Winona State launches master’s in athletic training

February 4, 2019 GMT

Winona State University on Monday announced the launch of a new master of science in athletic training program, with classes starting in summer 2019.

“This program will build on the success of our current undergraduate program and offer an even higher degree of professional education,” Winona State president Scott Olson said in a release.

WSU’s new MSAT program will prepare students for a career in allied health care as a certified athletic trainer. Two options for program completion are available: a 3+2 year program, in which entering freshmen complete both a bachelor’s degree in movement science and a master’s in athletic training at the end of five years. There is also a two-year program option for students to obtain the MSAT degree if they have completed a bachelor’s degree and the required prerequisite courses.


According to dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences Julie Anderson, a nationwide need for athletic trainers prepared at the graduate level and changing industry standards from the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education mandate the program’s transition to the graduate level.

Students in the program will complete a rigorous academic program both in the classroom and in the clinical settings, using the most advanced technology and evidence-based research. The program is designed with a heavy focus on clinical education, and students will gain hands-on practical experiences under the direct supervision of a preceptor, in both traditional and immersive clinical education experiences at the collegiate and high school levels with a variety of individual and team sports. Upon completion of the program, MSAT students will sit for the Board of Certification examination to become certified athletic trainers.

Historically, WSU graduates have a 100 percent first-time pass rate on the BOC exam, said Dr. Brian Zeller, professor of health, exercise, rehabilitative sciences and MSAT program director.

Employment and placement rates are also high for athletic training graduates, Zeller said, with 97 percent of graduates placed within six months after graduation, and working as university head athletic trainers, clinic directors, industrial/corporate athletic trainers, military athletic trainers, and with professional, semi-professional, and Olympic teams.

“Our transition from the undergraduate level to the graduate level has focused on maintaining the distinguished reputation of our athletic training program, while implementing and advancing the educational and clinical needs of future certified athletic trainers,” Zeller said. “Our MSAT graduates will be expert practitioners who can excel in a variety of settings, including emerging settings such as industry, the military, occupational health, the performing arts and many, many others.”


WSU graduate Hannah (Okerberg) Rinken used her athletic training degree to secure a position with Athletico Physical Therapy out of Cedar Falls, Iowa. As Athletico’s athletic training manager for Iowa and South Dakota, Rinken helps to establish and build partnerships with local affiliates. She also oversees roughly 20 athletic trainers on a daily basis, managing everything from payroll and scheduling to hiring, mentoring and coaching.

She credits the hands-on learning experiences at WSU with preparing her for success to in the industry.

“My education and experiences at Winona State helped to prepare me for the future by providing opportunities that other athletic trainers and students may not have had during their college careers,” Rinken said.

Applications for the WSU MSAT Program are now being accepted. For more information, visit winona.edu/athletic-training or contact Brian Zeller at bzeller@winona.edu.