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Athletic Training (M.S.)

Program Director: Ali El-Kerdi, PhD, DPT, PT, ATC/L, CAT(C), CSCS

To provide students with the fundamental knowledge, concepts, and skills grounded in evidence-based practice as determined by the Athletic Training governing bodies: Board of Certification (BOC), Commission on Accrediting Athletic Training Education (CAATE) and the Educational Council.

To prepare students for employment in entry-level athletic training positions located in a variety of clinical healthcare settings and/or for the pursuit of advanced degrees in athletic training or health-related professions.

To provide practical experience and ethical reflection to enable graduates to assume leadership roles in various health care settings to enhance the quality of patient health care and to advance the profession of athletic training.

Program Learning Goals
  • Student will use evidence-based knowledge in the clinical settings
  • Student will Locate, evaluate and apply evidence-based resources to build knowledge and support athletic training practice
  • Student will demonstrate the attitudes, behaviors and responsibilities associated with being an athletic trainer (professional relationship, respect for diversity, ethical practice, professional integrity etc.)
  • Student will participate as a part of a team by collaborating with colleagues through a complex healthcare system

Program Description
There is an ever-growing need for Certified Athletic Trainers (ATCs) in the work force. Athletic training is a very rewarding profession allowing its member to work in various healthcare settings. ATC’s work with clients to help prevent injuries, offer advice about appropriate equipment, recognize and evaluate injuries, administer emergency treatment, and determine need for specialized medical care. ATCs are an integral part of the healthcare team and provide health care to clients in the areas of injury prevention, evaluation, management and rehabilitation. The educational requirements for Athletic Training Education programs include not only cognitive (knowledge) and psychomotor (skill) content, but also a broad scope of foundational behaviors of professional practice, as well as a comprehensive clinical learning requirement that is embodied in the clinical proficiencies (professional practice-oriented outcomes).

This program provides concentrated studies and clinical experiences rooted in evidence to students interested in becoming certified athletic trainers (ATCs). It is intended for highly motivated students interested in a healthcare career in which they can treat clients in traditional athletic settings (high school, college, University, professional sports, etc.) or in non-traditional settings (medical offices, emergency departments, industrial setting, etc.). The concentrated 60-graduate credit-curriculum (with the B.S./M.S. option) is designed to challenge students to learn a wide variety of skills that will make them exceptional athletic trainers with a thirst for knowledge.

Program Requirements

  • Pre-Calculus (3 credits)
  • Anatomy and Physiology I with Lab (4 credits)
  • Anatomy and Physiology II with Lab (4 credits)
  • General Chemistry (3 credits)
  • General Physics (3 credits)
  • Nutrition (3 credits)
  • Kinesiology (3 credits)
  • Exercise Physiology (3 credits)
  • Biostatistics (3 credits)
  • Research Methods (3 credits)
  • Introduction to Psychology (3 credits)

Admissions Criteria
Any individual who has or is about to receive a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university is eligible to apply OR sophomores from institutions with articulation agreements with the athletic training program specifically. The Master of Science in Athletic Training program designed to accommodate students from all undergraduate disciplines so long as students meet the admission critirea and prerequisites listed above. Students applying to the program will be selected on a competitive basis from candidates submitting complete applications with all required supporting materials through the athletic training centralized application system (ATCAS) located at info.liaison-intl.com/atcas.

Academic Background: A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0, and completion of all prerequisite foundation coursework with a minimum average 3.0 GPA is required. Candidates may apply for consideration prior to completion of all prerequisite requirements as long as a reasonable plan for completion of required coursework prior to entrance into the program is delineated. All prerequisite foundation courses must be completed prior to matriculation in the program, with no less than a B- in each.

Exception: Students from institutions with a signed articulated agreement may apply in their sophomore year so long as they meet the articulation agreement conditions. Students are directed to their program directors/chairs for the specifics of said agreement.

  • Career goals statement/ personal essay: 500 words or less - Describe how you became interested in Athletic Training, and the qualities you possess that will enable you to be a successful student in this program, and practitioner in the field.
  • Two letters of recommendation: one academic and one professional.
  • Documentation of work and volunteer experiences: highlight achievements, recognitions, accomplishments
  • Documentation of minimum 100 hours of clinical observation under the supervision of a certified athletic trainer
  • Current CPR/First aid professional rescuer certification (American Heart Association OR American Red Cross only)

Acceptance Classifications
Students may be admitted to this program under one of the following acceptance classifications:

Full Acceptance: Students who have met all admissions requirements with satisfactory performance are granted full acceptance. Full acceptance is granted only when the student’s file is complete, and all the program-specific requirements for entry have been met.

Conditional Acceptance: Students may be offered a conditional acceptance classification when a student’s file is missing evidence that s/he has successfully completed all prerequisite coursework. Prior to admission under this category, students must show evidence of registration for all outstanding prerequisite courses. Students will not be allowed to take any courses in the program prior to completion of all prerequisite coursework. Upon successful completion of all prerequisite course requirements, students must apply to the Office of Graduate Admissions for a change in admission status.

All students must be fully accepted into the program before they can enroll in any courses.

Accepted Student Requirements
Students in the program are expected to fulfill the following requirements during their student experience at Philadelphia University:

Participation in clinical experiences is a required part of the curriculum and a requirement for graduation. Many settings require students to be fingerprinted, undergo a drug screening and/or gain clearance from the PA Sex Offender Registry. Students are responsible for the costs of these processes, as well as for transportation arrangements and costs associated with clinical experiences. Information regarding how to meet these requirements is provided by the program.

Note: Clinical sites may deny a student's participation because of a felony or misdemeanor conviction, failure of a required drug test or inability to produce an appropriate health clearance, all of which would result in delayed graduation or, in the inability to graduate from the program.
Students are expected to obtain materials and/or complete documentation required for clinical experiences:

  • Health Clearance (by June prior to first academic year)
  • Annual physical examination
  • Annual update of immunizations according to clinical site requirements
  • Annual proof of active health insurance coverage
  • Legal Clearance: Annual criminal background check and annual child abuse history clearance
  • CPR/First aide certification (infant, child, adult – professional rescuer)

Students are expected to maintain professional organization memberships in the following organizations:

  • National Athletic Trainer’s Association (NATA)
  • Pennsylvania Athletic Trainer’s Society (PATS)

(Program of Study)

FALL (Year 1)

  • Functional Human Anatomy
  • Emergency Care
  • Fundamentals of Athletic Training
  • Basics of Rehabilitation
  • Practicum in Athletic Training I
  • Medical and Professional Ethics

SPRING (Year 1)

  • Prevention, Evaluation and Treatment of Athletic Injuries I (Upper Extremity)
  • Therapeutic Modalities
  • Human Physiology
  • Motor Control and Human Movement
  • Practicum in Athletic Training I

SUMMER (Year 1)

  • Specialty Practicum in Athletic Training

FALL (Year 2)

  • Prevention, Evaluation and Treatment of Athletic Injuries II (Lower Extremity)
  • Social and Psychological Aspects of Physical Activity
  • Special Topics in Athletic Training
  • Pharmacology and Medical Documentation in Athletic Training
  • Practicum in Athletic Training III
  • Research/Collaborative Project I

SPRING (Year 2)

  • Prevention, Evaluation and Treatment of Athletic Injuries III (Spine and Advanced Techniques)
  • Strength and conditioning
  • Organization and Administration in Athletic Training
  • Research/Collaborative Project II
  • Practicum in Athletic Training IV

Professional Accreditation Information
Philadelphia University is currently seeking accreditation for their new Athletic Training program and is not accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). The institution will be submitting a self-study to begin the accreditation process on July 1, 2017. Submission of the self¬‐study and completion of a site visit does not guarantee that the program will become accredited. Students that graduate from the program prior to accreditation WILL NOT be eligible to sit for the credentialing examination for athletic trainers and will not be eligible for licensure in most states.

Athletic Training Program Academic Standards
The Athletic Training (AT) Program admission criteria are designed to select candidates who are most likely to succeed both in the University academic environment as well as in athletic training professional practice. While the program faculty is dedicated to assisting students in their professional education, the student also has responsibilities. Students enrolled in the program must demonstrate achievement in academic and clinical competencies necessary for professional practice, and meet academic standards consistent with graduate school criteria. Students must also demonstrate effective professional behavior as detailed in the Athletic Training Student Handbook and the National Athletic Training Code of Ethics and The Board of Certification Standards of Practice. In order to remain in good academic standing, students must meet the following standards. These academic standards are in addition to the university academic standards as described in the Graduate Catalog and on the Philadelphia University website.

Retention and Progression

  • The student’s cumulative academic record is reviewed at the end of each semester, including summer, to evaluate academic standing and satisfactory progress toward degree requirements. The program director will notify the student when problems in academic performance may jeopardize a student’s good standing.
  • The maximum time for completion of the degree program is 4.5 years from the date of first enrollment. Students who have not earned the graduate degree during this period will have their academic records reviewed and may be asked to meet additional requirements in order to graduate.
  • The student must pass a clinical simulation examination (80% or better) at the end of each Spring semester. The examination that tests the student’s cumulative knowledge from the previous semesters. Failure to pass this examination may result in the student not progressing through the program. Please see Athletic Training Student Handbook for details and remediation criteria.

Academic and Professional Conduct
In order to remain in good academic standing, students must meet the University’s academic standards. These academic and conduct standards are in addition to the university academic standards as described in the University Student Handbook, University Catalog and on the University web site.

Competency Grading
Each student is expected to be proficient at every competency described by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). The detailed list of competencies is located on the CAATE website, A-Track and the Athletic Training Education Program student handbook.

Students must be graded as “Proficient/Pass” in at least 80% of all competencies for the specific course and no less than “Needs Improvement” in all competencies assessed. Students who are unable to earn the minimum criteria described above must enter into a remediation program defined by the faculty. Students must demonstrate competency at the end of remediation, or will be dismissed. Each student is expected to demonstrate proficiency in all safety items in order to successfully pass the competency.

Clinical Experiences
Failure to complete a clinical experience/practicum/practicum, student withdrawal, or having to be removed from a clinical experience/practicum may result in a student’s dismissal from the program. Students who need to repeat more than one clinical experience/practicum due to unsatisfactory performance will be dismissed from the program.

  • If a grade of “NC” (no credit) is obtained in a clinical experience/practicum, faculty determines whether the student is permitted to repeat the clinical experience/practicum, or be dismissed from the program. If permission to repeat the clinical experience/practicum is granted, the student must develop a written plan of self-correction prior to being placed in another clinical experience/practicum.
  • A clinical experience may be repeated only once, and the student must achieve a “B“ or better” grade on the second attempt. If a student receives a grade of “NC” or a “B-“ or worst in two clinical experience/practicum courses, the student will be dismissed from the program. The decision to permit a student to repeat clinical experience/practicum is dependent on clinical instructor verbal or written reports about student behavior with respect to adherence to site regulations, site schedule, ethical standards of conduct, or engagement in behavior that puts patient/client safety at risk. This information will be reviewed by the Academic and Professional Standards Review Committee for action, either probation or dismissal, depending upon the circumstances.
  • Students receiving a “NC” grade, including “W” (withdrawal”) in clinical experience/practicum will be placed on probation. The student must re-register and repeat the clinical experience/practicum in order to progress in the program. Repetition of a clinical experience/practicum would delay progression in the program. Withdrawal for medical or personal reasons (must be approved by program faculty) will not result in probation but may delay progression on the program.
  • A student must earn a grade of “B” or better in all clinical experience/practicum in order to graduate.

Probation, Deceleration and Dismissal
Academic probation is a means of emphatically informing students that their records are unsatisfactory, while there is still time to remedy the situation. Students will be placed on academic probation when their records indicate that normal progress toward a degree is in jeopardy. Students on probation should meet with their advisors to discuss a plan for improving their academic performance. They should also consider reducing the number of hours of employment whenever possible and/or limit participation in any other activity that interferes with the performance of their academic work.

Students whose academic records include one or more of the following will be placed on academic probation:

  • Semester GPA below 3.0 (Athletic Training program GPA is comprised of all AT courses taken, beginning with the semester that the student enters the professional phase of the program.)
  • Cumulative grade point average below 3.0.
  • Grade below “B-” in one or more courses
  • Withdrawing from a course for academic reasons: Students who need to withdraw from a course for medical or personal reasons must be first be approved by the Academic and Professional Standards Review Committee prior to withdrawing
  • While the grade of “C+” is regarded as a minimum passing grade, it is judged as unsatisfactory performance. Students who earn a “C+” or less in any courses must decelerate, and repeat the course before proceeding in the full time program (see Deceleration section below).
  • Verbal or written reports from clinical experience educators indicating non-adherence to site regulations, site schedule, ethical standards of conduct or engagement in behavior that puts patient/client safety at risk. This information will be reviewed by the Academic and Professional Standards Review Committee for action, either probation or dismissal, depending upon the circumstances.
  • A student who violates the program’s Standards of Professional Behavior or National Athletic Training Code of Ethics and The Board of Certification Standards of Practice will be placed on either academic probation or dismissed, depending on the circumstances.
  • Students on academic probation will be required to improve their academic performance by the end of the next enrolled semester in order to be removed from academic probation. These details will be provided in writing to the student upon notification of placement on probation.

Deceleration means that the student may not progress in the full-time program.

  • Students decelerate when they receive a “C+” or less in any course
  • Students must repeat courses and earn a minimum “B” in order to proceed in the program. Students who are unsuccessful with remediation activities will be dismissed. Students can repeat only one course throughout the entire program.
  • Since the program is a lock-step curriculum, courses that were not successfully completed cannot be repeated until the following year. A second deceleration results in dismissal.

If the student is placed on probation and remains on probation at the end of the following semester, the student will be dismissed from the program. In addition, students whose academic records include one or any combination of the following will be dismissed from the program:

  • Cumulative grade point average below 3.0 for any two semesters
  • Probation for any three semesters
  • Grade of “F” in any course
  • Grade below “B-” in two or more courses
  • Grade of “NC” or a “B-“ or worst in two clinical experience/practicum courses
  • A “NC” in a non-clinical experience/practicum course.
  • Failure to earn minimum of a “B” (3.0) in a repeated course. A course can only be repeated once.
  • Failure to correct deficiencies outlines in probation notice.
  • Unprofessional behavior and/or conduct that violates the University’s Code of Conduct, the National Athletic Training Code of Ethics and The Board of Certification Standards of Practice, or the Athletic Training program ’s Standards of Professional Behavior.
  • Official notification of probation or dismissal will be in writing and sent directly to the student. Students may appeal by submitting a written request for reinstatement to the Athletic Training program director. The petition should include:
    • An explanation of the poor academic performance that led to the dismissal.
    • An explanation of whether the student worked with Athletic Training program faculty, sought tutoring assistance or accessed other support services to address academic performance.
    • Documentation concerning any mitigating circumstances that may have contributed to poor performance. This includes but is not limited to medical or psychological documentation.
    • A plan for preventing recurrence of academic or professional behavior difficulties and for raising performance to at least the minimum standard required for continued enrollment.
    • Letters of support from faculty or others (optional).

Students who are dismissed from the AT program for academic conduct or any other reason are not typically readmitted. In special circumstances, dismissed students may be considered for re-entry. To be considered for re-entry students must have developed and implemented an action plan that would facilitate successful academic performance. Refer to the re-entry policy in the Athletic Training program Student Handbook for further information.

Students who withdraw from the AT program may have their records reviewed for possible readmission by program faculty. Readmission will be determined by the faculty based on this review and any additional criteria required at the discretion of the faculty. Refer to the University catalog for further information regarding procedures.