To become a certified athletic trainer, a student must graduate with bachelors or master’s degree from an accredited professional athletic training education program and pass a comprehensive test administered by the Board of Certification (BOC). Once certified, he or she must meet ongoing continuing education requirements in order to remain certified. Athletic trainers must also work in collaboration with a physician and within their state practice act.
Eligibility for the BOC exam is contingent upon completion of a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) that must instruct the Competencies within the curriculum. Passage of the certifying examination is a requirement for licensure in most states.
The ATC® Credential
The ATC® credential and the BOC requirements are currently recognized by 49 states plus the District of Columbia for eligibility and/or regulation of the practice of athletic trainers. The credibility of the BOC program and the ATC® credential it awards are supported by three pillars: (1) the BOC certification examination; (2) the BOC Standards of Professional Practice, and Disciplinary Guidelines and Procedures; and (3) continuing competence (education) requirements.
BOC certification is recognized by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies and is the only accredited certification program for athletic trainers. To be certified, an individual must demonstrate that he or she is an athletic trainer capable of performing the required duties without threat of harm to the public. The BOC traditionally conducts annual examination development meetings during which athletic trainers and recognized experts in the science of athletic training develop, review and validate examination items and problems. The knowledge, skills, and abilities required for competent performance as an entry-level athletic trainer fall into three categories:
- Understanding, applying, and analyzing;
- Knowledge and decision-making;
- Special performance abilities.
BOC-certified athletic trainers are educated, trained and evaluated in five major practice domains:
- Injury and illness prevention and wellness promotion
- Examination, assessment and diagnosis
- Immediate and emergency care
- Therapeutic intervention
- Health care administration and professional responsibility
Don’t have a bachelor’s degree?
Find an accredited athletic training education program near you along with other valuable resources for students.
Already have your bachelor’s degree?
If you already have a bachelor’s degree in something other than athletic training, you can earn a master’s degree in athletic training from a university with an accredited entry-level master’s program or earn a second bachelor’s degree from one of more than 360 accredited athletic training education programs.
The BOC Candidate Handbook outlines current eligibility requirements. Visit the BOC website for more information.
Maintaining Your Credential
The BOC Recertification requirements outline the requirements to maintain your BOC certification. The requirements include information about completing the continuing education (CE) requirements, meeting the emergency cardiac care (ECC) requirements, submitting the BOC certification maintenance fee and adhering to the BOC Standards of Professional Practice.
For questions about admission to a specific accredited program, contact the program director at the individual college or university. For additional certification information, visit www.bocatc.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1.877.BOC.EXAM.