The Athletic Training Program at Western Texas College is a comprehensive two-year preparatory program leading to placement in a four-year accredited Athletic Training curriculum. The intention of this program is to ease the transition of the athletic training student into a four-year program. Western Texas College provides clinical experiences in Division I NJCAA athletic programs, and future rotations may include surgical rotations as well as high school rotations. Students wishing to pursue Athletic Training as a career are encouraged to enroll in a four-year school that has received accreditation from CAATE, the governing body for health care program accreditations. Western Texas College is currently working on articulation agreements with accredited schools in the state of Texas.
The Athletic Training Profession:
Athletic training is recognized by the American Medical Association as an allied health care profession. The AMA recommends certified athletic trainers in every high school to keep America’s youth safe and healthy. The certified athletic trainer specializes in six practice areas or domains:
• Clinical evaluation and diagnosis
• Immediate care
• Treatment, rehabilitation and reconditioning
• Organization and administration
• Professional responsibility
As part of a complete health care team, the certified athletic trainer works under the direction of a licensed physician and in cooperation with other health care professionals, athletics administrators, coaches and parents. The certified athletic trainer gets to know each athlete/ patient individually and can treat injuries more effectively because of that. A certified athletic trainer’s day may, for example, include these tasks:
• Prepare athletes for practice or competition, including taping, bandaging and bracing
• Evaluate injuries to determine their management and possible referral
• Develop conditioning programs
• Implement treatment and rehabilitation programs
These duties require extensive knowledge and strong decision-making skills obtained through the certified athletic trainer’s experience and education.
Athletic Training Employment Opportunities:
Athletic trainers can be found almost anywhere people are physically active. Whether it’s on the playing field or in an industrial work setting, athletic trainers are in place to help active people prevent injuries and stay healthy. Here are some of the places you will find them:
Secondary Schools: Public and private secondary schools offer abundant job opportunities for certified athletic trainers. Parents and administrators are discovering the benefits a certified athletic trainer can offer in preventing and caring for injuries. Many certified athletic trainers teach classes at the high school level. The American Medical Association recommends certified athletic trainers be in every high school.
Colleges and universities: Certified athletic training jobs in colleges and universities generally fall into two categories: athletic department staff assignment and combination teacher/athletic trainer.
Professional sports: Although teams operate only a few months per year, certified athletic trainers work year-round conditioning and rehabilitating athletes. Fewer jobs are available in this practice setting due to the limited number of teams.
Sports medicine clinics: This growing setting provides certified athletic trainers the opportunity to work with a number of different health care professionals and a diverse patient population. In addition to athletic injury rehabilitation, many clinics provide athletic training services for secondary schools via outreach programs.
Military: Each branch of the U.S. military is increasing its use of athletic trainers. Certified athletic trainers can be found as part of the health care team for active-duty injured service
people, on- and off-base fitness and wellness centers, new recruit readiness programs and pre-enlistment readiness programs, in addition to established military school sports teams.
Industrial and commercial:These settings utilize both outreach clinics and full-time certified athletic trainers to deliver services. Athletic trainers are a key component to the heath care team, and work with physicians and other allied health personnel. Certified athletic trainers are first-responder medical personnel who are experts in injury assessment and treatment, particularly in the orthopedic and musculoskeletal disciplines. Other athletic training employment opportunities include hospitals, health clubs, and the performing arts.