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Athletic Training

Athletic Trainers (ATs) are multi-skilled, mid-level health care professionals who work under the direction of physicians as prescribed by state licensure statutes. The term “Athletic Trainer” comes from the profession’s historical roots, but today’s ATs provide medical services to all types of people (not just athletes), and they do not “train” people as personal or fitness trainers do. Athletic Training students are educated to provide comprehensive client/patient care in five areas: prevention, clinical evaluation, immediate and emergency care, therapeutic intervention, and treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions.

Athletic trainers specialize in preventing, rehabilitating, and treating muscle and bone injuries and illnesses. They work with people of all ages and all skill levels, from young children to soldiers and professional athletes.


The minimum entry point into the Athletic Training profession is a master’s degree. Upon completion of an accredited AT master’s degree program, students are eligible for national certification by successfully completing the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) Board of Certification exam.

Athletic Trainers work under different job titles, which may also include wellness/occupational health manager, physician extender, or rehabilitation specialist. Employers include colleges and universities, rural and urban hospitals, medical clinics, corporate occupational health offices, high schools, military bases, professional sports teams, performing arts organizations, and public safety offices.


ECC’s two-year Associate of Arts (AA) transfer degree is designed to meet the requirements of colleges and universities to which students may wish to transfer for completion of baccalaureate (BA or BS) degrees. In many instances, transfer colleges accept this degree as equivalent to their own general education requirements.

Because the requirements for an AA transfer degree change periodically, students should check with their academic advisor or the ECC Admissions Office to confirm that they have the most current information. Students are responsible for knowing the requirements for the degree they hope to obtain and for planning their schedule accordingly.



  • The Athletic Training room in the Dale Howard Center is an amazing state-of-the-art facility where ECC Athletic Training students get hands-on experience with our student-athletes under the supervision of trained ATC instructors.
    • Learn to evaluate and treat injuries properly.
    • Acquire the skill of perfect taping techniques.
    • Learn emergency protocol for head, neck and back injuries.
    • Understand proper equipment fitting and environmental safety for athletes.
  • Our AT students provide athletic training support to all the ECC Panther athletic teams during training room hours, as well as during practices and home (and nearby away) games.
  • ECC Athletic Training students do physical therapy rotations and observe sports injury surgeries as part of their studies.
  • The College offers generous scholarships and financial aid packages … there are scholarships available to Athletic Training majors.
  • Instructor Shawna Birchmier Forsyth, ATC/L, has been with ECC since 2003, when she founded Ellsworth’s Athletic Training program. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Central College in Pella and a master’s degree in Education from Northern Illinois University. Assistant Athletic Trainer Lindsay Lancaster, ATC/L, holds a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Iowa State University and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Southwest Minnesota State University.

Faculty Contact

Shawna Forsyth

Shawna Forsyth