Athletics trainers are health care professionals who render service or treatment under the direction of, or in collaboration with, a physician in accordance with their education and training and the states' statutes, rules, and regulations. Services provided by athletic trainers include injury and illness prevention, wellness promotion and education, emergent care, examination and clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention, and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions.

Students who want to become certified athletic trainers may earn the M.S. degree or pursue the combined program as they earn the B.S. in exercise science and the M.S. in athletic training. See the B.S. in exercise science (College of Liberal Arts and Sciences) in the Catalog.

The University of Iowa is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE).

Learning Outcomes

Upon graduation, students will:

  • communicate effectively among health care providers, patients, and all other stakeholders in their delivery of health care;
  • practice with professionalism and integrity adhering to the Code of Ethics outlined by the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) and the Code of Professional Responsibility by the Board of Certification (BOC);
  • demonstrate cognitive and psychomotor competence and clinical proficiency based on clinically relevant research in the following BOC Practice Analysis content areas—injury and illness prevention and wellness promotion; examination, assessment, and diagnosis; immediate and emergency care; therapeutic Intervention; and health care administration and professional responsibility;
  • demonstrate critical thinking to effectively solve problems in a variety of dynamic athletic training environments;
  • demonstrate growth in cultural competence among health care providers, patients, and all other stakeholders in their delivery of health care; and
  • demonstrate a Kaizen philosophy in their learning and professional practice.

The Master of Science program in athletic training requires 62 s.h. of coursework. Students must maintain a cumulative g.p.a. of at least 3.00 and must earn a grade of C-minus or higher in all major coursework.

The program involves two full years, including summer sessions, of concentrated didactic and clinical experiences that lead to eligibility for the Board of Certification examination.

The M.S. with a major in athletic training requires the following work.

AT:3060Advanced Anatomy for Athletic Training4
AT:4000Foundations of Athletic Training Practice3
AT:4075Medical Emergency Techniques2
AT:4125Clinical Experience I3
AT:4200Orthopedic Pathology and Clinical Examination I4
AT:4250Orthopedic Pathology and Clinical Examination II4
AT:4300Therapeutic Interventions2
AT:4375Nutrition for Athletic Training2
AT:4400Rehabilitation Techniques3
AT:4450Applied Rehabilitation Concepts3
AT:4525Clinical Experience II4
AT:5000Pathology and Assessment of Non-Orthopedic Conditions3
AT:5075Diagnostic Imaging and Lab Studies1
AT:5200Pathophysiology and Pharmacology in Sports Medicine2
AT:6100Research in Athletic Training2
AT:6125Clinical Experience III6
AT:6200Administration and Leadership2
AT:6250Applied Research in Athletic Training2
AT:6300Psychosocial Recognition and Referral2
AT:6400Seminar in Athletic Training2
AT:6450Advanced Topics in Athletic Training1
AT:6525Clinical Experience IV5
Total Hours62

Admission to the Master of Science program is competitive with a limited number of students admitted for each cohort. Applicants are expected to meet technical standards, pass a background check, and comply with health and safety standards, including vaccination requirements. Students are required to provide their own transportation to all clinical experiences and are responsible for all costs they incur during travel, including parking and gas.

To be considered for the Master of Science program in athletic training, applicants must:

  • have completed a B.A. or B.S. degree at an accredited institution in the United States or have completed the first three years with at least 80 s.h. of undergraduate work for the 3+2 combined program at the University of Iowa;
  • have completed 30 s.h. at the University of Iowa if a transfer student;
  • have a cumulative undergraduate g.p.a. of at least 3.00 or a cumulative g.p.a. of at least 3.25 in the Undergraduate to Graduate (U2G) combined program;
  • submit an application to the Graduate College through the Athletic Training Centralized Application Service (ATCAS), set up a University of Iowa account, and pay the supplemental fee;
  • include two letters of recommendation—one from a medical professional and one from an academic professional;
  • submit a résumé;
  • include a statement of purpose and career goals;
  • submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score (only the iBT—Internet-Based Test is accepted with a total score of 93 and a speaking score of 26) and the test must have been taken within the last two years, or submit a current acceptable score from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or from the Duolingo English Test (DET) if an international applicant and if English is not student's first language;
  • have current CPR certification obtained within one year—Basic Life Support (BLS) or professional rescuer level and consistent with Board of Certification standards;
  • have current first aid certification obtained within one year;
  • submit a signed copy of the program's Technical Standards for Admission form;
  • have completed a minimum of 50 hours of observation under a certified athletic trainer;
  • have completed required prerequisite coursework with a grade of C or higher in biology, chemistry, physics, human anatomy, human physiology, exercise physiology, general psychology, biomechanics or kinesiology, nutrition, and statistics (see list below); and
  • have completed additional recommended coursework in medical terminology, introductory athletic training, public health, motor learning, or psychology courses in areas such as abnormal, adolescent, or sports psychology.

Community college coursework is accepted as well as online coursework from accredited universities. AP and CLEP coursework may satisfy course requirements if listed on a college transcript.

Students must earn a grade of C or higher in these prerequisite courses.

Biology (preferred human biology; with or without lab)3
Biomechanics or kinesiology3
Chemistry (with or without lab)3
Exercise physiology3
Human anatomy (may be taken combined with human physiology; two semesters minimum, if combined)3
Human physiology (may be taken combined with human anatomy; two semesters minimum, if combined)3
Nutrition (general or sport)3
Physics (with or without lab)3
Psychology (general psychology is required; additional psychology coursework recommended)3

All application materials are due by February 1. Following the February 1 deadline, applications will be accepted on a continuing basis until program capacity is met. A personal interview is required. Coursework begins during the summer session.

Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College; see the Manual of Rules and Regulations on the Graduate College website.

Athletic trainers have opportunities for employment in many areas. They include career options in:

  • public and private secondary schools, colleges and universities, professional and Olympic sports;
  • youth leagues, municipal and independently owned youth sports facilities;
  • physician offices;
  • rural and urban hospitals, hospital emergency rooms, urgent and ambulatory care centers;
  • clinics with specialties in sports medicine, cardiac rehabilitation, medical fitness, wellness, and physical therapy;
  • occupational health departments in commercial settings, which include manufacturing, distribution, and offices to assist with ergonomics;
  • police and fire departments, academies, municipal departments, and branches of the military; and
  • performing arts areas, including professional and collegiate-level dance and music settings.