How to become an Athletic Therapist

I have been asked this a lot in recent years, which is so great to see because our college is still quite small, it’s starting to become larger but more the merrier!

Schooling

First things first, you need to go to school to become an athletic therapist. Here in Canada, you will need to complete a 4 year Bachelor’s of Applied Health Sciences Degree (BAHSc(AT)) at one of the following colleges and universities:

This program is accredited for the following entry methods only: Athletic Therapy Certificate embedded as a major within a four-year York University Kinesiology degree

  • University of Manitoba
    Ms. Jacqueline Elliott
    102 Frank Kennedy Centre Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 2N2
    Tel. (204) 474-9143 Fax (204) 474-7634
    Email:  Jacqueline.elliott@umanitoba.ca
    Website: umanitoba.ca
  • University of Winnipeg
    Mr. Ben Trunzo
    515 Portage Avenue Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 2E9
    Tel. (204) 786-9249 Fax (204) 783-7866
    Email: b.trunzo@uwinnipeg.ca
    Website: uwinnipeg.ca 
  • Mount Royal University
    Dr. Mark Lafave
    4825 Richard Rd. S.W. Calgary, Alberta T3E 6K6
    Tel. (403) 440-6500
    Email: physedinfo@mtroyal.ca
    Website: www.mtroyal.ca
  • Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières
    Dr. Philippe Fait
    Directeur de programme, concentration thérapie du sport
    Département des sciences de l’activité physique
    Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières
    3351 Boulevard des Forges, Trois-Rivières, QC G9A 5H7
    Téléphone : 819 376-5011 Sans frais : 1 800 365-0922
    Email : philippe.fait@uqtr.ca
    Website : https://www.uqtr.ca/

I personally went to Sheridan College in Brampton Ontario and can speak of my personal experiences at this college. It was a fantastic program, and I had the pleasure of having both Kirsty McKenzie and Dr. Loriann Hynes as professors, they are both absolutely lovely if you will be contacting them from the list above. The facility at Sheridan college is one of the best in my opinion, there is a gym and clinic full of some of the best equipment, including an underwater treadmill (mind blown, I know). There is also multiple dedicated spaces for classrooms and labs in the program.

How do I get into the program?

Now keep in mind, I started at Sheridan College in 2008, so things may have changed since then considering that was 12 years ago (holy crumbs). But I have looked up the recent requirements on Sheridan’s website, they go as follows:

Admission RequirementsApplicant SelectionEnglish Language Proficiency
Program Eligibility
Ontario Secondary School Diploma or equivalent, including the following required courses:
• English, Grade 12 (ENG4U)
plus
• Biology, Grade 12 (U)
plus one of:
• Physics, Grade 12 (U) or
• Mathematics, Grade 12 (U) or
• Chemistry, Grade 12 (U)
plus
• Three additional Grade 12 credits at the U or M level
• Minimum 65% in each course
Or
Two semesters of postsecondary education including required courses with a minimum 65% in each course.
Eligible applicants will be selected on the basis of their previous academic achievement (the average of their six highest senior-level credits, including required courses).
Co-op experience related to Athletic Therapy is strongly recommended.
Applicants must attend an information session.
All applicants whose first language is not English must meet Sheridan’s English Proficiency Requirements.
Refer to the website for full admission requirements.

What do I learn in the program?

Once you are in the program you will have a wide range of classes over the 4 years all progressively becoming a bit more difficult but perfectly piecing it all together.

Your first year is your basic sciences including, biology, psychology, physiology, biomechanics, nutrition, protective equipment and bracing, and exercise physiology. Then for the remainder of years 3-4 you ill be taking multiple levels of all the following classes: anatomy, pathophysiology, emergency care, conditions, therapeutics exercise, modalities, biomechanics, psychology, assessment and rehab, manual techniques along with clinical and field placements. All classes will be in the form of classroom lectures and labs.

Here is an attachment of what to expect: https://academics.sheridancollege.ca/-/media/files/programspdf/bachelor-of-applied-health-sciences-athletic-therapy_en.ashx

I have graduated school, now what?

You have made it through the jam packed 4 years of awesome education, congratulations! Now you have to prepare for the national exams. The exams will test your knowledge in CATA’s scope of practice and competencies in athletic therapy. This process ensures that successful certification candidates have demonstrated basic competence in athletic therapy and ensures the safety and care of the public when providing athletic therapy services to Canadians.

Now, when I was completing my national exams, we were required to do a 200 multiple choice question written exam and the next day we would complete practical exams in both field and clinical. If my memory serves me correct, the field practical exams had 2 taping, one emergency, one non-emergency and I think an on field assessment. The clinical exams included an assessment and an acute treatment and chronic treatment (return to play) of the condition you assessed.

However! Times have change and now the exam is just a 200 multiple choice question written exam. I personally think the association should have kept the practicals in there, but that is just my input.

Then once you pass everything, you are now a Certified Athletic Therapist, CAT(C). Yay!

What is the difference between Canadian and American Athletic Therapy?

Here in Canada we are referred as certified athletic therapists (CAT(C)) under the Canadian Athletic Therapist Association (CATA) and in the states they are known as athletic trainer certified (ATC) under the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA).

For more information on how to become an Athletic Therapist in Canada: https://athletictherapy.org/en

For more information on how to become an Athletic Trainer in America: https://www.nata.org

If you have any more questions on how to become an athletic therapist please visit the links above or you can find me on instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lewslife_/ or in my contact box on my website: https://lewslife.com/contact/

What is the difference between Athletic Therapy and Physiotherapy? Click here to read more.

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