Students practicing athletic training skills.

Pre-Athletic Training Major

Bachelor of Science

Multi-skilled healthcare professionals.

Anchored in the Mercyhurst tradition of excellence, the Athletic Training Department is always looking for ways to refine its craft so students receive the best and most cutting-edge experience. Athletic Training combines science-based knowledge with contemporary evidence-based practices to train majors to treat a variety of populations. From athletes, military personnel, weekend warriors, and athletic trainers, students learn how to help the physically active get back on their feet following an illness, injury, or surgery. Through our decades of educating aspiring future professionals, we have come to understand that it is not the initials after a name that defines the work but rather the impact a person will make. Between hours of hands-on clinical experiences, as well as classroom learning with state-of-the-art equipment and faculty dedicated to whole-person discovery and development, our graduates leave with the most fulfilling education experience and the skills to lead a successful professional life.

Fast Facts

  • An in-demand field, the athletic training profession is expected to grow by 23 percent by 2030 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • An AT major is flexible, offering opportunities for students to double major or minor in a wide array of fields like Public Health, Exercise Science, or Psychology to increase their professional development
  • Students have the opportunity to gain first-hand observation of clinical athletic trainers to experience what all athletic trainers may do on the job or further focus on their field of study through internships with local minor league sports teams, major sports affiliates, ESPN, and other professional settings
  • Our graduates lead successful careers as professors, orthopedic surgeons, program managers for sports medicine companies, and clinical athletic trainers

Learning Outcomes

Program Goal 1: Clinical Knowledge

ATS will be able to demonstrate advancing clinical proficiency, emphasizing sound principles of clinical research and critical thinking skills, as well as culminating into a system of quality patient care.

Program Goal 2: Academic Knowledge

Students will demonstrate the ability to synthesize and critically analyze their knowledge in the classroom that ultimately is representative of a qualified professional in the field.

Program Goal 3: Professional Responsibility

ATS will be prepared to make a difference in the world by demonstrating the common values and behaviors of the AT profession while employing professional excellence and ethical leadership.

Program Goal 4: Socially Merciful

Students will embody the Mercy mission and demonstrate dispositions essential to becoming role models for the athletic training profession.

Clinical Experience

The clinical education sequence begins first term freshman year with the pre-clinical experience. During the freshman year, students accumulate 100 hours of direct observation of affiliated athletic trainers. Starting first term sophomore year, students engage in six hands-on clinical experiences and one senior capstone experience involving patients of both genders across 15 diverse clinical settings, including high schools, clinics, colleges & universities, professional athletic teams, and hospitals. Clinical experiences are progressive in nature and correspond with the curriculum.

Technical Guidelines

Because athletic training is a physically, intellectually, and psychologically demanding profession, degree candidates must meet minimum standards in certain skills and abilities. The athletic training education program at Mercyhurst university is a rigorous program that places specific requirements and demands on its students. The program has established technical standards to ensure that students have the essential qualities considered necessary for them 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. Students must sign the technical standards waiver and meet these standards in order to be admitted to the program.

Mission and Vision


The mission of the professional athletic training program at Mercyhurst University is to provide the student with the necessary didactic, theoretical, and clinical skills and experiences required to qualify for the BOC examination. In the spirit of the core values of Mercyhurst University, athletic training students shall achieve this by becoming self-aware, culturally competent, and ethical healthcare professionals prepared to enter the allied health field.


The Mercyhurst University professional athletic training program aspires to offer an extensive academic and clinical experience with devoted faculty to ensure the professional and personal growth of each student pursuing BOC certification.

Annual Experiences

Students can participate in a yearly medical mission trip to Valladolid, Mexico, to observe and work with orthopedic surgeons, athletic trainers, and physical therapists in a culturally immersive setting.

Student practicing stitches.

Clinical Observation

Clinical Observation is earned with clinical athletic trainers in which students have Professional-level student mentors to earn required clinical observations. These observations occur as part of specific Pre-AT courses and are set up in conjunction with the respective professor. 

Students learning in the classroom.

Career Outcomes

Our graduates have found rewarding careers within the AT profession and beyond. AT alumni include a professor/researcher on pediatric concussions and orthopedic injuries, an orthopedic surgeon, a clinical athletic trainer, and the Duke University assistant director of athletic rehabilitation.

Students practicing physical therapy.

    The Professional Athletic Training Program at Mercyhurst University is a rigorous and intense program that places specific requirements and demands on the students enrolled in the program. An objective of this program 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 Professional Athletic Training Program at Mercyhurst University establish the essential qualities considered necessary for the 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 (caATe). The following abilities and expectations must be met by all students admitted into the Professional Athletic Training Program at Mercyhurst University. 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 BOC exam. Candidates for the selection to the Professional Athletic Training Program at Mercyhurst University must demonstrate the following:

    1. The mental capacity to assimilate, analyze, synthesize, integrate concepts, and problem solve to formulate assessment and therapeutic judgments and to be able to distinguish deviations from the norm.
    2. 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.
    3. The ability to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients and colleagues, including individuals from different cultural and social backgrounds; this 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 the competent professional practice.
    4. The ability to record the physical examination results and treatment plan clearly and accurately.
    5. The capacity to maintain composure and continue to function well during periods of high stress.
    6. The perseverance, diligence, and commitment to complete the athletic training education program as outlined and sequenced.
    7. Flexibility and the ability to adjust to changing situations and uncertainty in clinical situations.
    8. Affective skills and appropriate demeanor and rapport that relate to professional education and quality patient care.

    Candidates for selection to the athletic training educational program will be required to verify they understand and meet these technical standards or they believe that, with certain accommodations, they can meet these technical standards.

    The Mercyhurst University ADA representative will evaluate a student who states he/she could meet the program’s technical standards with accommodation and confirm that the stated condition qualifies as a disability under applicable laws.

    If a student states he/she can meet the technical standards with accommodation, Mercyhurst University will determine whether it agrees that 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 an accommodation would jeopardize clinician/patient safety or the educational process of the student or the institution, including all course work, clinical experiences, and internships are deemed essential to graduation.

    Note: Students must sign the Technical Standards Waiver Form indicating their understanding of this policy.

    Students can participate in a yearly medical mission trip to Valladolid, Mexico, to observe and work with orthopedic surgeons, athletic trainers, and physical therapists in a culturally immersive setting. Watch the video here.