Behavioral Health in Athletic Training, Certificate

The Certificate of Graduate Study in Behavioral Health (BH) will focus on integrating best practices in behavioral health recognition and referral for optimal patient outcomes. The BH certificate will be an online program focused on the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) approved specialty areas of behavioral health. Athletic Trainers are expected to promote a healthy lifestyle and environment to all patients. A holistic approach includes promotion of physical, social, intellectual, emotional, mental, and spiritual wellness. Additionally, Athletic Trainers must recognize associated risks and morbidity factors to provide correct and effective interventions or referral to higher specialized care specifically in behavioral and mental health. Students will learn how to clearly demonstrate advanced patient-care knowledge and skills including mental & behavioral health such as identifying, referring, and giving support to patients with behavioral health conditions. In additions, the learners will advance their understanding of how to work with other health care professionals to monitor these patients’ treatment, compliance, progress, and readiness to participate. These behavioral health conditions include (but are not limited to) suicidal ideation, depression, anxiety, psychosis, mania, and feeding & eating disorders.

The Certificate in Graduate Study in BH is founded on 4 pillars. The pillars include:

  • Advanced Practice Leadership
  • Delivery of a diverse, equitable, assessable, and inclusive healthcare practice
  • Policy-to-Practice Integration
  • Implementation and development of research

Learning Outcomes

  1. Develop and apply advanced practice leadership behaviors and skills. Compare the role(s), functions, and professional identity of athletic trainers in a variety of mental and behavioral health practice settings and establish a network of behavioral health professionals to serve as a consultant and leader for behavioral health patients.
  2. Articulate and integrate behavioral health care strategies that are diverse, equitable, assessable, and inclusive. Knowledge of the principles of diagnosis and the use of current diagnostic tools, including the current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5. Describe the signs, symptoms, medical consequences, and treatment of mental and behavioral health conditions across the lifespan and for at-risk populations. Reflect decision making with respect to population health and health equity. Design and implement mental and behavioral health policies and procedures for clinical practice settings including referral pathways. Application of appropriate treatment modalities for initiating, maintaining, and terminating counseling, including the use of crisis intervention, brief, intermediate, and long-term approaches (referral and recognition processes)
  3. Create and evaluate behavioral health policies and procedures and implement into athletic training clinical practice. Demonstrate appropriate behavior with regard to ethical and legal issues in the practice of athletic training and clinical mental and behavioral health. Describe organizational, administrative, fiscal, and legal dimensions of mental and behavioral health practice settings and institutions. Design and implement principles of program development and service delivery for a mental and behavioral health patient, including but not limited to: prevention, implementation of support groups, peer facilitation training, parent education, career information and counseling, and encouragement of self-help.
  4. Appraise, conduct, and employ evidence for behavioral health care. Educate others to improve, generate and disseminate new behavioral health knowledge and skills.

Admission Requirements

Applicants for admission to the Certificate of Graduate Study in Behavioral Health in Athletic Training program must meet the following requirements prior to matriculation.

  1. Applicants are required to meet all University of South Carolina Graduate School general admission requirements.
    1. Candidates are required to demonstrate proficiency in English when applying.
    2. Candidates must have achieved a minimum 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) for all degrees earned.
  2. Candidates accepted for admission to the program will have earned a bachelor’s or higher degree in athletic training prior to enrollment from a regionally accredited institution.
  3. Applicants to the certificate program must demonstrate Board of Certification (BOC) certification as an athletic trainer prior to matriculating.

Candidates are expected to be computer literate and experienced in word processing. All curricula require extensive computer usage. Accepted applicants are required to have a personal computer prior to matriculation and have access to a high-speed Internet connection. 

Certificate Requirements (18 Hours)

Length of the Program

The certificate program consists of 6 classes (18 credits total) including 4 core content courses, one public health course, and one elective course from Exercise Science or Public Health. The proposed timeline is one full academic year (summer, fall, and spring) with admission entrance points in the summer.

Curriculum Map

Course Title Credits
PUBH 700Perspectives in Public Health3
ATEP 751Concepts of Behavioral & Mental Health in Athletic Training3
ATEP 753Assessing and Treating Feeding and Eating Disorders, Exercise and Food Addictions3
Public Health & Exercise Science Electives Options3-4
Practical Applications of Public Health Planning
Public Health Systems, Policy, and Leadership
Public Health Surveillance Systems
Physical Activity Applied Practice Experience
ATEP 752Mental Health Challenges in Sport and Physical Activity3
ATEP 754Supporting Mental Wellness in Athletic Training3
Total Credit Hours18-19