SUNY Cortland will soon offer a master’s degree program in athletics training, with the creation of a two-year, full-time graduate program welcoming its first students in July 2020.
The brand-new M.S. program will further add to the university’s strong reputation in sports medicine. In 2017, the undergraduate program was recognized by CollegeChoice.net as the 10th best in the entire nation.
According to university officials, the new masters degree represents a plan for the future, as the profession will soon require an advanced degree for new certified athletic trainers.
Athletic trainers help prevent and treat injuries in a variety of settings, including high schools, colleges, professional sport teams, healthcare facilities, military academies and performing arts venues.
Cortland has offered a degree in athletic training for 45 years, boasting New York state’s first undergraduate program approved by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) in 1976.
Today, the major continues to emphasize hands-on clinical experiences and preparation for the board of certification (BOC) exam. Over the past three years, 45 out of 47 SUNY Cortland athletic training majors have passed the BOC exam — a 96% pass rate for the undergraduate program.
That same high level of training soon will be offered at the master’s level.
“This is exciting news and a reminder that we’re moving forward with the profession,” said Alyson Dearie, SUNY Cortland’s athletic training program director and an assistant professor of kinesiology. “The healthcare setting is ever-changing, and our students will be prepared to meet its needs.”
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SUNY Cortland’s undergraduate athletic training major has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) since 1996 and the graduate program is in the final stages of completing a change in level of degree. In 2015, a strategic alliance representing the BOC, CAATE, NATA and the NATA Foundation announced that a professional degree in athletic training would be best suited at the graduate level.
By the fall semester of 2022, CAATE-accredited programs can no longer enroll students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in athletic training. That means new SUNY Cortland undergraduates who aspire to be athletic trainers will receive the necessary preparation as exercise science majors starting in 2020.
Cortland will join Daemen College, Stony Brook University and the University at Buffalo as New York schools that offer a master’s in athletic training.
The new degree offering is the latest development for a program that already carries a strong reputation. In 2017, the New York State Athletic Trainers’ Association moved its hall of fame — which includes several SUNY Cortland alumni — to Park Center on the university’s campus.
That same year, Cortland was included among the top 10 colleges and universities nationwide in undergraduate preparation for a career in sports medicine, according to CollegeChoice.net.
Additionally, Cortland hosts an annual sports medicine symposium that brings in national experts and earns support from Dr. Bert Mandelbaum ’75, a nationally respected orthopedic surgeon who served as a team physician with U.S. Soccer.
Graduate students will complete 18 courses, which include four different clinical experiences that may take place in local athletic departments or nearby healthcare facilities.
In order to be considered for admission, students must submit several required application materials, including proof of at least 50 observation hours under the direct supervision of a certified athletic trainer.