William Paterson University to Launch a Master’s Degree Program in Athletic Training

William Paterson University will launch a new, accelerated program in fall 2020 that results in students graduating with a bachelor of science in sport medicine in three years, and then a master of science in athletic training two years after that. As such, graduates of the “3+2” program will leave the University with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years total.

The University previously offered an undergraduate, four-year bachelor of science degree in athletic training, which was accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). That accrediting body mandated that in order to graduate athletic training students eligible to sit for the athletic trainer Board of Certification exam, all bachelor of science programs in athletic training, William Paterson’s included, had to be transitioned into a master’s degree-level program.

William Paterson University is one of two institutions in the State of New Jersey that elected to fulfill CAATE’s new requirement with a 3+2 program. Others have chosen to offer a two-year athletic training graduate degree program on top of their existing four-year bachelor’s or a 5-year athletic training master’s degree, according to Linda Gazzillo Diaz, director of William Paterson University’s Athletic Training Education Program.

“Our University felt strongly about affording students the opportunity to graduate and get out into the athletic training workforce in five years versus six,” Gazzillo Diaz says. “Also, we thought it would be more beneficial to students’ overall education and professional preparation to offer the 3+2 degrees in two related fields – sport medicine and athletic training. These two complimentary degree programs will make for highly educated, well-rounded, future athletic training professionals.”

Doing so, she adds, also allows options for students who begin the program, but then decide they no longer want or are unable to pursue a career in athletic training. With a bachelor’s in sport medicine, students can pursue related careers or graduate education in fields such as exercise physiology, physical therapy, or sport management.

In the 3+2 program, which was fully accredited by CAATE this summer, only those students who earn the bachelor of sport medicine degree with a 3.0 grade point average or higher, as well as meet other admission requirements, will be permitted to continue on to the masters-level coursework in athletic training. In order to complete the bachelor of sport medicine in three years, students must take summer courses.