Frequently Asked Questions - ATRN

About Athletic Training

What is an Athletic Trainer?

The certified athletic trainer (ATC) is a nationally certified allied health professional specializing in the prevention, evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation of athletic related injuries and illnesses.

Why is athletic training considered sports medicine?

Sports medicine is a very broad term. It involves any profession or field of study that is dedicated to the care of athletes and physically active individuals. Examples include, but not limited to, athletic training, physical therapy, nutrition, medicine, psychology, exercise physiology, and biomechanics. The uniqueness of athletic training is that it combines all of these practices. It is also a sports medicine profession which is trained to work exclusively with sport/physical activity.

How is athletic training different from physical therapy?

Certified Athletic Trainers provide comprehensive sports health care services, including injury care, prevention, evaluation, and rehabilitation for physically active individuals. Physical therapists provide rehabilitation services for the physically active and general populations.

How is athletic training different from health fitness/personal training?

Athletic training is comprehensive sports health care while health fitness/personal training focuses on exercise evaluation and prescription.

Will a degree in athletic training prepare me for post-baccalaureate studies in a physical therapy or physician's assistant program?

Yes and no. The purpose of the Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training is to prepare students to sit for the NATABOC exam. Students wanting to pursue graduate studies in physician assistant or physical therapy programs and have a particular interest in sports medicine may find value in completing a degree in athletic training. However, it must be emphasized that the most effective preparation for any graduate program is to contact the school/program you interested in applying to and find out their prerequisites for admission.

What is the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA)?

The National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) ( is a not-for-profit organization with more than 22,700 members nationwide. The mission of the NATA is to enhance the quality of health care for athletes and those engaged in physical activity, and to advance the profession of athletic training through education and research in the prevention, evaluation, management and rehabilitation of injuries.

Founded in 1950 with a membership of 200 athletic trainers, the NATA is based in Dallas, Texas, and provides a variety of services to its membership including continuing education, governmental affairs and public relations. The NATA also publishes the Journal of Athletic Training, a quarterly scientific journal, and NATA News, a monthly membership magazine.

What is the NATA Board of Certification exam?

Once you have successfully earned your degree at UNC Charlotte you will be eligible to sit for the national certification exam that will give you the credential of ATC. The NATA Board of Certification in conjunction with Columbia Assessment Services, Inc. developed the exam which is given 5 times a year at various locations throughout the USA. The exam is designed to test your knowledge and competence in all the domains of the athletic training profession.

Where does a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) work?

In cooperation with physicians and other allied health personnel, the ATC functions as an integral member of the athletic health care team in secondary schools, colleges and universities, sports medicine clinics, professional sports programs, industrial settings and other health care environments.

What are average starting salaries?

This is a question that is difficult to answer because it really depends on which area of the country and what setting you work in. According to the latest survey the national average salary is $44,235.   For more information please visit the NATA website.

About the UNC Charlotte Athletic Training Education Program

Is your program an internship or accredited program?

The UNC Charlotte athletic training education program was recently (Fall 2008) re-accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) for the maximum amount of time (10 years).

Can I just take upper division courses in the athletic training major without completing the clinical education rotations?

No. The Athletic Training Education Program curriculum is bound by national standards as part of the CAATE accreditation process. Upper division courses are only available to those students formally accepted in the Athletic Training Education Program. Each didactic course has a corresponding clinical course that must be completed in order to fulfill the requirements for the BS in Athletic Training degree.

Do you accept transfer students?

Yes, as long as you meet the prerequisites and successfully complete the application process. Depending on your past coursework some classes may count towards fulfilling our requirements. Each student is evaluated individually; please contact the Program Director about your situation.

When do I apply to the Athletic Training Education Program?

As a sophomore, you will apply at the end of the spring semester. Please contact the program director for specific information. The application will be evaluated for completeness, content, and clarity. Decisions will be made by the athletic training selection committee.

How many students apply to the Athletic Training Education Program each year?

It varies every year, but on the average there are about 20 - 40 applicants.

How many students do you accept into the program each year?

We can only accept 16 students each year.

What if I don't get into the athletic training education program the first time I apply?

In most instances, you may reapply. We will assist you in identifying and correcting your deficiencies. We will let you know if you should consider pursuing another major/profession. Most of the time, those that don't get into the program have poor grades, are very immature, or display unprofessional behavior.

Do you have any academic scholarships available for Athletic Training?

There are no specific scholarships just for athletic training students; however, the college offers scholarships for all majors.  There are numerous state, regional, and national agencies offer scholarships for athletic training students.

About Our Clinical Education Rotations

When do I begin my clinical education rotations?

If you are accepted into the professional program during the spring semester of your sophomore year, you will begin the actual program fall semester of your junior year.

What clinical education rotations will I complete?

You will complete a variety of rotations during the clinical education component of the program. Assignments will include individual and team sports, contact and non-contact sports, and men's and women's sports. Further, each student will work at least one 8-week rotation with football.  All students will gain experience with upper extremity injuries, lower extremity injuries, equipment intensive sports, general medical conditions, and male and female sports. Athletic training student clinical assignments will be made by the Program Director and Clinical Coordinator.

Can I be a student athlete while in the athletic training education program?

It is not impossible but it is very challenging. You must be a highly dedicated and motivated student with a very flexible coach. It will be more difficult to be an athlete and an athletic training student because of the time demands required in both. To the greatest extent possible, we are willing to work with you in this situation.

About Our Graduates

What is the pass/fail rate of our students taking the NATA certification examination?

For the past 2 years, the UNC Charlotte first time pass rate has been above the national average.

What do our students do upon graduation?

UNC Charlotte graduates in the past have taken a variety of paths to success. Recent graduates have accepted positions in high schools, and clinics, as well as graduate assistants while pursuing a Master's degree.