New Master’s Program At DC

– Zachary Bires (Defiance, OH)

A new change is coming to one of the premier programs here at Defiance College. The Athletic Training is now turning into a Master’s program, where no longer offering a Bachelor’s entry-level degree. Although this change is relevant to DC, it is not exclusive to just Defiance College.

This is a change throughout all academic institutions that have an Athletic Training program as a choice for students. The main idea behind this change is to try and keep Athletic Trainers on the same level as physical therapists and other medical professionals. This Master’s degree will also give “more credibility in the eyes of insurance companies” as Dr. Matt Lundin says during an interview regarding the upcoming change.

At the latest, this change has to take place withing seven years from now. Colleges around the United States will be unable to accept students into a Bachelor’s program once that benchmark has been met. Defiance College, as of right now, plans on taking a proactive approach and will be implementing this policy after next year’s freshman class.

The college has two choices to follow, a 3/2 program, where they will receive a degree in Exercise Science and Kinesiology for their Bachelor’s, then the two years for a Master’s in Athletic Training. Or Defiance College can take the route of the original two year Master’s Degree and four years length requirement for a Bachelor’s.

The one large change that is coming with this change into the Master’s Degree is the Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer Program will begin to phase out. The initial idea is to fill future internships with students, but the manner in which they will be compensated and filled is still unknown to programs across the U.S.

Senior Brittany Pease sees the good in the Athletic Training becoming a Master’s, and states, “In theory it would make sense that if AT’s obtain a Master’s degree they would earn a larger salary.”

There are still some doubts with the program becoming a Master’s. In theory, when coming out with a Master’s degree students will still have the same skills had they had gotten a Bachelor’s degree, just without the experience they would get as Graduate Assistant.

Wherever this program goes, it will be interesting to follow to see what this big change holds for the future. There are both pros and cons to the initiative, but only time will tell how this effects athletic training across the nation.

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