Master of Athletic Training program By: Onosetale Eimunjeze
Utilizing a 4400 square foot building fully equipped with state of the art facilities and exceptional faculty members who bring in more than 50 years of combined expert experience, Hardin-Simmons University pioneered the first online Master of Athletic Training program in the nation.
Having started in June 2019, the 24-month master’s degree program consists of online coursework combined with six weeks of on-campus intensive sessions in order to provide students with the clinical knowledge needed to not only pass their certification exam, but to fully excel as athletic trainers. The curriculum includes cutting-edge education that combines diagnostic knowledge with therapeutic approaches, rehabilitation and recovery and other management techniques, as well as clinical judgment and documentation to improve professional practice and enhance the clinical experience.
The University has a track record from 2021 and 2022 where a combination of 90 percent of the program graduates passed their Board of Certification exam (BOCt) on their first attempt. Of that 90 percent, all of them are either employed as athletic trainers or have gone on to continue graduate education.
A spot in the program can be pursued through two routes. Firstly, a direct application to the program by a bachelor’s degree holder who has all the prerequisites met. Secondly, through Hardin-Simmons’ 3-2 program option where an applicant can earn their bachelor’s and master’s in athletic training in just five years. After the master’s degree in athletic training has been earned, Hardin-Simmons also offers a direct admission path into the university’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program.
The cohort-style program has 46 of its 50 credit hours of class or lab work taken in the first year of the program. The second year consists of students primarily gaining clinical experience, along with the remaining four credit hours.
Because Hardin-Simmons is preparing to submit itself for a self-study on the first of July 2023, in order to pursue accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE), students who graduate from the program before the university gain accreditation will not be eligible to sit for the credentialing examination for athletic trainers and will not be eligible for licensure in most states.
Admission into the program is competitive, and so qualification does not always guarantee admission. However, Hardin-Simmons encourages students to apply, reinforcing the fact that the program is not exclusive but rather merit based.