Five Convention Experiences for Career-Advancing ATs

April 25, 2024 by Lydia Hicks
75 Things To Know About Convention, Five Experiences for Career-Advancing Athletic Trainers

The 75th NATA Clinical Symposia & AT Expo, June 25-28 in New Orleans, is approaching – and registration is open. As we get ready for convention, NATA Now is looking back at convention history as well as what to know about NATA 2024.

For career-advancing athletic trainers – those in their seventh to 12th year of initial certification – NATA 2024 is the place to be for updates, social and professional networking, education and more activities critical to career growth.

Here are five things career-advancing attendees can look forward to experiencing at convention this year. Learn more about everything NATA 2024 has to offer and register on the convention website.


1. Kick Off Your Day at the Daily Opening Sessions

Each day of NATA 2024 will kick off with all attendees coming together to learn about important association updates from leadership and hear from special guest speakers at the Morial Convention Center.


2. Socialize and Network at the NATA Happy Hour

The NATA Happy Hour, from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. June 25 at the Morial Convention Center, is NATA 2024 attendees’ first chance to network after arriving in New Orleans. Pick up your convention badge at registration and kick off your convention experience by grabbing a complimentary drink (beer, wine or non-alcoholic) at the NATA Happy Hour.

“We will have designated meetup spots for groups to allow people to find their tribe, intentionally seek out others in another group of interest to them or just mingle in the ‘middle’ with the masses,” said NATA Director of Meeting Management Lori Marker.

Career-advancing ATs will not only get to meet and mingle with their peers, but also ATs in the collegiate, secondary school and emerging settings as well as early professionals and students.

“Be approachable and engaging,” said NATA Career Advancement Committee Chair Nicolette Harris, . “Most individuals are there to meet new people so don’t hesitate to initiate conversations. If you are shy or tend to get nervous during social or professional interactions, try practicing an elevator pitch before the event to make it easier to engage in discussions with new individuals and find things in common. Once you’ve kicked off a conversation, ask other open-ended questions about their experiences and be an active listener. Lastly, exchange contact information so that you can follow up once things have settled down at a more formal time.”


3. Enjoy Education Designed for You

The NATA Career Advancement Committee will offer an educational panel session from 9 to 9:55 a.m. June 27, titled “Organizational and Administrative Strategies for Enhancing Job and Career Satisfaction in Athletic Trainers Seeking Career Advancement” created with career-advancing ATs in mind.

“Career-advancing ATs should attend this educational session because it’s specifically designed to not only enhance their existing skills in organizational and administrative strategies, but also broaden their knowledge base with innovative strategies to improve their workplace culture – a critical component of job and career satisfaction for many athletic trainers,” Harris said. “Additionally, this session will provide an opportunity to engage in meaningful dialogue with thought leaders and like-minded individuals, ask questions and gain insights that are directly applicable to your day-to-day work and place of employment.”


4. Attend the New AT Expo Opening and Closing Celebrations

The world’s largest showcase of products and services for the athletic training profession, the AT Expo will feature a new twist: Celebrate the opening of the AT Expo and the exhibitors supporting the athletic training profession from 8:45 to 9 a.m. June 26. Don’t miss the opportunity during the closing ceremony from 4:30 to 5 p.m. June 27 to thank our exhibitors.

With more than 250 exhibitors and more than 425 exhibit booths, the AT Expo will feature hands-on demonstrations, giveaways and ample time to explore the show floor and conduct business.

“The AT Expo offers an amazing opportunity to network with leaders, fellow athletic trainers and sports medicine professionals and representatives from leading companies in the field,” Harris said. “Career-advancing professionals should not underestimate how building relationships at the exhibit hall can open doors to career advancement opportunities. Likewise, the exhibit hall always offers access to the latest procedures, technology and resources relevant to athletic training practice.”


5. Connect with Peers at the EPC/CAC Town Hall

CAC has also partnered with the NATA Early Professionals’ Committee to host their first-ever town hall from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. June 27.

“The town hall will offer the opportunity for members to meet the committee and network with other professionals from their demographic,” Harris said. “We are also excited to present the National Distinction Award to our 2024 honoree [Rhianna Freiburger, DAT, LAT, ATC]. Attendees also will have the opportunity to ask questions, share concerns, offer feedback and voice their opinions on the issues at hand.”