For nearly two decades, Illinois State University has graduated athletic trainers from the undergraduate and Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) accredited athletic training program. Chances are high that if you recently hired an athletic trainer from the state of Illinois, he or she studied at ISU. In fact, nearly 1 in 4 newly certified athletic trainers from Illinois have undergone didactic and clinical education through the program. Not only does Illinois State graduate the highest number of athletic trainers in the state, it also boasts the highest first-time pass rate on the Board of Certification exam with an impressive 95 percent pass rate. The 3-year aggregate state and national average for this exam rests at 73 percent and 81 percent respectively.

Appears In

Ben Colletti, a graduate student and 2019 alumnus of the program had this to say about the athletic training program: “The success of the Athletic Training Program at Illinois State is not a coincidence. The opportunities, experiences, and knowledge that the program offers are unlike any other which has contributed to the high state, regional, and national recognition. There is no doubt that as the profession of athletic training evolves to the professional master’s degree, the Illinois State Athletic Training Program will continue to lead the charge and provide students with a premier educational experience. I would not be the athletic trainer I am today without the experience I had at Illinois State.”

Athletic trainers are highly qualified, multi-skilled health care professionals who render service or treatment under the direction of, or in collaboration with, a physician in accordance with state statutes, rules, and regulations. As members of health care teams, athletic trainers provide primary care, injury and illness prevention, wellness promotion and education, emergent care, examination and clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention, and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions. Furthermore, it’s an exciting time to be studying athletic training with the job outlook expected to grow “much faster than expected” according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In May 2015 an alliance of national athletic training organizations voted to change the professional degree required to take the national Board of Certification exam from a bachelor’s degree to a master’s degree. Thereafter, a candidate for national certification must have a master’s degree in the field to take the certification examination. Illinois State’s bachelor’s program is in the teach-out phase and will graduate the last cohort of undergraduate athletic training majors in the spring of 2022.

During the August 2019 Illinois Board of Higher Education board meeting, ISU’s request to continue preparing athletic trainers through a master’s degree was approved. Program faculty have prepared a two-year, 52 credit-hour program that involves didactic coursework, clinical education, and a semester long immersive clinical experience. Formal admission into the program is slated to begin in December 2020, with the first cohort of students officially starting the program in summer 2021. For more information about the program or admission requirements, please contact Dr. Justin Stanek at or (309)-438-5682 or visit our webpage.