The University of Saint Mary will welcome its first class of Master of Science in Athletic Training students this June. The program is an entry-level professional graduate program preparing students for a career as a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC). The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the demand to grow “much faster than average” for athletic trainers—estimating its growth rate at 21 percent.
Traditionally, athletic trainers have provided health care to physically active patients in the professional sports arena, collegiate programs, and high school athletics, while a new trend is expanding their reach into hospitals and medical offices, performing arts, occupational, and military settings.
USM offers two curricular track options—and upon completion of either track, graduates are eligible to take the National Board of Certification exam.
- Option 1: Combined Bachelor’s/Master’s Track (5 Years) Complete three years of study in the preprofessional phase and two years in the professional phase. After a student’s fourth year of coursework, he/she will receive a Bachelor of Science in Health and Sport Science, and after year five, the student will receive a Master of Science in Athletic Training. This track is available to undergraduate transfer students, but they must be enrolled at USM their junior year.
- Option 2: Traditional Master’s Track (2 Years) Those with bachelor’s degree can apply and be directly accepted into the professional phase of the program. Applicants must meet the entrance requirements, including prerequisite coursework.
Right now, Saint Mary will be the only master’s-level program in metro Kansas City—and with recent changes to law demanding bachelor’s-level athletic training programs shift to graduate-level coursework by 2022, USM is ahead of the game.
Program Director Dr. Tom Bertoncino, a veteran athletic trainer and professor, explained, “Saint Mary has a great opportunity here. We have the support, the space, and the demand is there. The field continues to grow, and our program will prepare students to succeed as an entry-level AT in any setting.”