Nebraska Wesleyan is expanding its graduate program offerings with the launch of a Master of Athletic Training (MAT) degree.
Students will have two pathways into the program, which will replace the current bachelor’s degree in athletic training. The move is a response to a decision by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) that will require anyone who wishes to become a certified athletic trainer to first have a master’s degree from an accredited athletic training education program.
Students will enter the two-year MAT in one of two pathways, including:
- Beginning fall 2022, a 3+2 pathway will allow students to complete a bachelor’s degree plus a master’s degree in five years. Students will pursue the exercise science major and apply to the MAT program during their junior year. Once admitted, students will begin graduate athletic training courses in their fourth year. After successfully completing the first year of graduate coursework, students will receive their bachelor’s degree. After successfully completing their fifth year of graduate coursework, students will be awarded a master’s degree.
- Beginning May 2025, a standalone pathway for students who already hold a relevant bachelor’s degree.
After registering for their final semester, students are eligible to take the Board of Certification exam. Both pathways will be available to transfer students. NWU has received approval for the new program from the Higher Learning Commission and will submit approval from the CAATE this summer.
Students who enroll at NWU in fall 2021 and declare their intent to major in athletic training will be the final class accepted into the undergraduate athletic training program. They will be eligible to sit for the Board of Certification exam after four years of undergraduate coursework.
“Our current athletic training program has a strong history of creating exceptional athletic trainers,” said Samantha Wilson, assistant professor of health and human performance and athletic training program director. “Our signature offerings and experiences and extraordinary outcomes will undoubtedly continue with our new master’s program.”
Since 2011, the overall pass rate for NWU athletic training majors taking the Board of Certification exam is 98 percent. The athletic training program has a 100 percent job placement rate prior to students’ graduation. Graduates have gone onto successful careers in athletic training, physical therapy, occupational therapy and as physician’s assistants and medical doctors, including positions with the Colorado Rockies, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), Mayo Clinic and in industrial, hospital, university and high school settings across the country.
The program has a strong history of recognition. Students have consistently won state, regional and national awards from the Nebraska State Athletic Trainers’ Association, Mid-American Athletic Trainers’ Association and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. In addition, NWU’s athletic training staff — the preceptors who will teach in the new program — have been recognized by the American Rivers Conference as the 2017-2018 “Athletic Training Staff of the Year.”
This marks NWU’s fifth graduate program. Others include Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing/Master of Business Administration joint degree and Master of Social Work, which begins this fall.