Master's in Athletic Training Program Receives Full Accreditation
by Brett Buckner
It’s been a long, hard road. But now that the journey is complete, the real work can begin.
For more than a year and a half, Drs. Chris Clark and Jennifer Savage from JSU’s Department of Kinesiology and the College of Health Professions and Wellness worked tirelessly to pursue accreditation for the Master's in Athletic Training program from the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. Their hard work has now been rewarded with full accreditation for five years.
“It’s awesome for our students,” Dr. Clark said, who serves as program director. “We’re proud to have accomplished this program goal. Now it’s time to fine tune what we do and make this the best possible program for our students.”
The Master's in Athletic Training program is a two-year, 59-credit-hour graduate degree under the direction Dr. Clark and Dr. Savage, who serves as clinical education coordinator. The program promises a hands-on education by incorporating both classroom and clinical experiences. Program results focus on student learning and functional application in which they engage in a variety of arenas.
“It’s geared toward helping students become certified athletic trainers,” Dr. Clark explained. “Basically, it’s designed to help students acquire the necessary knowledge to pass the exam, become board certified and obtain a professional job in the field of athletic training.”
A career as an athletic trainer consists of working in multiple settings, including high school, college and professional athletics, along with emerging settings such as military, performing arts and industrial. The profession's main focus is evaluation and rehabilitation for active people and the prevention of further injuries. The master’s program was established at JSU in Fall 2020 with six students, followed by five the following year. There are currently 12 students pre-enrolled for the Fall 2022 semester.
“The average number of students nationally is 3-6 per cohort, so we felt very good about that number,” Clark said. “Those first students took a real risk and showed a lot of faith in us, knowing that we weren’t accredited at the time. We’re especially grateful to JSU, the College of Health Professions and Wellness and our preceptors in helping us achieve this milestone for our athletic training students.”