What education must a certified/licensed athletic trainer complete?
All certified or licensed athletic trainers must have a bachelor's or master's degree from an accredited college or university in order to practice athletic training in Iowa. Athletic trainers are health care professionals similar to physical, occupational, speech language, and other therapists. Athletic training academic programs are accredited through an independent process by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). Additionally, nearly 70 percent of ATC credential holders have a master's degree or higher advanced degree. Reflective of the broad base of skills valued by the athletic training profession, these master's degrees may be in athletic training (clinical), education, exercise physiology, counseling, health care administration, or health promotion. The great majority of athletic training practitioners who hold advanced degrees are comparable to other allied health care professionals.
What coursework and content is required for athletic training accredited educational programs?
Athletic training students must receive formal instruction in the following specific subject matter areas:
Basic and Applied Sciences: Human Anatomy, Human Physiology, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Statistics and Research Design, Exercise Physiology, Kinesiology/Biomechanics.
Professional Content: Risk Management and Injury Prevention, Pathology of Injuries and Illnesses, Orthopedic Clinical Examination and Diagnosis, Medical Conditions and Disabilities, Acute Care of Injuries and Illnesses, Therapeutic Modalities, Conditioning & Rehabilitative Exercise and Referral, Pharmacology, Psychosocial Intervention and Referral, Nutritional Aspects of Injuries and Illnesses, Health Care Administration
Do athletic trainers need to pass an examination and obtain continuing education after they receive their degree?
Yes, the independent Board of Certification (BOC) nationally certifies athletic trainers. Athletic trainers must pass an examination and hold an entry-level bachelor's or master's degree to become a certified athletic trainer. Passing the BOC examination qualifies the athletic trainer for a license to practice athletic training in Iowa. Proof of approved continuing education must be provided to maintain national certification and state licensure like other health care professions. Athletic trainers must adhere to the Standard of Professional Practice. The BOC is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.
Do all athletic trainers work with college, professional, or school teams?
No. Certified/licensed athletic trainers work in a variety of settings. Certified athletic trainers work in physician's offices as physician extenders. They also work in rural and urban hospitals, hospital emergency rooms, urgent and abluatory care centers, military hospitals, physical therapy clinics, secondary schools, colleges/universities, youth leagues, commercial settings, military, and private corporations. Athletic trainers are in great demand for their versatile health and wellness services. The skills of athletic trainers have been sought and valued by sports medicine specialists and other physicians for more than 50 years. As the U.S. continues its fight against the obesity epidemic, it is important that people have access to health care professionals who can support lifelong, safe physical activity. Athletic trainers are an important part of the allied health care workforce, especially as the demand for workers is projected to increase over the next decade.
Are athletic trainers recognized nationally as health care providers?
Yes. Athletic trainers are highly qualified, multi-skilled allied health care professionals and have been part of the American Medical Association's Health Care Professions Career and Education Directory for more than a decade. Athletic trainers are assigned National Provider Idedentifier (NPI) numbers like all other health are professionals. The taxonomy code for athletic trainers is 2255A2300X. Additionally, the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, and American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine - among others - are all strong clinical and academic supporters of athletic trainers.
Are athletic trainers legally able to bill for health care services provided?
Yes. The American Medical Association (AMA) granted Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes for athletic training evaluation and re-evaluation (97005, 97006) in 2000. The codes became effective in 2002. In addition, the American Hospital Association established Uniform Billing (UB) codes - or revenue codes - for athletic training in 1999, effective in 2000. A common misconception among health care providers is that CPT and UB codes are provider specific. This is not true. The AMA states that the term "provider", as found in the Physical Medicine section of the CPT code, is a general term used to define the individual performing the service described by the code. According to the AMA, the term "therapist" is not intended to denote any specific practice of specialty field. Physical therapists and/or any other type of therapists are not exclusive providers of general physical medicine examinations, evaluations, and interventions. Similar to the athletic training evaluation codes, other therapists have their own specific codes. As of 2009, some insurance companies do reimburse for athletic training services and billing. Check with your insurance company to see if athletic training services are covered by your insurance.