Career Advancement Committee National Distinction Award: Overview and Criteria

Award Overview

The National Distinction Award is the Career Advancement Committee’s highest honor to recognize a young professional athletic trainer who has made an immediate and definitive impact on the athletic training profession at the national, district, state or community level. The selection committee encourages the sponsor to review the award and it’s criterion before submitting the nominee as an applicant. Recommendations are limited to one page, as a concise narrative of the nominee as how he/she relates to the award is necessary to award the best candidate possible. Collaborating with other recommenders is advised to ensure all perspectives and information is included. Letter should address the following areas:

  • Nominee embodies the ideas, goals, and mission of NATA and the Career Advancement Committee
    • Contributes to the missions and objectives of the Career Advancement Committee, NATA, and the athletic training profession
    • Consistently demonstrates a positive character and responsibility to their, peers, patients, and institution
  • Nominee has demonstrated the highest level of service, professionalism, and competence in their place of work
    • Major contributor to the daily operation of his/her practice
    • Demonstrates unselfishness in giving talents and time within and outside the athletic training profession
    • Demonstrates interest in work related functions, institution spirit and pride
  • Nominee maintains the highest level of honor, respect, and integrity in their clinical setting and to the community
    • Demonstrates competence, knowledge, and skills in his/her clinical practice
    • Demonstrates activities and time management skills that incorporate work/life balance
  • Nominee demonstrates leadership abilities
    • Demonstrates initiative and ability to inspire other professionals where the athletic training profession has directly benefited
  • Nominee is active in research and education
    • Utilizes evidence based medicine, and/or contributes to the current body of knowledge through presentations or manuscripts
    • Mentors or educates students, colleagues, or other athletic trainer


Award Eligibility

  • Nominees must meet the following criteria:
  • Must have 7-12 years of experience as an athletic trainer
  • Considered to be advancing in their career at time of nomination
    • Must be within 7-12 years of initial certification
  • Certified member or certified student member of the NATA and in good standing
    • Minimum of three years of experience as a certified athletic trainer
    • Minimum of three years membership in NATA
  • Considered “young professional” at time of nomination
    • Must be within first 12 years of profession after initial certifcation/licensure
  • An athletic trainer may not be awarded twice
  • If more than one sponsor nominates the same person, the first sponsor to nominate will be taken
  • Current and previous members of the NATA Career Advancement Committee are not eligible for this award


Award Application Requirements

To be considered for this award, each nominee must have a complete award application:

  • Nominating athletic trainer must complete the online award nomination form
  • Three letters of recommendation
    • One from nominating sponsor
      • Sponsor must be current NATA member
    • One from a colleague
      • Must be a current NATA member
    • One from an individual in the nominee’s place of work
      • May or may not be NATA member


Deadlines & Procedure

  • August 1- Nominations for CAC Award accepted
  • October 14-  Nominating athletic trainer must complete award nomination form and submit all relevant documents including letters of recommendation
  • January-  Only award recipient will be notified by the Career Advancement Committee Chair



Winners will be selected by the NATA Career Advancement Committee.  A member of the Career Advancement Committee will notify the nominating athletic trainer once the application is complete.



Contact Dylan Orrell, NATA liaison to the Career Advancement Committee for questions related to the CAC Award.