Certified Athletic Training Residency at Emory

Learn more about athletic trainers as physician extenders.

Emory Sports Medicine Center is one of only a few fellowship/residency programs for certified athletic trainers (ATC) in the country. A 12-month fellowship has been created for certified athletic trainers to work directly with the highly respected physicians and staff at the Emory Sports Medicine Center in Atlanta, Georgia, and be trained as "the ideal" orthopaedic Physician Extenders.

General description of the Athletic Training Residency Program:

The Emory Athletic Training Residency is a one-year position starting the fourth week of June and concluding the first week of July the following year. There is a $29,000 per year stipend for the position, which also includes medical and dental benefits, retirement matching, and professional dues and fees. The athletic training residency consists of clinical, OR responsibilities, and possible outreach opportunities. The ATC resident will rotate between three surgeons and a group of non-operative physicians on a monthly basis. Once state licensed, and certified as an Orthopaedic Technologist, the residents will complete a course in aseptic technique, learning how to work in a sterile environment.  Through their experience working as a first assistant in the OR, they will learn operating room skills from sterile techniques to assisting the physician with patient positioning, positioning of the arthroscopic camera, tissue retraction, suturing, and sizing/preparation of previously harvested grafts. Other responsibilities will include conducting and presenting research, working closely with staff radiologists to understand and interpret imaging studies, and attendance at journal clubs and grand rounds. There are also opportunities to work with Emory Physical Therapy to understand step-by-step clinical rehabilitation, and a variety of PRN outreach opportunities working with local high school and collegiate athletics for additional pay.

Admission Requirements for the Athletic Training Residency Program:


  • Current NATA BOC Certified or registered for the April exam the year of application
  • Minimum of Master's Degree or intent to graduate by May the year of application
  • Current CPR/AED certification
  • Georgia State Licensure, or in application process
  • 2 years experience as a Certified Athletic Trainer is preferred 

Requirements for Emory Sports Medicine Resident Retention:

 The intention of the residency is to train the certified athletic trainer (ATC) to work as a physician extender.  As a physician extender, an ATC assists the physician in providing appropriate professional orthopedic care to patients.  The daily demands of the residency will vary according to specific schedule and the physician who is working in the Emory Sports Medicine Clinic on each day.  It is critical that the ATC resident is aware of the specific demands of each clinic in accordance with the specific requirements of each physician. The schedule of daily activities and expectations of the ATC resident will come directly from the physician supervisor or the residency program director.  Below is a list of the clinical and academic activities and expectations of the Emory ATC resident. 

  •  Greet patients in waiting area in a kind, courteous, and professional manner. Escort them to the proper exam room, obtain patient history and physical exam, organize previous medical studies/reports, and present patient to the supervising physician.
  • If applicable, obtain diagnostic data for that patient i.e. follow-up X-ray prior to the supervising physician seeing patient. Consult with the clinical coordinator, resident or supervising physician if you are uncertain of specific timing or needs of tests.
  • Be present in room whenever possible while the supervising physician is interacting with the patient to further your education and understanding of orthopedics and sports medicine and to assist the supervising physician in expediting the necessary steps of continued care, for example; MRI, bracing, physical therapy, etc..
  • Be present in clinic for post-operative dressing changes and education of patients.
  • Assure that proper billing of the patient encounter is accomplished by directing the patient or escorting the patient to billing/check-out prior to the patient’s leaving clinic. Assure that patients are satisfied with their visit and have no further questions regarding care, future plans, follow-up appointments, or other matters prior to leaving clinic. Encourage patient to schedule follow-up appointment prior to leaving clinic.
  • Assure that the exam rooms are completely stocked with all supplies at the end of the day and throughout the day.
  • Answer and take care of necessary patient phone calls, follow up on requests for medication refills and medical leave forms. Assist ancillary clinic personnel with other errands and miscellaneous tasks when possible.
  • Give the optimal care and attention to detail while in the operating room. Greet patients in pre-op and make sure they leave with all appropriate information. Assist the surgeon and circulating nurses to optimize efficiency for each case.
  • Residents are expected to complete one full year of training on a full-time basis, with exceptions being time off for holidays, continuing education conferences, and sick time as designated in Emory Sports Medicine’s time off policy.
  • Residents must attend at least 90% of the educational programming involved with the residency and must make steady progress towards the program goals.

The Ideal Applicant Will Possess:

  • A commitment to provide first-class, orthopaedic care to patients as a physician extender in the clinical setting.
  • A strong desire to learn and grow within the field of Sports Medicine.
  • The fellow will uphold and abide by the highest standard of professionalism during the fellowship.
  • The ability to work efficiently on their own but also as a part of the bigger sports medicine team

Residency Program Goals:

  • To explicitly train the experienced ATC to work within any orthopaedic clinic environment through their experience gained at one of the top comprehensive academic orthpaedic programs in the country
  • To provide educational opportunities regarding leading orthopaedic surgical and rehabilitation techniques within genreal orthopaedics and sports medicine
  • To educate the athletic trainer regarding the general medical implications that affect orthopaedic care
  • Become Orthopaedic Tech Certified (OTC) and be able to apply and remove orthpaedic and casting materials as well as fit/modify appropriate durable medical equipment
  • To expose the athletic trainer to the operating room environment and function in the role of a surgical first assistant
  • To educate the athletic trainer across the spectrum of musculoskeletal radiology and other diagnostic tests associated with the field of orthopaedics
  • To expose and allow the athletic trainer to assist in outcomes based research within an orthopaedic setting

Educational Programming:

  • Emory Sports Medicine Journal Club: Bi-weekly lecture or journal article review starting in September and running through the end of June.  This occurs every other Friday morning from 6:30-7:30am.  Participants include ATC residents, attending MDs, MD fellows, orthopaedic residents, physical therapists and ATCs from local colleges and high schools.
  • Summer School: ATC residents will attend summer school along with the orthopaedic residents on Tuesday evenings from July-September.  Content includes cadaver dissection, case study presentations, and basic science lectures.
  • Grand Rounds: Weekly orthpaedic lecture by visiting physicians.  This occurs Tuesday mornings from 6:30-7:30am from September through June.
  • Case Study Presentations: ATC residents are required to present three case studies throughout their year of residency.  They will work closely with their physicians and present to attending MDs, orthopaedic residents, and MD fellows.
  • Radiology: After obtaining 40 hours of observation/study with the musculoskeletal radiologists, residents will complete a radiology quiz each trimester.
  • Professional Conferences:  ATC residents are invited to attend the Annual Emory/SEATA Sports Medicine Symposium.  They are also given the opportunity to attend either the AAOS annual conference or the NATA annual conference
  • Research:  ATC residents are required to select a research topic within their first month of the fellowship.  They will work closely with their attending surgeon to obtain IRB approval and present the work they have completed towards the project at the end of the residency year.

Orthopaedic Tech Certification Requirement:

You do not have to be a certified orthopaedic tech to be admitted to the Emory Sports Medicine Certified Athletic Training Residency, but it is preferred.  Our recommendation is to submit your application materials for this exam once you are accepted into the residency.  Residents are informed of their acceptance into the program by the end of April or beginning of May.  This allows for enough time to register for the June test date.  If you register for the August test date, your ability to start the OR section of the curriculum will be delayed.  This delay will not prohibit you from completing the residency, although a test date after August could compromise your position within the residency.

Certified Athletic Trainers who have been working in orthopaedics under the supervision of an orthopaedic physician are eligible to sit for the NBCOT exam with a physician's signature on the test application.  For more information on the NBCOT exam and/or applying to take the exam, please go to www.nbcot.net .

Residency Application Materials:

  • Letter of application (cover letter)
  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • Reference List
  • Three letters of Recommendation

Please submit application materials to:

Kathryn Bonecutter, MS, ATC
Clinical Lead and ATC Residency Director

Emory Sports Medicine Center
59 Executive Park South, Suite #1000
Atlanta, GA 30329

Applications are accepted from January 1 through March 15th each year.

Once applications are received, applicants will be contacted for two phone interviews and references will be checked.  Approximately 12 candidates will be invited for a formal interview in mid to late April.  This is done in a group interview format and will last approximately 6-7 hours and will include dinner.  Final decisions are made by the end of April and applicants are contacted.

Please note, incomplete applications will not be considered.

If there are any questions regarding the program, feel free to contact Kathryn Bonecutter at (404) 778-7176 or