Florida is a fun and exciting locale to study and work as an athletic trainer. Florida is one of the top 5 employers of athletic trainer’s in the nation, and with over 200 hospitals, 20 military bases, and over 60 college athletic programs, athletic trainer’s have ample opportunity to work and expand their talents in The Sunshine State. The average annual salary for athletic trainers in Florida is $40,090. Below you’ll find the requirements you need to fulfill to live and work as an athletic trainer in Florida.
To work as an athletic trainer in Florida, one must graduate from a college or university that is accredited by a program that the Board of Certification (BOC) recognizes and approves. The BOC is the only certifying body for athletic trainers in the United States, and the BOC sets the standards for the practice of athletic training and the continuing education requirements for athletic trainers. The only accrediting body that the BOC recognizes is the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). The CAATE sets the educational standards for athletic training and accredits individual programs that meet those standards at colleges and universities across the United States.
If graduating after 2004, you must earn your degree from an accredited athletic training curriculum to work as an athletic trainer in Florida. There are 14 CAATE accredited athletic training programs in Florida. Your program’s curriculum must include the following coursework:
- Basic Athletic Training
- Advanced Athletic Training
- Human Anatomy
- Human Physiology
- Physiology of Exercise
Florida also requires that all athletic trainers take a two-hour course on medical errors to obtain a license. This course can be taken online, but it must be taken with a provider that the Florida Board of Athletic Training endorses. No matter the provider you choose, the course must cover the following topics:
- A root-cause analysis study
- Error prevention and reduction
- Patient safety
You must submit proof of course completion with your licensing application.
Within two of the last five years from the date that you apply for an athletic trainer’s license in Florida, you must earn at least 800 hours of athletic training clinical experience. Your clinical experience must be obtained under the direct supervision of an athletic trainer who is licensed or certified to practice in the state. Most CAATE-accredited programs provide for some form of clinical experience while you work toward your athletic training degree, but it’s not a requirement that all athletic training programs include clinical experience in their curriculums. If the program you choose does not provide for clinical experience, you will have to arrange an athletic training internship or apprenticeship outside of your coursework to meet the 800-hour clinical experience requirement.
Medical Emergency Certification
Given that athletic trainers are medical professionals, it’s only natural to expect athletic trainers to hold certain medical emergency certifications that enables them to appropriately respond to medical emergencies on and off the athletic field. Not at all states require athletic trainers to hold such certifications, but Florida is one state that does.
Florida’s Board of Athletic Training requires that all aspiring athletic trainers hold a standard first aid certification and a CPR certification to obtain a license to practice in the state. These certifications can be earned from the American Red Cross or other similar organizations. The BOC also requires that all athletic trainers obtain similar emergency cardiac care certifications (ECC) to maintain certification at the national level. You must keep your medical emergency certification up to date at all times, and failure to do so could result in immediate expiration of your athletic trainer’s license.
Athletic Trainer Licensing Exam Requirements
Florida requires that all athletic trainers take and pass the BOC exam. The BOC exam is a national examination that guages an aspiring athletic trainer’s knowledge and ability to succeed in the field. Passing the exam grants national certification to practice as an athletic trainer. You must graduate from a CAATE accredited program to sit for the BOC exam, and you can take the exam any time after you earn your degree or within the last semester of your athletic training program. Read this article for an in-depth overview of the BOC exam.
Transferring an Athletic Trainer’s License from Another State to Florida
Athletic trainers who are already licensed in another state and wish to transfer their license to Florida request that the athletic training board in their current state submit a license verification form to Florida’s Board of Athletic Training. Your state’s athletic training board must attest to whether you obtained your license by examination, reciprocity, or some other means, the status of your license in the state, and whether you’ve faced any disciplinary action among other things.
Continuing Education Requirements
To keep licenses current, Florida requires that all athletic trainers obtain at least 24 hours of continuing education credit every two years. Two of those hours includes the medical errors course mentioned above, and the other 22 hours are general continuing education hours. You can earn the additional 22 hours via college or university courses, professional development opportunities and publication opportunities. You can also earn the additional 22 continuing education hours via home study courses that are BOC-approved, but you can earn no more than 10 hours in this manner. The remaining hours must be earned from activities that require your physical presence and participation.
Since athletic training licenses expire every two years in Florida, the state “pro-rates” the amount of continuing education hours you have to earn by the expiration date according to the date you obtained your license. For instance, the next expiration date for all licenses is September 30, 2014, so if you received your license within the first year of the two-year period prior to this date, then you must complete the full 24 continuing education hours to renew your license. However, if you received your license within the second year of the two-year period prior to September 30, 2014, then you only have to complete 12 continuing education hours, two of which will come from the medical errors course. Furthermore, if you received your license within the second year of the two-year period prior to the license expiration date, you can only earn 5 hours via home study courses as opposed to 10. The remaining 7 hours you earn must come from courses and opportunities that require your physical attendance.
It’s important to stay on top of your continuing education hours and ensure that you get them in well before the expiration date. Starting in 2015, failure to complete your education hours by the expiration date will result in an immediate delinquent status for your license.
Additional Licensing Requirements
Unlike other states, Florida is perhaps the first state I’ve heard of that places a minimum age requirement on athletic training licensees. In order to obtain a license and work as an athletic trainer in The Sunshine State, you must be at least 21 years old. The reason for this is not immediately clear, but I could only assume that it’s simply an age that Florida’s Board of Athletic Training deems appropriate for complying with the code of conduct they’ve set forth for all licensees.