California Licensure for Athletic Trainers

April 27, 2013

In the state of Illinois, you cannot call yourself an Athletic Trainer unless you hold a state license. In order to gain a state license, you must be a Certified Athletic Trainer. Many states are this way. In fact, there are only two states in the USA that do not require some form of regulations for athletic trainers. Those two states are California and Alaska.

It’s a scary thought on a personal level to think that ANYBODY can call themselves an Athletic Trainer in the state of California. Anybody can go out and pretend to be a healthcare provider with no background whatsoever. Just ask Tommy Mallon what he thinks about that idea.

On a professional level, I believe the lack of regulation in California hurts our entire profession. There are numerous professions who have attempted to handle the duties of an athletic trainer in the state without the education and training that athletic trainers possess. It’s perfectly legal for an EMT or a physical therapist to take on athletic training roles there. And because they are able to do it there, they are vocal about doing it everywhere.

I recently had a discussion with a fellow colleague who told me that “athletic trainers picked a bad time to do it. Physical therapists are on the defensive right now. Athletic trainers should wait.” She’s a great clinician as both an athletic trainer and as a physical therapist, but I disagree completely! At some point, athletic trainers must stand on our own two feet and put physical therapists in their place for a change. We have to quit giving in to them. Because I know that physical therapists are not going to ever stop trying to create legislation. If we wait until they’re done, we’ll never get anywhere.

Athletic Trainers must stand up for ourselves today. We need to get athletes, parents, coaches, and administrators on our side. We have to get our team physicians on our side and other medical professionals as well. Today is the day we must unite for licensure.

Here is the proposed practice act in the state of California.

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