CAATE Establishes Residency Focus Areas

The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) has identified focused areas of clinical practice for athletic training residency programs in an effort to help guide the development of specialty training in the athletic training profession. Consistent with other healthcare professions, CAATE accredited Post-Professional Athletic Training Residency Programs are formal educational programs that prepare credentialed Athletic Trainers for advanced specialty practice in a focused area within athletic training. They advance the preparation of an athletic training practitioner, within the scope of athletic training, through a planned program of clinical and didactic education in a specialized area using an evidence-based approach to enhance patient care.

Identified areas of focused clinical practice exist where there is a clear need for advanced/specialty practitioners.  The focused areas of clinical practice identified by the Commission represent areas of specialty in which Athletic Trainers clearly demonstrate advanced patient-care knowledge and skills. Athletic training residency program administrators have been historically encouraged to select focused areas based upon a specific patient population (for example, pediatrics) or body system (such as orthopedics). To help guide the development and advancement of residency programs pursuing accreditation, the Commission has recently established the following eight (8) focused areas of clinical practice.  Programs seeking CAATE accreditation should design their residency training program within one of the following areas of focused clinical practice:

Residency Focus Areas

  • Prevention & Wellness
  • Urgent and Emergent Care
  • Primary Care
  • Orthopaedics
  • Rehabilitation
  • Behavioral Health
  • Pediatrics
  • Performance Enhancement

Residency programs that are already accredited, or that have already submitted application for accreditation, may continue within their already identified focus area, but may also choose to align within these approved focused areas of clinical practice.  Residency programs that are planning to submit an application for accreditation in a non-approved focused area of clinical practice must submit additional materials prior to starting the accreditation application process so that their planned focus area can be reviewed by the Commission.  These materials must demonstrate that there is a clearly established need for specialty practitioners within athletic training for the proposed focused area of clinical practice.  Questions regarding this process can be directed to