If you wish to visit campus and meet with someone from the Athletic Training faculty/staff, please call (765) 285-5683 (Ball State Welcome Center).  You can set up a time with them for a campus tour and an appointment with one of the athletic training faculty/staff members.

If your question is still not answered after reading this information, feel free to e-mail Dr. Jennifer Popp, Director of the Athletic Training Program (jkpopp@bsu.edu), or call her at (765) 285-3223.

What are the requirements for admission into the Athletic Training Program?

Students must meet the following requirements to be admitted into the Professional Phase of the program:

  1. Formal letter of application
  2. Completion of the Ball State University Athletic Training Program Application and all related documents.This includes the essay questions, Mid-Term Grade Report, Confidential Recommendation Waiver, and Clinical Education Statement of Understanding. Click here for application resources.
  3. Completion of AT 196, AT 240, and AQUA 260 (with a grade of no less than B-).Completion of ANAT 201 (with a grade of no less than C).These courses must be completed or in progress at the time of application.
  4. Students must have valid emergency cardiac care certification upon entry into the professional phase of the program.
  5. Students must complete one academic year (two semesters) at Ball State (one semester for transfer students) with a minimum overall grade-point average of 2.75.
  6. Copy of all official transcripts.
  7. Minimum of 25 hours of athletic training directed observation hours during the semester in which the application is submitted, with a minimum of 50 directed observation hours completed at the time of program interview.These hours are initially coordinated through AT 196.
  8. Two letters of recommendation (from individuals who are not BSU faculty/staff).
  9. Pre-Professional Student Evaluation Form (completed by BSU preceptors).
  10. Interview with the Athletic Training Program Selection Committee.
  11. Once admitted to the program, and prior to beginning the professional phase of the program, students are required to obtain a physical examination from the Health Center (or another provider) and submit the “Medical Examination Verification” form which includes immunization records.Students must have (or be in the process of receiving) the immunizations recommended by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for Healthcare Workers.This includes:Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR), Varicella, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis (Tdap), and Hepatitis B.Students meet be able to meet the technical standards set forth by the Ball State University Athletic Training Program.The “Medical Examination Verification” document also includes the “Technical Standards” form, which must be read and signed by both the student and a physician.

When do I apply to the Athletic Training Program?

As a freshman, you will apply in the beginning of the spring semester.  A fall semester application period is also available for transfer students, upperclassmen, and those not admitted in the spring semester.  Please contact the program director for specific information.  All applicants must meet the minimum GPA, grade, and directed observation hours requirements for applications to be considered.  The application will be evaluated for completeness, content, and clarity.  Decisions will be made by the Athletic Training Selection Committee.

How many students apply to the Athletic Training Program each year?

It varies every year, but on the average there are about 25 applicants.

How many students do you accept into the program each year?

It varies every year, but on the average, we accept about 12-15.

I’m currently in high school, how can I improve my chances of being accepted in the Athletic Training Program?

If possible, observe with a certified athletic trainer at your high school or local physical therapy/sports medicine clinic.  If you can’t do that on a regular basis, see if you can at least job shadow for 1-2 days.  Ask as many questions as possible.  Also, take classes such as anatomy or sports medicine (if available) to see if you like learning about the human body.

I’m currently a BSU student, how can I improve my chances of being accepted into the Athletic Training Program?

There are many things you can do.  First, if you haven’t already, enroll in the program’s required prerequisite courses, including AT 196 (Introduction to Athletic Training), AT 240 (Prevention and Care of Musculoskeletal Injuries), AQUA 260 (Emergency Response), and ANAT 201 (Fundamentals of Human Anatomy).  The ability to be academically successful is extremely important, so obtaining a strong GPA and excellent grades in each of the prerequisite courses is highly recommended.  If you are meeting the above requirements, our advice to you is to make sure you talk with students and faculty/staff in our program.  During your directed observation experience, try not to be too shy and let us know who you are.  Stay involved with the program through club activities and directed observation experiences.  Be professional at all times.  Follow the dress code, speak appropriately, and maintain a good rapport with the preceptors, students, and patients.

Who should I ask to write my recommendation letters?

We recommend that you ask people such as Athletic Trainers (other than the ones at BSU), teachers, coaches, and employers.  Avoid asking neighbors or friends of the family who may less objectively attest to your academic ability or work ethic.

What if I don’t get into the Athletic Training Program the first time I apply?

In most instances, you may reapply.  We will assist you in identifying and correcting your deficiencies.  We will let you know if you should consider pursuing another major/profession.  Most of the time, those who don’t get into the program have poor grades, do not seem to display a full awareness of our program or the profession, or have not demonstrated good interpersonal skills or professionalism.

Can I substitute clinical hours from sites other than BSU (i.e., my high school, local clinic) for the 50 observation hours I need to apply to the program?

No.  Only hours completed at BSU under our supervision can be included.  However, extra hours gained at other sites can enhance your application to the program.

Can I take Athletic Training classes without being accepted into the program?

There are a few classes that you can take, such as AT 240 (Prevention and Care of Athletic Injuries), AQUA 260 (First Responder), ANAT 201 (Fundamentals of Human Anatomy), and PHYS 205 (Fundamentals of Human Physiology).

What have been the unique successes of students completing our Athletic Training Program?

Our program has enjoyed a fair amount of notoriety.  In some part this notoriety is due to the success/visibility of some of its alumni and past professional staff.  In some part it is also due to the current recognition of its clinical education program and related research.  We have had several students receive national scholarships and awards.  Many athletic trainers who have attended or worked at Ball State have held leadership positions within the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA).  Some have also received district/national honors.  One past athletic trainer employee, Sayers “Bud” Miller, has a national “Educator of the Year” award named in his honor.  Numerous other athletic trainers, with perhaps less prominent profiles, have made a collective good impression in the profession.

Is your program accredited?

Yes.  The Ball State University Athletic Training Program was one of the first educational programs to receive National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) approval as an undergraduate minor in 1971. The University has remained strongly committed to maintaining and improving this program as demonstrated by the implementation of the Athletic Training Major in 1987.  The program has been accredited by CAAHEP since 1994, followed by CAATE since July, 2006.

Do you accept transfer students?

Yes, but transfer students must complete one semester of BSU residency during which time you would apply to the program if eligible.  Transfer students must meet the same program admission criteria (as outlined above).  All athletic training major-required courses transferred will be evaluated by the Program Director to determine specific course equivalency.  Generally, transferred athletic training courses will not meet a specific athletic training course requirement at Ball State University since there is a great degree of variability amongst course content from institution to institution.  However, these courses will count as general elective hours toward the total hours (120 hours) required for graduation.  In order to meet all program requirements, the transfer student must plan to spend a minimum of 5 semesters enrolled in the athletic training professional program once admitted.  Please contact the Program Director about your situation.

Can I be a student athlete while in the Athletic Training Program?

This has worked out in the past with highly dedicated and motivated students.  However, it will be more difficult to be an athlete and an athletic training student because of the time demands required in both roles, and the time to complete all the requirements for the program will likely be delayed.  To the greatest extent possible, we are willing to work with you in this situation.

Are there any additional requirements and costs associated with the Athletic Training Program at Ball State? 

All students must continue to satisfy the Technical Standards involved with completing the program.  Students must maintain a minimum overall GPA of 2.75, a major GPA of 2.75, and earn a “C” or better in all athletic training major courses.  Students must complete a designated number of clinical integration proficiencies every semester.  Every year, students are required to complete OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen training, HIPAA training, and BSU Athletic Training Program Handbook quiz.  Students are also required to abide by the policies and procedures contained in the Athletic Training Program Handbook.

All students are required to obtain and maintain certification in emergency cardiac care (ECC) at the level of Professional Rescuer or Healthcare Provider (adult and pediatric), which should be achieved as a component of AQUA 260.  All costs associated with ECC and emergency response certification is the responsibility of the student.  The program offers regular re-certification classes, or BSU’s Recreation Services offers several training opportunities throughout the year, and the local American Red Cross chapter will provide training as well. 

Once admitted into the Athletic Training Program, all students will be required to become members (and maintain membership throughout their years at BSU) of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association.  This membership requires a $75 annual fee paid for by the student, and will allow the student several membership benefits, as well as allow students access to the program’s record keeping program, ATrack.

There are lab fees associated with AT 196, AT 240, AT 372, and AT 373, and the purchase of a “lab pack” required for AT 196, AT 240, and AT 250, which is the responsibility of the student to pay.  The Clinical Integration Proficiency Manual will be purchased by the student upon admission into the program, and will be used throughout the student’s time in the program.

There are costs associated with clinical education, including an annual TB test, influenza inoculation, immunizations (if not already obtained by the student), and background checks.  Furthermore, all students will incur travel costs associated with off-campus clinical experiences, attendance at professional conferences, as well as costs associated with the clinical education dress code requirements.

Do you have any scholarships available for Athletic Training?

Not at this time, but we have a variety of scholarship/awards for outstanding student performance in the program.

About Our Clinical Experiences

When do I begin my clinical experiences?

If you are accepted into the professional program during the spring semester of your freshman year, you will begin the actual program fall semester of your sophomore year.

What clinical experiences do I complete?

During the first two semesters in the BSU Athletic Training Program students will engage in clinical experiences on campus.  During the second year in the BSU Athletic Training Program students will engage in clinical experiences both on and off campus at various times throughout the year, including either 2 eight-week rotations or one full semester off campus.  During the third year in the Athletic Training Program, students will assume more clinical responsibilities (under the direct supervision/instruction of a preceptor). Students will again engage in clinical experiences both on and off campus at various times throughout the year.  Clinical experiences are supervised by preceptors in those settings and overseen by the program’s clinical education coordinator.  Students assigned to off-campus clinical experiences should anticipate the necessary completion of immunizations, orientation, etc. for that setting, and the student is responsible for transportation to/from that site.  This information will be amply available ahead of time.  Students who have not completed these requirements prior to beginning their clinical experience will be withdrawn from that site and will be re-assigned to complete it in the summer or another semester.

What clinical experiences will I receive?

Students will engage in a variety of clinical experiences/assignments with BSU teams and off-campus sites during their tenure in the Athletic Training Program.  All clinical experiences are under the supervision of a preceptor.  Clinical assignments are categorized and expose students to general medical conditions, upper extremity injuries, lower extremity injuries, and equipment-intensive sports, and will include experiences with a variety of patient populations as well as different genders.  Further, each student will complete a clinical experience with football for at least one semester.  Athletic training student clinical assignments will be made by the clinical education coordinator in consultation with the BSU preceptors.  Student-athletes accepted into the program must meet engage in clinical education each semester comparable to the expectations of other students in the program and in accordance with the clinical education courses.    

About Our Graduates

What do our students do upon graduation?

Ball State University graduates take a variety of paths to success.  Many (50% over the past three years) graduates go on to pursue a Master’s degree while working as a graduate assistant in the University’s athletic training department.  Many also accept jobs at clinics and high schools (40% over the past three years) and a few have taken jobs at colleges and universities.  Still others pursue post-professional training in education, physical therapy, or medicine.

What is the BOC Exam?

The Board of Certification (BOC) is the organization that is responsible for the certification of athletic trainers, and awards the credential of ATC®.  The BOC developed the certification exam, which is a computer-based exam that is administered 5 times a year at testing centers throughout the country.  Candidates who are enrolled and/or registered in their final semester/quarter prior to graduation are eligible to sit for the BOC exam.  In order to attain BOC certification, an individual must complete an entry-level athletic training program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) and pass the BOC certification exam.  The certification exam is designed to test your knowledge and competence in all the domains of the athletic training profession.  You must pass the certification exam in order to become certified, but you are not limited to how many times you can take the test.

What is the first-time pass/fail rate of our students taking the BOC Examination?

The following reflects the first-time pass rate for the past 3 years:  2013-14:  77%, 2014-15:  57%, 2015-16:  85%.  The 3-year average first time pass rate is 76%.  Over the past three years, 88% of those students who seek certification become certified athletic trainers.

About Athletic Training/Sports Medicine

What is an Athletic Trainer?

An athletic trainer (AT) is a highly qualified, multi-skilled health care professional who collaborates with physicians to provide preventative services, emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions. 

Why is athletic training considered sports medicine?

Sports medicine is a very broad term.  It involves any profession or field of study that is dedicated to the care of athletes and physically active individuals.  Examples include, but not limited to, athletic training, physical therapy, nutrition, medicine, psychology, exercise physiology, and biomechanics.  The uniqueness of athletic training is that it combines all of these practices. 

Where does a Certified Athletic Trainer (AT) work?

In cooperation with physicians and other health care professionals, ATs work in traditional settings, like high schools, colleges/universities, and professional sports teams.  ATs are also found working in non-traditional and emerging settings such as sports medicine clinics, occupational health, military, public safety, performing arts, physician offices, and other health care environments.

What are average starting salaries?

This is a question that is difficult to answer because it really depends on which area of the country and what setting you work in.  According to the 2014 NATA Salary Survey across all settings, ATs with 0-1 years earn an average of $38,214 and those with 5-10 years earn an average of $49,204.

What is the employment outlook for AT’s?

Currently, many efforts are being made to improve the employment opportunities for ATs.  There is a large push for high schools to employ ATs, which has resulted in increased job opportunities in that setting.  Also, great strides have been made in attaining third-party insurance reimbursement for the services provided by ATs, which would ATs to be more employable in the clinic setting and result in higher salaries.  In addition, increasing state regulation of the practice of athletic training (e.g., licensure) in most states throughout the country and public awareness of the value of an AT are proving to protect and enhance the athletic training profession.

What is the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA)?

The National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) is the professional membership association for athletic trainers with more than 30,000 members worldwide.  The mission of the NATA is to enhance the quality of health care provided by certified athletic trainers and to advance the athletic training profession.  Founded in 1950 with a membership of 200 athletic trainers, the NATA is based in Dallas, Texas, and provides a variety of services to its membership including continuing education, governmental affairs, and public relations.  The NATA also publishes the Journal of Athletic Training and the Athletic Training Education Journal, both of which are scientific journals, as well as the NATA News, a monthly membership magazine.