Questions and Answers:
Do I need to declare my major in Athletic Training during the first semester of my freshmen year?
No you do not. However, what is important is that you take specific courses during your first three semesters at Messiah so that you can meet entry requirements to be formally admitted to the Athletic Training major at the end of your third semester here. Required classes include:
Anatomy and Physiology I and II
Introduction to Athletic Training
Concepts of Conditioning
Prevention and Risk Management
First Aid and Emergency Care
Is there an acceptance requirement to formally enter the major?
Yes there is. During the fall semester of your sophomore year you will meet with our Program Director where the requirements as well as the admissions process will be explained. This process includes meeting a minimum GPA of 2.5, submitting references from outside Messiah College, meeting academic class requirements (see above), as well as an interview with one of the faculty athletic trainers. It is rare that a student, barring poor academic standing, will not meet acceptance requirements and be accepted into the major.
Can I transfer to Messiah and major in Athletic Training?
Yes you can. Each year we have a few students that transfer into our program. When you transfer and what courses you have taken will determine how long it will take you to meet both the Athletic Training as well as Messiah College graduation requirements. Refer to the homepage link specifically for transfer students for more information.
Can I play sports and be an Athletic Training major?
Yes. However, you must also meet the requirements of the 'practicum' classes that you will be taking during each of the five semesters that you are formally in the Athletic Training major. The practicum classes require you to work with the staff athletic trainers assisting them as they provide care for the intercollegiate athletes prior to, and during each afternoon/evening practice or contest. This will require students to gain clinical experience prior to the start of their sport season, after it is done, or both, depending on the sport that the student is wanting to participate.
We encourage students to involve themselves fully into the activities of the college but want them to understand that at times they may need to make compromises in order to meet academic requirements. With that said, we restrict students from participating in the 'non-traditional' season (eg. spring soccer, fall baseball, etc) since it precludes them from meeting academic requirements needed to graduate.
Can I major in Athletic Training and pre-Physical Therapy too?
Students that desire to continue their education in physical therapy after completing a Bachelor's degree in Athletic Training at Messiah may do so by taking additional classes required to enter a physical therapy graduate school. Refer to this link to see what a student interested in this career path needs to take.
What is the advantage of being an Athletic Training major when I want to be a Physical Therapist?
Having a background in Athletic Training will enhance your learning process even if you choose not to maintain your certification in the years ahead as an athletic trainer. The clinical experiences you receive will help you immensely in PT school. Our graduates that have gone onto PT school have said time and again how glad they were that they made the decision to be an Athletic Training major at Messiah. They speak of the excellent education and the advantage they had over other students in their program that have had no PT classes and who had never assessed or treated a 'real' injured person prior to entering graduate physical therapy.
We've also had several senior pre-physical therapy majors express their regret for not majoring in our duel Athletic Training/pre-PT option. These pre-PT students were about to graduate but had not been accepted into a graduate PT program. They were now looking at a future in which they may not be able to go to the grad school of their choice and not able to become the PT that they had envisioned. Their decision to major only in a pre-PT major now left them unemployable in the field of their interest.
When I graduate do I automatically become a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC)?
No, you must also pass the BOC (Board of Certification) exam. All athletic Trainers must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited athletic training program as well as pass the BOC exam.
Do Messiah College Athletic Training students pass their certification exam at a rate that is above the national average?
Yes!! Nationally, students pass the BOC exam at an average of about 40%. Messiah College students pass the exam at an average significantly higher. In 2010, all of our seniors that have taken the BOC exam passed it on their first attempt. In 2009, all but two students passed the exam on their first attempt and the two that didn't, passed it on their second attempt a few months later.
This is a key question that all students and parents should be asking when looking into possible athletic training programs as it speaks to the quality of the education that you will be getting as a student.
Am I likely to be employed when I graduate?
Yes. We can say that every student that has ever graduated from our program and sought an athletic training related job was hired as an athletic trainer within a few months of graduation. Recent statistics from the Bureau of Labor project the field of athletic training to grow by 37% between 2008 and 2018. Further information on the profession of athletic training is available at the Bureau of Labor's website:
What kind of salary should I expect to receive with my first job?
Salaries vary depending on the cost of living in the area where the athletic trainer is seeking employment. Median salaries for athletic trainers is about 40K with starting salaries in the central Pennsylvania area in in the low to mid 30K range.
What does a certified athletic trainer do?
According to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), a Certified Athletic Trainer is a highly educated and skilled professional specializing in athletic health care. In cooperation with physicians and other allied health personnel, the athletic trainer functions as an integral member of the athletic health care team in secondary schools, colleges and universities, sports medicine clinics, professional sports programs and other athletic health care settings. (Refer to www.nata.org for more information.)
Where are athletic trainers employed?
Certified athletic trainers are employed throughout a wide range of work settings and can be found in any field where people are physically active, including:
- Secondary schools
- Colleges and universities
- Professional sports
- Sports medicine clinics
- The military
- Industrial and commercial settings
- Fitness and recreational sports centers