As students in Manchester University’s fourth Master of Athletic Training class begin coursework this month, optimism is high for the program’s early track record and prospects for expansion.
The degree is designed for students who did not major in athletic training as an undergraduate. While every athletic training master’s degree (MAT) gives graduates clinical, hands-on experiences, Manchester is unique for its added emphasis on training future teachers and researchers in the field. Each student in the two-year program completes a personal research project and teaches undergraduates.
“We want our graduates to be well-rounded candidates for athletic trainer positions,” says Mark Huntington, associate dean for academic affairs and director of the master’s program. “Gaining clinical, research and teaching experience is the advantage of attending a small school like Manchester.”
Because athletic trainers play an important role in preventing injuries and containing health care costs, demand for such professionals is projected to continue to grow. They’ll work in high schools, colleges and universities, in hospitals and clinics, in fitness and recreation centers, in business and industry, and with professional sports teams, Huntington says.
Manchester’s approach is working: Students in the master's program have a 100 percent first-time pass rate on the Board of Certification exam – a key measure of success for athletic training programs.
“The 100 percent first-time pass rate is testament to our faculty working closely with our students to build background knowledge and offer guidance as the exam draws near,” says Huntington.
The nation is starting to take notice of Manchester’s savvy in the field. This spring, Jeff Beer, associate professor of exercise and sport sciences, received the Bill Cramer Award that annually recognizes one outstanding undergraduate athletic training program. The national honor brings a $2,000 grant for the program, which Beer directs.
Manchester also offers an undergraduate degree in athletic training. For more about athletic training at Manchester University, visit www.manchester.edu.