The BOC has the only accredited
certification program for ATs in the
US. Since 1982, the BOC has
been continuously accredited
by the National Commission for
Certifying Agencies (NCCA).
The BOC must undergo review
and reaccreditation every 5 years
through the NCCA, which is the
accreditation body of Institute for
Credentialing Excellence (ICE).
The Board of Certification, Inc. (BOC) has been responsible for the
certification of Athletic Trainers (ATs) since 1969. The BOC was the
certification arm of the professional membership organization the National
Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) until 1989 when the BOC became
an independent non-profit organization.
The BOC exists so that healthcare professionals worldwide have
access to globally recognized standards of competence and
exceptional credentialing programs that support them in the protection
of the public and the provision of excellent patient care.
To provide exceptional credentialing programs for healthcare
professionals to assure protection of the public.
Integrity, Professionalism, Fairness, Transparency, Service
HELP! How Do I List My Credentials?
Proper treatment of degrees, licenses and credentials has
been a source of confusion and misuse for years. Many
Athletic Trainers are unsure how to list or abbreviate the
qualifications that follow their names.
Consistency in how ATs identify themselves alleviates confusion
and lends credibility to the profession. The following is intended
to provide clarity as you identify yourself in signatures, business
cards, letterhead or any other written format.
A 2003 article by Ken Knight, Chad Starkey and Chris
Ingersoll* established guidelines for displaying degrees,
licenses and credentials, and this information is still valid
today. The article says it is proper to list academic degrees
first, licenses second and credentials last. Here, credentials
include BOC certification. For instance, an AT holding a
master’s degree and working in a state where licensure is not
required should write, “Sally Snow, MS, ATC” – not “ATC,
MS.” The same AT working in a state with licensure would
correctly write, “Sally Snow, MS, LAT, ATC.”
What do these qualifications mean? Licensure provides a
legal right to practice, while certification, which is voluntary,
states that a professional body – in this case, the BOC
– has determined that your knowledge and skills have
met a pre-determined standard. If you use more than one
credential, list them in order of difficulty of obtaining them.
With credentials of similar difficulty, such as ATC and PT, list
them in chronological order.
Common Errors and Exceptions
Because confusion has persisted over the years, we know of
several common errors. One error involves listing licensure
and certification as a single abbreviation; such incorrect
examples include ATC/L, LATC and ATC/R. The first example
implies that certification is more important than licensure,
which is not the case. The second and third examples
improperly append the ATC® credential, which is a registered
trademark and cannot be modified. Two exceptions exist:
•;Wisconsin, by state law, does not allow you to use
ATC®; the law specifies the use of LAT
•;And in Texas, everyone is an LAT because not all
Texas ATs have to be certified. Texas has its own set of
requirements to earn a license, BOC certification and/or
the Texas licensing exam
As far as BOC and our protection of the credential, we do
not regulate against the improper treatment of licensure and
regulation. However, we do regulate against those who use
the ATC® credential and are not currently certified.
Finally, we offer one more note on usage. Despite the
common misconception, ATC is not a noun. An AT is the
person who holds the credential, while ATC is the credential.
For this reason, it would be inappropriate to say, “Bob Jones
is the ATC for the Cardinals.” Instead, it is correct to say,
“Bob Jones is the AT for the Cardinals.”
*Access the article at
www.bocatc.org/ats/market-your-certification, and click on the “Public Relations” tab.