Athletic Training major accredited by CAATE


MCLA's athletic training major now is a nationally accredited program of the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE).

According to Peter Hoyt, athletic training education program director and a biology professor at MCLA, this accreditation benefits students because they will be eligible to take the Board of Certification (BOC) exam for the athletic trainer once they graduate.

"Previously, students had to take the exam after graduate school because the BOC requires that all candidates for accreditation graduate from an accredited athletic training program," Hoyt said.

Students who pass the test become Certified Athletic Trainers, which better position them for jobs or graduate school.

MCLA's athletic training major is the only such program in western Massachusetts, southern Vermont and eastern New York.  The accreditation shows that MCLA is one of 370 programs nationwide that conform to the standards of becoming an athletic trainer health care professional.

Athletic trainers collaborate with physicians as they work to prevent injuries and provide emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions.

Many new job settings are available to the athletic trainer. These include the performing arts, such as Cirque du Solei. Universities, too, hire athletic trainers to work specifically with their dance companies and performing arts majors. MCLA offers clinical experience with the campus's Dance Company.

"We are one of very few programs in the country that offer this," Hoyt said. "Other new job settings include hospitals and clinics, occupational health, military groups, physician extender, and public safety."

"More and more individuals are realizing what an athletic trainer can do," said Ryan Krzyzanowicz, an instructor in the biology department for MCLA's athletic training program and the clinical education coordinator. "We can provide initial first aid, evaluation of injury and general medical conditions, provide rehabilitation and biomechanical evaluations.

"Recently, the Department of Defense has started contracts with athletic trainers to work at military bases such as Quantico, Fort Benning, and even with the Navy Seals in Virginia Beach," he added.

Why study athletic training at MCLA?

"We provide students with a hands-on approach to learning in diverse clinical settings," Hoyt said. "We get our students involved early in their education, and give them an experience that is true to the MCLA mission, in a small, family atmosphere for a unique, educational experience."

The recent, national accreditation is a result of MCLA's development of an athletic training major, which was approved by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education in 2009. MCLA previously offered a Bachelor of Science degree in biology with a sports medicine concentration, since the 1970s.

"It is especially rewarding to see the program accredited, as this is a reflection on the program's high standards that meet CAATE requirements," said Monica Joslin, dean of academic affairs.

CAATE's purpose is to develop, maintain, and promote appropriate minimum education standards of quality athletic training programs. CAATE accredits Professional, Post-Professional and Residency Programs in Athletic Training, and is sponsored by the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine, and the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA).

For more information, go to majors/athletictraining and .