Athletic Training, Master of Science
Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training
College of Health and Human Services
The M.S. in Athletic Training is an entry-level professional program that prepares you to take the national Athletic Training Board of Certification exam. Certified athletic trainers are medical experts in preventing, recognizing, managing, and rehabilitating injuries that result from physical activity. Athletic training is recognized by the American Medical Association as an allied health care profession.
This program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE).
To receive a master’s degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject areas, consisting of at least 30 units of graduate-level courses. (Many master’s degree programs require more than 30 units.)
You must additionally complete:
- All requirements for your specific academic plan(s). This may include a thesis.
- All graduate work with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0.
- All work toward the master’s degree must be completed within six consecutive years. The six years begins with the semester and year of admission to the program.
In addition to University Requirements:
- Complete individual plan requirements.
|Minimum Units for Completion||58|
|Additional Admission Requirements||Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.|
|Comprehensive Exam||Comprehensive Exam may be required by chosen emphasis or offered as an option.|
|Research||Individualized research may be required by chosen emphasis or offered as an option.|
|Additional Fees/Program Fees||Required|
|Some online/blended coursework||Required|
|Progression Plan Link||View Program of Study|
The purpose of the Athletic Training graduate program is prepare students to work with physically active individuals in a variety of settings to provide injury prevention and care services. To succeed in this, we emphasize both classroom (didactic) and clinical education every semester in our program. This provides our students with not only the necessary knowledge and skills to become Athletic Trainers, but also the practice to perfect their skills prior to becoming nationally certified. Our program is tailored toward students who want to be involved in both healthcare and sports, working with athletes to both prevent injuries and to provide a continuum of care to get them back to participation after injury.
The mission of the Athletic Training Master’s Degree Program at Northern Arizona University is to provide a student centered graduate learning experience that effectively links didactic and clinical education in the prevention, evaluation, treatment, and rehabilitation of athletic injuries. The program faculty promote professional and ethical conduct, encourage professional leadership, prepare students to be successful on the national Board of Certification (BOC) examination, and strive to produce competent and confident Athletic Trainers prepared for a career in athletic training.
Student Learning Outcomes
Outcomes align with Standards from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association
- Evidence-based practitioners incorporate the best available evidence, their clinical skills, and the needs of the patient to maximize patient outcomes.
- This area focuses on the knowledge and skills necessary for entry-level athletic trainers to use a systematic approach to ask and answer clinically relevant questions that affect patient care by using review and application of existing research evidence. One strategy, among others, is to use a five-step approach:
- creating a clinically relevant question;
- searching for the best evidence;
- critically analyzing the evidence;
- integrating the appraisal with personal clinical expertise and patients’ references; and
- evaluating the performance or outcomes of the actions.
- Athletic trainers develop and implement strategies and programs to prevent the incidence and/or severity of injuries and illnesses and optimize their clients’/patients’ overall health and quality of life. These strategies and programs also incorporate the importance of nutrition and physical activity in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and in preventing chronic disease (eg, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease).
- Athletic trainers must possess strong clinical examination skills in order to accurately diagnosis and effectively treat their patients. The clinical examination is an on-going process, repeated to some extent each time the patient is treated. The development of these skills requires a thorough understanding of anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics.
- Athletic trainers must also apply clinical-reasoning skills throughout the physical examination process in order to assimilate data, select the appropriate assessment tests, and formulate a differential diagnosis.
- Athletic trainers are often present when injuries or other acute conditions occur or are the first healthcare professionals to evaluate a patient. For this reason, athletic trainers must be knowledgeable and skilled in the evaluation and immediate management of acute injuries and illnesses.
- Athletic trainers assess the patient’s status using clinician- and patient-oriented outcome measures. Based on this assessment and with consideration of the stage of healing and goals, a therapeutic intervention is designed to maximize the patient’s participation and health-related quality of life.
- A broad range of interventions, methods, techniques, equipment, activities using body movement, and medications are incorporated into this domain. These interventions are designed to enhance function by identifying, remediating, and preventing impairments and activity restrictions (functional limitations) to maximize participation. Rehabilitation is conducted in a wide variety of settings (eg, aquatic, clinic) with basic and contemporary equipment/modalities and on a wide range of patients with respect to age, overall health, and desired level of activity.
- Therapeutic interventions also include the use of prescription and nonprescription medications. For this reason, the athletic trainer needs to be knowledgeable about common prescription and nonprescription drug indications, adverse reactions, and interactions.
- Athletic trainers must be able to recognize clients/patients exhibiting abnormal social, emotional, and mental behaviors. Coupled with recognition is the ability to intervene and refer these individuals as necessary.
- Athletic trainers appreciate the role of mental health in injury and recovery and use interventions to optimize the connection between mental health and restoration of participation.
- Athletic trainers function within the context of a complex healthcare system. Integral to this function is an understanding of risk management, healthcare delivery mechanisms, insurance, reimbursement, documentation, patient privacy, and facility management.
- The provision of high quality patient care requires that the athletic trainer maintain current competence in the constantly changing world of healthcare.
- Athletic trainers must also embrace the need to practice within the limits of state and national regulation using moral and ethical judgment.
- As members of a broader healthcare community, athletic trainers work collaboratively with other healthcare providers and refer clients/patients when such referral is warranted.
- The clinical integration proficiencies (CIPs) represent the synthesis and integration of knowledge, skills, and clinical decision-making into actual client/patient care. The CIPs have been reorganized into this section (rather than at the end of each content area) to reflect their global nature. For example, therapeutic interventions do not occur in isolation from physical assessment.
Additional Admission Requirements
- Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
- NAU Graduate Online application is required for all programs. Details on admission requirements are included in the online application.
- Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution
- Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A"), or the equivalent.
- Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.
- For details on graduate admission policies, please visit the Graduate Admissions Policy
- International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy
Individual program admission requirements include:
- Evidence of experience in athletic training (at least 60 observation hours in a facility that employs an AT).
- Proof of CPR certification prior to beginning the program.
- In addition to applying to the Graduate College, complete the ATCAS application process.
- Prerequisite courses completed with a grade of C or better, or in progress at the time of application to the program:
- General Biology BIO 181, BIO 181L,
- Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II BIO 201, BIO 201L, BIO 202, BIO 202L
- General Chemistry CHM 130 or CHM 151
- Introduction to Physics PHY 111
- Introduction to Psychology PSY 101
- Exercise Physiology, BIO 338, BIO 338L
- Kinesiology, BIO 334 or PE 325
- Human Nutrition, NTS 135 or higher
- Prerequisite courses completed with a grade of C or better, or in progress at the time of application to the program:
- 2 letters of recommendation, one of which is from a certified athletic trainer.
- An interview with one or more program faculty (to be scheduled after the application review).
We begin reviewing applications on January 5th each year. Students should apply through the Athletic Training Centralized Application Service (ATCAS) Rolling admissions will be conducted until the program is full. If accepted into the program, students must then apply to the NAU Graduate College.
Students who have been previously enrolled in another institution’s CAATE accredited professional master’s degree athletic training program and wish to transfer to our NAU MS-AT program, may transfer up to 25% (14 credits) of our total program credits (58 credits), per NAU Graduate College policy and at the program director’s discretion. Application requirements used for admission to their previous program will be accepted in total as equivalent to our NAU MS-AT program requirements, as long as the student attended classes and was not dismissed due to poor grades. We encourage transfer students and will work with each on an individual basis to ensure an appropriate educational background to ensure success in our program.
Upon admission, we require that students have a physical exam by a physician of their choice; show proof of immunization for hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, and diphtheria; and attest that they meet the technical standards established by our program and by the Northern Arizona University's Disability Support Services.
For more information details on individual program admission requirements, please visit Admission Requirements - Master of Science in Athletic Training.
Take the following 58 units with a grade of "C" or better:
Select one from:
The Graduate College requires a minimum of a 3.0 cumulative GPA and no more than 6 hours of “C” while in the program, in order to graduate. You should be aware that you may be placed on probation if your grade point average falls below a 3.00, or if you receive a grade lower than a "C" in any course required for the program. If you are on probation, you will be assigned limited or no clinical experience.
If you plan to teach in the high school setting, you should pursue a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education - Biology. You must work with an advisor from the College of Engineering, Forestry and Natural Sciences to fulfill the requirements of this degree. See Biology Advising.
Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.
Accelerated Bachelor's to Master's Program
This program is available as an Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate Plan. Accelerated Programs provide the opportunity for outstanding undergraduates working on their bachelor’s degree to simultaneously begin work on a master’s degree. Departments may allow students to complete both degrees in an accelerated manner by approving up to 12 units applicable toward both degrees. Students must apply to the accelerated program and the master’s program by the application deadline, and meet all requirements as listed on the Accelerated Bachelor's to Master's Programs to be considered for admission. Admission to programs is competitive and qualified applicants may be denied because of limits on the number of students admitted each year. Be sure to speak with your advisor regarding your interest in Accelerated Programs.
- PROGRAM FEE INFORMATION
Program fees are established by the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR). A program fee of $2000 per year has been approved for this program on the Flagstaff Mountain Campus and a program fee of $3000 per year for the Phoenix Biomedical campus.