With approximately 73 hospitals, 21 collegiate sports programs, hundreds of high school and recreational youth sporting events, and several military bases and installations, athletic trainers should have no problem finding employment in The Copper State. According to the Arizona Interscholastic Association, there are over 500 certified athletic trainers in the state of Arizona, but over 85% of regular season high school sporting events do not have an athletic trainer on staff or on-site, which creates a huge hazard for players, high school sports teams, the state of Arizona, and the athletic training profession. There is a dire need to fill these vacancies, and if you aspire to a career in athletic training and reside in Arizona or are willing to move to Arizona, there is more than enough opportunity available for you. The average athletic trainer salary in The Copper State is $41,640. Keep reading to find out the qualifications you need to obtain and maintain an athletic training license in Arizona.
Before you can even apply for an athletic trainer’s license in Arizona, you must complete an athletic training program that is Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) accredited. The CAATE is the national accrediting body that determines what a quality education is for all athletic trainers across the nation, and the CAATE sets the knowledge and clinical standards all aspiring athletic trainers must meet to efficiently serve as a health care provider.
You’d be surprised to learn, like most people, that there are only 3 CAATE accredited athletic trainer programs in the state of Arizona. Even Arizona State University, ASU, doesn’t have a CAATE accredited athletic training program. There are two professional programs available where aspiring athletic trainers can earn an undergraduate degree in athletic training, and there is one post-professional program available where students who already have a bachelor’s in athletic training can expand their breadth of knowledge about the field. So unless you earn an athletic trainer’s license out-of-state, you only have two educational institutions to choose from to earn your athletic training experience.
Arizona’s Board of Athletic Training also requires that potential athletic trainers possess good moral character to obtain a license to practice in the state. If you’ve ever been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony, the board reserves the right to deny you an athletic trainer’s license. All applicants applying for their original athletic trainer’s license in the state of Arizona must submit two letters of recommendation from licensed health care professionals who can attest to their good moral character.
Athletic Trainer Clinical Education
Clinical education and experience are a major necessity of any accredited athletic training program. Clinical rotations gives students the chance to obtain the hands-on research experience and clinical problem-solving they need to provide optimum patient care. Arizona’s athletic training bill does not specify a minimum number of clinical hours athletic training students must earn, but accredited athletic training programs in the state, such as Grand Canyon University’s Athletic Training program, requires that students complete at least 750 hours of clinical rotation. Your clinical experience must be supervised and by a licensed athletic trainer or health care professional.
Transferring an Athletic Training License to Arizona from Another State
Athletic trainers who are licensed in another state and wish to transfer their license to Arizona must complete an original license application, the same application a first-time athletic training licensee would complete. Unlike some other states, there is no clearly defined licensure by proxy article in Arizona’s Athletic Training Statutes, so you have to go through the same process a new licensee would undergo to “transfer” your license to the state of Arizona. However, there are a few exceptions, where athletic trainers are allowed to perform athletic training duties in the State of Arizona.
If your athletic training duties are in connection to teaching or educational seminars, or if your duties are performed under a professional, intercollegiate, interscholastic or amateur sports organization that employs your services, then you may perform without an Arizona Athletic Trainer’s license as long as you are licensed, certified, or registered to perform athletic training duties with another state. You can only perform without a license for a maximum of 120 days within a 365-day period; otherwise, you must obtain a license from Arizona’s Board of Athletic Training to work as an athletic trainer in the state.
Arizona’s Athletic Training Statutes requires athletic trainers to maintain a current CPR certification at all times. The state does not require any additional certifications, but, some of the CAATE accredited athletic training programs in the state requires students to obtain certain medical certifications, such as an EMS or AED certification, as a part of the educational program. Given that athletic trainers are medical professionals who are often times involved in medical emergencies with athletes who are in their care, obtaining certain medical certifications could only bolster your skills and potentially improve your employment opportunities.
Arizona requires that all athletic training licensees complete and pass the national athletic training certification exam that is administered by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Board of Certification. To be eligible to take the exam, you must graduate from a CAATE-accredited athletic training program or be within your final semester/quarter of a CAATE-accredited athletic training program when you take the exam.
Arizona previously had no state requirements for continuing education hours, but the state recognizes the importance of continuing education in the success and advancement of the athletic training field. In order to keep your athletic training license in good standing and renew your license by the required renewal date, you must complete at least 15 hours of continuing education credits before your license expires. You must maintain your own continuing education records, and your records must note each continuing education activity you completed and a statement of credit or certificate from the continuing education provider.
If you maintain your national/BOC certification, the Arizona Board of Athletic Training will accept your continued certification as your 15 continuing education hours. Now understand that passing the BOC exam and being BOC certified are two totally different things. To become and maintain BOC certification, you must complete a separate set of courses and earn additional continuing education hours by attending BOC-approved courses. Click here to read more about BOC certification.