May 2nd, 2016 @ 12:52 pm | Author: Greg Vanney
The athletic training program at Valley City State University has been granted a five-year initial accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE).

The program accreditation is the capstone of a multiyear process which began at VCSU in the 2011–12 academic year with the application for an athletic training major with the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education. That application was approved in 2012, and VCSU began admitting students for the program for the 2012–13 academic year.

Preparation for accreditation required a Comprehensive Self-Study, which took place from 2012 to 2015. VCSU submitted its self-study report to the CAATE on June 30, 2015.

The CAATE conducted its site visit on the VCSU campus Feb. 1–3, 2016, analyzing the VCSU athletic training program’s compliance with its “Standards for Accreditation of Professional Athletic Training Programs,” a list of 109 criteria used “for the development, evaluation, analysis, and maintenance of athletic training programs.” The comprehensive review by the CAATE left only two standards in need of modifications, which VCSU addressed with a rejoinder.

After the CAATE review of the rejoinder, the VCSU athletic training program was granted the maximum five-year accreditation on April 14, 2016.

Part of the university’s Department of Health and Physical Education (HPE), the VCSU athletic training program is directed by Rachelle Hunt, M.Ed., ATC, LAT. Sharon Bratrud, M.S., ATC, LAT, serves as assistant professor and clinical coordinator.

According to Dianne Burr, chair of the HPE Department, Hunt and Bratrud deserve much credit for the successful accreditation: “This accomplishment is certainly the result of the hard-work, dedication, and meticulous attention to detail that both Rachelle and Sharon have invested in this long process.”

Athletic training is the healthcare profession responsible for the prevention, evaluation, management and rehabilitation of athletic injuries. Graduates of the VCSU athletic training program may sit for the Board of Certification (BOC) Examination; successfully passing the exam qualifies an individual as a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC). Certified athletic trainers are an integral part of athletic programs at the high school, university, club and professional levels. They may also work in clinical settings such as sports medicine clinics.

“Accreditation is particularly important for our students as it signals to them that they are receiving a quality education and that our quality is recognized by other colleges and universities—imperative for advanced study—as well as employers and potential employers,” said VCSU President Tisa Mason. “We are very proud of our faculty, students, and the partners who provide our athletic training students with quality practical experiences.”

Going forward, VCSU will maintain compliance with the CAATE Standards, submitting updates by Oct. 15 annually. VCSU’s next self-study will be due June 30, 2020, with a CAATE site visit to be scheduled between Oct. 15, 2020, and Feb. 15, 2021.