The National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) is the professional membership association for certified athletic trainers and others who support the athletic training profession. Founded in 1950, the NATA has grown to more than 43,000 members worldwide today. The majority of certified athletic trainers choose to be members of NATA to support their profession and to receive a broad array of membership benefits. By joining forces as a group, NATA members can accomplish more for the athletic training profession than they can individually. The NATA national office currently has more than 40 full-time staff members who work to support NATA’s mission.



View NATA fact sheet for more information about the association



Athletic trainers will be globally recognized as vital practitioners in the delivery and advancement of health care. Through passionate provision of unique services, athletic trainers will be an integral part of the inter-professional health care team.




The mission of the National Athletic Trainers' Association is to represent, engage and foster the continued growth and development of the athletic training profession and athletic trainers as unique health care providers.


Strategic Plan


NATA released a new strategic plan (pdf) during NATA 2015 in St. Louis.



The National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) was founded in 1950 when the first meeting took place in Kansas City. About 200 athletic trainers gathered to discuss the future of their profession.

Recognizing the need for a set of professional standards and appropriate professional recognition, NATA has helped to unify certified athletic trainers across the country by setting a standard for professionalism, education, certification, research and practice settings. Since its inception, NATA has been a driving force behind the recognition of the athletic training profession.

Once housed in Greenville, NC, NATA now is headquartered in Carrollton, TX. From humble beginnings, the association has expanded to encompass a global membership totaling more than 43,000, plus a full-time executive director and more than 40 full-time staff. Members serve as leaders for the association, which has multiple committees working together to help advance the profession.


A complete history of the NATA and the development of the athletic training profession is included in the hardcover book, “Far Beyond the Shoe Box: Fifty Years of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association.”


Athletic Trainers (ATs) are healthcare professionals who render service or treatment, under the direction of or in collaboration with a physician, in accordance with their education and training and the states' statutes, rules and regulations. As a part of the healthcare team, services provided by ATs include injury and illness prevention, wellness promotion and education, emergent care, examination and clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention, and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions.


*Athletic training is recognized by the American Medical Association (AMA) as a healthcare profession.




BOC-certified athletic trainers are educated, trained and evaluated in five major practice domains:


1. Injury and illness prevention and wellness promotion

2. Examination, assessment and diagnosis

3. Immediate and emergency care

4. Therapeutic intervention

5. Health care administration and professoinal responsibility




Board of Certification (BOC)

 The ATC® credential and the BOC requirements are currently recognized by 49 states plus the District of Columbia for eligibility and/or regulation of the practice of athletic trainers. The credibility of the BOC program and the ATC® credential it awards are supported by three pillars: (1) the BOC certification examination; (2) the BOC Standards of Professional Practice, and Disciplinary Guidelines and Procedures; and (3) continuing competence (education) requirements.


 BOC certification is recognized by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies and is the only accredited certification program for athletic trainers. To be certified, an individual must demonstrate that he or she is an athletic trainer capable of performing the required duties without threat of harm to the public. The BOC traditionally conducts annual examination development meetings during which athletic trainers and recognized experts in the science of athletic training develop, review and validate examination items and problems. The knowledge, skills, and abilities required for competent performance as an entry-level athletic trainer fall into three categories:

Understanding, applying, and analyzing;

Knowledge and decision-making;

Special performance abilities.


For more information at NATA website.