The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) has formally approved the new Standards for Accreditation of Professional Athletic Training Programs at the Masters Level (2020 Standards). The final version of the 2020 Standards was approved following more than 28 months of drafting and revisions completed by the CAATE Standards Committee and Professional Knowledge working group, as well as two open comment periods from the public, and multiple open forums at district and national conferences. The Commission extends its appreciation to the hard-working volunteers of these groups, and to those who participated in the open comment and open forum processes. The final, approved version of the 2020 Standards reflects suggestions from all sectors of the profession, including, faculty and administrators of athletic training programs, program students and graduates, practicing athletic trainers, the CAATE’s Commissioners and Executive Committee, Executive Boards from the Strategic Alliance partners, and the CAATE’s affiliated physician associations.

Brought forward into the 2020 Standards with greater clarity is the emphasis on the program’s framework, which includes the core principles, strategic planning, curriculum development, and assessment plans of the program. The Curricular Content section of the 2020 Standards provides global expectations of the skills that the program must prepare its graduates to perform. The 2020 Standards are based on evidence, continuous improvement, innovation, and current and future clinical practice needs, to ensure that accredited programs are preparing graduates that are ready to transition to autonomous practice, and to demonstrably raise expectations of learning for all students at the graduate level. The 2020 Standards provide for an increased level of institutional autonomy and encourage programs to be more creative with program development and delivery while identifying ways to meet the standards.

The 2020 Standards will be implemented, with the exception of those with a qualifying timeline of implementation provided within the document, for the 2020-2021 academic year. This would mean that professional Master’s programs whose self-study is slated to open on July 1, 2019 would write the self-study, and conduct the subsequent Site Visit, on the 2020 Standards. Professional undergraduate programs will continue to be evaluated on the 2012 Standards until the time at which they transition to the Master’s Degree or Voluntary Withdraw their accreditation. Bachelor’s degree programs, however, must teach the content in Section IV of the 2020 Standards beginning the 2020-2021 academic year. As a reminder, baccalaureate programs may not admit, enroll, or matriculate students into the athletic training program after the start of the fall term 2022.

The Commission is releasing multiple documents to assist professional programs in transitioning to the 2020 Standards. Included in this release of the 2020 Standards is a crosswalk between the new curricular content and the 5th edition of the NATA Educational Competencies and the 7th edition of the BOC Practice Analysis. Other documents to be released as they become available include the Guide to the Professional Standards & Self-Study Process which will house the 2020 Standards, explanation of compliance, self-study instructions.

The 2020 Standards can be accessed HERE, and the crosswalk can be accessed HERE, and questions about the 2020 Standards can be addressed to the CAATE office at or 1-844-GO-CAATE.