Athletic training has deep roots in Iowa. The profession reaches back to nearly a decade ago in the early 1900s when formal athletic training programs were developed to treat and rehabilitate injured World War I veterans. In fact, the first athletic training textbook,”The Trainer’s Bible,” was written by Iowa educator Dr. Dr. S.E. Bilik and published in 1916. This small and sleepy state may seem like an unlikely place for athletic trainers to thrive, but opportunities are ripe and growing for athletic training professionals in The Hawkeye State. According to Iowa Health Careers, there were over 160 new job openings for athletic trainers in the state last year alone, and the job growth rate for athletic trainers in the state is 31 percent. That’s almost double the national job growth rate for athletic trainers! With an average annual salary of $39,360 and growing, athletic training is experiencing an all time high in Iowa, keep reading to find out how you can get in on the action.
Iowa requires that all athletic trainers obtain a license before they can legally work and practice in the state. Earning an athletic training undergraduate or a graduate degree from a college or university that is approved by the Commission on Accreditation in Athletic Training Education (CAATE) is the first step to becoming a licensed athletic trainer in Iowa. The CAATE is the national accrediting body that determines the educational standards for all athletic training programs in the United. States and certain areas of Canada. In Iowa alone, there are 13 CAATE accredited athletic training programs. That’s just as much or even more accredited athletic training programs than some larger states!
Iowa’s athletic training rules and regulations states that athletic trainers who earned their degree at a foreign college or university can obtain a license to practice in the state, provided the foreign program passes an equivalency test from the International Educational Research Foundations, Inc. Now I don’t see how this would work provided that you have to graduate from a CAATE accredited athletic training program to take the licensing exam, which I’ll talk more about later, but maybe foreign students can petition to take the BOC if their credentials are proven equivalent to CAATE and BOC standards.
Athletic Trainer Examination Requirements
To fulfill Iowa’s athletic training licensing rules, aspiring athletic trainers must take and pass a licensing exam. The licensing exam of choice for Iowa’s Board of Athletic Training is the national licensing exam administered by the Board of Certification, Inc., also known as the BOC. Before you can even register to take the BOC exam you must be in your final semester or have already graduated from a CAATE-accredited athletic training program. Your program director must confirm your eligibility to sit for the exam. If you register to take the exam and are deemed ineligible, the BOC will notify you of your ineligibility via email. For more information about the BOC exam and how to prepare, check out this post.
Obtaining an Iowa Athletic Trainer’s License by Endorsement
With job prospects for athletic trainers soaring in Iowa, it’s only natural to expect that athletic trainers who are already licensed in other states may want to transfer to The Hawkeye State for better career opportunities. If you fit this description, you’d be happy to know that Iowa does license athletic trainers by endorsement, meaning you can transfer your athletic training license from another state to Iowa without an examination or complicated application process. To transfer your athletic trainer’s license to Iowa you must complete an application and:
- Request that your college or university send official transcripts to Iowa’s Board of Athletic Training
- Arrange for the athletic training board in your current state to send verification of your license to Iowa’s Board of Athletic Training
- Request that the BOC submit proof of a passing score on the BOC exam to Iowa’s Board of Athletic Training
Like most other medical professions, athletic trainers must seek continuing education to not only enrich their knowledge of the athletic training field, but to also keep their license current. Iowa requires athletic trainers to earn at least 50 continuing education units every two years. One continuing education unit is 50 minutes. Athletic trainers have a two-year window to complete continuing education requirements, starting March 1st of every odd-numbered year and ending February 28th of the next odd-numbered year. If you are a first time licensee during the renewal period, you do not have to complete any continuing education hours. However, any continuing education hours you complete will carry over to the second renewal period when you absolutely must renew your license for the first time. Any continuing education hours you earn after your first license renewal cannot carry over from one renewal period to another.
Athletic trainers can obtain continuing education a number of ways. From seminars to classes, as long as the method you use to earn continuing education hours is BOC-approved. Iowa’s Board of Athletic Training will accept the hours you earn as valid. The continuing education activities you participate in must provide proof of attendance in the form of documentation citing the following information:
- Continuing education activity name
- Activity date
- Activity location
- Activity presenter/instructor
- Program contact hours
If your athletic training job requires you to work with youth or adult patients, you must complete a continuing education course on identifying dependent adult abuse or identifying child abuse. You must earn two continuing education units from each course. If your job requires you to work with both children and adults, you must take both courses. You can take them separately or take a blended two hour course that covers both subjects. The courses are absolutely mandatory because Iowa requires that all medical professionals report any suspected instances of child or elderly abuse. The identifying abuse course(s) you take must be approved by Iowa’s Department of Public Health.