Education and Certification

CATA oversees the certification process of Certified Athletic Therapists across the country. In addition to completing a Bachelor’s degree, Athletic Therapists must complete the Athletic Therapy program at one of nine CATA-accredited institutions in Canada, including on-field and in-clinic practical training. Certification Candidates must hold a valid First Responder certificate* and, after graduating, must successfully pass the National Certification Examination.

And it doesn’t stop with certification. An Athletic Therapist must demonstrate they remain up-to-date with current trends and new research in the areas of rehabilitation, orthopedic assessment and emergency care. This is done through professional development, which is why Certified Athletic Therapists are required to achieve 21 continuing education credits every three years and maintain a valid BLS* in order to continue to be certified by CATA.

Once certified, Candidates receive the title Certified Athletic Therapist, designated by the letters CAT(C).

*Effective January 1, 2025, all CATA members must hold a valid Canadian Red Cross BLS (or CATA equivalent) Certificate, renewed annually, to maintain their CATA designation. CATA members who certified on or after January 1, 2020*, are also required to hold a valid Canadian Red Cross FR (or CATA equivalent) Certificate to maintain their CATA designation.

Becoming a Certification Candidate

To become a Certification Candidate, an individual must:

  1. Be enrolled at a CATA accredited institution
  2. Hold a valid Canadian Red Cross First Responder Certification , or CATA approved equivalent
  3. Complete the Online Application for Certification Candidate Membership.
  4. Anyone wishing to attempt the National Certification Exam must maintain their membership status with the CATA for a minimum of 18 months immediately preceding attempting the CATA NCE. 


Becoming a Certified Athletic Therapist

To achieve the designation of Certified Athletic Therapist, CAT(C), a Certification Candidate must:

  1. Successfully complete a CATA accredited program and have earned a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree
  2. Maintain a valid First Responder certificate, or CATA equivalent.
  3. Maintain a valid Basic Life Support certificate, or CATA equivalent.
  4. Apply for and pass the National Certification Examination. Candidates must attempt the exam within two years of graduating from an accredited institution.
  5. Pay annual CATA membership dues and adhere to the Scope of Practice, By-laws, and Codes of Ethics and Professional Conduct.*

CATA administers the National Certification Exam based on the Competencies in Athletic Therapy. This process ensures that successful Certification Candidates have demonstrated basic competence in Athletic Therapy and ensures the safety and care of the public when providing athletic therapy services to Canadians.

*For clarity, membership in a regional association is not required to qualify as a Certified Member or Certification Candidate in “good standing” with the CATA.  

Written Exam

The written exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions. To pass, the certification candidate must achieve a score equal to or higher than the Minimal Passing Level (MPL) calculated for that particular examination.  

The Competency Framework in Athletic Therapy is divided into seven categories:

  1. Athletic Therapy Expert
  2. Professional
  3. Collaborator
  4. Communicator
  5. Scholar
  6. Leader
  7. Health Advocate