 175 questions. There are 3 types of questions; multiple choice, stand alone, and focused testlets. The candidate only has 4 hours to complete the exam. There is a registration process online through the board of certification for the athletic trainer (BOC). The accrediting program director also has to approve the student who wishes to take the exam. The test cost is $300 and scores are based on 200-800 scale with 500 being the passing score. There are 5 two-week testing periods throughout the year of when the exam is administered.


3. In order to stay certified you have to maintain continuing education requirements. To maintain your certification as an athletic trainer you have to get 50 hours of CEU’s or continuing education units every 2 years. Of those 50 hours 10 hours have to be from evidence based practice material. You also have to maintain current emergency cardiac care licensure.


Athletic training is a very unique profession and is extremely gratifying! Here are the links to find out more information about how to become an athletic trainer!

NATA Becoming Certified

BOC Exam Eligibility