Online Master of Athletic Training

If you have a passion for wellness and helping others, take your skills to the next level in the nation’s first online Master of Athletic Training (M.A.T.) program at Hardin-Simmons University.

Our groundbreaking, 22-month athletic training master’s degree combines online coursework with six on-campus intensive sessions to learn the hands-on skills of athletic training. The second year is almost exclusively clinical experience at sites you help select. Faculty bring more than 50 years of combined expertise to the coursework, including clinical experience at the NCAA Division I and III levels.

Our track record speaks for itself: 100% of HSU’s 2021 master’s in athletic training graduates passed the BOC exam on their first attempt and are employed as athletic trainers.

Innovative Coursework to Prepare Leaders

HSU’s athletic training master’s program includes five comprehensive Diagnosis and Management courses that combine diagnostic skills with treatment, rehabilitation, and other management techniques for each body region. Our program also features Clinical Decision Making and Documentation courses to enhance your clinical practice, which are rarely offered as part of athletic training master’s curricula.

At HSU, you can earn your bachelor’s and master’s in athletic training in just five years through our 3-2 program option. Interested in taking your education further? We also offer a direct admission path from the master’s in athletic training program to HSU’s Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.

Program Contact

David Stuckley- Director of Athletic Training Education

David Stuckey, M.S., LAT, ATC

Associate Professor of Athletic Training, Director of Athletic Training Education

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Why earn your Master’s in Athletic Training at Hardin-Simmons?

Athletic Training student puts bandage on basketball player's ankle

First Online MAT in the Nation

Combining online coursework with six, 1-week on-campus intensives, our master’s degree in athletic training offers the best of both worlds for flexibility and hands-on learning, even making it possible to continue working through your first year of school. We provide more than $1,500 in textbooks electronically at no cost. For your second-year clinical experiences, we also work to help you find the best location and setting to match your professional goals.

Athletic Training students in class

State-of-the-Art Facilities

When you’re learning on campus, you’ll be working in one of the top facilities in the nation for athletic training education. Our 4,400 square foot Athletic Training Building features a state-of-the-art skills lab that contains the latest equipment for diagnostic, emergency care treatment, and rehabilitation, as well as a simulation center, and classroom.

Athletic Training student puts bandage on football players hand

Exceptional Faculty

Our faculty have more than 50 years of combined athletic training experience, including clinical experience at the NCAA Division I and III levels. The director of the program was inducted into the Southwest Athletic Trainers’ Association Hall of Fame in 2016, and was selected as a Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association in 2013.

Kylie Drost

What Can You Do With a Master’s in Athletic Training?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of athletic trainers will grow 23% over the next decade, making this one of the fastest growing health professions in the nation.

Athletic trainers work in many different types of health settings — high schools, colleges and universities, professional sports facilities, military, police and fire departments, medical offices, and more. Earning your master’s degree will not only open the door to the widest range of career opportunities, it will also prepare you with the knowledge and hands-on skills to provide the best possible care to your clients.

When you earn your master’s of athletic training at HSU, you can look forward with confidence: 100% of our 2021 program graduates are employed as athletic trainers and 100% passed the BOC exam on their first attempt. You can also count on getting support to help you succeed, as our faculty and clinical preceptors regularly help students with networking and finding jobs.

Program Details

The Master of Athletic Training program at HSU combines classroom and clinical education to prepare students to become credentialed athletic trainers and ethical servant leaders. Required coursework explores topics including patient assessment, management of emergency and acute conditions, therapeutic intervention, clinical decision making, research methods, and diagnosis and management of injuries.

View courses and admission requirements for the online master’s in athletic training in the HSU Graduate Catalog.

The online program has been strategically designed for the process to become a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Athletic Training Education (CAATE). The accreditation process will begin during Summer 2022 and the program will submit a self-study to the CAATE by July 1, 2023. After a CAATE peer review team assesses the program during the ’23-’24 academic year, our goal is to receive CAATE accreditation in Spring 2024. Submitting the self-study and completing the review process does not guarantee CAATE accreditation. While we expect accreditation will be granted, it is not guaranteed. The program has a history of successful accreditation and reaccreditation actions, being successfully accredited in 2005, reaccredited twice and CAATE approval of the in-person MAT degree.

Graduation from a CAATE-accredited program grants eligibility for the Board of Certification, Inc. (BOC) examination. Passing the BOC exam makes you eligible for a state practice credential in the 49 states that regulate athletic training.

Master of Athletic Training Outcomes
2021 2022
BOC Exam Results
Number of students graduating from program 4 7
Took exam 4 7
Passed exam 1st time 4 6
1st time percent 100 85
All attempts pass 4 85
All attempts percent 100 85
Graduation
Graduation number 4 7
Graduation rate 100 100
Retention
Number of students starting the program 4 7
Number of students graduating from program 4 7
Percent of students graduating from program 100 100
Employment
Number of graduates employed as athletic trainers 4 TBD
Percentage of graduates employed as athletic trainers 100
Number of students employed as other 0
Percent as other 0
Number unemployed 0
Percent unemployed 0

The 3-2 option provides HSU students the opportunity to earn both their Bachelor’s & MAT degrees in 5 years. Requirements for this option are more stringent than normal admission. These requirements include:

  • Course Prerequisites
    • Human Anatomy & Physiology with lab (8 credits)
    • Chemistry with lab (4 credits)
    • Physics with lab (4 credits)
    • Kinesiology/Biomechanics (3 credits)
    • Exercise Physiology (3 credits)
    • Statistics – upper-level (3 credits)
    • Nutrition (3 credits)
    • Psychology (6 credits – 3 upper-level)
    • Introduction to Athletic Training (1 credit)
    • Introduction to Public Health (3 credits)
    • Introduction to Epidemiology (3 credits)
  • Other requirements
  • Meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee admission.
  • Before first class day
    • CPR for Professional Rescuer certification
    • Complete assigned online Medical Terminology course
    • Vaccination record (see MAT Program handbook)
    • Medical History (MAT medical history form)
    • Program risk acknowledgement
    • COVID clinical acknowledgement
    • Handbook acknowledgement

To be qualified for a guaranteed interview and automatic admission to the DPT Program, students must meet all requirements for the PT program. Students are required to have a minimum overall cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.2 and a minimum Master of Athletic Training GPA (at the end of the second summer semester) of 3.5. If the cumulative GPA in the MAT falls below a 3.3 in subsequent MAT semesters, the DPT program may withdraw the automatic admission offer. The HSU-PT Admissions Committee reviews all completed applications to determine admission, placement on the alternate list, or rejection of the candidate based on the available information. AT students must obtain a minimum of 40 hours of observation directly under a physical therapist who can write a letter of recommendation for the student, in addition to 50 Athletic Training clinical hours.   Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores must be at a minimal level of 148 for the verbal and qualitative sections and a 4.0 for writing. Official exam scores from the GRE must be submitted for documentation. Prospective students are urged to take the test no later than August of the year prior to application submission. The students must complete a personal interview with the PT Admissions team and receive an “admit” score.  Additionally, the student must be able to pass a national background check and meet the minimal required abilities as detailed annually on the HSU DPT Program web site: https://www.hsutx.edu/academics/graduate-programs/doctorate-physical-therapy/

Applicants must have documented service to others in one or more of the following settings: at the college, in their community, state or with national organizations and events. Service may entail participation with service organizations, missionary organizations, or their place of worship, as examples. It may occur during public service events, medical outreach events or medical missionary events and should be outside the realm of employment requirements. The service must benefit others more than the student themselves.

Admissions Application for HSU DPT

  • Athletic Training to Doctor of Physical Therapy students interested in pursuing an interview and automatic admit into HSU DPT must:
  • Submit an application through the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) in the fall prior to starting the DPT program and provide all necessary documents for the application process.
  • Designate HSU DPT Program as a program of choice.
  • Submit three letters of recommendation to include at least one recommendation from a practicing Physical Therapist, one from a practicing licensed Athletic Trainer (other than an HSU-AT faculty member), and one from an HSU-AT faculty member. The letters of recommendation will be uploaded to PTCAS with the student’s application. Letters of recommendation are due before an interview is granted.

Interview

AT to DPT student applicants meeting the criteria for admission will be granted an interview and shall travel to Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas at their own expense for the interview.

Post Interview

The HSU DPT Admissions Committee reviews all applications including the interview evaluations, personal statements, letters of recommendation and academic records and makes recommendations to admit, defer, or reject the candidate based on the available information. HSU DPT seeks candidates that will advance the mission and vision of the DPT Program and HSU. Admission is based on a wide variety of factors, not merely GPA or GRE scores. If the student is to be offered matriculation, the student will be notified directly by the HSU DPT Office of Admissions.

Why did the program stop?

The undergraduate program had too low of a pass rate in 2018 & 2019 on the BOC exam. Since the graduate & undergraduate programs are accredited together by CAATE, both degree programs had to close. The graduate (MAT) program has not had any difficulties; 91% of the 2 in-person MAT cohorts passed the BOC exam on their first attempt. We believe this demonstrates the MAT curriculum can provide you with the knowledge & skills to be successful on the BOC exam & as a professional.

What about accreditation?

Hardin-Simmons University will be seeking accreditation for their new Athletic Training program and is not accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE).  The institution will start preparing the self-study in Summer, 2022 & will be submitting a self-study to begin the accreditation process before July 1, 2023. Submission of the self-study and completion of a site visit does not guarantee that the program will become accredited. Students that graduate from the program prior to accreditation WILL NOT be eligible to sit for the credentialing examination for athletic trainers and will not be eligible for licensure in most states. The earliest accreditation can be received is Spring, 2024.

What is the difference between licensure & certification?

Legally, a state AT practice act, typically licensure, dictates what an AT can & cannot do while practicing working in that state. Passing the BOC exam & becoming BOC-certified provides you the opportunity to obtain licensure in the 49 states (California does not) that regulate athletic training.

Can I take the BOC exam?

Students who graduate from the program prior to accreditation WILL NOT be eligible to sit for the credentialing examination for athletic trainers and will not be eligible for licensure in most states. The earliest accreditation can be received is Spring, 2024. While we expect accreditation will be granted, it is not guaranteed. However, the program’s history of successful accreditation & reaccreditation actions should be considered. The first cohort is scheduled to graduate in May, 2024.

What does the program cost?

The cost per hour is still to be determined, but the cost tab below will be updated soon.

What are the on-campus intensive sessions?

These 6-day, on-campus interactive sessions are full of demonstrations, immediate feedback for hands-on skills, and scenarios that build on the knowledge you learned in your previous classes and introduce the basic skills of your next course. These sessions are crucial to student advancement within the program. They will be a great time to clarify information, interact with other up-and-coming professionals, and integrate/practice essential professional skills.

These are tentatively scheduled for:

  • August 14-20, 2022
  • October 16-22, 2022
  • December 11-17, 2022
  • March 5-11, 2023
  • May 14-20, 2023
  • January 7-13, 2024

Attendance at these sessions is mandatory. You cannot progress through the program without attending them in sequence. There are no excused absences for these sessions; missing a session for any reason may delay your graduation. Concerns about this should be addressed with the Director of Athletic Training Education.

Where can I stay for the on-campus intensive sessions?

There are a variety of hotels in the Abilene area along with Airbnb locations to choose from. There may be on-campus options available. If you are interested in staying on-campus, please contact the program director for more information.

Whitten Inn (2.4 miles)
1625 Texas Highway 351, Abilene, TX 79601
Whitteninn.com
325-673-5271

Comfort Suites University (2.3 miles)
1902 E Overland Trail, Abilene, TX 79601
Choicehotels.com
325-480-8486

Hampton Inn & Suites Abilene I-20 (1.8 miles)
3526 W Lake Rd, Abilene, TX 79601
Hilton.com
325-673-4400

Big Country Hotel & Suites (7.3)
3010 Catclaw Dr, Abilene, TX 79606
Bigcountryhotelabilene.com
325-690-6400

Do I have to live in Abilene?

No. The State of Texas was approved by the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) to join the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) under the administration of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. HSU is a current member of the SARA agreement in the State of Texas. This is an agreement between member states, territories and districts of the United States of America allowing students to enroll in online programs in other states, territories & districts. As of July 2019, 49 states (all but California), the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have joined SARA.

What type of computer, internet connection, etc. do I need?

You will need a reliable computer with consistent, high-speed internet access. These will be crucial to completing course assignments. Basic requirements include:

  • Processor: 1 GHz or faster processor
  • RAM: Computer memory is directly affected by how many programs are running at any given time. Running multiple applications at once slows a computer’s performance. Therefore, we recommend students have at least 4 GB (8+ is better) of RAM installed.
  • Sound: A working sound card and speakers will be required. Some web classes also require a headset & microphone.
  • Web camera
  • Internet Connection: High-speed internet connection, such as DSL or a cable modem. Your internet connection is critical for viewing videos and other supplemental content in Canvas.
  • Monitor: A monitor with a minimum 800 x 600 resolution is required. It is recommended that students have a monitor with at 1024 x 768 or more.

More information on technology requirements may be found in the MAT Program Handbook. It is highly recommended you do assignments on a computer & not a smartphone.

Can I work during while I take classes?

Yes, we recognize many students will attempt to hold regular employment during the first year of the program. Employment during the second year is strongly discouraged, due to the immersive, near-full-time nature of the clinical experience requirements. Regardless of whether employed or not, students are responsible for meeting ALL program requirements & due dates. Under no circumstances will a student be excused from on-campus intensive sessions, due to employment or other conflicts.

What are clinical experiences & where can I do them?

The CAATE defines athletic training clinical experiences as:

Direct client/patient care guided by a preceptor who is an athletic trainer or physician. Athletic training clinical experiences are used to verify students’ abilities to meet the curricular content standards. When direct client/patient care opportunities are not available, simulation may be used for this verification.

This standard must be met through the selection of high-quality experiences.

Clinical experiences are hands-on time working alongside certified athletic trainers and physicians. These experiences allow the real-life application of classroom knowledge throughout the program. The first year is more focused on gaining an academic basis with minimal clinical requirements, while the student is immersed into several clinical settings the second year.

Clinical sites must have a certified athletic trainer or physician overseeing the athletic training student. The Clinical Coordinator will work with each student to identify clinical sites that meet program and accreditation guidelines along with student goals and preferred location(s).

Estimated Time First year:  

  • Fall clinical experience for 6 weeks with 10-15 hours per week
  • Spring clinical experience for 6 weeks with 10-15 hours per week

Estimated Time Second year:

  • Fall & Spring immersive experiences for 15 weeks per semester with a minimum of 30 hours a week (depending on work hours of clinical preceptor).
  • The absolute minimum requirement is 300 hours/semester; however, the actual clinical time requirement is determined by the characteristics of the clinical site, the preceptor & clinical education coordinator. An agreement will be signed by the student, preceptor & clinical education coordinator detailing specific requirements of the clinical experience.
  • These can be divided by various clinical sites

Clinical site/experience requirements:

  • A student must have experiences at minimum of 3 separate clinical sites during the second year.
  • Sites must be carefully selected to provide experiences that must include:
    • A variety of patient populations (i.e., sports, genders, age, etc.)
    • A variety of health conditions typically seen in athletic training practice
    • Adequate number of patient/client interactions
    • A clinical experience is required from each of these 3 categories:
      • Middle/High school sports
      • College/University/Professional sports
      • Emerging (non-sport) settings such as:
        • Military
        • Occupational health
        • Performing arts
        • Physician office
        • Hospital/Emergency room
      • Living & transportation expenses are the student’s responsibility

Examples of previous students’ clinical experiences in Texas:

  • Hardin-Simmons University
  • Abilene Christian University
  • Abilene Sports Medicine & Orthopedics
  • Abilene High School
  • Abilene Cooper High School
  • University of Incarnate Word- Athletics & Vision center
  • San Antonio Fire department
  • Trinity University
  • Comal School district (San Antonio, TX)
  • Shannon Sports Medicine (San Angelo, TX)
  • Brenham High School
  • The Woodlands High School
  • University of North Texas
  • University of Dallas
  • Children’s Health
  • McKinney ISD
  • Southlake Carroll High School

In other states:

  • Fairfax County Police Department (Virginia)
  • University of Arizona (Arizona)
  • University of South Alabama (Alabama)
  • Duval Schools (Florida)
  • Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute (Florida)
  • University of Louisiana at Monroe (Louisiana)
  • Athletico Physical Therapy (Illinois)

These experiences cannot be observation only. The goal is to help students smoothly transition from textbook knowledge to confident, professional clinicians.

More details about clinical education requirements can be found in the MAT Program Handbook.

How much time will I need to study?

Using the Carnegie Unit as a commonly accepted standard, Hardin-Simmons University defines a credit hour, recorded by the university as a semester hour, in terms of instructional time and associated class preparation. Each credit hour reflects one hour of instructional time per week for a total of 15 instructional hours per semester. Graduate students are expected to spend a minimum of 3 hours in class preparation for each credit hour. Thus, students are expected to spend a minimum of approximately 4 hours engaged in learning per week per semester for each credit hour.

Using the examples above, when you are taking 2 4-credit courses in a session, you can expect to need a minimum of 32 hours per week completing course requirements. You should consider the amount of time that will be required for program requirements when committing to other obligations, such as work, athletics, etc.

Is an undergraduate degree required?

Yes, an undergraduate degree is required to enter the MAT program. However, there are two options for completing this requirement. You can complete your undergraduate degree prior to entering the program or HSU students can take the 3-2 route where you will graduate with both an undergraduate and graduate degree in 5 years. More information on the 3-2 option can be found in the 3-2 tab below.

If you have completed or are close to completing your undergraduate degree, completing that degree is likely your best option. If you are starting your undergraduate education or are early in your undergraduate degree, the 3-2 option may allow you to complete requirements for both your undergraduate and MAT degree sooner.

Are observations required?

Yes, 50 observation hours with a certified/licensed athletic trainer are required. You can see our MAT observation log. For 3-2 students, 100 observation hours are required.

Is a criminal background check required?

The program requires a criminal background check after June 1 of their second year prior to starting clinical experiences. Clinical sites may require additional background checks and/or drug testing. Prospective students should also be aware of credentialing agency requirements regarding a candidate’s previous criminal history. Students with a previous criminal history should direct questions regarding eligibility for AT licensure and/or certification to the Director of AT Education.

Do I have access to student services if I’m not in Abilene?

Yes. Contact information is provided below:

Student Services Contact Information
Business Office (student accounts) (325) 670-1001
Career Services (resume help, job searching) careerservices@hsutx.edu (325) 670-1166
Counseling Services (telehealth service available) counseling@hsutx.edu (325) 671-2272
Disability Support Services disabilityservices@hsutx.edu (325) 670-5842
Financial Aid financialaid@hsutx.edu (325) 670-1050
Institutional Review Board (research) irb@hsutx.edu
Library (chat/other contact info available on library website) hsuref@hsutx.edu (325) 670-1578
Registrar’s Office (course registration, withdrawal, graduation, transcripts) reg@hsutx.edu (325) 670-1368
Technology Services (on-campus internet access, email, HSU Central) helpdesk@hsutx.edu (325) 670-1288
Veteran Student Affairs (325) 670-1203
Dr. Janelle O’Connell, Dean, College of Health Professions joconnel@hsutx.edu (325) 670-1339
Dr. Chris McNair, Provost cmcnair@hsutx.edu (325) 670-1597
Other Contact Information available: www.hsutx.edu/offices
Other information is available in the HSU Student Handbook

How is admission determined?

Admission decisions are made by the Program Director & Core Faculty. These faculty & other stakeholders will conduct interviews (in-person or web conference). In the evaluation of applications, substantial weight is normally given to the undergraduate academic record and, when required, standardized test scores. Each application, however, is evaluated individually using a ranking form and careful consideration is given to applicants who present other evidence of graduate potential. Applicants who have recently completed undergraduate work, for example, may expect that their academic record will serve as the principal indicator of graduate potential. Alternatively, applicants who have had time to establish a record of effective professional experience beyond their undergraduate experience may expect that to be given significant consideration as well. If the faculty believe a student shows promise, but has a GPA or other deficiency, admission may be made on a conditional basis.

How do I apply?

Online MAT Applications are now open!

The tuition for the program is $595 per credit hour for the 77 hour program; total tuition cost $45,815.

General fees depend on the number of credit hours in a session:

  • ≥12 hours/semester:  $1,080 (Fall/Spring Year 1; Fall Year 2)
  • 9-11 hours/semester:  $820 (Spring Year 2)
  • 5-8 hours/semester:  $580 (Summer Year 1; Summer Year 2)
  • 1-4 hours/semester:  $390

A one-time program fee of $1,200 is charged the first summer of the program. This fee is used to pay for:

  • Several online education services
  • NATA student membership
  • Typhon program management subscription
  • Examsoft online testing program

Total program cost:  $52,625

Clinical Experience costs:

  • Any transportation/living expenses related to clinical education are the student’s responsibility
  • Additional preceptor-related fees may be required for clinical experiences in the second year.

If you’re thinking about going for your master’s in athletic training, here are other graduate programs available at Hardin-Simmons University you might be interested in learning more about: