Technical Standards

Athletic training is an intellectually, physically, and psychologically demanding profession. The abilities that an athletic trainer must have to practice safely are described here, in the National Athletic Trainers’ Association educational competencies and clinical proficiencies, and in the Board of Certification Role Delineation Study. Candidates for the degree must be able to meet these minimum standards for successful completion of degree requirements.


Observation requires the functional use of vision, hearing, and somatic sensations. Student must be able to:

  • participate in lectures and laboratory demonstrations
  • observe and palpate a patient accurately to determine variations from normal and observe output readings to determine a patient’s condition and the status of a treatment

Examples in which these observational skills are required include, but are not limited to:

  • palpation of anatomical structures
  • visual and tactile assessment for the presence and degree of edema
  • listening to a patient describe his or her medical history and current symptoms


Students must be able to:

  • communicate effectively and sensitively with patients to elicit information regarding mood, activities, and health complaints, as well as perceive nonverbal communications
  • communicate effectively and efficiently with other members of the health care and athletic community to convey information essential for safe and effective care
  • read, communicate in writing, and demonstrate computer literacy to complete assignments

Motor Function

Students must have sufficient motor function to:

  • elicit information from the patient examination, using palpation, muscle strength assessment, joint range of motion measurement, and other evaluative maneuvers
  • be the first responder in a potentially catastrophic injury (e.g., in-line stabilization of cervical spine, rescue breathing, obstructed airway management, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation)
  • execute movements required to provide therapeutic care, such as performing mobilization and wound care techniques

These skills require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movement and equilibrium.

Intellectual Abilities

To effectively solve problems, students must be able to:

  • measure, calculate, reason, analyze, integrate, and synthesize information in a timely fashion
  • synthesize knowledge and integrate the relevant aspects of a patient’s history and examination findings to develop an effective treatment program
  • comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand spatial relationships of structures

Behavioral and Social Attributes

Students must possess the psychological ability required to:

  • fully use of their intellectual abilities
  • exercise good judgment
  • promptly complete all responsibilities inherent to assessing and caring for patients
  • develop mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients

Students must be able to:

  • tolerate physically and mentally taxing workloads
  • function effectively under stress
  • adapt to a changing environment
  • function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of patients
  • demonstrate ethical behavior, both in the classroom and during their clinical experience

Reasonable Accommodation

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the admissions process does not require disclosure of a disability.  However, all enrolled students must be capable of meeting the technical standards for the academic and clinical education components of the AT/DPT program. These technical standards are necessary for full participation in the curriculum and it is expected that students will function independently, which generally means, without the aid of an intermediary, to achieve proficiency in all curricular areas. Applicants and students should review the technical standards for the AT/DPT program carefully.  A student who has a disability may request reasonable accommodations. If, due to a disability, you feel you may require accommodations in order to complete the curriculum, it is essential that you work with the BU Office of Disability Services to discuss possible accommodations.