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Check out these 5 Important Questions in an Athletic Training Interview

Have you recently completed your degree, and are ready to start your athletic trainer career?  Finishing your degree and earning certification is a big step towards landing your dream job, but the next step is nailing your interview.  While interviews for athletic training jobs may have similarities to interviews in other fields, there are some key lines of questioning that are different.  And we’re not just talking about technical athletic training questions!  So, let’s dive in and look at some athletic training interview questions.  We won’t be getting into specific technical questions about athletic training, but you can expect some of those in your interview also! 

How would you describe/define a successful patient interaction?

Why is this question important?

Your answer to this question illustrates what sort of practitioner you are What do you value in your interactions with your patients?  What do you hope to bring to the table as an athletic trainer?  By creating an honest and authentic answer, you can help weed-out athletic training jobs in places that do not share your values.

How do you prepare an answer?

Take time to reflect, not just on your patient interactions, but what defines success for you as an athletic trainer.  What previous interactions stand out to you and what made them stand out? It would be easy to focus your answer on the patient’s recovery or adherence to your instructions, but dig deeper to think of an answer that illustrates you and your values.  Who do you want to be to your patients, and how can you show that to your interviewer?

How does your patient evaluation change between sideline and clinic setting?

Why is this question important?

This question helps reveal your process, your training, and how flexible you are based on your environment.  Being able to clearly explain your evaluation methods and how they change based on setting will reflect on your education, as well as illuminate your thought processes.  A poorly thought-out response can clarify to the hiring committee that you may not have sufficient experience or preparation.

How do you prepare an answer?

Through your education, you will likely have developed methods and procedures for evaluation based on different settings.  Take some time to think about how those methods apply to the position you are applying for, and how your evaluation schema may mesh with theirs.

Please give an example of a time that you successfully implemented an injury prevention program.

Why is this question important?

Questions that ask a candidate to explain what they have done past are the most illuminating for what a candidate will do in the future.  Detailing an injury prevention program that you have implemented will give the committee more insight into your values, how you approach problems, and what sort of tools you employ. Don’t forget to consider how you came to implement the program. What data or trends led you to this? What analysis did you perform to arrive at your decisions?

How do you prepare an answer?

As you think about injury prevention programs you’ve implemented, go into the subtext of the situations.  How do these programs reflect on you?  Don’t be afraid to add some hindsight!  Reflecting on the program and telling the committee thoughts you’ve had in retrospect will let them know you are striving for improvement and are reflective on your patient care. Consider all phases of preparation, implementation, and debrief – if you had to do it again, what would you do differently?

Can you give us an example of how you have worked with and alongside a patient and helped them understand their healing and rehabilitation?

Why is this question important?

Again, the committee is data-mining your past to see how you will act in similar situations going forward.  This is an opportunity for you to show them how you interact with patients and live your values in your interactions.  And while this is an important question for them, it is an equally important question for you!  Gauging their reactions as you answer can help you determine if this is the position for you.

How do you prepare an answer?

In preparing the answer, think about what you want to tell the committee about.  Do you want to tell them how you support patients through difficult rehabilitation?  Do you want to show them how you help your patients utilize resources?  This is an excellent opportunity for you to tell them about what sort of clinician you are.  After you think about what points you want to make, look at your experiences and determine which would best illustrate your points.

Can you tell us about a time that you had a difficult interaction with a patient or a coach?  How did you work through it?

Why is this question important?

Athletic trainers are often facilitators of communication, whether it is between patients, healthcare providers, coaches, or families.  And often that communication is difficult!  Having difficult conversations with grace is a sought-after and valuable skill. This may be something the hiring committee will want to tease out.

How do you prepare an answer?

Again, this is a question that benefits from some thinking ahead.  Reflect on what you want to tell the committee about yourself as a clinician, and then consider which past experiences best illustrate your point.  Don’t be afraid of discussing truly difficult situations; the committee will appreciate your willingness to not shy away.  There is also space to add some commentary.  If you had thoughts after the difficult interaction, take a moment to tell the committee what you would have liked to change, and what you learned from the situation to carry forward.

Closing thoughts

At the end of most interviews, the committee will give you a chance to ask questions.  This is your chance!  Asking targeted questions can help you determine if this position aligns with your values, and ultimately find the athletic trainer career you’re searching for.



MSAT Rolling Application Deadlines:
Priority application deadline: Nov. 15
Secondary deadline: Jan. 25
DAT Application Deadlines:

Only one for Summer admissions: April 15 each year


First day of classes and Summer semester dates:
MSAT: June 3- August 2nd 2024
DAT: July 1st through July 26th 2024

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