Athletic training student working on a man's shoulder

The athletic trainer is a health care professional who renders service or treatment, under the direction of or in collaboration with a physician, in accordance with their education and training, and the state’s statutes, rules and regulations.

As a part of the health care team, services provided by athletic trainers include primary care, injury and illness prevention, wellness promotion and education, emergent care, examination and clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention, and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions.

Program Type

Master’s

Program Format

On Campus
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Athletic Trainers…

Your work as an athletic trainer will take you to a wide variety of settings, including secondary schools, colleges and universities, clinics and hospitals, professional sports, performing arts, public safety, military, and occupational health.

Your clients will come from all walks of life and from all age groups.

The UWM athletic training master’s program is a graduate-level professional program that prepares you to become a credentialed athletic trainer. This is a program for students who already have a bachelor’s degree.

Here are some options for students just starting their undergraduate degree:

MS Athletic Training Student Handbook (PDF)

CAATE Accreditation Logo

Employment Outlook

Earnings

Athletic trainers working in full-time positions typically receive a salary and benefits. The salary depends on the education and experience of the athletic trainer and also on the setting in which the individual is working. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual income of athletic trainers in Wisconsin is $50,180, compared to the national average income of $48,440. The National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) provides estimates of salary by experience level, education and job setting based on a membership survey conducted every two years. The 2018 NATA Salary Survey (PDF) indicated a national average salary of $57,203.

Expected Growth

Projections from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development indicate that from 2020-2028, there will be a 10% increase in the number of athletic training jobs in the state of Wisconsin, and a 9% increase in the greater Milwaukee area (Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Waukesha and Washington counties). This exceeds the overall increase in health care practitioner positions (5%), indicating that athletic training continues as a strong area of growth in the health care professions.

Competition is expected for positions with collegiate or professional sports teams. These settings are expanding their services to physically active youth and adult populations. The demands for services will continue to expand beyond traditional “sport-related” roles to include exercise and reconditioning, on-site occupational health, on-site injury prevention, and fitness and wellness. As our society continues to age and increase its focus on health and physical activity, the role of the athletic trainer is likely to increase proportionally. The athletic trainer is able to provide a diverse perspective in the prevention and treatment/rehabilitation of physical activities across our diverse and aging population.

Competition for well-trained professionals with recognized degrees in the field, relevant experience, and certifications beyond minimal requirements are likely to drive salaries and positions in this industry. According to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, almost 70 percent of athletic trainers have a master’s degree or higher. Athletic trainers may need a master’s or higher degree to be eligible for some positions, especially those in colleges and universities, and to increase their advancement opportunities. Because some positions in high schools involve teaching along with athletic trainer responsibilities, a teaching certificate or license could be required.

Successful Alumni

The College of Health Sciences has over 10,000 alumni. These alumni have taken their health sciences degrees and have excelled in their careers.

Visit our Alumni page and be inspired by where a health sciences degree can take you.

Exceptions for 2021-2022 due to COVID-19

  • If your institution converted Spring 2021 course grading to Pass/Fail or similar, the Passing grade will be accepted without affecting the prerequisite GPA. 
  • Athletic training observation hours are now optional  
  • Two letters of recommendation. One letter must come from an academic reference, and the other should come from the athletic trainer with whom you completed the observation hours IF you were able to complete an observation. If you were not able to complete an observation, then the second letter can come from another supervisor or professor. 

Admission

Students earning a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology degree from UWM should have met all of the prerequisite courses needed for a strong foundation on which to build their athletic training education. Up to 25% (four out of 12) of slots per year are prioritized for highly qualified students holding a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology degree from UWM.  

If you have already completed a bachelor’s degree and are interested in taking courses at UWM to satisfy MSAT program prerequisites, you should apply for admission to UWM. On the application, you should identify your reason for applying as “Undergraduate courses as a visitor/guest student” and your “applying as” status as “Undergraduate non-degree student with a bachelor’s degree.” You should apply as a second degree student only if you plan to complete a second bachelor’s degree. Questions regarding financial aid for non-degree students should be directed to Gayla Jenkins (jenkinsg@uwm.edu) in the UWM Department of Financial Aid. 

Early Decision Cycle 
Application deadline: Nov. 1 
Interview window: Nov. 15 – Dec. 1 
Notification window: Dec. 1-15 

Rolling Admission 
After Nov.1, applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis until the class is filled, but no later than March 1. 

Admission Requirements

In addition to the Graduate School minimum qualifications, applications must meet the following prerequisites to be eligible for admission to the athletic training master’s program: 

  1. Completion of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with an overall cumulative grade point average (GPA) of a 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) at the time of application submission and graduation. Official transcripts must be submitted. Undergraduate degree must be completed by the time the applicant plans to begin in the MSAT program. 
  2. Completion of 10 prerequisite courses. A prerequisite GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) or grades of B or better is recommended. If your institution converted Spring 2020 course grading to pass/fail or similar, the passing grade will be accepted without affecting the prerequisite GPA. 
  3. Two letters of recommendation. One of the letters must come from an academic reference (preferably a faculty member as opposed to a graduate student instructor) and one from an athletic trainer with whom the applicant completed observation hours if they were completed.  If you didn’t complete an observation, then the second letter can come from another supervisor or professor.  The applicant generates the recommendation request from the ATCAS website once the application has been created.  
  4. Optional:  Completion of 20 hours of observation of athletic training practice with a certified athletic trainer within 12 months of application submission. 
    The observation hours documentation log can be found on the MSAT website. 
  5. Optional: GRE scores.  Those whose undergraduate GPA is below 3.0 must provide evidence of ability to succeed in graduate study, and taking the GRE is one of several options for providing this evidence. https://uwm.edu/graduateschool/admission/ 

    If GRE scores are being submitted, the General Test of the GRE should have been taken within the last five years. Applicants are encouraged to complete the GRE approximately six months before the date of application submission, if not sooner.  This timeframe allows an applicant to repeat the test to increase scores if desired. GRE scores can take up to eight weeks to be delivered to UWM. Applicants are encouraged to prepare in advance for the test. Additional information (including preparation materials) is available on the GRE’s website (link above).   UWM’s institutional GRE Code is 1473. 

Prerequisite Courses

You must complete the following 10 prerequisite courses. A prerequisite GPA of 3.0 is recommended for the athletic training master’s program.

Prerequisite CourseUWM Course Number (or equivalent)
Human Anatomy (with lab)*Biological Sciences 202
Human Physiology (with lab)*Biological Sciences 203
Chemistry I (with lab)Chemistry 100 or 102
BiologyBiology 150
Physics I (with lab)Physics 120 (lecture) and 121 (lab)
BiomechanicsKinesiology 320
Exercise PhysiologyKinesiology 330
Introductory NutritionBiomedical Sciences 232 or Nutritional Sciences 235
Introductory Psychology (3 cr.)Psychology 101
Statistics (3 cr.)Kinesiology 270
*You must complete a two-semester sequence of anatomy/physiology with lab. This can be a standalone anatomy course and a standalone physiology course or a two-semester combined anatomy/physiology course.

If you are currently enrolled in a prerequisite course, you may be granted conditional admission, pending successful completion of the course and meeting all prerequisite criteria. Preference will be given to applicants who have completed all prerequisite courses at the time of application submission.

Transfer Students

Due to the sequential and cumulative nature of the curriculum, transfer students must complete all of the athletic training core courses at UWM. Acceptance of transfer credits is determined by the program director in consultation with the UWM Graduate School.

Matriculation Requirements

Once admitted to the athletic training master’s program, students must complete the following to enroll in the university and program.

  1. Criminal Background Check  

If you have a criminal conviction in your background, it may affect your ability to work in certain facilities or obtain certification and licensure.  The inability to be placed in facilities may affect your completion of clinical education requirements and thus degree completion. In addition, the existence of disqualifying convictions under the Caregiver Background Law may also affect your eligibility for certification and licensure, and/or your ability to gain employment in this field.  It is the student’s responsibility to notify the program director if an event occurs while in the program that may change the results of the criminal background check.  You should contact the program director as soon as possible to discuss whether you should apply to the program or consider alternative programs.   

  1.  Immunization Verification and Testing 

Students must provide a document with proof of immunization dates for the following:   

  • Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Tdap) 
  • Tetanus Booster (Td)  (within last 10 yrs) 
  • Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) 
  • Hepatitis B (HepB)  (Or signed refusal) 
  • Varicella (Positive titer or OR varicella vaccine (VAR))
  • Meningococcal  (Recommended for students living in the dormitories, but not required) 
  • COVID-19 (Recommended for all students;  required by some clinical education sites) 
  • Two Step TB Skin test ( a “one step” TB test is NOT sufficient to meet this requirement) (required before July 1)  
  • 10 panel urine drug test (required before July 1)  
  • Influenza vaccine (required before Oct. 15)  
  1. Technical Standards and Physical Examination  

Prior to beginning the program students must provide proof of a physical examination being completed within the past year.  One reason for the physical examination is to have a licensed and qualified health care provider verify that, to the best of his/her ability based on a routine physical examination, the student meets the Technical Standards for Athletic Training Students (with or without reasonable accommodation).  The Technical Standards for Athletic Training Students-Healthcare Provider Verification form must be signed by the person who administered the physical exam within the last year.  Students must have a physical examination completed annually (at the Norris Student Health Center or from a provider of choice).  Any changes in health status that may affect the student’s ability to meet the Technical Standards must be disclosed to the Program Director immediately.     

The athletic training master’s program provides a structured, tracked curriculum that contains coursework as well as community engaged opportunities for clinical education, research and professional development. Philosophies of evidence-based practice, integrated person-centered care, cultural competence and clinical problem solving are incorporated into all courses within the curriculum. There are several courses that are taught interprofessionally, where students from multiple health care professions learn about, from and with each other.

The curriculum consists of 71 credits to degree and meets all of the competencies and requirements set forth by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. At the completion of the program, you will be eligible to sit for the national certification exam, administered by the Board of Certification.

Athletic Training Master’s Degree (71 credits)

Year One – Summer

Course TitleCourse NumberCredits
Gross Anatomical KinesiologyATRAIN 7253
Prevention & Care of Emergent
Medical Conditions in Athletic Training
ATRAIN 7104
Introduction to Clinical Education and
Professional Development
ATRAIN 7011
Clinical Education in Athletic Training IATRAIN 7851
**Possible location of required elective course2
Total credits9-12*
*Total of nine credits, 12 if an elective is taken

Year One – Fall

Course TitleCourse NumberCredits
Clinical Exam and Diagnosis
of the Lower Extremity in Athletic Training
ATRAIN 7473
Foundations of Therapeutic Interventions
in Athletic Training
ATRAIN 7573
Pathoetiology of Tissue InjuryATRAIN 5213
Psychological Aspects of Human MovementKIN 5503
Ethics in HealthcareATRAIN 7021
Foundations of Interprofessional PracticeATRAIN 7031
Clinical Education in Athletic Training IIATRAIN 7862
Total credits16

Year One – Spring

Course TitleCourse NumberCredits
Clinical Exam and Diagnosis
of the Head and Spine in Athletic Training
ATRAIN 7483
Physical AgentsATRAIN 7582
Medical Physiology IIATRAIN 7533
Psychology of Injury/Illness/Disease:
Implications and Strategies for
Rehabilitation
KIN 5513
Foundations of Clinical ResearchATRAIN 7053
Clinical Education in Athletic Training IIIATRAIN 7872
Total16

Year Two – Summer

Course TitleCourse NumberCredits
Clinical Exam and Diagnosis
of the Upper Extremity in Athletic Training
ATRAIN 7493
Therapeutic Intervention for the
Upper Extremity
ATRAIN 7592
Clinical Gait AnalysisATRAIN 7083
Clinical Education in Athletic Training IVATRAIN 7883
**Possible location of required elective course2
Total credits11-14*
*Total of 11 credits, 14 if an elective is taken

Year Two – Fall

Course TitleCourse NumberCredits
Professionalism and Leadership
in Healthcare
ATRAIN 7041
Capstone Clinical Education in
Athletic Training
(4-8 credits variable, totaling 12 over
Fall and Spring)
ATRAIN 8836
Athletic Training Board of Certification Exam PreparationATRAIN 800 1
**Possible location of required elective course2
Total credits7-10*
*Total of seven credits, 10 if elective is taken

Year Two – Spring

Course TitleCourse NumberCredits
Professionalism and Leadership in HealthcareATRAIN 7443
Capstone Clinical Education in
Athletic Training
(4-8 credits variable, totaling 12 over
Fall and Spring)
ATRAIN 8836
**Possible location of required elective course2
Total credits9-12*
*Total of nine credits, 12 if elective is taken
  • Didactic courses: 15 contact hours = 1 credit
  • Clinical education courses: 50 contact hours = 1 credit
  • **One three-credit elective course is required at some point in the athletic training master’s degree. The term that it can be taken is flexible as indicated.

Prospective Students

If you have questions about pursuing athletic training, you are encouraged to seek advising from the pre-athletic training advisor in the College of Health Sciences Office of Student Affairs.

Admitted Students

You will receive advising from designated program faculty. Additional information will be made available to you after admission.

Graduation

The established graduation criteria for the athletic training master’s program include:

  • Payment of graduation fee in PAWS
  • Completion of 71 degree credits
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0

Use UWM’s Graduation website to review campuswide graduation requirements, application deadlines, applying for graduation and ordering your cap and gown.

Portrait of Monna Arvinen-Barrow
  • Associate Professor, Athletic Training, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Jennifer Earl-Boehm
  • Associate Professor, Athletic Training Program Director, Athletic Training, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Kyle Ebersole
  • Associate Professor, Athletic Training, Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Barbara Meyer
  • Professor, Graduate Certificate Program in Certified Mental Performance Consultant Coordinator, Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Renee Reckelberg
  • Clinical Assistant Professor, Athletic Training, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology