Heidelberg’s athletic training program (ATR) has been expanding in numbers of students, faculty and staff, keeping pace with a national trend that lists the profession in the top 10 in terms of growth over the past five years.
Beginning in the fall of 2021, the ATR program will transition to the graduate level. Current freshmen will be the last class to complete the four-year undergraduate athletic training degree, said ATR Program Director Ryan Musgrave.
The change is being mandated by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education, the accrediting agency for Heidelberg’s ATR program.
“Athletic training has been a very productive and popular undergraduate major at Heidelberg,” Musgrave said. “We are confident that this will continue at the graduate level. ATR 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.”
Students starting school in the fall of 2018 will have a number of options to pursue if their career goal is to become an athletic trainer, Musgrave explained.
The primary option would be to major in Health Science at Heidelberg and complete the prerequisite coursework for admission into the Master’s of Athletic Training program. This path would lead to both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree, which would, in most cases, be completed in six years.
“Students also could opt for other majors such as biology or psychology, but Health Science is the best pathway,” Musgrave said.
Students who complete the new 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.
Heidelberg students have done exceptionally well post-graduation. Over the past five years, ‘Berg students have a 100 percent passing rate on their board certification exams. In 2016, every senior passed on their first attempt and all had been accepted into graduate positions or grad school before graduation.
The Master’s of Athletic Training program will continue this legacy of excellence. Those who complete the program will be eligible to sit for the exam and will be well prepared for careers as athletic trainers.
Admission into the program – which will blend strong academic and clinical experiences – will be competitive and selective, Musgrave said. The program will be designed around an accelerated curriculum that includes a four-week summer session, two six-week fall sessions sandwiched around an immersive clinical experience, a second round of clinicals in the winter and a 12-week spring semester.
In the coming weeks and months, work will continue on the program in anticipation of formal approval by the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Higher Learning Commission.
Learn more about the new program and see a sampling of courses here.