TIFFIN (BergWire) — It’s been a process three years in the making. Heidelberg University has received accreditation by the Commission on the Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE), and will begin offering a new Master’s of Athletic Training degree in the fall of 2021.
“The Athletic Training faculty and staff are excited to get started and enroll our first cohort in the MAT program next year,” said Ryan Musgrave, AT program director and assistant professor. “We have been very successful in graduating accomplished undergraduate athletic training students over the past years and we plan to continue that successful legacy at the graduate level.”
Heidelberg’s fifth graduate program comes at a time when the demand for athletic trainers across the nation is projected to grow 19 percent by 2028, much faster than the average for most occupations.
Additionally, the demand is projected to nearly double among other healthcare practitioners and technical occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The shift from undergraduate to graduate programs is being mandated by CAATE, which is requiring all colleges and universities to move their athletic training programs from the bachelor’s level to the master’s level.
With the shift, Heidelberg becomes the only accredited MAT program at small, liberal arts colleges in northwest Ohio and one of only nine programs in Ohio.
“We are committed to educating our Athletic Training students in and out of the classroom and preparing them for a variety of athletic training settings when they graduate,” Musgrave said. “The clinical and classroom education which we will be able to provide these students will be exceptional, hands-on and unique.”
And it will prepare them for board certification and successful careers. Students who complete the new, two-year Master’s of Athletic Training program will be eligible to become certified athletic trainers – allied healthcare professionals who function as members of a medical team in collaboration with physicians.
The career possibilities are widespread: high schools, colleges and universities, rehabilitation clinics, professional sports, hospitals, physician offices, industry, military, law enforcement and other healthcare settings.
Musgrave said athletic training has been a very productive and popular undergraduate major at Heidelberg. “We are confident that this will continue at the graduate level. AT students are not only academic assets to the university but they also fill an important role as clinical students who provide supervised care for our student-athletes as well as the surrounding Tiffin and Seneca County communities.”
Their role as athletic trainers on campus, working with student-athletes, will be reinforced by immersive clinical classes embedded into each semester.