Job outlook for sports training specialists anticipated to grow double digits nationally, statewide
GREEN BAY – To keep pace with increasing national and regional demand for athletic trainers, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay will begin offering a Master of Science in Athletic Training (MSAT) degree in summer of 2018. The specialized degree is offered at only a handful of other colleges in the state, and according to officials, provides a unique opportunity for the University and those living in the “sports-rich” area of Wisconsin.
Currently, there are more than 35 high school, collegiate, pre-professional and professional teams in Brown and Outagamie Counties alone, which are regularly in need of athletic training expertise for their programs. “The ‘sports-rich’ nature of Northeast Wisconsin makes this an excellent training ground for future athletic trainers,” said UW-Green Bay Associate Prof. Amanda Nelson who worked alongside Chair of Human Biology James Marker to bring the program to fruition. “These students will have opportunities to work with our Green Bay Division I athletes, but also with area high schools and organizations such as the Green Bay Blizzard, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, the Green Bay Gamblers and of course, the Green Bay Packers.”
According to Nelson, this regional strength in athletic programming combined with the vast clinical opportunities available to masters degree students helped the program receive Board of Regents approval in December. Classroom instruction at UW-Green Bay will meet the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) requirements. In addition, students will greatly benefit from the University’s affiliation with strong regional healthcare partners — Prevea Health, Aurora BayCare Medical Center and Bellin Health.
“We are incredibly honored to partner with UW-Green Bay on their Athletic Training Masters Degree Program,” said Prevea Health President and CEO, Dr. Ashok Rai. “This program will provide UW-Green Bay students an advanced degree in a needed specialty for our state and will provide our community with the ongoing talent needed to keep our student-athletes healthy and safe.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for athletic trainers across the nation is anticipated to grow by as much as 21.3% from 2014-2024. There is a projected 18% increase in the number of athletic training jobs in Wisconsin from 2012-2022.
“We’re very excited that UW-Green Bay is starting a Master’s of Science in Athletic Training program,” said Green Bay Packers’ President Mark Murphy. “There is a real need for athletic trainers in this area, and I’m confident it will be a popular program. It’s a win for both the community and UW-Green Bay.”
UW-Green Bay Athletic Director Mary Ellen Gillespie says the Green Bay community is well positioned to offer outstanding experiences for athletic training graduate students and the community support for this initiative is extremely positive.
“It will be a win-win for so many,” Gillespie said. “Our student-athletes will have additional support, graduate students will gain hands-on learning experiences in a Division I athletics department, all while growing the institution. Several community organizations have expressed a high need for graduate student athletics trainers so the opportunities for clinical experience will make UW-Green Bay attractive to prospective students.”
The MSAT program aligns with UW-Green Bay’s strategic plan, which emphasizes enrollment growth (particularly through graduate programs), promoting opportunities for innovation, establishing distinctive partnerships within the community, and highlighting academic programs focused on healthcare.
Program aligns with market demand and change in professional degree requirements
The Master of Science in Athletic Training complements UW-Green Bay’s Human Biology undergraduate degree and the Exercise Science Emphasis in Human Biology. A recent survey conducted by Department Chair James Marker indicated that 51.9% of all Human Biology majors and 73.1% of Human Biology majors with an Exercise Science Emphasis have a personal interest in a MSAT program at UW-Green Bay. Human Biology is currently the second largest major at the University (spring 2016 enrollment: 420+ students). “The interest and demand for this program are certainly here,” Nelson noted.
Recently, the National Athletic Training Association Board of Directors and the Commissioners of the CAATE announced a decision to establish the professional degree in athletic training at the master’s level as of 2022. After that point, candidates must have a master’s in athletic training to sit for the NATABOC exam and practice as a certified athletic trainer.
According to Marker, several of UW-Green Bay alumni who work in the field have expressed interest in teaching in the program.
Students can earn bachelor’s and masters degree in five years instead of six
The professional graduate program will require 67 credits, which includes 10 credits of clinical practicum and six credits of research methods in preparation of a capstone project or thesis. The MSAT program is designed to satisfy all of the requirements specified by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE), as well as the graduation requirements for UW-Green Bay. The program will admit a biennial cohort of 16 full-time students, increasing to 25 students by year three.
About the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is a comprehensive public institution offering undergraduate and graduate programs to 6,700 students. The University transforms lives and communities through exceptional and award-winning teaching and research, innovative learning opportunities, and a problem-solving approach to education. For more information, visit www.uwgb.edu.