March 21-22, 2002

 

ITEM 114-2704-R0302                Approval of Proposal to Implement the Master of Science Degree in Athletic Training; Montana State University-Billings

 

THAT:                                       The Board of Regents of Higher Education authorizes Montana State University-Billings to award the Master of Science Degree in Athletic Training.

 

EXPLANATION:                        Purpose of the Proposed Program:  The purpose of this proposal is to implement an entry-level graduate level athletic training program through the Department of Health, Physical Education and Human Services, College of Education and Human Services, at Montana State University-Billings.

 

                                                Statement of Need:  Through the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA), students interested in becoming certified athletic trainers can successfully complete the National Athletic Trainers' Association Board of Certification (NATABOC) exam.  Currently there are two ways that students can become eligible to sit for the NATABOC exam. First is through a curriculum-based program where students study the field of athletic training within a structured education program certified by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Programs (CAAHEP) in addition to completing 800 hours under the direct supervision of a certified athletic trainer.  Second is through the internship route where students complete course work in health, human anatomy, physical education, athletic training, in addition to completing 1500 hours under the direct supervision of a certified athletic trainer. 

 

                                                Historically, professionals in fields related to athletic training (exercise physiologists, physical therapists, etc.) have selected the internship route in an effort to become certified as athletic trainers.  Unfortunately for these professionals, NATA will be eliminating the internship route as of January 1, 2004, forcing students to: (1) enroll in a school with an accredited undergraduate program and earn a second bachelor's degree, or (2) enroll in an entry-level graduate program.  Presently there is only one entry-level graduate program in the United States admitting 20 students a year.

 

                                                Whereas Montana State University-Billings is a "comprehensive, regional, public university serving the education needs of Montanans" and is committed to "providing a strong and expanding program of outreach to the state and region," the Department of Health, Physical Education and Human Services proposes to meet the future needs of students interested in entry-level athletic training certification by offering a Master of Science degree in Athletic Training.  Currently, no other University in the region is addressing this unmet need through a graduate level professional preparation program.

 

Explanation of the Proposal:  The Department of Health, Physical Education and Human Services at Montana State University-Billings proposes to offer a Master of Science degree in Athletic Training accredited through the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Programs (CAAHEP).  To accomplish this, a program director would be hired as a full-time employee of the University who is currently certified by the NATABOC, has a minimum of three years experience as a certified athletic trainer, and has adequate experience supervising student trainers.  After a director is secured, a curriculum would be established that satisfies the CAAHEP guidelines and enables the program to pursue accreditation.  The curriculum would be comprised of a combination of existing courses and new courses.  The minimum timeline for establishing the athletic training program would be three years from the time the program director is hired with the first cohort of 20-30 students potentially beginning in the fall of 2003.  In order to be accredited by CAAHEP, the athletic training program would have to be up and running and fully-functional.  At the beginning of the first academic year, the program would apply to the Joint Review Committee on Athletic Training (JRC-AT) for candidacy status.  During the final semester of the two-year program, the program director would schedule an onsite visit from JRC-AT who makes the recommendation to CAAHEP as to whether accreditation should be granted.  As of January 1, 2004, only students who have graduated from an accredited athletic training program would be allowed to sit for the NATABOC exam.