The public is invited to two AT open houses, March 2 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Capitol, and the next day, March 3 from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. in University of Mary’s  Hospitality Room at the Lumen Vitae University Center on campus.

Dr. Rachel Johnson Krug

BISMARCK, ND — With jobs expected to grow 19 percent from now until 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) — much faster than the average for all occupations — the University of Mary is launching a new on-site master’s in Athletic Training program this coming fall 2020. This program, that takes only 20 months to complete, allows anyone with a prior bachelor’s degree in another discipline, and the science prerequisites, to enroll in this five-semester program to obtain the required 60 credits.

“This new master’s offering in athletic training is perfect for someone who wants a career change and wants to do it in a relatively fast amount of time,” said Dr. Rachel Johnson Krug, chair of the Athletic Training and Kinesiology Department at the University of Mary and recipient of the 2015 Guardian Angel Award, given to citizens who assist the Sheriff’s Department in dangerous situations without regard for their safety. “If you have any bachelor’s degree and prior learning experience, we’ll assess it all and get that person on track to start in the fall.”

Mary will be one of only a select few universities in the region to offer the master’s in Athletic Training. After the first year, during the summer students have an opportunity to travel internationally to Lima, Peru, for service learning and hands-on experiences. Students can also travel anywhere in the U.S. for their clinical experiences. This new program announcement comes as the profession officially enters into national Athletic Training Month during March.

To learn more, the public is invited to two open houses Monday, March 2 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. in Memorial Hall at the Capitol, and the next day, Tuesday, March 3 from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. in the Hospitality Room at the Lumen Vitae University Center on campus.

UMary students in Athletic Training lab.

“There could be students who didn’t get into med school somewhere wanting to stay in the healthcare profession decide to try athletic training instead — their academic credentials would be perfect for that scenario,” added Johnson Krug. “If an applicant is missing prerequisites, those courses can be taken this summer through the University of Mary prior to our fall start-up. Just think, in less than two years anyone can have an exciting new career with good pay. There are just so many jobs available right now, and in a wide spectrum of athletic training job settings.”

That spectrum of job settings for athletic trainers ranges from colleges and universities, secondary schools, clinics and hospitals, performing arts, public safety, the military, occupational health and professional sports.

University of Mary 2013 graduate Brett Walker of Culbertson, MT, is currently the assistant athletic trainer for Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Chicago White Sox. Walker and his team of ATs were awarded the 2018 Major League Athletic Training Staff of the Year in 2018.

UMary alum Brett Walker (Chicago White Sox) with UMary Kiniesology Students.

“My goals I have for myself are to be on the best team,” said Walker in a 2019 Bismarck Tribune interview. “You’re going to win some; you’re going to lose some, that’s sports. But for me to be on the best team medically, where our players know that I have their backs at all times, and that they feel totally comfortable with me, that’s what is most important.”

Alicia Wells, a 2013 graduate of Mary and an adjunct faculty member at the school, is the head Athletic Trainer for Bismarck High School through Sanford Sports Medicine. She can be seen at many of the BHS activities, treating patients and providing care and injury prevention to athletes.

“I absolutely love to go to my job on a daily basis to practice as an athletic trainer and professor,” said Wells.

After graduating from University of Mary’s AT program in 2013, Josie Harding went on to get her master’s degree while serving as head athletic trainer for local middle schools and high schools in Arizona. The Cheyenne, WY native also took her talents to the professional baseball level with the Oakland Athletics, Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers. During her time with the Brewers she started her own company, ATDirect Sports Medicine, providing athletic training services to high schools, middle schools, tournaments and events all over the state of Arizona. Harding’s business took off, reinforcing her entrepreneurial spirit and passion for impacting people through athletic training.

“I just finished three years with the Brewers organization and have made the leap to take on my company full time,” said Harding. “At UMary, I was pushed to my limits during my undergrad and met my lifelong mentors who have supported my path to this day. I was fortunate to have a professor who pushed me daily and still continues to push me. Having a strong undergraduate foundation to start from, which UMary built, is how I was able to take my next steps.”

Students who’ve gone through University of Mary’s undergraduate AT program, like Walker, Wells, and Harding, enjoyed working with a program with a pass rate on their boards of over 90 percent.

And their success in the classroom has rewarded them. According to Indeed.com, in 2013, the average annual salary for an athletic trainer with a master’s degree is $69,000.

More information about UMary’s AT program can also be found at www.umary.edu/AT or contact Jennifer Barry at (701) 355-8372 or jlbarry@umary.edu; or Dr. Rachel Johnson Krug at rakrug@umary.edu or (701) 355-8206.

More information about the profession of athletic training can be found at www.nata.org.