Athletic Training, B.A.

Program Overview

Do you have a deep passion for learning about the human body as well as desire to help people heal? Are sports and the arena of competition somewhere you thrive? Does a career that blends together healthcare and physical activity sound like the optimal environment for you? An athletic training degree may be the perfect fit.


Athletic trainers play a critical role in promoting the activity and normal functions of their patients and clients. A Bachelor of Arts in Athletic Training from PLNU will help you develop foundational decision-making and logical reasoning skills that prepare you for specialized career opportunities or graduate study programs in sports medicine. After introductory courses in anatomy, physiology, biology, and chemistry, you'll have the opportunity to develop skills in injury evaluation, functional rehabilitation, prescribing therapeutic modalities, and healthcare management. Finally, you will gain the clinical proficiency necessary to pass the National Athletic Trainers - Board of Certification (NATA-BOC) exam to become a certified athletic trainer at the end of your studies.

PLNU NATA-BOC exam pass rates from 2013 to 2016

  2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016 3-Year Total Pass Rates
Number of program graduates 14 9 12 35  
Number of students who attempted certification 14 9 12 35  
Number of students who
passed exam on first attempt
12 6 12 30 86% first attempt passing rate (national average: 80.6%)
Number of students who
passed exam, regardless of attempts
14 6 12 34 97% overall passing rate

Course List

Department Faculty

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Point Loma Nazarene University offers people with the career dream of being a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) an opportunity to thoroughly prepare for such a career. The curriculum has been carefully designed to provide a multifaceted learning experience in the scientific, clinical, management and psychosocial foundations in athletic training through both classroom instruction and clinical experiences.

The Athletic Training Program (ATP) at PLNU is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). A testament to the major’s quality, the admission process for the program is highly competitive. The curriculum has been carefully designed to provide a multifaceted learning experience necessary to develop and master the competencies an athletic training professional must possess. Upon completion of the Bachelor of Arts in Athletic Training, students are eligible to take the NATA-BOC examination to become a certified athletic trainer.

Application to the ATP must be completed by the second Friday in February. Students in good academic standing at PLNU or another accredited institution may apply for admission, which is announced by the last week in March.

Admission to PLNU does not ensure acceptance to the ATP. Prerequisite courses for the ATP should be taken the year during which application will be made.

Students who intend to apply for the PLNU ATP should meet the following criteria:

  • Submit an Application for Admission to the ATP (transfer students apply here, current PLNU students will apply ONLY through canvas) and three letters of Recommendation to the ATP director by the second Friday in February.
  • Sign and print Recommendation for Admission Release Form.
  • Complete all competencies required and achieve a grade of B- or better in the following courses:
    • KIN 280 - Introduction to Athletic Training
    • KIN 280L - Athletic Training Taping and Bracing Laboratory
    • ATR 102 - Risk Management and Emergency Response
    • ATR 102L - Risk Management and Emergency Response Lab
  • Have a minimum GPA of 2.5*
  • Complete 36 hours of observation in the PLNU Athletic Training Clinic verified by a PLNU certified athletic trainer (ATC). Transfer students may complete their observation in another athletic training setting, with hours verified by an ATC who must have his or her signature notarized. Students must also follow the proper dress code during observation hours.
  • Meet the Technical Standards for Admission to complete of the ATP at PLNU.
  • Student Health Assessment by physician/physician assistant.
  • Complete an Immunization Record form.
  • Sign the PLNU Mission Statement and Code of Conduct
  • Complete an interview with the ATP Admissions Committee

*Probationary admission status will be considered under special circumstances. Probationary Status Students admitted to the PLNU ATP must clear all deficiencies by the end of the following semester to be accorded full admission status or they will not continue in the ATP.

Transfer Students

Transfer students may apply and gain admission to the ATP under the following conditions:

  • Completion of the degree in athletic training following admission to PLNU and the ATP requiring a minimum of three years.
  • All prerequisite coursework required for admission to the ATP completed at another institution prior to matriculation to PLNU must be judged to be equivalent to PLNU courses. Transfer students must demonstrate they have met the educational competencies required in those three courses by submitting the following to the ATP director by the third Friday in February:
    • Official transcripts demonstrating completion of the three prerequisite courses with grades of B- or better
    • Catalog copy of the three course descriptions
    • Contact information for the faculty who taught each of the courses.
  • Any certified athletic trainer may verify the 36 hours of required observation in an athletic training setting. If the verifying ATC is not an employee of PLNU, a notary public must authenticate his or her signature. The log of hours and the ATC verification of those hours must be presented with the ATP application on the form found on the ATP website.
  • All students admitted to the PLNU ATP must maintain the following minimum standards to stay in the program:
    • A 2.5 cumulative GPA at a minimum.
    • Adhere to and exhibit high levels of performance on the technical standards and actively, enthusiastically pursue the mission of athletic training at PLNU.
    • Earn not less than a C in the following courses: ATR 290, 291, 385, 387, 388, 390, 391, 410, 415, 420 460, 493, 494.

Technical Standards for Admission

The Athletic Training Program at PLNU is a rigorous and intense program that places specific requirements and demands on the students enrolled in it.

A program objective is to prepare graduates to enter a variety of employment settings and to render care to a wide spectrum of individuals engaged in physical activity. The technical standards set forth by the Athletic Training Program establish the essential qualities considered necessary for students admitted to this program to achieve the knowledge, skills, and competencies of an entry-level athletic trainer, as well as meet the expectations of the program's accrediting agency (Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education [CAATE]). All students admitted to the Athletic Training Program must meet the following abilities and expectations. In the event a student is unable to fulfill these technical standards, with or without reasonable accommodation, the student will not be admitted into the program.

  • Compliance with the program's technical standards does not guarantee a student's eligibility for the NATA-BOC certification exam.
  • Candidates for selection to the Athletic Training Program must demonstrate:
    • The mental capacity to assimilate, analyze, synthesize, and integrate concepts and problem solve to formulate assessment and therapeutic judgments and be able to distinguish deviations from the norm.
    • Sufficient postural and neuromuscular control, sensory function, and coordination to perform appropriate physical examinations using accepted techniques, and accurately, safely, and efficiently use equipment and materials during the assessment and treatment of patients.
    • The ability to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients and colleagues, including individuals from different cultural and social backgrounds, which includes, but is not limited to, the ability to establish rapport with patients and communicate judgments and treatment information effectively. Students must be able to understand and speak the English language at a level consistent with competent professional practice.
    • The ability to record the physical examination results and a treatment plan clearly and accurately.
    • The capacity to maintain composure and continue to function well during periods of high stress.             
    • The perseverance, diligence, and commitment to complete the program as outlined and sequenced.
    • Flexibility and the ability to adjust to changing situations and uncertainty in clinical situations.
    • Affective skills and appropriate demeanor and rapport that relate to professional education and quality patient care.

Candidates for selection to the Athletic Training Program will be required to verify they understand and meet these technical standards or they believe that, with certain accommodations, they can meet the standards.

The Academic Support Center will evaluate a student who states he/she could meet the program's technical standards with accommodation and confirm the stated condition qualifies as a disability under applicable laws.

If a student states he/she can meet the technical standards with accommodation, then PLNU will determine whether it agrees the student can meet the technical standards with reasonable accommodation; this includes a review of whether the accommodations requested are reasonable, taking into account whether accommodation would jeopardize clinician/patient safety, or the educational process of the student or the institution, including all coursework, clinical experiences, and internships deemed essential to graduation.

Are you ready to take the next step to begin your PLNU journey? Whether you’re a high school senior, college transfer student, or international student, find out what we’re looking for in our applicants and how you can apply.

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Non-discrimination Policy

The PLNU Athletic Training Program does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, national or ethnic origin in any aspect of the administration of its educational program.

Although we do seek to recruit students of the Christian faith and to create an institutional environment conducive to their growth in Christ, we do not require that students be confessing Christians. We welcome and value as students persons of every background and faith. As a Christian community, we expect that all of our students will respect the nature of our community, learn about our traditions and participate in our community practices. PLNU affirms that a Christian liberal arts education includes an understanding of and appreciation of the differences in faith, living, and practice.

Student Support

For most students, the transition into college life is one full of adjustments. There is the excitement of newfound freedoms, but also some uncertainty as you begin to make choices and take responsibility for your own future. 

At PLNU, we’re committed to supporting you — academically, professionally, spiritually, personally — so that you may be successful both in your time as a student and beyond. That’s why we offer a holistic support system that focuses on your unique experiences, particular needs, and personal and professional goals — resulting from our deep concern for you, our student.

With a focus on authentic relationships and personalized attention, our goal is to help transform you so you can follow your calling in your own career and life.

Student Support


For more information on the athletic training major, contact Dr. Nicole Cosby, ATP Director, at (619) 849-2901 or nicolecosby@pointloma.edu.

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Student Profile

Nikki Romani stands outside in athletic clothes with her arm around a young woman

Nikki Romani

After graduating from PLNU with a degree in athletic training, Nikki Romani (10), like so many students, began her pursuit of a graduate degree. With her heart set on becoming a physical therapist, Romani found work in a local physical therapy clinic, took prerequisite courses at a community college, and sent in applications to several grad programs. As she waited for responses, she prayed that God would open the right door. Little did she know then, a door would open, but it would be far from the one she expected. Read more

Career Opportunities

PLNU's athletic training graduates are professionals armed with the knowledge and expertise to help prevent, evaluate, and rehabilitate injuries that result from physical activity. Alumni have combined their passions for sports and maximizing human potential into work opportunities with professional and Olympic sports teams, universities and high schools, physical therapy clinics, hospitals, and many more.

"PLNU provided a well-rounded college experience that I haven’t seen in my time at any other state school or community college. On the academic side, I had small classes and ample opportunities to learn hands-on outside the classroom. On top of that, I had caring professors, not just in my major, who took extra time to invest in me as a human being and student. Now, as a teacher myself, I strive to replicate the impact they had on me. So many times I’m in the classroom or mentoring a student and I hear things come out of my mouth that were said to me when I was at PLNU. It brings a smile to my face to realize now how much of an impact the people there had on me."

Eric Sorenson, Ph.D., Class of 2003
Program Director and Professor of Athletic Training, Azusa Pacific University

A Bachelor of Arts in Athletic Training can lead to the following careers:

  • Athletic Trainer
  • Physical Therapy
  • Physician Assistant
  • Chiropractor
  • Strength and Conditioning
  • Teaching
  • Fitness Industry