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New athletic training master’s program launching in Fall 2021

Lathrop Hall is the home of the nursing program at SUNY Brockport, which will also host students in the MSAT program. (Photo credit: Paul Cifonelli)

By Paul Cifonelli / Editor-in-Chief

Due to changing standards in the industry, one of the three new programs SUNY Brockport is creating for the Fall of 2021 is a master’s program in athletic training. The program will graduate its final undergraduate class in 2022, according to the school’s website.

The change from an undergraduate program to a graduate one comes after the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) changed the standards for entry-level jobs in 2016. CAATE decided that new athletic trainers need to have a master’s degree before beginning to work in the field. That decision prompted Director of the Athletic Training Program Tim Henry, alongside his colleagues and the school, to begin the five-year process of creating an accredited master’s program.

“CAATE set a deadline that by 2022, no programs could accept students as undergrads,” Henry said. “As soon as we got that notice, probably in early 2016, we started the process to transition to the master’s degree. But the real formal process probably started in 2017.”

According to Henry, a lot of steps needed to be taken in order to complete the transition and get the program to the point it’s at today.

“The first thing is our athletic training faculty and staff sat down and looked at the new standards and started to design a program and design all the courses around all of those new standards,” Henry said. “That took us about eight months to a year to do. The next step was we had to submit that to our departmental curriculum committee. Once it was approved there, then it went forward to the college senate and it was approved in the spring of 2018. That was the easy part. Then, we had to submit everything to SUNY because it’s a new program at a new degree level, so it had to be approved through SUNY and the New York State Education Department’s Office of Professions, which regulates athletic training.”

Since the program has been approved by the Office of Professions, graduates of the new master’s program will get a national certification to the National Athletic Trainer’s Association and a license to practice in New York state.

The program’s curriculum and plan was submitted to SUNY and the New York State Education Department’s Office of Professions in 2019, but confirmation was delayed until October 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new athletic training program is a typical 60-credit, two-year master’s program that can be completed after graduating with any bachelor’s degree. Henry said that getting an undergraduate degree in either kinesiology or exercise science will set students up best to complete the prerequisites needed to finish the master’s program.

Additionally, Henry and his staff have designed a few additional opportunities for students in the kinesiology and exercise science students to get through the program quicker than normal.

“The proposals are currently in review with the college senate and the state,” Henry said. “If they are approved, those accelerated pathways would allow the students to do a five-year program. It would be basically a combined degree program with exercise science and the MSAT or kinesiology and the MSAT.”

Like with the current undergraduate athletic training program, the master’s students will be working with Brockport’s athletics teams, as well as teams from the University of Rochester, St. John Fisher College, Nazareth College, SUNY Geneseo, Roberts Wesleyan College, Monroe Community College, and Genesee Community College. Students will also be working with students other allied health programs, especially the nursing program.

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