SRU's new master’s program in athletic training receives accreditation


Athletics training students

The first cohort from Slippery Rock University’s Master of Science in Athletic Training program, a two-year, 63-credit endeavor, will graduate in 2020.

Sept. 22, 2017

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Athletic trainers know a thing or two about taking the right steps to compete at a peak level. Another important step taken by the Slippery Rock University athletic training program took place last week, as the University received accreditation for its Master of Science in Athletic Training program that will launch in summer 2018.

The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education notified SRU that the CAATE board voted to accept the request for "substantive change" of degree. The accreditation status change was necessary as SRU's current undergraduate athletic training program will transition to a graduate offering. The first cohort of the two-year, 63-credit master's program will graduate in 2020, the same year that the final cohort of undergraduates will complete their degrees. There are approximately 70 undergraduates remaining in the program.



"We are running two programs under that accreditation," said Bonnie Siple, associate professor of exercise and rehabilitative sciences. "We are still accredited under the same standards. It was just a matter of documenting how the graduate curriculum and the clinical experience would still meet the standard."

According to Siple, the transition was not simply taking the undergraduate courses and renumbering them for graduate level study.

"We took everything that was going well and built off of that to create a brand new curriculum," she said.

Because SRU offers programs for many other medical professions, such as physician assistant studies, occupational therapy, public health, nursing and recreational therapy, there were opportunities for the athletic training curriculum to include inter-professional education. Additionally, the new curriculum prepares students for the processes they will encounter as professionals. For example, a class may focus on an ankle sprain, rather than have separate courses for evaluating, rehabilitating, immediate care and treatment.

"We've combined those things by body part, which is how it happens in the real world," Siple said. "It's an integrated curriculum."

Siple and Jackie Williams, associate professor of exercise and rehabilitative sciences, led the accreditation efforts with contributions from associate professors Marketa Schublova and

Kim Keeley. They conducted a two-year self-study and met the requirements of the CAATE accreditation board, which consists of members from both institutions and the private sector.

SRU's Master of Science in Athletic Training program was approved Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education board of governors in January 2016. To maintain the University's service to

its undergraduates, a 3+2 track will allow students to enter SRU as freshmen and earn both a bachelor's degree, with a pre-athletic training concentration, and a master's degree in athletic training in five years.

"We're excited to offer the graduate program," Siple said. "We've been wanting to do this for a long time and we've had great support from the administration in getting it up and running and ahead of the curve."

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