Every year for the past few years, Colorado has ranked number one as the healthiest state in the nation. Coloradans take their health and well-being seriously, and there’s plenty of room for athletic trainers to leverage the health conscious populous of The Centennial State for career opportunities. The National Association of Athletic Trainers (NATA) awarded five Colorado high schools with the Safe Sports Schools Awards, an award for schools that take the proper measures to prevent and treat injuries for student athletes. This is the most for any state in the nation, which is a clear indicator to the demand for athletic trainers for youth sports and other areas in Colorado. Athletic trainers earn an average annual salary of $47,960 in Colorado, one of the highest athletic trainer’s salary in the nation. Read on to discover the rules you need to meet to work as an athletic trainer in Colorado.
In order to register as an athletic trainer in Colorado, you must complete an accredited athletic training program. The athletic training program you graduate from must be accredited by the Committee for Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) the organization that sets accrediting standards for all athletic training programs in the United States. There are five CAATE-accredited athletic training programs in Colorado where aspiring athletic trainers can earn a 4-year baccalaureate degree. There are no CAATE-accredited programs in the state that awards masters degrees.
Unlike some states, Colorado doesn’t require a specific amount of clinical hours to accompany the athletic trainer educational experience, but most of the CAATE-accredited programs in the state allow students to obtain hands-on clinical experience prior to graduation.
Emergency Medical Certification Requirements
Colorado’s Athletic Trainer Practice Act doesn’t state whether emergency medical certifications, such as CPR certification and Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) certification, is required to register as an athletic trainer in the state. However, it’s always a good idea to hold these certifications to learn how to properly handle sudden cardiac arrest, concussions, and other medical emergencies on and off the field for athletes and others in your care.
Athletic Training Registration Examinations
In order to register as an athletic trainer in Colorado, all athletic trainers must take the Board of Certification, Inc. (BOC) exam. The BOC exam is the national certifying exam for athletic trainers, and Colorado’s Office of Athletic Trainers Registrations requires that all prospective athletic trainers earn the minimum passing score to receive their registration. To sit for the BOC exam, you must graduate from an athletic training program that is accredited or you must be in your final semester or trimester of your accredited athletic training program when you register for the exam.
Register as an Athletic Trainer in Colorado by Endorsement
If you are already licensed or registered as an athletic trainer in another state, you can register as an athletic trainer in Colorado by endorsement. This means that you can essentially transfer your credentials as long as you meet certain rules and requirements set forth by Colorado’s Office of Athletic Trainers Registration. If you intend to transfer your licensure from another state to Colorado, to establish your competency as an athletic trainer you must:
- Submit proof of at least 400 working hours as an athletic trainer in your current state for the last two years prior to submitting your application for registration by endorsement in Colorado
- If you don’t have proof of 400 hours of work as licensed athletic trainer in another state, you can submit proof of at least 48 continuing education hours that are BOC approved. These hours must be completed within the two years preceding your application for registration by endorsement in Colorado.
- If you do not meet either of the above requirements but you have obtained BOC certification within the last three years prior to seeking registration by endorsement, Colorado’s Office of Athletic Trainers Registration shall deem you competent to work as an athletic trainer in the state. Now note that BOC certification is totally different than passing the BOC exam. Athletic trainers must meet a different and often more stringent set of rules to become BOC certified.
Unlike states where athletic trainers must obtain a license to practice, there are currently no continuing education requirements in Colorado for athletic trainers since athletic trainers are only required to register to practice in the state. Licensure is the most restrictive form of regulation for the athletic training field. Licenses are time limited and the licensee must renew their license within a certain time frame by completing a certain amount of continuing education hours.
Registration is the least restrictive form of regulating the athletic training field. Registration mostly involves filing the name, contact information, and credentials of the individuals practicing athletic training with the regulating body in a particular state. Colorado does require all athletic trainers to complete a health professions profile prior to obtaining registration to practice in the state.