Athletic Training Seeks To Be Master's-Only Program

Big changes are on the horizon for Central Methodist University’s Athletic Training Program. 

In May of 2015, the National Athletic Trainer Association (NATA) and the Commission on Athletic Training Education (CAATE) agreed to establish the professional degree in athletic training at the master’s level, according to Wade Welton, director of the Athletic Training Program and associate professor.

The transition is presently awaiting approval from accrediting groups the Higher Learning Commission and CAATE.

The current CMU Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training Program is in the process of transitioning to an entry-level Master of Science in Athletic Training Program. Pending accreditation approval, it will include an accelerated plan that allows students to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in only five years.

This program will be in the form of a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science degree, then a Master of Science in Athletic Training (MSAT) degree, according to Welton.

The change is driven by a decision from CAATE that accredited baccalaureate programs will not be allowed to admit, enroll, or matriculate students after the fall of 2022.

“This decision will advance the profession and better position athletic trainers to be an integral part of an evolving health care system,” Welton said. “CMU is committed to remaining a leader in athletic training education, and feels the time is right to make the transition. It will ensure that we are preparing our students to provide the highest level of health care to our patient population.” 

Welton said employer demands and demographics in athletic training have changed over the past several years, and the shift in curriculum will give CMU students a distinct advantage when seeking employment.

Effective this fall, the University is no longer accepting freshman cohorts for the Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training program.

The existing undergraduate program is still accredited by the CAATE and in good standing, and currently enrolled athletic training majors will be able to complete their degree.

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