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Careers in Athletic Training

What is Athletic Training?

Athletic trainers are healthcare professionals who specialize in the prevention, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses. They collaborate with physicians and other clinic personnel to optimize the activity and participation of patients and clients.

In order to become a certified athletic trainer (ATC), you must pass a national certification exam* (the BOC exam) and maintain state licensure. Athletic trainers are represented in the U.S. by the National Athletic Trainer's Association.

*Nationwide changes in the athletic training profession are requiring accredited athletic training programs to transition to the master's level; when the changes are fully implemented, the minimum requirement to become a certified athletic trainer will be a master's degree.

Athletic trainers work in a variety of settings, including…

  • schools (K-12, colleges, universities);
  • clinics, hospitals and physicians' offices;
  • professional athletics facilities;
  • other workplaces (commercial, government, military).

Becoming an Athletic Trainer

Individuals who want to become certified athletic trainers must do the following:

  1. Earn a degree from a CAATE-accredited athletic training curriculum. The Whitworth Athletic Training Program is CAATE-accredited.
  2. Pass the national certification exam, called the Board of Certification (BOC) exam. Passing the BOC exam is the only way to become a certified athletic trainer (professional credentials: ATC). Students typically take this exam during spring of their final year or right after graduation.
  3. Obtain state licensure, registration or certification (as applicable).

Each state has its own laws regulating the practice of athletic training. For example, in Washington state, the primary requirement to become a licensed athletic trainer is to be BOC-certified. Most states have a similar requirement.

Alumni Achievements

More than 125 graduates have finished Whitworth's AT program since its initial accreditation in 1999, and we have many more alumni from before that time. Whitworth athletic training alumni have worked in their discipline for Washington State University, University of Washington, Boeing/Work Fit, Tri-City Orthopedics, ATI Physical Therapy, local and regional high schools, and numerous other organizations.

In general, our alumni find careers as...

  • secondary school athletic trainers and/or teachers;
  • college and university athletic trainers and faculty;
  • employees in clinical, corporate and industrial settings, such as physical therapy clinics, physicians' offices and industrial-injury-prevention programs.

With additional training, alums also find careers in other healthcare professions – as registered nurses, physician assistants, physical therapists, acupuncturists, chiropractors, and massage therapists.

The following is a small sample of careers pursued by Whitworth athletic training alumni:

  • Tori LaBrie, '15
    GA at University of Nebraska Omaha, working with women's soccer & softball
  • Ciara Rink, '14
    Head AT at Kennewick High School
    AT at Tri-City Orthopedic Center
  • Nate Gonzalez, '11
    AT with Work-Fit at Boeing, Everett, Wash.
  • Andrew Hamstra, '11
    Assistant AT at Washington State University
    Experience with Atlanta Falcons
  • Jon Bosh, '04
    Head Athletic Trainer at Whitworth University
  • Cameron Collings, '06
    Physician assistant at Wenatchee Orthopaedics
  • Elaina Stubb, '03
    Physical therapist at Brighton Rehabilitation, Salt Lake City
  • Jenn Stueckle '99
    AT at University of Washington, volleyball, women's tennis, men's & women's rowing
  • Jodi Baker '97
    Associate professor of athletic training and clinical coordinator for athletic training, California Baptist University
  • Melinda Larson, '92
    Co-director of athletics & associate professor of kinesiology, Hope College (Mich.)