Final Decision on Standard Regarding Administrative Alignment of Professional Master’s Programs

To provide guidance to professional programs that are planning their transition to offering a master’s degree (substantive change of degree process), the CAATE Standards Committee requested that the Commission act on a proposed standard regarding the administrative alignment of Professional programs at the Masters level. During their February meeting, the Commission acted to approve the following language:

Finalized Standard: The program is administratively housed with similar healthcare profession programs that are subject to specialized programmatic accreditation.

Annotation: The intent of the Standard is to ensure the professional socialization of the athletic training program faculty and students within a healthcare profession culture. If the institution offers no other healthcare profession programs, or the athletic training program is not administratively housed with them, explain how the existing organizational structure meets the intent of this Standard.

The finalized language for this Standard will appear in the next draft of Operational Standards that will be released for open comment, although comment on this Standard will not be solicited at that time. As a reminder, the revised Operational Standards, once adopted, will apply only to master’s level professional athletic training programs. The specific date of implementation will be determined based upon completion of the development of the final draft of the Standards, but will not occur before the 2019-2020 academic year (i.e. self-studies for 2016-17, 17-18, and 18-19 will use the 2012 Standards). Professional programs still offered at the baccalaureate level will continue to follow the 2012 Standards.

Background: In 1996, the Education Task Force, under the direction of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), released 17 recommendations for reforming athletic training education; among them was the recommendation to encourage athletic training education programs to align with other healthcare profession education programs. In June 2012, the NATA released the Future Directions of Athletic Training Education document in which this same recommendation was reiterated. For the past three years the CAATE has included this recommendation at district and national presentations. During the open comment period for the draft of operational Standards that was available from May 2 – July 1, 2016, the Standards Committee had proposed the following language regarding the administrative location of athletic training programs:

Former Proposed Standard: Programs must be housed in schools of health professions.

Former Proposed Annotation:  If no school of health professions, or one exists and the professional program is not housed within it, explain how this organizational structure benefits the student.

The feedback on this Standard primarily centered around the specific language of ‘schools of health professions’ being too specific, and that this language did not consider the variety of administrative structures and names that exist across institutions.  Both the Standards Committee and the Commission incorporated that feedback into the final Standard.

Any questions about the Standards or the development process should be directed to the CAATE office at or 1-844-GO-CAATE.


Please note – this announcement was provided in the Spring 2017 CAATE Insight Newsletter that was emailed to all program personnel.