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Athletic Trainer to PA

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Hello all, I would like some feedback from Athletic Trainers that are in PA school or are currently PAs. I have been a certified athletic trainer for the last 6 six working in the professional sports setting but recently I have been intrigued by the PA profession for various reasons. Any information would be helpful.. thanks!

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My lab partner was an athletic trainer in pro football and he's doing just fine. He knows a ton of ortho, and is lacking in other areas, just as other people are ahead in emergency medicine, or general surgery, or psych or whatever depending on their background.

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I am only in my second rotation of PA school but I have been told by multiple people, including nurses, PAs, Midwifes, etc that I appear extremely comfortable working with patients and that I am less "awkward" compared to many of the other PA students when it comes to doing physical exams and pelvic exams (I'm in OB/GYN rotation now). Also you have probably done a million BPs and pre participation physicals for athletes so I'm sure that you will be good with all the new H&Ps in Ambulatory Care or Family Medicine. Plus the ongoing SOAP notes you've written will also assist you in documentation.


For didactic year I felt that anatomy and physiology was really easy compared to many of my classmates. After having to learn all the exact O&A of all muscles and doing thorough MSK exams I think you will be surprised in clinical practice how little of your AT knowledge regarding sports med/athletic injuries/ortho is used in primary care. It's a bit disapointing that you have all this knowledge of injuries and for most patients, a basic ROM and strength exam is done most patients to look for different types of arthritis vs soft tissue injuries and the treatment is just RICE and NSAIDs. Everything else is referred to ortho or PT.


The only classes I didn't have some exposure to in undergrad in sports medicine classes were microbiology and genetics but those are things you can be proactive about before your program starts if you have the time to brush up on them.


Good luck!

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I'm not a former athletic trainer, but my class had a few members that were and they had no trouble navigating the program. They also excelled in the expected areas that they had gained experience in prior to the PA program.

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