Bartholomew was an athletic training student at Butler County Community College and, after two years, he transferred to South Dakota State. He received a B.S. in Athletic Training and a second degree in biology with a minor in chemistry. He continued his education at Indiana State University and received his master's in athletic training. At Indiana State, he did a rotation through the exercise physiology lab as well as headed up the faculty fitness program.
Bartholomew spent six years as the Head Athletic Trainer at Neosho County Community College. In 2000, under his supervision, the Neosho County wrestling team won the NJCAA national championship. He then came to Graceland University during the summer of 2001 as an associate athletic trainer to help develop the student athletic training major.
In the fall of 2002, Bartholomew became the Head Athletic Trainer for the Yellowjackets. His main responsibilities include soccer, baseball and softball. In 2006, the men's soccer team won the NIAA National Championship.
In March of 2012, Bartholomew was awarded the prestigious College and University Athletic Trainers' Committee Athletic Trainer of the Year nomination for the NAIA division.
John Bartholomew has been a certified athletic trainer since 1992 and has been a certified strength and conditioning specialist since 1993. He also is licensed by the state of Iowa.