Athletic Training

Athletic Training

Whether you want to become a trainer or prepare for a physical therapy program, you’ll benefit from curriculum that combines classroom concepts with real-life situations. In collaboration with faculty and healthcare professionals, you’ll learn to master competencies and clinical proficiencies within a liberal arts framework.

Central’s athletic training program, accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE), provides education experiences that will effectively prepare you to sit for the Board of Certification exam and attend top graduate programs across the nation. The fact that you’ll leave Central with board certification is pretty unique when compared to other schools’ athletic training programs — but it’s the norm at Central.

first time pass rate for 2015 graduates who earned board certification
  • 99% of recent graduates are attending top graduate programs in related fields or working in the field
  • 45% of athletic training majors are actively involved in athletics

The Real World


Successful Careers

  • Hilary Beaird ’14, fitness specialist at Great River Health Systems, Burlington
  • Jill Johnson ’14, physical, occupational and speech therapy program, University of Nebraska Medical Center
  • Julie Wunder ’14, certified athletic trainer, Eastern Iowa Physical Therapy, Wilton
  • Austin Krause ’13, assistant athletic trainer, Trevecca Nazarene University, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Shane Nelson ‘11, athletic trainer, Chicago Cubs, Des Moines
  • Nate Weir ‘05, assistant athletic trainer, Green Bay Packers, Green Bay, Wis.


  • CAAT (Club Associated with Athletic Training)
  • Exercise Science Club
  • Health Professions Club
No matter what your interests are, Central has a student group for you! Learn how you can get involved with groups and organizations at Central.
Central College student

Graduate Placement

  • Old Dominion University, athletic training
  • University of Colorado,  athletic training
  • University of Nebraska Medical Center, doctorate of physical therapy
  • University of Iowa, dental school
  • Texas A & M University,  athletic training
  • Des Moines University, physical therapy


  • Illinois State University
  • Physiotherapy Associates
  • Auburn University
  • Sterling Physical Therapy
  • Iowa State University

Courses & Faculty

Formal application to the athletic training program occurs during the student’s first year at Central. To enter the program, students must complete prerequisites from the exercise science department, maintain at least a 2.8 GPA and complete an interview and the required experiences in the athletic training room.

Students progress through an educational sequence that stresses critical thinking skills. Clinical skills are evaluated regularly by faculty and healthcare professionals throughout the four years. The athletic training major is affiliated with exercise science—find out more about exercise science.

Students in an athletic training class.

Learn more about Athletic Training in the course catalog.

Meet the faculty:

Shelli Green, B.A., M.S. Lecturer and Clinical Education Coordinator of Exercise Science, interest areas include: athletic training and exercise science

Cody Huisman, B.A., D.C. Assistant Professor of Exercise Science, interest areas include: human anatomy and physiology, structural kinesiology, functional movement screens and strength and conditioning

David Pavlat, B.S., M.S., Ed.D. Associate Professor of Exercise Science, interest areas include: physiology, kinesiology

Pam Richards, B.S., M.S., Ed.D. Associate Professor of Exercise Science, interest areas include: information literacy, exercise science curriculum, program assessment and health/wellness education

John Roslien, B.S., M.S. Associate Professor Exercise Science, interest areas include: professional leadership

Sara Shuger Fox, B.S., Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Exercise Science, interest areas include: Electronic feedback for diet and physical activity, sports nutrition, Exercise Is Medicine and Blue Zones

Katelin Valster, B.A., M.S. Lecturer of Exercise Science, interest areas include: sport performance, impact of activity on chronic disease, older adult fitness, service learning, female athletes and ACL injuries

Board of Certification Exam

Central students consistently excel on the CAATE Board of Certification Exam, far outperforming the National Pass Rate.

Year Graduates Graduates taking exam Graduates passing exam on first attempt First attempt pass rate Overall pass rate
2017-18 16 16 15 94% 100%
2016-17 13 12 8 66% 83%
2015-16 12 12 11 92% 92%
Three Year Aggregate 84% 92%
Program Retention Rate
2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 3 year aggregate
Students beginning program 13 18 18 16
Students returning for subsequent year 2 12 13 17 14
Program retention rate (%) 92 72 94 86
Students returning for subsequent year 3 12 13 16 13
Program retention rate (%) 92 72 89 84
Student Graduation Rate
2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 3 year aggregate
Students graduating from program 12 13 16 14
Student Graduation rate (%) 100 100 100 100
Graduate Placement Rate (Professional & Post Professional Degree)
2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 3 year aggregate
Students employed as AT 8 4 6 6
Student employment rate as AT (%) 67 29 38 45
Students employed as other 1 4 0 3
Student employment rate as other (%) 0.08 29 0 10
Students not employed* 3 *(2) 5 *(4) 10 *(10) 6 *(5)
Students not employed rate (%) 25 43 63 47
* number in (#) represents full-time students attending graduate programs in PT, OT, etc.

Sample Schedule

First Year
  • Essentials of Anatomy and Physiology
  • Foundations of Health and Exercise Science
  • First Aid and Sports Injuries
  • Intro to Athletic Training
Sophomore Year
  • Level 1: Clinical Rotation
  • Human Anatomy and Kinesiology
  • Sports Nutrition
  • Athletic Injury Assessment: Lower Extremity
  • Athletic Injury Assessment: Upper Extremity
  • Therapeutic Modalities
Junior Year
  • Level 2: Clinical Rotation
  • Organization and Administration of Athletic Training
  • Therapeutic Exercise
  • Athletic Training Pharmacology
  • Fitness Assessment and Exercise Prescription
Senior Year
  • Level 3: Clinical Rotation 1
  • Level 3: Clinical Rotation 2
  • Medical Conditions for the Athletic Trainer
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Exercise Physiology Lab

The Central Difference

Gain Professional Certification

To practice as an athletic trainer, you must first pass a national certification exam administered by the Board of Certification. In this exam, you’ll be required to demonstrate competency in many areas, including biology, anatomy, kinesiology, management, psychology, first aid and others. The primary objective of Central’s athletic training program is to prepare you for certification through classroom and clinical experiences that help you develop and master the proficiencies you need to succeed in a rewarding career.

Learn in Nationally Recognized Facilities

You’ll spend a great deal of time in the Ron Schipper Fitness Center, which features a 2,000-square-foot athletic training area. In Central’s state-of-the-art exercise science building, you’ll find a dedicated classroom that features taping stations instead of desks. The human performance lab features a hydrostatic underwater weighing tank, one of only three in the Midwest. The building uses LCD screens and classroom capture, which enables all classes to be videotaped so you can review them later.

Take Your College Career to the Next Level: Study Abroad

Enhance your development as a global citizen and earn credits toward your major when you participate in one of Central’s international programs. Our Wales program expands your studies with “Outdoor Pursuits,” which includes rock climbing, spelunking and more. It’ll help you get that much more ahead while gaining international experience. Get the attention of prospective employers and graduate schools by adding this to your résumé. Learn more about Central’s study abroad programs.

Athletic Training Room


Duinink Named Registrar at Central College

Duinink Named Registrar at Central College

Leslie Duinink has been appointed registrar at Central College.

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Central Hosts Regional Athletic Performance Clinic
Central Hosts Regional Athletic Performance Clinic

Central College will host a comprehensive athletic performance clinic on Saturday, March 2, at the Helen Jean Hislop Center.

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Exercise Science Student Investigates Kids’ Food Knowledge
Exercise Science Student Investigates Kids’ Food Knowledge

How much do kids in Iowa know about food and nutrition? Holly McKinney ’18 received a research grant to answer this question while leading a kids’ camp at Central College.

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Learn More

Want to find out more about Athletic Training at Central? Contact us to learn more about this major and our other strong academic programs. Visit campus to observe classes and experience The Central Difference firsthand.