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Athletic Training

Frequently Asked Questions

What is athletic training?

Athletic training is a subspecialization of sports medicine providing a major link between a sports program and the medical community for the implementation of injury prevention, emergency care, assessment and evaluation of injuries, and rehabilitation procedures.

What is an athletic trainer?

An athletic trainer (ATC) is a highly qualified medical professional who deals with injuries that occur with the physically active population. ATCs focus on seven major tasks. These tasks include:

  • Prevention
  • Evaluation and recognition
  • First aid and emergency care
  • Rehabilitation and conditioning
  • Organization
  • Counseling and guidance
  • Education

Where do athletic trainers work?

Certified athletic trainers are employed throughout a wide range of work settings and can be found in any field where people are physically active, including:

  • Secondary schools
  • Colleges and universities
  • Professional sports
  • Sports medicine clinics
  • Hospitals
  • The military
  • Industrial and commercial
  • Fitness and recreational sports centers

What are some related occupations?

The American Medical Association recognizes athletic trainers as allied health professionals. Other occupations that may require similar responsibilities include emergency medical technicians and paramedics, physical therapists, physician assistants, registered nurses, licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses, recreational therapists, occupational therapists, and respiratory therapists.

What is the average starting salary?

Most athletic trainers work in full-time positions and typically receive benefits. The salary of an athletic trainer depends on experience and job responsibilities, and varies by job setting. The average starting salary for athletic trainers is $35-$45,000 annually. It is common for employers to pay for some of the continuing education required of ATCs.

For further information on job outlook for Athletic Trainers visit

What other certifications and licenses would be beneficial to obtain to enhance the athletic training degree?

Those with an athletic training degree who wish enhance their degree often acquire certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association as a strength and conditioning specialist. Other common certifications related to athletic training fall within the area of emergency medicine, massage therapy, and nutrition.

Am I able to play intercollegiate athletics and be an athletic training student?

Yes, at Carthage you are able to compete in intercollegiate athletics and be an athletic training major. We have had student athletes successfully complete the athletic training program. First-year students are encouraged to experience extracurricular activities offered by Carthage College.

How do I apply to Carthage College’s Athletic Training Program?

Students who have fulfilled the prerequisites for the Athletic Training Program apply by April 1 of their freshman year. Students are notified on their admittance to the program prior to the first semester of their sophomore year.

When and how do I get accepted into the Athletic Training Education Program (ATEP)?

The athletic training major at Carthage College is an undergraduate, entry-level program. The program begins its Clinical Instruction Program in the student’s first semester of their sophomore year. The student’s acceptance into the program is based on the following criteria:

  • Formal admission and acceptance by Carthage College Admissions office
  • Grade Point Average for Carthage College’s courses: ATH 1020 and ATH 2080
  • A personal interview with the Athletic Training Program Director and admissions committee
  • High school grade point average, ACT scores, and class rank
  • A completed application
  • The students must have a minimum GPA of 3.0/4.0 to apply to the Athletic Training Education Program. There is no minimum high school GPA, ACT-score or class rank. The student is selected based on the comparison of all criterion listed above with other students applying at the same time.

Along with the above requirements, candidates for admission to the Athletic Training Education Program must demonstrate:

  • The mental capacity to assimilate, synthesize, and integrate concepts and problem solve to formulate assessment and therapeutic judgments and to be able to distinguish deviations from the norm.
  • A sufficient postural and neuromuscular control, sensory function, and coordination to perform appropriate physical examinations using accepted techniques; and accurately, safely and efficiently use equipment and materials during the assessment and treatment of patients.
  • The ability to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients and colleagues, including different cultural and social backgrounds; this includes but is not limited to the ability to establish rapport with patients and communicate judgments and treatment information effectively. Students must be competent in professional practice.
  • The ability to record the physical examination results and a treatment plan clearly and accurately.
  • The capacity to maintain composure and continue to function well during periods of high stress.
  • The perseverance diligence, and commitment to complete the athletic training education program as outlined and sequenced.

The application for admission into the program will be provided to the student by the Program Director. The deadline for admission is December 1st of the student’s sophomore year. All students applying for admission will be notified in writing of their acceptance into or rejection by the program within three weeks after the admission deadline. If the students are not accepted, they can reapply the following year. Click here for application information.

How do I request information on your Athletic Training Education Program?

Contact: Daniel Ruffner MS, ATC/L; Program Director of Athletic Training, (262) 551-5741,

How successful are your athletic training students at passing the BOC exam?

Carthage students have passed on the first attempt 93 percent of the time, whereas the national success rate of athletic training students passing the BOC (Board of Certification) exam on the first attempt is 65 percent and 98 percent overall. 

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2018), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • Scheduled to open in fall 2018, a new residential tower will offer suite-style housing and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about The Tower

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wins, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • Since 2008, Carthage athletic training students have used the newest diagnostic tools to study concussions. Overseen by a leading brain trauma expert from the Medical College of Wisconsin, the research helps doctors determine when athletes are healthy enough to return.

    • 96% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit Career Services.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. 95% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • As a freshman in the highly selective Honors Program, learn how to gain expertise in anything from music to forest ecology. After that, tackle a contemporary social, economic, or political problem. If you like, you can live on an Honors-only floor of a Carthage residence hall. 

    • In 2016, 2017 and 2018, Carthage was named a top producer of Fulbright Scholars by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our athletic and recreation center, student union, computer labs, audiovisual production suite, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 10 years. Our new science center caps it off.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from archaeology to athletic training, neuroscience to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of our students receive financial aid, a hefty chunk of which is scholarships and grants — including $1.25 million annually from the Presidential Scholarship Competition and numerous Merit Scholarships. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” says biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 30 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from 75% tuition up to full tuition, room, and board. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about the Carthage core.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 12:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 120 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Chemistry Club, to Frisbee and Latin Belly Dancing. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • Imagine presenting your original research at an international conference — as an undergraduate. Carthage is dedicated to undergraduate research. Learn more about current opportunities.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked No. 5 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …