Athletic trainers are recognized by the American Medical Association as allied health professionals who are trained in preventing, recognizing, managing, and rehabilitating (usually musculoskeletal) injuries that result from physical activity. They primarily work with athletes, but they can treat individuals from all age groups and backgrounds. In consultation with licensed physicians as part of a healthcare team, the scope of work of athletic trainers encompasses the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic medical conditions that involve impairment, functional limitations, and disabilities.
During sporting events, athletic trainers (ATs) are often the first healthcare providers on the scene when injuries occur, and therefore they must be able to recognize, evaluate, and assess injuries and provide immediate care when needed. Away from the field, ATs are experts in the rehabilitation and reconditioning of injuries. Athletic trainers frequently develop injury prevention and treatment programs using their knowledge of biomechanics, anatomy and pathology. They play a key role in preventing injuries by advising on the proper use of equipment and applying protective or injury-preventive devices such as tape, bandages, and braces. The concept of prevention also extends to educating active individuals, and sometimes entire teams, on measures they can take to avoid putting themselves at risk for injuries in the first place.
Health professionals that work as athletic trainers should not be confused with personal trainers or fitness trainers, who are not healthcare workers per se, but rather train people to become physically fit. Therefore, athletic training is not the same profession as personal training, and certified athletic trainers can work with more than just athletes – they can be found just about anywhere that people are physically active.
Biola offers an excellent educational foundation, and individualized advising/preparation, for any student interested in becoming an athletic trainer (AT). The two Biola majors most suited for students interested in a future career as an athletic trainer are housed within the (KHPE) Department of Kinesiology, Health & Physical Education. They are the:
Kinesiology major (BS), and the Physical Education major (BS).
Both of these majors will provide an excellent foundation for a future athletic training career. In the workforce today, about 70% of the certified athletic trainers hold at least a master’s degree. Thus the Kinesiology and Physical Education majors at Biola can be customized to meet the various admissions prerequisites/requirements for Athletic Training (master’s level) graduate programs around the country. In recent years, upon receiving their undergraduate degree from Biola, many KHPE graduates have had significant success in gaining admission to respected AT professional school programs both locally and around the nation.
Biola’s excellent science curricula and faculty equip each student with the knowledge base necessary for a future career in the health field. This is evidenced by the fact that most Biola graduates pursuing health science careers score significantly above the national average on graduate school admissions tests. Furthermore, since many of the AT master’s level programs require GRE admission test scores prior to application, Biola has contracted with one of the leading (national) professional test prep companies to offer convenient on-campus review courses for the GRE exam.
Science instruction and teaching at Biola is always implemented in the context of the sovereignty of God, and as a tool to further explore and appreciate His creation. A distinctive of the pre-AT program at Biola University is that it offers excellent preparation for AT school as an integrated part of the much larger on-campus Christian community.
At Biola, every pre-AT student has access to several sources of academic and career advising. For Kinesiology and PE majors, professors in the KHPE Dept. provide (open, caring, and easily accessible) academic advising. For further career advising and support for the AT graduate school application process, every pre-AT student has access to personal advising from BOHPA, the Biola Office of Health Professions Advising. Specifically, every pre-AT student has the opportunity to meet with the chief BOHPA advisor (an MD degree graduate from the UCLA school of medicine) who has direct experience with the athletic training field.
Every pre-AT student is eligible to enroll in the upper division clinical shadowing program (BIOS460) at Biola University. This semester-long experience for juniors and seniors provides weekly or semi-monthly opportunities to observe and interact directly with an athletic trainer in their work environment. Clinical shadowing allows students to explore the athletic training field, gain valuable clinical experience, provide sources for letters of recommendation, and make decisions about future career paths.
Biola has a wonderful peer-to-peer community for pre-health students in the Health Careers Club (HCC). The HCC provides opportunities for like-minded students to gather, fellowship, learn, and share the pre-health career journey together. Student officers of the HCC plan monthly activities and presentations directly related to the medical field. Speakers from various specialties are brought in to discuss their clinical work and topics in their field. Christian professionals and sponsoring missions organizations are also scheduled for students interested in short-term and long-term missions. Unlike some of the larger state schools, the Health Careers Club at Biola University ensures that no student has to undertake the challenging pre-health career journey alone.