Athletic Training

Heal on the Sidelines

An exciting career in sports healthcare and rehabilitation, using hands-on learning experiences, is waiting for you in our Master’s in Athletic Training program. DWU has some of the best athletic training facilities in the region where you will learn, work, and play.

Our outstanding Board of Certification pass rate will allow you to begin working side-by-side with certified athletic trainers, physicians, and physical therapists in just a few short years. From high schools to universities to professional sports teams, your career as an athletic trainer will take you off the bench and put you into the action!

DWU’s Master of Athletic Training is designed to be completed in just
five years and is one of only three such programs in the state.

Wondering what your career possibilities are in sports medicine?

Jobs are open to you with an athletic training degree in locations such as:

Colleges and Universities  
Health Care Clinics
High Schools
Industrial Corporations   
Olympic Sport Centers 
Sports Medicine Centers  
Professional Sports

What's the Difference at DWU?

  • Enroll in one of only three 5-year Master’s in Athletic Training programs in S.D. 
  • Observe athletic trainers up close as early as your first semester.
  • Complete at least 800 hours of field experience by the time you graduate.
  • Work or continue your studies: 100% of DWU graduates are employed in the field or accepted into graduate programs.



The DWU Department of Athletic Training is accredited through the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) located at 2001 K Street NW, 3rd Floor North in Washington, DC 20006, phone number 512-733-9700 and toll free 844-GO-CAATE (844-462-2283).

Become Athletic Training Certified

The Master of Athletic Training degree is based on a 3+2 plan. You will come to DWU as a pre-athletic training student and spend three years taking prerequisite courses. At the end of three years, you may apply for the two-year master's program.

If you are a student-athlete, you may compete in intercollegiate sports for four years and still complete the MAT in five years. If you wish to compete for 5 years, it is encouraged you complete a bachelor’s degree (Biology or Exercise Science are recommend) and apply to the master's program following the bachelor’s degree completion.

After you earn your master's degree, take the national certification exam, receive your ATC and have a resumé that stays at the top of the pile.

The American Medical Association recognizes ATCs as allied healthcare professionals. You will prevent, assess, treat and rehabilitate injuries of active individuals.

Athletic Training Courses

Check out the courses on the way to completing Athletic Training degree. And refer to our handy Curriculum Plan to envision what your semesters might look like.

Prerequisite Coursework

Athletic training prerequisite coursework or approved similar coursework includes: 

Prevention and Care of Athletic Injuries
Introduction to Athletic Training/Healthcare Professions
Medical Terminology
Human Nutrition
Advanced Emergency Skills for Professionals or EMT (or proof of current CPR for the healthcare professional certification)
Physiology of Exercise
Anatomy & Physiology – 8 credits
University (General) Chemistry – 8 credits
Statistical Methods – 1 semester
General Biology-4 Credits
Physics – 4 credits
General Psychology or Developmental Psychology
Abnormal Psychology
English Composition
Speech or Interpersonal Communications

ATN 100 Principles of Athletic Training I

3 Hours
This introductory course in the discipline of athletic training includes coursework in the basic components of a comprehensive injury prevention program, common risk factors, the body’s response to injury, elements of an emergency care plan and environmental conditions. Two lectures, one laboratory

ATN 105 Principles of Athletic Training II

1 Hours
This introductory course in the discipline of athletic training includes coursework in the basic components of nutrition, characteristics of trauma, training and conditioning, non-emergent evaluation and documentation.

ATN 625 Concepts in Evidence Based Practice

2 Hours
This course is intended to introduce concepts, theories and utilization for consumption and practice of research in scientific and clinical practices. This course will familiarize students with research methodologies and analysis techniques. This includes gathering data and compiling a review of literature in order to support the development of a thesis.

ATN 629 Health and Fitness Assessment

3 Hours
The course will utilize holistic assessment of a patient’s nutritional, health and physical assessment. Topics will include population characteristics, common fitness and nutrition evaluation and criteria for programmatic design and sport performance.

ATN 630 Pathology and Evaluation I

3 Hours
This course is a comprehensive study of the commonly accepted techniques used to clinically evaluate orthopedic injuries and illnesses for the purpose of determining the type and severity as well as the prescription of appropriate treatment and/or referral. Students will investigate typical symptoms and common clinical signs associated with injuries and illnesses, including common contributing etiological factors. This course focuses primarily on environmental illness, traumatic head and neck injuries and foot/ankle and lower leg injuries. Significant emphasis will be placed on the appropriate standards of care based on current scholarly literature.

ATN 635 Pathology and Evaluation II

6 Hours
This course is a comprehensive study of the commonly accepted techniques used to clinically evaluate orthopedic injuries and illness for the purpose of determining the type and severity as well as the prescription of appropriate treatment and/or referral. Students will investigate typical symptoms and common clinical signs associated with injuries and illnesses, including common contributing etiological factors. This course focuses primarily on the knee/hip/pelvis, gait analysis, spine and upper extremity. Significant emphasis will be placed on the appropriate standards of care based off of current scholarly literature.

ATN 640 Practicum in Athletic Training I

2 Hours
This course focuses on the supervised clinical experiences associated with established procedures regarding the prevention, evaluation, management and rehabilitation of injuries. In addition, this course deals specifically with issues related to the protocols of HOPS, HIPS and SOAP, established procedures regarding the prevention, evaluation, management of athletic injuries, with specific emphasis on the management and evaluation of traumatic head/neck injuries and foot/ankle/lower leg injuries.

ATN 642 Practicum in Athletic Training II

2 Hours
This course focuses on the supervised clinical experiences associated with established procedures for the prevention, evaluation, management and rehabilitation of injuries, with specific emphasis applied to knee, thigh/hip/pelvis, spine, gait analysis and upper extremity injuries and therapeutic modalities.

ATN 644 Practicum in Athletic Training III

2 Hours
This course focuses on the supervised clinical experiences associated with established procedures for the prevention, evaluation, management of injuries/illness, with specific emphasis applied to medical conditions and pharmacology.

ATN 646 Practicum in Athletic Training IV

2 Hours
This course focuses on the supervised clinical experiences associated with established procedures for the prevention, evaluation, management of injuries/illness, with specific emphasis on therapeutic rehabilitation and reconditioning.

ATN 648 Practicum in Athletic Training V

This course will serve as a self-directed comprehensive review of all athletic training knowledge and serve as a study preparation course for the BOC exam.

ATN 650 Clinical Immersion in Athletic Training

6 Hours
The purpose of the internship is to develop the student’s knowledge, awareness and appreciation for work site requirements, structure and operating procedures in an approved setting of the student’s choice. The internship should allow for significant clinical immersion into the profession of athletic training.

ATN 665 Healthcare Administration

2 Hours
This course emphasizes the formulation of policies and procedures and other administrative tasks of the integrated health care system. Management strategies utilizing case studies are presented. Practical applications involve inventory, insurance claims, budget and legal issues. Focus is directed toward organization and management of athletic training rooms and other sports medicine settings.

ATN 672 Public Health and Epidemiology

3 Hours
In this course, students will learn and apply concepts of epidemiology and healthcare informatics to multiple domains of public health. The course will require the student to practice using epidemiology and healthcare informatics to better understand, characterize and promote health at a population level. Prerequisite: acceptance into the MAT or instructor consent.

ATN 680 Biomechanics

3 Hours
This course provides an in-depth study of the musculoskeletal and mechanical aspects of anatomical structures as related to human movement and function. This course will apply physics concepts, tissue responses and adaptations, and human movement concepts in preparation for rehabilitation techniques and injury prevention. Movement of individual joints, kinetic chain and whole-body motion will be analyzed. Clinical evaluation of movement, posture, and gait will be introduced. Students will be able to evaluate and treat a variety of disorders through the analysis and application of musculoskeletal mechanics, applied neurology, articular function, biomechanical principles within movement, and material/biomechanical properties of biological tissue.

ATN 683 Therapeutic Modalities

4 Hours
This course involves a comprehensive study of the physical principles, physiological effects, indications, contraindications, safety precautions and standard operating procedures of the therapeutic modalities and soft tissue mobilization commonly used in the treatment of orthopedic injuries. It also includes current pain control theories, the body’s personal response to trauma and inactivity, and the role and function of various pharmacological agents used in the field of sports medicine. Significant emphasis will be placed on the effectiveness and appropriateness based on current scholarly literature.

ATN 685 Therapeutic Exercise

4 Hours
This course examines the components of a comprehensive rehabilitation and reconditioning program. Subjects to be covered include determining therapeutic goals and objectives, selecting therapeutic modalities, and developing criteria for progression of therapy and return to functional occupational levels. Significant emphasis will be placed on the effectiveness and appropriateness based on current scholarly literature.

ATN 687 Medical Aspects and Pharmacological Interventions I

3 Hours
This is the second of two courses intended to introduce students to various health related issues and associated pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic interventions. This course is taught in a system-based approach. Systems to be covered in the sequence of courses will include respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, gynecological, ear/nose/throat, neurological, dermatological, immune, musculoskeletal and reproductive and psychosocial application and referral patterns.

ATN 690 Research Methods

3 Hours
This course is designed to introduce students to the basic concepts and techniques of quantitative and qualitative research. Students will learn and practice skills that will help them review and conduct methodologically sound research within a healthcare context. The goal of the course is to not only equip students with basic analytical techniques, but also with the necessary skills to understand the structure of original research. Students will utilize this knowledge and skill to plan their own empirical research projects.

ATN 692 Thesis

2 Hours
Students will complete all aspects of the thesis under the guidance and supervision of a thesis committee.

HLT 100 Introduction to Healthcare

1 Hours
This course provides students beginning education in healthcare related fields with the fundamentals they need to develop their personal and professional skills, to be exposed to various healthcare professions in order to better understand their chosen career path and succeed in the world of health care. Students will be exposed to topics related to today’s health care system such as health care economics, legal and ethical principles, as well as providing important context for the personal, professional and workplace skills that are required in healthcare. Students will also be exposed to a variety of careers in health care and detailed profiles of the most in-demand professions.

Get to Know Your Professors

Strengthen your understanding of sports medicine with us! Get to know our faculty who you'll learn from in the classroom and on the field. 

Dan Wagner, EdD

Director of Athletic Training | Athletic Training Preceptor | Professor in the Athletic Training Program

Kristen Longville

Associate Athletic Trainer

Lana Loken, EdD

Clinical Education Coordinator | Athletic Training Preceptor| Professor in the Athletic Training Program

Matt McManus, M.Ed.

Associate Athletic Trainer | Instructor

Matthew Zens, DPT

Associate Professor of Athletic Training

Randi Christensen, M.A.

Associate Professor | Director of Athletic Training Services

The Experience

Your education will take you through an intensive prerequisite curriculum prior to applying to the Athletic Training program. As part of that you will document a minimum of 50 hours of clinical observation with a certified athletic trainer.

Program Objectives and Student Learning Outcomes

  1. You will be able to practice and master the knowledge gained in the classroom and show the ability to apply the entry-level skills in a clinical setting.
  2. You will participate in a variety of service-learning projects to instill an attitude of service to your community and to the profession.
  3. You will show that you understand the moral and ethical behavior required by the NATA Code of Ethics.

Athletic Training Department Goals

The goals and objectives of the Dakota Wesleyan University Athletic Training Program are:

  1. To prepare undergraduate athletic training students for careers in athletic training.
  2. To fulfill the competencies and proficiencies in Athletic Training as established by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE).
  3. To teach, demonstrate, and adhere to the NATA Code of Ethics.
  4. To provide a quality clinical experience in the athletic training facilities that compliment the educational program.
  5. To encourage the overall development of leadership skills and service to the community and to the athletic training profession.

Hands-On Training

Our health and sports partners will provide you with plenty of options for watching, working with and experiencing hands-on applications of concepts you have learned in the classroom. Five semesters of Practicum classes will ensure that you are highly qualified for certification and employment as an athletic trainer.

Athletic Training Admission Requirements

Admission to the Master of Athletic Training program is contingent upon satisfactorily completing the following requirements:

  • You must submit an application to Athletic Training Central Applications Services (ATCAS). Your application will be subsequently reviewed by the Athletic Training Review Committee (ATRC). (ATCAS site available Aug. 1.)
  • Minimum of 50 hours of documented clinical observation with a certified athletic trainer
  • Minimum of 3.0 cumulative GPA
  • Minimum of 3.0 GPA in the athletic training prerequisite coursework
  • Successful completion of or enrollment in all prerequisite coursework with a minimum grade of C in each course
  • No program or prerequisite course can be repeated more than one time
  • All required courses must have a letter grade (credit/no credit courses will not be accepted)
  • Two letters of recommendation (excluding members of the ATRC)
  • Demonstration of appropriate clinical conduct and performance, to include:
    • productive and reliable work habits
    • ability to work in harmony with athletes, coaches, peers and certified faculty members
    • self-motivation and the commitment to execute tasks and responsibilities as assigned and directed
    • professional grooming, dress and appearance
    • punctuality
    • patience
    • willingness to assist others in the completion of tasks and responsibilities
    • efficient and productive use of time

A maximum of 20 new students are accepted into the program annually. Applications are due by May 1. 

Successful completion of all of the requirements above does not guarantee admission into the Master of Athletic Training program. The athletic training program is a limited enrollment program based on the availability of preceptors.

  • Following the submission of application materials, you will be invited to participate in an interview process. On-campus interviews are preferred but virtual interviews will be considered when appropriate.
  • Determination of admission to the athletic training program is the responsibility of the athletic training department. You must meet all departmental and university admission requirements.
  • Following the interview, you will receive written notification of admission status. You will then have two calendar weeks to accept or decline a position in the Master of Athletic Training program. Students who are accepted into the program will be officially admitted as of the first day of the next academic semester. Students who are not accepted into the program will be allowed to re-apply if they meet all prerequisites. 
  • Provisional acceptance may be allowed and will follow the university procedure found in the Graduate Studies Handbook.
  • You may appeal admissions decisions via the university appeals process found in the Graduate Studies Handbook.

Post-Admission Requirements

All costs associated with the following requirements are your responsibility. 

  • Immunizations
    • Immunizations are your responsibility as an athletic training student accepted into Dakota Wesleyan University and into the athletic training program. Immunizations are required prior to participating in clinical education. This includes the (2) MMR, Hepatitis B and Tdap vaccinations, a Varicella vaccination or a titer proving immunity and yearly Tuberculosis testing and an annual influenza vaccination. 
    • You are required to meet all vaccinations requirements to perform clinical rotations. If you have a specific medical condition that would prevent vaccination, you should meet with the PD or the CEC for consultation. More information can be obtained from campus health.
  • Physical Examination 
    • You are required to submit a copy of a physical examination that has been completed within one calendar year of acceptance. The physical examination must be performed by an appropriate provider. Dakota Wesleyan University accepts physicals performed by MDs, DOs, CNPs, PACs. Download the physical exam form.
  • Liability Insurance
    • Athletic training student liability insurance is also your responsibility as an athletic training student accepted into the athletic training program. Proof of insurance is required prior to participating in clinical education. Specific requirements for the liability insurance and information on policies can be obtained from the clinical education Coordinator. Minimum coverage includes $1 million per occurrence/$3 million aggregate (student coverage).
  • Criminal Background Check
    • A criminal background check must be completed before final acceptance into the MAT program. Information will be given to by the coordinator of clinical education.  The coordinator of clinical education will provide you with information upon acceptance.
  • Technical Standards
    • You must read and sign the technical standards required for the MAT program annually.

Program Costs

Master of Athletic Training Program Cost


Summer Session I – $2,000
Year I – $11,000 ($5,500 per semester)
Summer Session II – $2,000
Year II – $11,000 ($5,500 per semester)

In addition to DWU tuition costs:

  • Housing is your responsibility. You may choose to live on the DWU campus. 
  • You will need to complete a criminal background check. Professional liability insurance will be provided. You can get additional information about the background check from Dr. Dan Wagner, the athletic training education chair, or Dr. Lana Loken, the coordinator of clinical education.
  • To ensure you stay healthy as you take care of others, you will need to complete the required vaccinations and physical exam before acceptance.
  • There will be a $350 Technology Fee each semester; a $300 Student Services and Activity Fee and a $40.00 Student Accident Insurance Fee each year.
  • Each year you are in the program, we will give you one athletic training shirt and you will be able to choose the rest of your clinical rotation uniforms.
  • Transportation costs are your responsibility during your clinical rotations. Take this opportunity to carpool with your classmates, get to know them better and study for that next exam!

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