Career Guide to JMU Majors: Athletic Training
The Athletic Training major is located in the Department of Health Sciences within the College of Health and Behavioral Studies.
Admission and Progression Standards:
Visit the Major Snapshots site to learn more about the admission and progression standards of this major.
Description of Major
Athletic Training is offered as a Bachelor of Science degree program through the Health Sciences Department. The mission of the department is to contribute to the liberal education of all students and to prepare students for professional careers in health science. The goal of JMU’s Athletic Training Education Program is to provide a comprehensive, progressive, educational and clinical foundation to prepare the student for future roles in health care of the physically active. Students graduating from the undergraduate ATEP at JMU meet all of the Board of Certification requirements for applying to take the national certification examination to become a certified athletic trainer. Areas of study include injury prevention, emergency care, injury evaluation and rehabilitation of the physically active. This program is comprised of both academic and clinical requirements. A minimum of 800 hours of clinical experience spread across at least two years is required for graduation, and clinical education is based on the mastery of clinical proficiencies under the direct supervision of approved clinical instructors. It is not an open major; students are selected through a competitive admission process.
Tell me more about this field of study
Certified athletic trainers are medical experts whose primary responsibilities are preventing, recognizing, managing, and rehabilitating injuries to physically active individuals. An athletic trainer may prepare athletes for practices or competitions through taping, wrapping, bandaging or stretching. If an athlete is injured, the athletic trainer provides the initial care for the injury, assesses the extent of the injury, and determines the appropriate management for that injury. The athletic trainer then develops and implements the rehabilitation plan for the injured athlete.
Tell me more about specialization
Athletic trainers can pursue a broad range of career paths, but the majority choose to work for universities and colleges, high schools, and sports medicine clinics. Many athletic trainers also work in amateur and professional sports settings, although these positions are more difficult to obtain. Athletic trainers are found wherever individuals are physically active and include non-traditional settings such as NASCAR, rodeo, the armed services, and corporate wellness settings.
Many opportunities exist for athletic trainers at major universities, four-year colleges, community colleges and junior colleges. As well, most large high schools now employ athletic trainers. The athletic trainer’s schedule varies throughout the year depending on their employment setting and whether the sports they cover are in season, out of season, or in pre-season training. At large universities, athletic trainers will usually travel with assigned teams and provide coverage for specific teams. At smaller colleges/universities, the athletic trainer may be in charge of numerous sports teams/athletes at once. At high schools, athletic trainers’ roles vary widely. Some work at one school only, while others may work for a school district assisting several schools. Many high school athletic trainers will teach classes during the morning and provide athletic training services in the afternoons. At sports medicine clinics, athletic trainers work with a variety of physically active individuals by providing performance enhancement exercises, assisting in rehabilitation exercises, strengthening programs, or provide sports coverage to local high schools in the afternoons.
Common majors or minors that complement this major
Some possible combinations include Coaching Education, Conflict Analysis and Intervention, Gerontology, Health Communication, Kinesiology, Pre-Occupational Therapy, Pre-Physical Therapy, Psychology, Spanish, Special Education-Non Teaching, Sport Communication, Substance Abuse Intervention, or Theater and Dance.
Students who can think quickly, have the ability to handle stressful situations, communicate well with others and are interested in both medicine and sports and the impact sports have on the human anatomy are successful in this field.
Most graduates choose careers directly in athletic training. However, some graduates choose unrelated careers that utilize skills and experiences developed during their years in college. The listing below offers examples of possible career paths that athletic trainers will pursue. This list is not meant to be comprehensive. Please note: many of the fields listed require graduate study or further training.
Who employs graduates?
Amateur Sports Teams, Clinical Healthcare Programs, Colleges/Universities, Corporate Health Programs, Industrial Healthcare Programs, Fitness Centers, Hospitals, Professional Sports Teams, Physician Offices, Physical Therapy Clinics, Public/Private Schools, Recreation Facilities, Rehabilitation Centers, Resorts, Sports Camps, Sports Equipment Companies, Sports Medicine Clinics, Sports Teams, Theater and Dance Groups, US Olympic Teams, and Youth Camps.
All students in the athletic training program are required to complete a minimum of four clinical practica. They must complete a minimum of 800 hours of clinical experience to graduate from this program. Students could also benefit from membership in professional organizations such as the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. Students should consult with the faculty coordinator of the area in which they are interested for more information.
A broad range of resources on career fields, internships, and job search information is also available in the Career & Academic Planning Resource Center.
Make an appointment with a CAP career counselor to learn more about this major and your career options.
A few titles from our Resource Center related to this field include:
© Career & Academic Planning, James Madison University, 2013