NATA Strategic Plan

NATA Strategic Plan

Forward Together. This plan was designed to clearly align NATA’s focus around strategic priorities as defined by our members,  with consideration from others aligned with athletic training as well as internal and external realities. If you completed the survey in 2021, your feedback drove every discussion. Your words remained near and were frequently revisited to ensure the NATA Board of Directors – elected by their respective districts - and NATA national staff remained ever mindful of what athletic trainers – practicing in a host of settings – deem critical to advance the profession.

Our ability to achieve the goals and develop innovative and measurable strategy to accomplish objectives outlined in the plan – some of which are designed to accelerate momentum towards long-term goals such as third-party reimbursement – will require all of us. Our collective efforts will not only yield greater impact for the patients and athletes we serve but for the profession of athletic training. This plan is our pathway Forward, Together.

Full Strategic Plan (PDF) 



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Our Goals


Goal 1:

Enhance member experience, engagement and community.

NATA is essential to advancing the athletic training profession as well as supporting members transitioning into and currently practicing athletic training. Members are earned and retained by the value and experience we provide that improves their lives. Through frequent and collective member feedback we will advance our community by engaging members, attracting leaders who bring rich perspectives, experiences and supporting athletic trainers who desire to practice at the top of their skill set.

  • Objective 1: Clarify value and provide solutions. Establish member value propositions that address the evolving needs within varied membership segments to provide direction in the assessment and development of member benefits and resources.
  • Objective 2: Increase member engagement. Refine and build more compelling solutions that address member needs.
  • Objective 3: Effectively articulate member value. Refine member communications and platforms to deepen awareness of NATA’s work among NATA leadership, members and relevant constituent bodies.
  • Objective 4: Strengthen community. Enhance opportunities for NATA to provide professional community for members of all backgrounds, settings and career stages.
  • Objective 5: Expand and diversify leadership. Review and cultivate the pathways and structure of NATA leadership positions to facilitate broader interest, access and engagement. 

Goal 2:

Cultivate the development, growth and sustainability of the athletic training profession.

As the leading organization committed to the continued growth of the profession, introducing the best and brightest to athletic training, increasing diversity within our profession and supporting the unique and global needs of members practicing today is critical to the sustainability of the profession and the role of athletic trainers in patient care. Through creative and intentional investments in professional educational enrollment, self-advocacy, professional development, and by addressing key determinants of attrition, we will meet, and generate even greater, demand for athletic training.

  • Objective 1: Attract future ATs. Increase efforts to attract, diversify, facilitate and support the next generation of athletic trainers.
  • Objective 2: Advance knowledge. Identify and develop programs to address impending advances in patient care.
  • Objective 3: Support self-advocacy. Enhance value-driven resources and professional networking opportunities to complement self-advocacy efforts.
  • Objective 4: Examine barriers to AT retention. Establish a disciplined focus to counteract key determinants of attrition within the profession. 



Goal 3:

Elevate understanding of and regard for the comprehensive skill-set of athletic trainers.

The domains of athletic training – along with continued clinical and professional development – has positioned the athletic trainer as one of the most versatile in health care, with a transferable skill set that is reflected in the growing demand and expanding settings. Elevating efforts to educate key stakeholders on the impact athletic trainers have on work, life and sport will create greater clarity on the value athletic trainers provide in all settings, enrich inter-professional practice teams and relationships to support the overall advancement of public health.

  • Objective 1: Deepen understanding of AT impact. Increase efforts to expand perception of athletic training to reflect the full scope of practice and return on investment.
  • Objective 2: Cultivate and grow inter-professional partnerships. Leverage and expand the NATA CollaborATe program and other connections to foster deeper appreciation for the depth and breadth of athletic training services.
  • Objective 3: Be a resource for employers. Become a leading source for employers in all settings to enhance understanding of value and optimal compensation structures to support the hiring process.
  • Objective 4: Enhance advocacy support. Leverage At Your Own Risk to increase awareness among key stakeholders and provide greater member support with local advocacy.

Goal 4:

Champion critical efforts that influence practice advancement.

Since inception, athletic training has grown leaps and bounds. Its value is undisputed and evident in the growing settings where ATs are leading in all facets of health care – from prevention and diagnosis to emergent care and therapeutic intervention. When athletic trainers are able to practice at the top of their skill set and in work environments that understand, respect and value their worth, everyone wins. Through a disciplined focus and strategy, NATA will continue to influence positive change that benefits members, the profession, employers of athletic training services as well as patients.

  • Objective 1: Prove ROI. Quantify the return on investment for athletic training services and widely communicate findings and knowledge to drive compensation discussion and self-advocacy.
  • Objective 2: Expand patient access to ATs. Initiate and champion policies and legislative relationships that allow athletic trainers to practice to the fullest extent of their skill set in all settings.
  • Objective 3: Advance reimbursement. Increase the impact of NATA’s legislative and regulatory advocacy in support of third-party reimbursement, state, federal and CMS recognition.
  • Objective 4: Strategic collaboration at all levels. Enhance and align national, district, and state strategies to support national legislative and regulatory objectives.



Goal 5:

Strengthen member value by optimizing NATA operations and revenue portfolio.

NATA’s ability to advance the mission and strategic priorities outlined in this plan requires motivated and knowledgeable staff in the various disciplines of association management, along with passionate volunteers who are dedicated and invested in the growth of the association. In addition, maintaining a thriving revenue portfolio is paramount to NATA’s ability to address the current and future needs of the association. NATA is committed to sound stewardship and ensuring the transparency and accountability of member resources. NATA will continue to observe high standards by ensuring programs and initiatives are driven by data and evidence to maximize member return on investment and overall advancement of the athletic training profession.

  • Objective 1: Increase revenue. Improve existing and explore new revenue streams.
  • Objective 2: Ensure adequate infrastructure. Evaluate and maintain sufficient organizational capacity to achieve strategic goals. 
  • Objective 3: Invest in organizational culture. Assess and reestablish baseline to measure organizational culture as well as employee and member satisfaction.
  • Objective 4: Measure outcome and alignment. Refine processes and evaluate outcome measures to optimize resource allocation and strategic alignment at all levels.




Our Process

The creation of the new strategic plan began in the summer of 2021 with vision casting. The strategic vision casting process consisted of five phases:

1. Research and data collection: Taking place in late summer of 2021, this phase included the collection of information that helped illustrate the current state of the athletic training profession as well as the needs of ATs. This included: member assessment survey, exit surveys completed by previous members, cost to practice assessment, comparative assessment - which evaluated NATA’s cost and benefits against similar health care, an updated 2021 NATA Salary Survey, and an environmental scan among other things.

2. Analysis: During this phase, which began in the fall of 2021, a cross-functional team was established to examine all of the research and data collected to determine themes and priorities.

3. Conclusion: During this phase, which took place in the winter of 2021, the research and analysis was shared with the NATA Board of Directors to inform NATA’s strategic agenda.

4. Development: During this phase, early 2022, the NATA Board of Directors analyzed all the information collected to develop the “pathway forward” for the association, outlining the first iteration of NATA’s strategic priorities and objectives to enhance focus and organizational alignment.

5. Implementation: The work of implementation begins January. This phase engages all entities within NATA – from committees to staff – in the process of defining their intended contribution to advancing the goals and objectives as well as the metrics and milestones to measure impact. 



Our vision, mission and DEIA commitments guide how we think, act and will continue to advance the profession of athletic training.




Our Vision

Athletic trainers will be globally recognized as vital practitioners in the delivery and advancement of health care. Through passionate provision of unique services, athletic trainers will be an integral part of the inter-professional health care team.




Our Mission

The mission of the National Athletic Trainers' Association is to represent, engage and foster the continued growth and development of the athletic training profession and athletic trainers as unique health care providers.




Our DEIA Commitments

  1. Cultivating an inclusive and welcoming environment.
  2. Providing programming, research and resources to support cultural competency and ensure athletic trainers are equipped with the knowledge and skills to better serve diverse populations.
  3. Ensuring that the values of diversity, equity, inclusion and access are embedded in continuing education, conferences, communications, and the work of the association.
  4. Examining processes, policies, practices, communications, structures and barriers with an equity lens to promote authentic engagement, access, and inclusion of diverse individuals.
  5. Increasing transparency and accountability on diversity, equity, inclusion and access by sharing data and information about our journey and commitments.
  6. Supporting and intentionally promoting a diverse athletic training profession.




Our Values

NATA’s core values are the shared beliefs and behaviors of the organization that complement the AT Professional Values created by the NATA Professional Responsibility in Athletic Training Committee. 


The values of NATA are: 



We strive to foster an open and inclusive environment that is authentic, engaging and welcoming to all.




We embrace and appreciate the richness and depth of differences.




We use resources wisely to grow and sustain the association for generations to come.




We learn from, respond to and are guided by what is in the best interest of our members. 



We approach our work and each other with transparency, decency, humility and grace.



Government Affairs Timeline (PDF)

From humble beginnings to huge impact, NATA has worked since its inception to advance the athletic training profession among employers, parents and members of the public. Advocacy has been at the heart of these efforts. The NATA Government Affairs Timeline outlines the evolution of NATA’s advocacy efforts. Download the timeline to see the big wins that have taken place over the years and to learn more about what NATA is doing every day for members and the athletic training profession.