Athletic Training Accelerated Program at Messiah University
If your interests include athletics and physical activity, human anatomy and physiology, caring for and encouraging others, problem solving and working as part of a team, Messiah's accelerated program in athletic training may be a good fit for you.
Athletic training is a growing health profession that prepares you to provide athletic training services to athletes and other physically active individuals. In Pennsylvania and nationwide, public and private educational institutions, professional teams, sports medicine-related clinics, hospitals and industrial/corporate organizations have a need for certified athletic trainers. Additionally, career opportunities are available in athletic training education and human performance training.
At Messiah University, athletic training is an accelerated, five-year program for students interested in pursuing a career as an athletic trainer. Students who pursue this accelerated program earn both a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in applied health science (with a pre-athletic training concentration) and a Master of Science in Athletic Training (MSAT) degree from Messiah University in five years. The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) has mandated that from 2023 on, an individual must earn a master’s degree from an accredited program before they are eligible for the Board of Certification Examination (and thus be eligible to practice).
When studying in the accelerated athletic training program at Messiah University, you'll be able to:
- Obtain a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree at the end of your fourth year of study; a Master of Athletic Training (MSAT) at the end of your fifth year of study
- Develop strong professional networks in the field through clinical experiences
- Gain significant hands-on patient-care experience through clinical rotations in both traditional and non-traditional athletic training settings
- Become a member of the Athletic Training Student Association (ATSA), which will provide opportunities for servant-leadership, community service, professional development, and networking with alumni and local/regional professionals in the field
- Enroll in classes that stretch you intellectually, physically and spiritually: Orthopedic Assessment, Therapeutic Intervention, The Professional Athletic Trainer and more
Students enrolled in the MSAT at Messiah are eligible to sit for the Board of Certification (BOC) exam during or after their final semester. After passing the exam and graduating, you are eligible to apply for state licensure as an athletic trainer. Employment opportunities are available in the following areas:
- Head/assistant athletic trainer for youth, middle or high school sports
- Staff athletic training positions within the collegiate sports setting
- Physician extender in an orthopedic or family medicine practice
- Wellness/ergonomics/workman’s compensation specialist in the industrial health care setting
- Staff athletic trainer for a professional sports team
- Staff athletic trainer working with individuals in the performing arts
- Many additional, unique opportunities exist for certified athletic trainers including working with individuals in the military or other tactical professions, pursuing research, pursuing a career in higher education, and many more
For more information on career planning for athletic training, visit the Messiah University Career and Professional Development Center.
Messiah’s clinical education will intentionally foster interaction between athletic training students and individuals from diverse cultural, religions and socioeconomic backgrounds. Clinical placements will include clinical practice opportunities with varied client/patient populations such as high schools, colleges, physician offices, physical therapy offices, and non-traditional settings with patient populations representative of the local population. International opportunities will include interaction with diverse patients, health care practices, and physical activity modes.
The undergraduate athletic training curriculum offers clinical experiences in a variety of traditional and non-traditional settings. You may gain experience with Messiah’s own NCAA DIII athletic teams as a student athletic trainer; observe a local physical therapy practice; gain collision sport experience at a local high school or college; an even observe in the operating room with a team physician—the opportunities are endless!
Students are required to have access to reliable personal transportation for the completion of all off-campus clinical experiences. These will begin during the first year of graduate study (year four of the accelerated MSAT). Students will be informed of clinical sites via e-mail a minimum of four weeks prior to their start date and given appropriate contact information in order to establish contact with the preceptor ahead of the start date. General clinical site information may be accessed here.
The five-year accelerated MSAT curriculum is designed for incoming first-year students seeking an accelerated path to completion of an entry-level master's in athletic training. This degree option requires completion of three years of undergraduate coursework in the applied health science major and pre-athletic training concentration.
There will be two formal check-in periods during the first three years to ensure you are meeting program expectations and are on track for progression to the professional phase. First will be a meeting with a member of the program’s faculty after completion of the fall semester of year two. This will be an opportunity to review grades, raise questions and concerns, and ensure that you and the program are aligned regarding criteria for progression to the professional phase.
Second, during the first semester of the third year, you will complete a formal application to the “professional phase” of the program – the portion of the accelerated curriculum that houses all CAATE-approved curricular content and clinical experiences. Initial application to this program for incoming freshman simply entails meeting Messiah University's entrance requirements and completing the University’s general application for admission. As long as students in the accelerated program continue to meet all program requirements (except those waived due to their current standing within the accelerated curriculum) they will automatically enter the professional phase with a seat reserved.
- All requests for internal/external transfer into the accelerated MSAT curriculum will be handled on a case-by-case basis by the athletic training program director. To be considered as an internal/external transfer, please contact Matt Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Students in the accelerated MSAT program are not required to take the GRE as a part of the application to the professional program.Application to the professional phase for students currently enrolled in the accelerated MSAT requires the following:
Application to the professional phase for students currently enrolled in the accelerated MSAT requires the following:
- Completion of formal application.
- Submission of one reference letter (not Messiah faculty or Messiah clinical athletic training staff)
- Maintenance of a 3.0 or higher GPA and grades of C or higher in all undergraduate coursework
- Interview with department faculty MAY be required during spring semester of year three
- Personal statement
- Transcripts from any/all institutions where coursework has been completed (other than Messiah)
- Documentation of hours by BOC-ATC
Various opportunities for research exist in the athletic training accelerated program. Examples include:
- Participating in an existing research project developed by one of our athletic training or Health, Nutrition and Exercise Science (HNES) faculty members
- Completion of an independent project as an upperclassman under the supervision of an assigned faculty mentor
- Participation in ongoing projects within the Messiah University Collaboratory
- Serving in the specific role of student musculoskeletal consultant
- Messiah University students have recently presented research posters/presentations at:
- Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers Society Annual Student Symposium
- Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers Society Annual Meeting and Symposium
- Messiah University School of Science, Engineering and Health (SEH) Annual Symposium
- National Athletic Trainers’ Association Annual Meeting and Clinical Symposium
As of the fall semester of 2019, the Messiah University Athletic Training program is transitioning to an entry-level Master of Science degree (MSAT). The University is no longer accepting applications to the undergraduate Bachelor of Arts in athletic training program. The new degree is an accelerated five-year program that will result in students receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in applied health science (APHS) with a concentration in pre-athletic training (pre-AT) after year four, and a Master of Science in Athletic Training (MSAT) after year five. The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) has mandated this change to occur by 2023. Messiah University has made the transition ahead of schedule and welcomes applicants for the first cohort which will begin studying in the fall of 2019.
Important details about this program can be found at the following links:
- Student resources
- Program-specific overview, technical standards and program requirements
- Eight-semester course sequence
Tuition and fees:
Messiah University undergraduate tuition and basic fees for 2018-19 can be found here.
- NATA student membership beginning @ J-Term of sophomore year ($45 annually)
- Professional liability insurance ($35 annually)
- Pennsylvania/FBI background checks ($47.50 one-time expense)
- Transportation to clinical sites during junior/senior year (variable)
- ATED 337 lab fee for spring 2020 ($65)
The Messiah University athletic training program does not govern or award funding for scholarships. However, the National Athletic Trainers' Association website provides information on scholarship funding available to high school students applying for enrollment into a CAATE-accredited athletic training program.
The Eastern Athletic Trainers' Association offers information related to scholarship funding available to students currently enrolled in a CAATE-accredited athletic training program.
National Board of Certification Exam
Athletic training students who meet academic and clinical requirements are eligible to sit for the National Board of Certification (BOC) exam, which certifies them as athletic trainers. Messiah's BOC pass rate for first-time test-takers from 2017-2019 is 84 percent. Our overall pass rate (regardless of the number of attempts) over the previous three years (2017-2019) is 98 percent.
As of December 3, 2019 the Messiah College (now Messiah University) Master of Science in Athletic Training program has received official approval from the Commission of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). The program is fully accredited by CAATE and will undergo a regularly scheduled on-site review during the 2025-2026 academic year.
Association for Athletic Training Education
In July of 2019, the Messiah University Athletic Training program became a founding member of the Association for Athletic Training Education (AATE). This is an organization dedicated to the advocacy athletic training education, the development of athletic training educators, and the advancement of the athletic training profession.
World Federation of Athletic Training and Therapy
In November of 2019, the Messiah University Athletic Training program became a member of the World Federation of Athletic Training and Therapy (WFATT). This organization exists to promote athletic training and therapy as around the world as an integral part of collaborative healthcare teams worldwide. Membership provides opportunities for collaboration with colleagues from a growing number of countries around the world.