FSU’s New 5-Year BS in Exercise and Sport Science/MS in Athletic Training First in Maryland

May 3, 2019 9:15 AM

Allied health professions are among the fastest growing career paths in the country. In response to that need, Frostburg State University will begin offering a combined Bachelor of Science in Exercise and Sport Science/Master of Science in Athletic Training, a program that can be completed in just five years.

Beginning in 2022, the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) mandates that all athletic training education programs make a transition to a master’s degree to allow its graduates to take the Board of Certification Exam.

The Maryland Higher Education Commission recently granted approval for FSU to offer the only program of its kind in the state of Maryland. Frostburg is discontinuing its bachelor’s degree in athletic training and will begin the combined five-year program in the fall.

FSU has also created a two-year master’s program for students who already have a related undergraduate degree to transition to the new CAATE standards, but the combined degree will save new students time and money.

“The combined program in Exercise and Sport Science/MSAT is a dual-degree program where a student starts out as an exercise and sport science major and completes a degree in about three years. Upon graduating, they transition into the athletic training master’s program, which takes an additional two years,” said Dr. Jacqueline Durst, assistant professor of kinesiology. “They are finished in five years, saving both time and money compared to the traditional path.”

Frostburg’s program is the only one in Maryland allowing students to meet the CAATE requirement in only five years of study. The accrediting commission is the same for all schools nationwide, so the Frostburg program provides the same high-quality instruction found at other accredited schools.

Athletic training is an allied health profession as recognized by the American Medical Association. As the medical field changes and incorporates modern and more innovative techniques, the field of athletic training is transitioning to provide a higher level of care for patients.

“Our AT students engage in hands-on learning that prepares them for post-graduate school, such as Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy or Physician Assistant school,” said Durst. “Because of this training, our AT students learn to communicate well with patients and other allied health professionals about injuries, treatment and rehabilitation options in a professional manner. They understand injury documentation, paperwork and administration.”

Employment opportunities extend beyond the typical high school and professional sports arena. Many other entities, including dance troupes, public safety such as police departments and firefighters, the military and industrial corporations, are all beginning to see the benefits of having allied health professionals on staff.

“Athletic trainers in an industrial setting are on site to care for injured employees. They provide stretching exercises, proper lifting and biomechanical techniques, and rehabilitation to help decrease the company’s overall medical costs,” said Durst.

Additionally, physical therapy clinics hire athletic trainers to provide care to high school student-athletes in an outreach program. Athletic trainers work at PT clinics in the morning and at high schools in the afternoon.

“It’s a win-win situation bringing in revenue for the PT clinic. ATs can refer student athletes to the PT clinic where they have more hours and resources than at the high school,” said Durst.

“Our students have been really successful. The majority of them get jobs in the allied health field six months post-graduation,” Durst said.

For more information, contact Durst at jrdurst@frostburg.edu.

Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 12 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit the Frostburg State web site or the FSU Facebook page. Follow FSU on Twitter @frostburgstate.