Do you ever wonder what all those letters after a professional trainer’s name mean? Are they just for show and can anybody get them that turns up for an exam after studying for a few weeks?
Well I can’t speak to every designation out there, but one I’m proud I have is the designation of ATC. Basically, it has a demanding certification process and if you frequent a program overseen by a trainer with ATC then you’re in good hands.
Certified Health Trainers are athletic health care professionals. ATC credentialed trainers are highly educated and trained professionals who work alongside physicians and other sports medicine practitioners. These individuals may work in universities and other educational institutions, for professional athletic organizations, sports medicine clinics and anywhere else that athletic healthcare is provided.
PREPARATION TO BECOME A CERTIFIED ATHLETIC TRAINER:
In order to become a certified athletic trainer, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in physical education, athletic training or health, along with some other related areas of study. Preparing for certification as an athletic trainer involves education in exercise physiology, anatomy, physiology, nutrition, biomechanics, psychology, counseling and athletic training. During the training process, students will take part in clinical work with supervising sports medicine professionals.
WHAT IT TAKES TO GET CERTIFIED:
Obtaining credentials as a certified athletic trainer means passing an examination administered by the National Athletic Trainer’s Association Board of Certification (NATABOC) and includes both a written exam as well as a practical exam which allows students to display their grasp of the skills required of an athletic trainer. Part of the written exam is geared towards testing the student’s aptitude at making the right choices during a hypothetical training situation.
The exam covers five different areas:
1. Athletic Injury Prevention
2. Recognizing, evaluating and providing immediate care for athletic injuries
3. Reconditioning and rehabilitation after athletic injury
4. Administering health care
5. Professional development
Once the candidate passes the exam, they may then use the initials ATC to distinguish themselves as being certified athletic trainers.
WHAT DOES A CERTIFIED ATHLETIC TRAINER DO?
Well, the work of an ATC depends on where they work, although it is common for their duties to vary somewhat from day to day. For example, an athletic trainer who works in an educational institution might spend part of their time teaching classes. It can be difficult to balance the duties of an ATC in this setting, since the trainer must provide high quality classroom instruction as well as health care for athletes as needed.
Before practices, an ATC will wrap, brace, bandage and tape athletes to help prevent injuries during practice; they are also responsible for evaluating injuries to determine if a doctor is needed. The ATC must also make sure that the athlete, their family, the coach and physician (when applicable) all communicate effectively. They must also often consult with physicians to assess whether or not an athlete is ready to resume practice following an injury.
Certified athletic trainers are also trained to help prevent and recognize injuries as well as to assist injured athletes in their rehabilitation. They are also familiar with first aid and immediate emergency care procedures and under the supervision of physicians, they may develop treatment programs which incorporate elements of medicine, sports medicine and exercise science.
The designation of ATC is a field of study for trainers and coaches who want to increase their scope and knowledge of training high performance athletes beyond just the coaching activities. Being an ATC provides a trainer with a holistic capability in dealing with an athlete where it brings in the element of health and injury prevention and rehabilitation to an athlete’s program.
These days’ female athletic trainers account for around 40% of certified athletic trainers.