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The professional standards for the accreditation of Professional Athletic Training Programs will be changed to require that all professional programs be at the master’s degree level. No incoming first year students for Fall 2018 will be able to declare an undergraduate major in Athletic Training. Please see the Athletic Training website for more information. 


The Athletic Training major is located in the Department of Health Professions within the College of Health and Behavioral Studies.

Admission and Progression Standards

Please visit the Department of Health Professions – Athletic Training website for information about the new standards and accreditation. 

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.

More About the Field 

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.


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.

Complementary Majors and Minors 

Some possible combinations include Chronic Illness, Coaching Education, Conflict Analysis and Intervention, Gerontology, Health Communication, Human Science, Kinesiology, Pre-Occupational Therapy, Pre-Physical Therapy, Psychology, Spanish, Special Education-Non Teaching, Sport Communication, Substance Abuse Intervention, or Theater and Dance.

Characteristics of Successful Students

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.

  • Ambulatory Care Practitioner
  • Athletic Advisor/Counselor
  • Athletic Training Educator
  • Athletic Healthcare Manager
  • Clinical Athletic Trainer
  • Clinical Coordinator
  • Club Sports Certified Athletic Trainer
  • Combined Outreach Athletic Trainer
  • Community Health Specialist
  • Community Sports Clinical Athletic Trainer
  • Corporate Fitness Director
  • Disability Claim Manager
  • Emergency Medical Technician
  • Emergency Room Technician
  • Exercise Specialty Clinical Athletic Trainer
  • Fitness Program Coordinator
  • Health Educator
  • Health Information Specialist
  • Health Promotion Coordinator
  • Hospital Care Clinical Athletic Trainer
  • Hospital Wellness Coordinator
  • Industrial Fitness Specialist
  • Massage Therapist
  • Medical Studies
  • Occupational Athletic Trainer
  • Patient Care Technician
  • Personal Trainer
  • Physical Therapist/Physical Therapy Assistant
  • Physician's Assistant
  • Physician Extender
  • Prosthetics/Orthotics Technician
  • Rehab Therapy Services Coordinator
  • Secondary School Athletic Trainer
  • Sports Fitness Nutritionist
  • Sports Medicine Clinic Director
  • Sports Physical Therapist
  • Sports Rehabilitation Therapist
  • Strength/Conditioning Coach

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.

Internships and Experiential Opportunities 

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. 

View our list of internship coordinators for each major.

Career Profiles 

Athletic Trainers and Exercise Physiologist
Athletic Trainer
NATA Athletic Trainer Job Descriptions

Additional Resources to Research Careers
  • Handshake: view new internships and jobs that employers are looking to hire JMU students from your major 
  • Career Outcomes: see where alumni worked or studied right after graduating.
  • GoinGlobal: learn more about employment opportunities overseas as well as H1B visa information for international Dukes pursuing jobs in the U.S.
  • O*NET: browse occupational profiles to learn about thousands of different careers, pulling data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics 
  • CareerOneStop: explore thousands of different careers by looking at career profiles 
  • Utilize the LinkedIn Alumni tool to see what others have done with their majors and what their career paths look like. Reach out to alumni via LinkedIn and conduct an informational interview.

© University Career Center, James Madison University

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without permission from the JMU University Career Center. Content for each major has been written/reviewed by faculty in the respective department and is revised each year. Requests to update content can be submitted to

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