MCLA Athletic Training Major Receives CAATE Accreditation


NORTH ADAMS, MASS. - Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) has announced that its athletic training major has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE).

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

"In addition to MCLA's athletic training major being the only such program in western Massachusetts, southern Vermont and eastern New York, our program is attractive to students because it provides a wide variety of opportunities for internships and clinical experience, which includes work at creative and cultural organizations, as well as areas of health education," Joslin said.

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

"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.

MCLA's athletic training major is the only such program in western Massachusetts, southern Vermont and eastern New York.  With the accreditation, 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.

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.

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).