Athletic Therapy Programs in Canada

Canadian Schools offering athlete

Helping an elite athlete reach new heights is a great feeling. This is a big reason why people become an athletic therapist. Athletic therapists help individuals reach their maximum potential at different levels of physical activity. Having an athletic therapist as part of their team is very important. It could be the difference between winning and losing. Additionally, the demand for athletic therapists in Canada is steadily growing. This is due to a steady increase in the popularity of evidenced based medicine.

University Entrance Requirements

High school students who want to be an athletic therapists must meet the following educational requirements (note this can vary by school).

  • High School Diploma
  • Must pass Grade 12 English
  • Must pass Grade 12 biology
  • Must have three additional credits in 12th grade at the M or U level
  • Must have a minimum of 65 percent in each course.

Applicants must also pass one of these subjects.

  • Grade 12 Physics, U level
  • Grade 12 Mathematics, U level
  • Grade 12 Chemistry, U level

Transferees and Shiftees

Post secondary students must have a minimum of two semesters of education. This also includes the required courses along with a minimum of 65 percent in each course.

Applicant Selection

Most schools screen their eligible applicants based on their previous academic achievement. This includes the grades in their six highest high school senior level credits. It also includes the required courses. However, some schools also choose their students through the results of their volunteer and work related experience that includes the following.

  • Be a valid Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation-Health Care Provider or hold Standard First Aid Credentials
  • Co-op experiences that are related to athletic therapy
  • Number of hours doing volunteer work with sports physiotherapists or an athletic therapists


Canadian athletic therapist programs lasts for four years. Students who have finished a four year program will receive a bachelor’s degree. Every athletic therapy program teaches their student the following skills.

Advanced clinical skills that include the following

  • Field assessment
  • Clinical assessment
  • Injury treatment
  • Rehabilitation for different types of injury
  • Research skills to make sure they always stay current on their profession
  • Entrepreneurial business skills to assist them in establishing a practice
  • Over 1200 hours of clinical athletic course experience while studying in school.

In a four year athletic program, students focus on the following theoretical subjects during their first year.

  • Anatomy for Sports Education
  • Sports and Exercise Psychology
  • Lifetime Sports
  • Fitness For Life
  • Life Cycle Fitness
  • Biomechanics of Sports
  • Physiology for Sport Education
  • Health in Today’s World

Upon reaching their second year, students start their clinical athletic course experience. This clinical exposure teaches them the following.

  • Management and Prevention of Injuries and Diseases
  • Day-to-day Responsibilities Associated with Disease and Injury Management
  • Wrapping and Taping of Common Conditions and Injuries
  • Design of Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Conditioning Programs
  • Use of Therapeutic Techniques
  • Manual Therapy Techniques
  • Primary Roles of an Athletic Therapist

Most of the four year athletic therapy schools conduct their clinical exposure in different environments. This includes exposure in the following.

  • A High School Sports Team
  • Community Hockey Team Environment
  • Varsity Teams in Universities and Colleges
  • Athletic Therapy Centers
  • Community Clinics

Faculty are often certified athletic therapists. These educators have advanced degrees in the following subjects.

  • Rehabilitation Sciences
  • Physiology
  • Biomechanics


Currently, these are the only accredited schools for athletic therapy in Canada.

  • York University
  • Sheridan University
  • Concordia University
  • Mount Royal University
  • Camosun College
  • University of Manitoba
  • University of Winnipeg

All of these schools are accredited by The Canadian Athletic Therapists Association (http://www.athletictherapy.org/en/index.aspx)

Athletic Therapist Certification

After graduating, students must take the certification exam. This examination is conducted by the Canadian Athletic Therapists Association. This exam has both the practical and comprehensive written components. The minimum passing grade is 70 percent on the written section. The practical exam tests the therapist on the following subjects.

  • Injury Rehabilitation and Assessment
  • The Use of Modalities
  • Supportive Bracing and Taping
  • Field Emergency Care

All applicants must have a first responder certificate that is valid when applying for the exams. They should also have graduated from an accredited athletic therapy program.

Athletic Therapy Specialization

In Canada, there are several specializations that a certified athletic therapist can get. This includes the following.

Sports Athletic Therapist

These athletic therapists work with athletes in different settings. This includes varsity athletes, professional sports teams and national sports organizations.

Industrial Athletic Therapist

These therapists work in different industrial workplaces. They focus on active injury treatment and injury prevention methods. They can also focus on occupational ergonomics, workplace safety, active injury rehabilitation and disability management.

Clinician Athletic Therapist

These athletic therapists work in pay-for-service clinics. They treat a variety of conditions and injuries. This includes injury rehabilitation and assessment as well as different conditioning programs for patients

Research Athletic Therapist

These professionals are involved in scientific and academic research. This is due to a steady growth of evidenced based medicine. Additionally, research related to the Canadian Athletic Therapists Association scope of practice is steadily increasing. These therapists are also found working in colleges and universities with string research facilities.

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