AT Terms

Using proper athletic training terminology helps eliminate confusion or inconsistencies when explaining the AT’s role in the health care arena.

Update: The Athletic Training Strategic Alliance Inter-Agency Terminology Work Group compiled the Athletic Training Glossary to provide common definitions to be used across the athletic training profession.

Terminology Tips

  • "Athletic trainer" or "AT" are the preferred terms. NEVER use "trainer" or "certified trainer." If this occurs in a direct quote, use "[athletic] trainer" or "certified [athletic] trainer."
  • Use AT as the abbreviation for athletic trainer. Use ATC only when referring to the credential.
  • Do not use ATC/L, ATC/R, LATC or any other combination of ATC, as the credential is trademarked.
  • NATA does not use the term “certified athletic trainers” unless the circumstance requires distinction. We do allow this term within BOC submissions to NATA publications.


Athletic Training

  • "Athletic training" and "athletic trainer" are not capitalized unless part of a proper noun.
  • Avoid using "AT" as an acronym for the term athletic training as a noun. It may be used as an acronym in the adjective form.
    • Correct: "The new AT facility was unveiled."
    • Incorrect: "When studying AT, a student should…"


Athletic Training Facility

  • The preferred term is "athletic training facility."
  • Do NOT use "training room."
  • The Uniform Terminology Project group said, "We should refer to our secondary school and college-based work spaces as facilities or clinics."


Athletic Training Students

  • High school students are referred to as athletic training student aides, NEVER student trainers.
  • College students are referred to as athletic training students, NEVER student trainers.


Athletic Training Education Programs

  • The new acronym is "ATP." We no longer use "ATEP."



  • Plural possessive: National Athletic Trainers’ Association
  • When using the abbreviation NATA as a noun, do not precede it with ‘the;’ rather, "When NATA was founded…”
  • When “NATA” is used as an adjective, it’s proper to use “the,” as in "the NATA Governmental Affairs Committee."


NATA Research & Education Foundation

  • Write out the full name upon first reference and use “NATA Foundation” for subsequent references. Do NOT use “the Foundation.”


NATA Committees

  • When referring to NATA committees, always include NATA in front of the committee name upon first reference (ie: NATA Young Professionals Committee). Upon second reference, use the acronym without NATA (ie: YPC).


Convention Terminology

  • The proper name is {insert appropriate number} NATA Clinical Symposia & AT Expo. On second reference, acceptable terms are convention, NATA convention or NATA {insert year}. 
    • Examples:  70th NATA Clinical Symposia & AT Expo, convention, NATA convention, NATA 2020
  • The correct names and treatment of various functions at the convention include:
    • Athletic Training Student Seminar, or ATSS
    • ATSS Ron Culp – NBATA Cadaver Workshop, or cadaver workshop
    • AT Expo
    • National Quiz Bowl, or quiz bowl, or student quiz bowl, which awards The Eve Becker-Doyle Quiz Bowl Championship Cup  
    • NATA Foundation Pinky Newell Scholarship & Student Leadership Reception