The Master of Athletic Training (M.A.T.) program at Abilene Christian University has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) for five years.
ACU’s M.A.T. program is one of only eight nationwide and the only one in Texas to achieve initial accreditation under the new 2020 CAATE standards. The accreditation means graduates are eligible to sit for the Board of Certification Exam, which leads to national certification as an athletic trainer.
“The CAATE accreditation is a tremendous step forward for the Master of Athletic Training program at ACU,” said vice provost Dr. Susan Lewis.
Not only does accreditation ensure ACU graduates meet the standards set forth by CAATE, “it is a way students and families and our peers know that an institution provides a quality program,” said Dr. Melissa Long, assistant professor of kinesiology and nutrition, who directs the M.A.T. program.
This 55-hour, professional (entry-level) master’s degree is offered residentially in Abilene with a new cohort beginning in June every year. It includes an experiential learning component in fulfillment of the clinical experience requirement for each semester. Students also have two four- to six-week immersion experiences working alongside an athletic trainer in which they are exposed to all aspects of the profession.
The demand for athletic trainers across all practice settings is increasing, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the profession will grow 21 percent by 2022. Upon graduation from ACU’s M.A.T. program, students will be able to apply athletic training skills and knowledge in areas such as evidence-based practice, prevention and health promotion, clinical examination and diagnosis, acute care of injury and illness and therapeutic interventions.
ACU’s program offers a unique opportunity for students desiring to pursue an entry- level M.A.T. at a smaller NCAA Division I school. The program provides students with academic course work, hands-on laboratory classes and diverse clinical experiences, all while reinforcing Christ-centered values.
Abilene Christian is the highest-ranking university in Texas in a 2020 U.S. News & World Report benchmark focused on student success. ACU achieved Top 20 status in three of eight high-impact categories among 1,500 universities evaluated for “A Focus on Student Success” and is the only Texas institution to be ranked in five of the categories.