Athletic Training Masters Degree Programs Pennsylvania

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Two Cal U students sit in front of cal's old main building.Two Cal U students sit in front of cal's old main building.

Master of Science in Athletic Training

Become an athletic trainer

Get in the game as an athletic trainer, a healthcare professional with the knowledge and clinical skills required to prevent, diagnose and rehabilitate injuries.

California University of Pennsylvania’s Master of Science in Athletic Training degree program takes a hands-on, multifaceted approach to preparing students for certification and a career in this fast-growing occupation.

Athletic trainers collaborate with physicians to provide preventive care, emergency response, clinical examination and diagnosis of injuries, along with therapeutic interventions and rehabilitation services.

Athletic training is recognized as an allied healthcare profession by the American Medical Association and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Gain clinical skills through real-life experiences

Graduate students in this hybrid master’s degree program take some courses on Cal U’s campus, including clinical skills labs and two cadaver anatomy dissection courses, which provide a foundational understanding of human anatomy. During one semester, students take courses online while engaging in a clinical practicum.

Students develop clinical skills in areas such as:

  • Casting.
  • Manual therapies.
  • Therapeutic interventions.
  • Pharmacology.
  • Advanced sports nutrition.

Each semester, students are engaged in a variety of clinical education experiences with groups ranging from Cal U intercollegiate athletics and club sports to athletic teams at local high schools and colleges.

In the second year of the program, athletic training students engage in clinical immersion at a wide variety of affiliated sites. Potential for sites are endless — for example, the NFL, NBA, Disney Wide World of Sports and UPMC Health Systems, among others.

In their final semester, athletic training students complete the course ATE 750, Orthopedic Appliances: Casting and Bracing, and become eligible to take the certification exam offered by the American Society of Orthopedic Professions to become a Registered Orthopedic Technologist (ROT). 

Prepare for the national certification exam

By 2022, anyone seeking certification in athletic training will be required to hold a graduate-level degree.

Students who complete Cal U’s M.S. in Athletic Training will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination, the Board of Certification (BOC) exam, to obtain athletic training certification. A successful candidate then has the ability to obtain a state medical license to practice as an athletic trainer.

This graduate degree program can be completed in two academic years plus two summer sessions.

Practice in top athletic training facilities

Students in the master’s degree program in athletic training have access to athletic training facilities in Cal U’s Hamer Hall, Convocation Center, Adamson Stadium and Phillipsburg soccer complex.

Athletic training equipment includes a Biodex isokinetic system, a SwimEx therapy pool, and the latest in modalities and therapeutic exercise equipment.

Athletic training students have the opportunity to engage in scholarly research through a research project capstone or thesis, and to apply for grant funding and/or submit their research for publication or presentation.

Networking opportunities are available through alumni gatherings, professional events and the Athletic Training Student Organization.

Employment outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, athletic training jobs are projected to increase by 22% between 2014 and 2024, faster than the average for all occupations.

The demand for athletic trainers is expected to grow as people become more aware of the effects of sports-related injuries and Americans remain active as they age. 

Graduates of Cal U’s M.S. in Athletic Training may find employment in:

  • High schools, colleges or universities.
  • Professional sports franchises.
  • Clinics or physicians’ offices.
  • Military or industrial settings.
  • Companies that provide assistive orthopedic devices.
  • Nontraditional settings such as performing arts, motocross or bull riding venues.

For example, athletic training graduate Gordon William ’06 has built his career with the National Football League. He was employed with the Philadelphia Eagles from 2006-2009 and now is an assistant athletic trainer with the Cleveland Browns.

Kelly Pagnotta ’08 went on to earn advanced degrees at the University of Connecticut. Now she’s an assistant professor at Temple University and the primary instructor for the Doctor of Athletic Training program.


This 63-credit master’s degree program gives students a solid foundation of knowledge, as well as skills developed through clinical immersion experiences, lab courses and cadaver dissection.

The program includes both on-campus and online courses. In addition to courses in the fall and spring semesters, students attend classes during two summer terms and one winter term.

See the M.S. in Athletic Training curriculum here.

Additional information

View the M.S. in Athletic Training Policies and Procedures Manual

Important Information


Application Details

California University of Pennsylvania will begin accepting applications for the M.S. in Athletic Training beginning in spring 2018.

For more information, contact Dr. Kayla Shinew, program director, at or 724-938-4823.


Admissions Requirements

Students applying to the M.S. in Athletic Training program must: submit/complete:

  • Earn a ‘C+’ or better in all prerequisite coursework (see Table 1).
  • Earn a grade-point average of 3.0 or better in prerequisite coursework.
  • Have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or higher.
  • Submit proof of immunization.
  • Complete a minimum of 30 clinical observations hours, across three different rotations.
  • Submit two letters of recommendation.
  • Provide verification of CPR/AED certification.
  • Meet physical and behavior technical standards to successfully complete all program requirements.
  • Complete an interview with athletic training program faculty.

Table 1. Program Prerequisite Courses


Human physiology


Exercise physiology






Human anatomy


In addition, the student must submit the following items:


BOC Pass Rate

3Yr. Aggregate




Number of students graduating from program





Number of students graduating from program who took examination





Number of students who passed the examination on the first attempt





Percentage of students who passed the examination on the first attempt





Number of students who passed the examination regardless of the number of attempts





Percentage of students who passes the examination regardless of the number of attempts






Athletic Training Faculty 

Kayla Shinew, Ph.D., AT, ROT
Associate professor and program director

Shelly DiCesaro, Ph.D., AT
Associate professor and clinical education coordinator

Jamie Weary, DPT, AT
Associate professor

Jeff Giovanni, M.A., AT

Mindi Fisher, M.A., AT

Danielle McElhiney, M.S., AT

Dr. Jose Ramirez-Del Toro
Medical director

More Info

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