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General Program Information

  • Program Overview

    The UNC AT Program is a stand alone, two-year graduate program, delivered over five (5) consecutive semesters. It is administratively housed in the School of Sport and Exercise Science (SES), within the College of Natural and Health Sciences (NHS), culminating in a Master of Science degree in Athletic Training. Entry into the AT Program is selective and competitive. The AT Program at UNC is a challenging program in which students develop practical athletic training skills through a clinically focused curriculum. The AT Program is comprehensive and includes both didactic (classroom) and clinical education elements. These two elements should not be considered separate entities. They should be viewed as intimately linked and essential to the overall goal of the best Athletic Training education possible.

    The didactic portion of the AT Program focuses on the theory and knowledge behind the practice of Athletic Training. The clinical portion focuses on the "real-world" application of didactic knowledge. Without the clinical portion, the classroom portion has little value because there is no correlation or application possible. Likewise, without the didactic knowledge, the clinical portion is of little value because application without background knowledge is ineffective.

    Students should place equal priority on success in both portions of the AT Program. To this end, students should understand that their supervised clinical experiences are part of their educational curriculum. Likewise, students should never think of themselves as "working" or covering a sport or being the assigned Athletic Training provider for a sport. Instead, they should think of themselves as Athletic Training Students (ATS) assigned to a specific clinical preceptor who will supervise and mentor their clinical experiences within a specific clinical setting or settings.

    This clinical experience will involve some supervised autonomy in activities as well as some collaboration in decision-making between the ATS and a clinical preceptor, but students should never be the primary person responsible for the care of an athlete or team. All student decisions must be supervised.

  • Origins

    University of Northern Colorado Athletic Training was established in the 1960's, and was developed into the clinical program by the late NATA Hall of Fame member Dan Libera.

  • Accreditation History & Status

    In 1988, the UNC program was recognized by the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA).

    In the 1990-91 school year the NATA approved the UNC program as an undergraduate curriculum program.

    In the year of its inception, 1996, the Committee on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) accredited the UNC Athletic Training Education Program.

    It maintains its accreditation to this day, although under the new Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). 

    The Athletic Training Program at the University of Northern Colorado has been granted 10 years of continuing accreditation (the maximum possible). The Program’s next comprehensive review, including a self-study and on-site review, is scheduled to occur during the 2026 - 2027 academic year.

    Verification of the program's accreditation status can be acquired by visiting the CAATE website.

    The UNC program is the longest standing accredited professional athletic training program in the state of Colorado.

    CAATE logo

Mission Statement

The mission of the University of Northern Colorado ATP is to provide a comprehensive educational experience and a strong clinical foundation to prepare the successful student to enter the allied health profession of athletic training.

Goals, Outcomes, & Objectives

The goal of the University of Northern Colorado 's Undergraduate Athletic Training Program is to develop quality athletic training students that will contribute and be active in the athletic training profession, and to promote a positive attitude of healthful living and health care to the physically active across the lifespan.

Outcome 1: Demonstrate academic competency and clinical proficiency within the domains of athletic training.

Objectives related to outcome 1:

  • Students will critically analyze and apply the practical knowledge and skills in management of injuries to active individuals of diverse population.
  • Students will critically analyze and apply the practical knowledge and skills in management of illnesses in active individuals, of diverse populations.
  • Students will critically analyze and apply the practical knowledge and skills in athletic training organization & administration.

Outcome 2: Synthesize knowledge of basic science, research methodology, and evidence based research related to athletic training, to answer clinical questions and guide clinical practice.

Objectives related to outcome 2:

  • Student will develop answerable clinical questions relevant to injuries and illnesses in active individuals of diverse populations
  • Students will access and successfully interpret healthcare related data
  • Students will apply sound evidence to implement safe and effective clinical practice.

Outcome 3: Model culturally competent, inter-professional interaction within the health care community.

Objectives related to outcome 3:

  • Students will effectively communicate using verbal, written, and technological communication skills necessary for success in clinical practice.
  • Students will interact with health care professionals other than athletic trainers while demonstrating appropriate professional behaviors.
  • Students will collaborate with health care professionals from multiple disciplines to provide appropriate patient care and develop appropriate interprofessional attitudes.

Outcome 4: Engage in the field of athletic training and/or be prepared for post-professional academic pursuits.

Objectives related to outcome 4:

  • Students will successfully complete the BOC exam process.
  • Students will develop professional attributes consistent with a practicing athletic trainer.
  • Students will obtain employment as an athletic trainer upon graduation.

Outcome 5: Provide comprehensive educational experiences that are effective in preparing the graduate to enter the profession of Athletic Training.

Objectives related to outcome 5:

  • The program will demonstrate high quality of didactic instruction in all AT courses.
  • The program will demonstrate high quality of clinical instruction in all clinical experiences.

Didactic Education

  • Overview & Philosophy

    Education is an active and reciprocal process by which the student constructs an education by consuming, organizing, and applying information and experiences made available to them. It is not something that can be given to a student. In other words, a student will only get out of their didactic education, what they put into it.

    The only way to succeed in this program is for a student to take control of his/her education and to take advantage of every educational opportunity to learn and improve. All instructors involved in the ATP go to great lengths to provide students with the most current and comprehensive educational materials. However, it is the student, and only the student, who controls their educational success.

    To the same extent, this didactic education is of no value to the student without a clinical correlation. Students cannot become good practitioners with only exposure to ideas and concepts. Those ideas and concepts must be experienced clinically and practically in order to cement them into learning.

  • Required Coursework
    Overall Degree Requirements - 54 Credit Hours

    Required Major Credits - 36 hours

    AT 500 - Foundations of Athletic Training I (3)
    AT 501 - Foundations of Athletic Training II (2)
    AT 510 - Techniques in Athletic Training I (2)
    AT 511 - Techniques in Athletic Training II (3)
    AT 520 - Physical Examination I (3)
    AT 521 - Physical Examination II (2)
    AT 530 - Therapeutic Interventions I (2)
    AT 531 - Therapeutic Interventions II (2)
    AT 540 - Diagnosis & Management of General Medical Conditions (3)
    AT 550 - Administrative Concepts in Athletic Training (3)
    AT 560 - Health Promotion, Wellness, and Performance Enhancement (3)
    AT 591 - Seminar in Athletic Training (2)
    SES 602 - Introduction to Research in Sport & Exercise Science (3)

    AT 591: Take 4 hours

    Supervised Clinical Practicum - 18 hours

    AT 592 - Clinical Immersion in Athletic Training (3-6)
    AT 593 - Clinical Practicum in Athletic Training I (1)
    AT 594 - Clinical Practicum in Athletic Training II (2)

    AT 592: Take 15 hours

  • Planned Course of Study

    This is a sample schedule and your specific course schedule is potentially going to be different. Work with your advisor for help in putting together your individual plan of study. The AT Program is designed to be completed by full-time students in five consecutive semesters. Students who wish to deviate from the usual sequence must first petition both their advisor and the AT Program Director and submit a written plan that outlines, in detail, the manner in which they will complete the program. Petitions will be reviewed and considered, but no guarantee of approval is made for atypical plans of study.

Clinical Education

  • Overview & Philosophy

    Clinical experiences are an integral part of any athletic training curriculum and the importance of these clinical experiences should be viewed on the same level as the didactic (classroom) portion.  For this reason, all clinical experiences occur as a part of the Supervised Clinical Practicum course sequence and academic credit hours are earned for them. 

    These courses involve clinical education, both in the form of in-class application of integrated care, as well as “real-world” clinical experiences where students engage in supervised clinical practice and gain practical experience. In order to be well prepared as Athletic Trainers, students must work diligently in the classroom to understand the material presented AND they must also work diligently in the clinical setting to apply their knowledge to real-world clinical situations and to develop a high level of clinical skill. Clinical experiences are NOT “work” experiences. Instead, they are educational experiences where classroom knowledge is applied in real-world settings.

  • Clinical Experience Opportunities

    As a component of each semester’s Clinical Practicum in Athletic Training or Clinical Immersion in Athletic Training course (AT 593, AT 594, or AT 592), students will obtain clinical athletic training experience in an amount consistent with the expectations and level of the course.  These experiences will provide the athletic training student an opportunity for the practical application of athletic training knowledge and skills, under the direct supervision of preceptor.

    The intercollegiate athletic program at UNC consists of 19 sports and related activities and serves as one of the primary clinical settings for the Clinical Practicum experiences. These experiences are supplemented and enhanced in the Clinical Immersion experiences which will take place at other approved affiliate settings, including a wide variety of clinical practice settings with a multitude of patient types that align with a students individual professional goals. The minimum time period to complete the full clinical experience requirement is two (2) full academic years consisting of 5 consecutive semesters.