Health and Human Development

Athletic Training now a stand-alone major in Department of Kinesiology

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Students who are interested in entering the field of athletic training -- which deals with the prevention, assessment and treatment of injuries and illnesses in a physically active population -- now have the option to receive a bachelor of science degree in the subject.

A new Athletic Training major in the Department of Kinesiology has replaced the Athletic Training option, which formerly was part of the Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology degree. Upon completion of the program, students will graduate with a bachelor of science degree in Athletic Training.

“Athletic trainers are integral members of the health care team in secondary schools, colleges and universities, professional sports programs, sports medicine clinics, corporate and industrial settings and other health care settings,” said Lauren Kramer, athletic training program director. “They are trained in risk management and injury prevention, pathology of injuries and illnesses, clinical examination and diagnosis, nutritional aspects of injury and illness and more.”

The Athletic Training major is a concentrated, accredited program designed for students to obtain national credentialing by the Board of Certification, allowing them to earn the Athletic Trainer Certified credential as well as apply for athletic training licensure in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

"Like many other Athletic Training students, what first got me interested in the field was an injury in high school where I had to receive physical therapy from an athletic trainer," said Carina Osborn, a senior majoring in Athletic Training. "I have always been interested in the medical field, and having come from an athletic background I liked the idea of getting to work with athletes, so AT combined those two things perfectly."

According to Kramer, the major is unique in that it offers students on-campus and off-campus clinical assignments, exposure to manual therapy and alternative treatments and techniques, summer cadaver lab dissections and the ability to do research and independent studies in the Department of Kinesiology's Athletic Training Research Laboratory. The Athletic Training Research Laboratory’s goal is to foster a dynamic, collaborative orthopedic sports medicine translational research unit. Specifically, it aims to prevent and treat musculoskeletal lesions with a particular focus on preserving health-related quality of life.

"What I like most about the major is the hands-on experience that we as students get every semester in the training lab," Osborn said . "We have the opportunity to take what we learned in the classroom that morning and apply it in the training lab that afternoon. I also love the relationships that I have gotten to build with the Athletic Training faculty since it is such a small major. I will have references and friends for life from this program."

Graduates of the former Athletic Training option have received prestigious internships, including ones with the National Football League, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League. Graduates ultimately end up in a variety of professional settings such as collegiate sports, secondary schools, professional sports, hospitals, sports medicine clinics and other allied health settings. In the last five years, every student in the option who has applied to graduate school or an entry-level athletic training position has gained the position he or she was seeking.

“The feedback that I receive from employers and graduate-program directors highlights the work ethic, professionalism and knowledge of our graduates,” Kramer said .

To learn more about the new Athletic Training major, go to:



Carina Osborn, a senior majoring in Athletic Training, works in the Athletic Training Research Laboratory. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated October 02, 2012