Exercise & Sport Sciences

B.S. in Athletic Training

The athletic training undergraduate degree is a professional program which leads to a Bachelor of Science degree. The curriculum is designed to provide the necessary education and clinical experiences for both a professional licensure and a successful career as an athletic trainer.

Athletic Trainers (ATs) are highly qualified, multi-skilled health care professionals who collaborate with physicians to provide preventative services, emergency management, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal injuries and medical conditions. ATs work to optimize patient participation in athletics, work and life’s daily activities.

ATs are listed under the allied health professions category as defined by the Health Resources Service Administration (HRSA) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Athletic Trainer is listed in the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the “professional and related occupations” section and is considered a mid-level health care professional.

ATs earn a degree from an accredited athletic training curriculum and are required to pass a Board of Certification (BOC) Exam. To practice as an AT, individuals must not only be credentialed nationally, but by their respective state as well.

The Athletic Training Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). Our curriculum focuses on many aspects; including evidence-based practice, promoting professionalism, and preparing students to integrate applicable research into both didactic and clinical endeavors. However, the program is grounded in Christianity, ethics, and Biblical principles. The ultimate goal of the Harding University Athletic Training Program is to provide Christian professionals to serve in the field of athletic training.

Note: The Athletic Training Program at Harding University is no longer admitting undergraduate students. Please review the new Master of Science in Athletic Training (MSAT) degree that begins summer 2020. The application opens July 2019 with a deadline of November 30, 2019.

Harding University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) located at 6850 Austin Center Blvd., Suite 100, Austin, TX 78731-3184. The program will have its next comprehensive review during the 2020-2021 academic year.
caATe logo

Please see the contact info below for any questions or inquiries.

Program History

Coaches and students served as the medical front-runners for Harding athletics during the early years. Each sport recruited its own student athletic trainers and provided them with a small stipend, as well as hands-on experience in athletic training.

Harding University’s first athletic training room was built in 1976 when the Ganus Athletic Center was added to campus. This facility allowed the athletic training students to provide a coordinated effort in providing care to the student-athlete. It was at this time that Dr. Jim Citty began serving as the team physician.

It wasn’t until 1997 that Harding University employed its first full-time athletic training. Ronnie Harlow, a Harding graduate, was hired to provide medical coverage for the university’s athletic program, as well as oversee an internship program used to educate and prepare students for a career in athletic training. In 2000, Dr. Randy Lambeth was added to the athletic training staff and the process soon began to transition into a clinically based and accredited education program.

The Harding University Athletic Training Education Program received formal accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) in 2005.

The current facility, known as the “Jim Citty Football and Athletic Training Complex”, houses the new 3,500 square foot athletic training education clinic.

The Department of Athletic Training now employs seven (7) full-time athletic trainers, including one physical therapist.

Student Retention

Student retention will be based on the following criteria:

  • Cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher
  • GPA of 2.5 or higher in all course work within the major
  • Compliance with all policies defined in the Student Handbook
  • Compliance with all policies and procedures set forth by each clinical site
  • Compliance with all rules and regulations of Harding University

Failure to meet any one of these criteria will result in probationary status for the student. If the student fails to meet the criteria for two consecutive semesters, the student will be dropped from the Athletic Training Education Program.

Student Fees

Students admitted into the Athletic Training Program will be responsible for annual fees totaling $250.

These fees include the following:

  1. ($75) Student membership to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. This affiliation will also include access to ATrackonline.com. Here, the ATS will record clinical hours and assess curriculum proficiencies required by the Commission on Accreditation for Athletic Training Education (CAATE). The student will pay this annual $75 fee directly to the NATA.  
  1. ($175) Student registration for the Arkansas Athletic Trainers’ Association (AATA) annual convention and sports medicine apparel required of each student during clinical practicums. The ATS will submit this $175 fee to the Athletic Training Program when reporting for the fall semester. The Harding University Athletic Training Program strongly encourages professionalism, which can be demonstrated through behavior, appearance, and professional development.

These fees will be associated with the athletic training program only. Additional student fees related to coursework and applied to the student’s tuition total may be found within the Harding University Student Catalog.

Financial Assistance

All students are encouraged to apply for financial aid through the Harding University Financial Aid Office. Scholarships specific to athletic training majors are available through professional organizations; such as the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), Southwest Athletic Trainers’ Association (SWATA), and the Arkansas Athletic Trainers’ Association (AATA).

Athletic training students may also apply for the Bob Corbin scholarship, which is available to any Exercise Science and Athletic Training major. Students are assessed and chosen by a committee, which basis its decision on the student’s application, essay, GPA, and community involvement.

The Athletic Training Program will provide all eligible students with financial aid. Requirements include completion of at least two clinical practicums at Harding University and declared ‘in good standing’ with both the University and Athletic Training Program. Allotment will be evenly distributed based on number of students and how many clinical practicums have been completed. Athletic Training Students ineligible for this assistance include intercollegiate athletes and those receiving a full scholarship.

Mission & Program Objectives

Mission Statement

Enable students to acquire essential knowledge, skills, and dispositions for successful careers, advanced study, and servant leadership in the field of athletic training.


Program Objectives

1      Provide Christian professionals to serve in the field of athletic training

1.1    Christian values and Biblical principles will be integrated into curriculum

1.2    Encourage students to display a Christ like attitude and servant heart

1.3    Students will conduct themselves with honor and integrity at all times


2      Provide a CAATE accredited entry-level curriculum that educates students through didactic, laboratory, and practical experiences

2.1    Curriculum will be presented in an organized, sequential and cumulative manner such that the students will learn, develop, and refine knowledge and clinical skills throughout the program

2.2    Didactic courses and laboratory experiences will be defined by the educational proficiencies and competencies designed by the Board of Certification and included in the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education guidelines

2.3    Supervised clinical experiences will occur each semester and directly relate to corresponding coursework

2.4    The curriculum will prepare students to sit for the Board of Certification Exam


3      Provide a diverse number of practical clinical experiences

3.1    Clinical rotations include experiences with both genders through a variety of age groups, clinical settings, sports, and equipment intensive activities

3.2    Students will gain appreciation for diversity among certified athletic trainers by being assigned to different Preceptors during each semester

3.3    Didactic and clinical experiences will include interaction with a variety of health care providers


4      Promote personal and professional development; as well as scholarship and community involvement

4.1    Membership into professional organizations will be encouraged

4.2    Professionally relevant topics and current issues will be presented by a variety of professionals

4.3    Attendance at seminars, workshops, and conferences will be encouraged

4.4    Graduates will be prepared for the athletic training profession and/or professional schools


5      Prepare students to integrate research into academic and clinical practice through acquisition, use, and application of evidence-based medicine


6      Provide a faculty and staff of the quality and quantity that will aid students in their preparation for careers in the athletic training field

6.1    Feedback from graduates and employers will be positive in all areas of student education and experience

Program Outcomes

Board of Certification

During the final semester of the athletic training program, students take the Board of Certification (BOC) Examination. Students must pass this exam and/or meet state licensing requirements prior to practicing within the athletic training profession. All CAATE accredited athletic training programs must meet or exceed a three year aggregate of 70% first-time pass rate on the BOC exam. All pass rates must be posted and readily available on the program's home page.

Student Outcome Aggregate Data pdf

Clinical Practicums

During each semester, the athletic training students (ATS) will be enrolled in a clinical practicum. These provide opportunities for the ATS to apply knowledge and skills, learned within the classroom, to actual patient care under the direct supervision of a Preceptor. The Preceptor can be defined as an appropriately certified/licensed professional who teaches and evaluates students in a clinical setting using actual patients.

In addition to each Harding University athletic team, the Athletic Training Education Program has clinical affiliations with off-campus institutions. Local high schools, Searcy Physical Therapy, Searcy Medical Center, and Harding University Health Services each serve as clinical sites and provide a Preceptor to both educate and supervise ATS.


Clinical Assignments / Clinical Hours

Each semester, the ATS will receive a clinical assignment. All attempts will be made to provide ATS with similar experiences and opportunities. Ideally, each ATS will rotate through a high school, rehabilitation clinic, men’s collegiate sport, women’s collegiate sport, and Harding University Health Services. All assignments will originate with the Director of Athletic Training and eventually be approved by the athletic training staff.

Clinical practicums include a minimum 100 hours (EXSS 253, EXSS 421) or 200 hours (EXSS 352, EXSS 354, EXSS 418, EXSS 420) of hands-on experience. The clinical assignment is scheduled in conjunction with a Preceptor and sport season. The ATS is expected to be active through the entirety of the semester. However, the ATS must be allowed at least one (1) day off from his/her clinical assignment every seven (7) days. In an effort to provide adequate time for academic success, social interaction, and spiritual growth, students should arrange their schedule as to not exceed 400 hours.

Contact Us


Exercise Science: EXSS@harding.edu

Athletic Training: MSAT@harding.edu or AthleticTraining@harding.edu