Park expands athletic training program
By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
While coaches and players grab all of the headlines on Friday nights, they couldn’t do what they do without the certified athletic trainers and support staffs that are a part of every high school football program.
Athletic training and fitness and wellness are growing fields and Park University has a growing range of degree offerings targeted toward those fields.
Park’s Department of Athletic Training offers two bachelor’s degrees for students interested in these fields. The degree in athletic training is for people who want to become certified athletic trainers. The fitness and wellness degree that will be offered starting this fall is broad degree that is for people interested in becoming personal trainers or even athletic directors or work in athletic offices at the college and high school level.
The program’s director Tom Bertoncino said the new degree gives students even more options in the field even if they don’t want to be in the more health care specific field of athletic training.
“It is kind of a broad degree right now,” Bertoncino said. “There is the strength and conditioning side of athletics and there is an administration side.”
The new fitness and wellness offering is broader and not as intensive on the medical side like the athletic training. The degree offers training to those who want to go into athletic administration which has become a popular field in the last few years.
“The main focus is strength and conditioning and administration of athletics,” Bertoncino said. “Athletic administration is a growing field. At the high school level and even at the big time collegiate level you have a lot of money and policy and procedures to make. There are a lot of opportunities there.
“It’s no longer just about scheduling games anymore. It’s about fundraising and other things. It’s a business.”
A student in Park’s athletic training education program will have the opportunity to practice the profession firsthand in a variety of educational opportunities ranging from high school, collegiate, clinical and professional environments. Students who complete Park’s athletic training program are eligible to take the Board of Certification exam. Once certified, graduates work as athletic trainers in high schools, colleges or universities, sports medicine clinics, professional sports teams, health clubs and many other employment settings.
Bertoncino said he has heard from graduates of Park’s program that it’s smaller size and hands on approach have been beneficial as those students go into graduate programs and on to jobs in their fields.
“For the people who go to grad school they said it compliments their graduate work,” Bertoncino said. “For the people who are going out into their field, they feel like they are a well-prepared. The feedback I get is people are just as prepared as those coming out of a big D-I school if not better. Smaller school doesn’t mean smaller opportunity.”
Students interested in Park University’s athletic training program can contact Bertoncino at email@example.com, or contact Park’s admissions office at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 816-746-2520. For more information visit www.park.edu/atbs.
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