Small classes, abundant opportunities for hands-on experience and a unique chance to work within the world of the performing arts make MCLA's athletic training program a great portal to a career with many options.
Healthcare professionals who collaborate with physicians to optimize activity and participation of their patients and clients, athletic trainers prevent, diagnose and provide intervention for emergency, acute and chronic medical conditions that may impair, limit or disable athletes.
Career options are varied. Positions include those at colleges and universities, high schools, physician's offices or emergency departments, with a professional sports team, in the performing arts, or even in military settings.
Why study to be an athletic trainer at MCLA?
According to Ryan Krzyzanowicz, an instructor in the biology department for MCLA's athletic training program and the clinical education coordinator, it's the real-world experience that helps his students to succeed. Besides featuring small class sizes where students get to know their professors, MCLA is unique because it has an approved clinical instructor with the College's Dance Company.
"You don't really see many schools in the country assisting performing arts and having students obtain experience in the performing arts," Krzyzanowicz said.
All MCLA students in athletic training obtain a clinical education at nearby physical therapy practices or the local hospital.
"Most of our students learn by doing, so we want them to get their hands 'dirty' as often as possible in different situations," Krzyzanowicz said.
While most experience is planned for, one student recently had an unexpected opportunity to assist a member of the community when, at her off-campus job as a waitress, she noticed a restaurant patron choking on a French fry.
"She went over and gave him the Heimlich maneuver and he stopped choking. We had just re-certified her in CPR/First Aid before the winter break," Krzyzanowicz said.
Students who want to become certified athletic trainers must earn a degree from an accredited athletic training curriculum. More than 70 percent of athletic trainers earn their master's degree before taking their national test, a path most MCLA graduates pursue.
However, by next spring, the College expects its athletic training program will be fully accredited. Once this happens, MCLA will be the only such program in western Massachusetts, southern Vermont and eastern New York.
Peter Hoyt, MCLA's athletic training education program director, has been instrumental, Krzyzanowicz said, in getting the athletic training major approved by the state and developing the program's curriculum.
According to Monica Joslin, dean of academic affairs at MCLA, "March is 'National Athletic Training Month' - which provides an opportunity to recognize and offer thanks to student athletic trainers, as well as our faculty and staff that provide support for our athletic training program.
"A special thank you to Matt Boillat, Amanda Beckwith '03, Freddy Ferris '04, faculty members Pete Hoyt and Ryan Krzyzanowicz, as well as Sarah Krzyzanowicz and Dr. Paul Donovan for their work with our athletes and for making the athletic training program at MCLA vibrant and successful."