In Illinois, there are four military bases, just over 100 college sports programs, and hundreds of hospitals where athletic trainers can work. However, athletic trainers work in a range of fields in Illinois, from industrial clinics to the performing arts, and athletic trainers thrive in urban and rural areas around The Prairie State. There are nearly 2,000 athletic trainers working in Illinois, more than any other state, and on average, athletic trainers earn a mean annual salary of $40,900 in the Land of Lincoln. Aspiring athletic trainers must be at least 18 years of age to work as a licensed athletic trainer in Illinois. Continue reading to find out the additional minimum qualifications you must meet to work as an athletic trainer in Illinois.
Illinois requires that all athletic trainers graduate from an accredited athletic training program. Per the Illinois athletic training practice act, athletic trainers must graduate from an athletic training program that is accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Athletic Training of the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. However, the JRC-AT dissolved in 2006 and formed the the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). This is the sole accrediting agency that is fully in charge of accrediting athletic training curricula across the U.S. There are 13 CAATE-accredited schools in Illinois, with all thirteen schools offering bachelor’s degrees in athletic training, and just one school offering advanced degrees in athletic training.
Athletic Trainer Licensing Exam
In order to obtain a traditional Illinois athletic trainer’s license, you must take and pass the national certification exam for athletic trainers. The Board of Certification, Inc. exam, commonly referred to as the BOC in the athletic training community, is the only national certification exam for athletic trainers. Unlike some states, Illinois allows you to take the BOC exam as many times as you need to pass it. Failing the BOC exam any number of times does not make you ineligible for a license. To take the exam, you must graduate from an athletic training program that is approved by the CAATE.
Emergency Medical Certification Requirements
Before you can obtain a license to practice as an athletic trainer in Illinois, you must complete an emergency medical course that covers CPR and automated external defibrillation (AED) and is suited for medical professionals. Illinois requires that all athletic trainers enroll in an emergency medical certification course that complies with American Red Cross or American Heart Association standards.
Aspiring athletic trainers who have graduated with a CAATE-accredited degree but have yet to take or pass the BOC exam can still work as an athletic trainer in Illinois, but on a temporary basis. If you have yet to take the BOC exam, you can still work in Illinois, but for no more than three months. If you take the BOC exam at any time during your three month temporary license period and fail, you must immediately stop working and forfeit your temporary license.
If you have already taken the BOC exam and are awaiting your results, you can work in Illinois as an athletic trainer on a temporary license as well. You can practice for a maximum of six months until you receive notice that your application has been approved or denied. Should your application be approved, you’ll receive your license, ID number/card, and any other subsequent credentials that comes with being a licensed athletic trainer in Illinois. Should your application be denied, you must immediately cease working and forfeit your temporary license.
Illinois Athletic Trainer’s License by Endorsement
If you’re an athletic trainer who holds a license from another state, you can easily transfer your license to Illinois without examination, provided your current state has similar licensing requirements. You must still hold an emergency medical certification before you can transfer your license, and you must have no complaints or pending penalties against your license in your current state. While you wait for your license endorsement application to be approved, you can work on a temporary permit in Illinois. Should you receive a temporary permit, it is good for up to 6 months, and if your application is denied for any reason, you must give up your temporary license and refrain from your athletic training job in Illinois.
Before the Illinois Board of Athletic Training outright denies your application for a license by endorsement, the board usually requests additional information from your current state to gauge whether the two states share a similar licensing process. If your application is denied, the board will always supply their reasoning for denying you and possibly provide steps you can take to re-apply and get your application approved.
On May 31st of every even numbered year, Illinois athletic trainers must renew their licenses. To comply with license renewal requirements, all licensed athletic trainers must complete at least 40 hours of continuing education (CE) by the license renewal date. If you are renewing your license for the first time, you do not have to meet the 40 hour requirement, but you must complete your 40 hours of continuing education for all subsequent license renewal periods. It’s best to keep a consistent pace when it comes to earning CE hours and not wait to the last minute because the board routinely performs audits to ensure that athletic trainers are complying with the CE rules and requirements. If you are deemed noncompliant with the continuing education rules set forth by the board, you could face disciplinary action.
There are a variety of ways Illinois athletic trainers can earn CE hours. If you are an emergency medical technician (EMT) or earn your EMT certification prior to the license renewal date, you can count up to 10 hours of your EMT training toward your 40 hour CE requirement. You can also count five hours toward your required CE hours for each emergency medical certification you maintain, such as the CPR or AED certifications, and you can only submit no more than two certifications during each renewal period.
You can earn no more than 26 CE hours by:
- Writing and delivering a paper before an established athletic training organization
- Publishing a paper in a national journal for athletic training
- Contributing a chapter in an athletic training book
- Completing a home-study course training with a live instructor from an accredited institution via teleconference
You can earn 2 hours for CE each time you serve as an instructor, speaker, or leader of a course by an approved continuing education sponsor. You can claim a maximum of 9 CE hours in this manner. Preparation time is not included.
You can earn 15 hours of CE by completing a one semester college level athletic training course at an accredited institution. You can earn 10 CE hours by completing accredited athletic training courses that last for one quarter.
You must verify all CE hours you earn and CE events or courses you attend, and you must supply a certificate of completion. If you transfer your athletic trainer’s license to Illinois before the license renewal period, any CE hours you earned while under your previous license will count toward the required CE hours for your Illinois license. Any CE hours you earn out of state from a non-approved sponsor must be approved by the board. You must submit a program approval request form prior to attending CE events or courses outside of the Illinois jurisdiction so that the board can review the program’s suitability, since the board maintains its own list of suitable CE providers. This process comes with a $20 fee and you must submit separate approval request forms and fees for each CE event you wish to attend outside of Illinois. The fee is nonrefundable.