Professional [entry-level]


The purpose of the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) is to develop, maintain, and promote appropriate minimum education standards for quality for professional (entry-level) athletic training programs. CAATE is sponsored by the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA).

The Standards for the Academic Accreditation of Professional Athletic Training Programs (Standards) areused to prepare entry-level athletic trainers. Each institution is responsible for demonstrating compliance with these Standards to obtain and maintain recognition as a CAATE-accredited professional athletic training program. A list of accredited programs is published and available to the public.

These Standards are to be used for the development, evaluation, analysis, and maintenance of athletic training programs. Via comprehensive and annual review processes, CAATE is responsible for the evaluation of a program’s compliance with the Standards. The Standards provide minimum academic requirements; institutions are encouraged to develop sound innovative educational approaches that substantially exceed these Standards. The Standards also contain a glossary of terms used throughout the process; the definition provided in the glossary must be applied as stated.

Description of the Professional

Athletic Trainers are healthcare professionals who collaborate with physicians to optimize activity and participation of patients and clients.  Athletic training encompasses the prevention, diagnosis and intervention of emergency, acute and chronic medical conditions involving impairment, functional limitations and disabilities.  Athletic Training is recognized by the American Medical Association (AMA) as a healthcare profession.

The athletic trainer’s professional preparation is based on the development of the current knowledge, skills, and abilities, as determined by the Commission (currently the 5th Edition of the NATA Athletic Training Education Competencies). The knowledge and skills identified in the Competencies consist of 8 Content Areas:

  • Evidence-Based Practice
  • Prevention and Health Promotion
  • Clinical Examination and Diagnosis
  • Acute Care of Injury and Illness
  • Therapeutic Interventions
  • Psychosocial Strategies and Referral
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Professional Development and Responsibility