Certified athletic trainers are medical professionals who specialize in the prevention, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses that occur in athletes and the physically active. Athletic trainers should not be confused with personal trainers from the fitness industry. Primary responsibilities include injury prevention, reduction of further injury by administering immediate care, development and implementation of rehabilitation programs and development of appropriate policies, including return-to-play guidelines.
Athletic trainers are certified by an independent organization that sets the standards for certification. Currently, athletic trainers must possess a bachelor’s of science degree from a college or university with an accredited athletic training program, however more than two-thirds hold a master’s degrees. Athletic trainers must also pass a certification exam. To maintain the ATC (athletic trainer, certified) credential, an athletic trainer must complete 80 hours of continuing education every three years. In Oregon, all athletic trainers must also register with the Oregon Health Division.