I decided to explore the NATA website to find out how the dues we pay are helping our profession. My initial search led me to the dues structure page. First of all, the due payment includes membership to the national, district and state associations. Secondly, for certified athletic trainers, 34 dollars goes towards the BOC recertification fee. Finally, according to the website “approximately 11.8% of dues are allocated for lobbying.”
The second place I ended up was the member benefits page, where I found an array of resources designed to help individual athletic trainers as well as the overall profession. The first benefit is the NATA Career Center, which provides a comprehensive job listing service for both employers and employees. The second benefit is the professional and career development, which essentially is 10 free CEU’s ($150 value), as well as other discounted educational opportunities such as webinars. The third benefit is presence at both the state and national government institutions to ensure the regulation of our profession. Another benefit is networking through social media venues, as well as the online membership directory. Finally, and arguably one of the biggest benefits of paying dues is the accessibility to many publications. These publications include the Athletic Training Education Journal, Journal of Athletic Training, Member Monthly, NATA News, Position Statements, Consensus Statements, Official Statements, Support Statements and Range of Motion.
The money paid in dues every year is being put to good use. Some may argue that dues are not doing enough however, if you are taking advantage of your membership benefits to its fullest potential, I have no doubts. The NATA is working hard to advocate for our profession, to protect our profession in government, provide educational opportunities and materials for continuous development, as well as networking resources and a comprehensive career center. The NATA is working hard for our profession and we, as members, need to work harder. More members need to get involved with the profession and take advantage of our membership benefits. After these benefits are being used to their fullest potential, we can begin to make more demands from our organization.
-Ashley Crossway ATC, LAT