California has over 200 college sports programs, nearly 500 hospitals and clinics, and 32 military bases; the most in the United States and plenty of job opportunities for athletic trainers. Athletic trainers in California are some of the highest paid ATs in the country, earning $51,180 each year on average, but California is one of the two states that currently has no state-level regulations for the athletic training field. However, with the passage of Bill AB 1890, also known as the Athletic Trainers Practice Act, proposed by the California Athletic Trainer’s Association (CATA), that could change very soon.
The proposed bill came about due to the fact that anyone can call themselves an athletic trainer in California and get a job. In an effort to keep athletes and all others who utilize the services of athletic trainers safe, athletic trainers who are certified in California are pushing for regulated requirements to practice athletic training in the state. The proposed bill has passed the California Assembly and the state’s Senate. The bill is currently on the Governor’s desk in need of signatures showing support for the bill. The bill seeks to set educational, training, and continuing education standards for aspiring athletic trainers in The Golden State.
If passed, California’s Athletic Trainer’s Practice Act would require all aspiring athletic trainers to complete an accredited postsecondary educational program that instructs students on the basic sciences of athletic training. The bill explicitly states that it prefers students complete an athletic training program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE), and there are currently 15 CAATE-accredited athletic training college programs in California. The educational program you choose must combine theoretical, clinical, and research methods of learning to provide an in-depth and well-rounded athletic training educational experience.
Given that there is a sizeable amount of people who currently work as athletic trainers in California who do not have the proper educational requirements to obtain a license under the proposed bill, the California Athletic Trainer’s Practice Act does provide an alternative method that these people can obtain a license and legally practice athletic training. If you have not graduated from a CAATE-accredited athletic training program, but meet the following requirements, you can still obtain a license to practices athletic training in the state of California:
- Pass the Board of Certification, Inc. (BOC) athletic training certification exam
- Obtain at least 1500 hours of clinical experience under the direct supervision of a BOC-certified athletic trainer via an internship
- Maintain an emergency cardiac care (ECC) certification from a certifying body approved by the CATA
Transferring An Athletic Training License to California from Another State
The CATA bill has not stated how it intends to deal with licensed athletic trainers who wish to transfer their credentials from another state to California, also known as licensure by reciprocity. If California plans to follow most reciprocity licensing regulations set forth by other states, as long as the licensing rules from the state you transfer from are similar to California’s licensing rules for athletic trainers, you should have no problem transferring your license from another state. As it stands, it appears that transferring athletic trainers would have to complete the same licensing process as first-time athletic training licensees.
Emergency Medical Certification Requirements
Athletic trainer’s just don’t tape ankles and ice down injuries, they also save lives. As medical professionals, athletic trainers must be prepared to deal with a wide range of emergency medical situations that should arise in their presence. The California Athletic Trainer’s Practice Act would require that all athletic trainers in the state maintain some form of emergency medical certification. Whether you decide to earn your emergency medical certification from the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association, the ECC provider you choose must comply with the International Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiac Care. Your ECC certification course must include:
- Pediatric and adult CPR
- Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) training
- Second rescuer CPR
- Airway obstruction training
- Barrier device training
Athletic Training Licensing Examinations
Some states, such as Texas, have their own licensing exams that athletic trainers must take and pass in order to obtain a license, but most states only require that athletic trainers pass the national athletic training certifying exam, the BOC, to earn their license. Should California’s Athletic Training Bill pass, all aspiring athletic trainers would be required to take and pass the BOC exam. Passing the BOC exam indicates that you have the necessary skills and are fully prepared to meet the daily rigors and job requirements of an athletic trainer. In order to take the BOC exam, you must graduate from a CAATE-accredited athletic training program. You can also take the BOC exam if you’re in the final semester of school provided your program director certifies that you are eligible for graduation.
As I mentioned above, California’s athletic training bill plans to allow people who have the experience of an athletic trainer but lack the proper educational requirements to obtain a license through alternative methods. One of those methods is taking the BOC exam. Now seeing how you have to graduate from a CAATE-accredited athletic training program to even be eligible to sit for the BOC, I don’t see how these people who lack the proper educational credentials would fulfill this requirement. I don’t know if the CATA has thoroughly thought out this step in their alternate licensing method, but as it stands, I don’t see how this plan will completely work out, but I’ll of course keep you all posted on this aspect of the bill.
California’s new athletic training bill proposes that in order to renew an athletic training license in the state, licensed athletic trainers must complete continuing education hours. The total amount of hours that must be completed for license renewal aren’t exactly stated, but most states require that athletic trainers complete 75 continuing education hours every three years or 25 continuing education hours each year.
The bill also does not state the methods in which continuing education hours can be obtained. If California decides to accept continuing education hours from BOC-approved providers, athletic trainers who are licensed in the state can earn their hours a variety of ways. From writing research papers to attending conferences and seminars, the avenues you can take to fulfill your continuing education hours are abundant. Many states also accept continuing education hours from online university courses and independent continuing education providers, as long as the provider is BOC-approved.