UNI has become the first institution in the state of Iowa to receive accreditation for its professional athletic training master's program. The accreditation means that graduates will be eligible to sit for the Board of Certification examination and to enter the profession of athletic training.
For Kelli Snyder, associate professor and athletic training program director at UNI, the accreditation is the fruition of a process that started five years ago. The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) now mandates universities across the country to phase out their bachelor-level programs in favor of the advanced master's program. Institutions have until 2022 to transition their undergraduate athletic training education programs to the graduate level.
Snyder said it helped that UNI was transitioning from an existing undergraduate program already in good standing with CAATE, rather than starting from scratch. Nonetheless, the accreditation process was arduous, with faculty working closely to ensure new program curricula met the new standards for athletic training programs.
“Students don’t have to come here and hope that we receive our accreditation. Because we've achieved that and we've gone through that process, students know that when they finish here, they'll be certification-eligible. There's no risk and having to cross their fingers and hope that everything goes well with accreditation,” Snyder said. “And we're the only ones in the state who can say that right now.”
The newly accredited athletic training master's program at UNI is a two-year program, with the first cohort of students starting classes this past summer.