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MSMU Provides Pathway to Master’s Degree in Athletic Training Through Partnership With Bridgewater College

Communications Staff

Mount St. Mary’s University recently announced a partnership with Bridgewater College to provide Mount students interested in a master’s degree in athletic training a streamlined pathway for pursuing advanced education in this growing field.

athletic-training.jpg“This is a fantastic opportunity for Mount students interested in athletic training,” said Jeffrey Simmons, Ph.D., current professor and former dean of the School of Natural Science and Mathematics at Mount St. Mary’s, who worked on the partnership. “They will gain preferential access to the outstanding master’s program at Bridgewater which will take much of the anxiety out of the graduate school search process.”

Athletic trainers, who are recognized by the American Medical Association as health care professionals, do more than just treat injuries and help patients recover. Athletic trainers also focus on injury prevention, as well as provide immediate emergency management of physical trauma as part of their role.

“Athletic Training is always evolving, so you need to enjoy learning as new techniques to improve rehab and treatments always come out every year,” said Mark Myers, head athletic trainer at the Mount. “The profession is growing and job opportunities are available in secondary school settings, colleges and universities, professional and industrial sectors, hospitals or doctor offices, and sport camps. My education afforded me the opportunity to work in college and university settings, be involved with athletic training education, two summer internships with the Indianapolis Colts, and meet some outstanding people.”

There’s also growing demand for certified athletic trainers in sectors including high school, college and professional athletics, hospitals and other health care facilities, and the armed forces. Job growth for athletic trainers is expected to grow by 21 percent from 2014 through 2024, which is much faster than the average growth rate of 7 percent for all occupations during that time, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Master of Science in Athletic Training program at Bridgewater College is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE), and Bridgewater is the first school in Virginia to successfully secure CAATE accreditation at the master’s level via the substantive change process.

“I am extremely excited about this new partnership with Mount St. Mary’s University,” said Charles W. Hale IV, who holds a doctorate of education and is the director of the athletic training program at Bridgewater College. “We are very passionate about the athletic training profession here at Bridgewater College, and very much look forward to working with Mount graduates. I firmly believe that our academic curriculum consisting of evidence-based practice research, clinical decision-making, and in-depth clinical immersions will prepare our students to be the athletic trainers of the future.”

After this two-year, selective guaranteed admissions program, students may sit for the athletic training Board of Certification (BOC) exam. This program is open to students with any undergraduate major, however health science, biology and psychology degrees tend to be the best fit.

To qualify for an interview with the Bridgewater admission committee, Mount students need to carry a minimum 2.7 GPA, have completed all prerequisite courses and met all pre-admission requirements. Bridgewater guarantees admission for the top two candidates each year, provided the candidates meet Bridgewater’s criteria.

Students in Bridgewater’s program will gain real-world experience on campus at the athletic training facilities in the recently renovated Nininger Hall and working with some of Bridgewater College’s 22 NCAA Division III athletic teams. Off-campus, experience is gained at a variety of clinical sites, including area secondary schools, rehabilitation clinics and the state-of-the-art Sentara RMH Medical Center. Students also have close working relationships with faculty, as professors prepare them to sit for the BOC exam. In fact, since 2010, 95 percent of Bridgewater’s undergraduate athletic training students have passed the national certification exam on their first attempt.

For more information contact Patricia J. Kreke, Ph.D., health professions advisor at 301-447-5566 or

Communications Staff