Philadelphia University Launches New M.S. in Athletic Training

Philadelphia University this fall is introducing a new M.S. in Athletic Training to meet the growing demand for sports medicine professionals.

In addition to the two-year master’s program, students can apply as freshmen for an accelerated five-year program during which they will earn both a B.S. in Health Sciences and M.S. in Athletic Training.

“Philadelphia University’s athletic training program complements and builds on the strengths of our graduate programs in the health professions,” said Michael Dryer, DrPH, executive dean of the College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts. “This in-demand program prepares students to practice as part of the healthcare team that treats, prevents and rehabilitates injuries in athletes.”

Both the master’s and the accelerated five-year program will begin in fall 2016. Applications are currently being accepted for both options (click here for information).

Athletic trainers work with athletes to recognize, evaluate and help prevent injuries, as well as counsel individuals on appropriate equipment and specialized medical care. The demand for certified athletic trainers is expected to grow significantly over the next decade both in traditional athletic settings such as high schools, colleges and professional sports, as well as in medical offices, rehabilitation centers and industrial sites.

Ali El-Kerdi, who holds a doctorate in health sciences and is a certified athletic trainer and physical therapist, has been named director of the program. He has worked with athletes at all levels from youth sports clubs to the Olympics.

“With the recent shortage of physicians, athletic trainers are filling an important role in providing care in their area of expertise,” El-Kerdi said. “The education athletic trainers receive is unique in that it includes orthopedic and sports medicine education, as well as health and wellness education.”

PhilaU’s new program reflects the need for more advanced education and training for those in the field. “All athletic training degrees, starting in 2022, have to be at the master’s level,” said El-Kerdi, who has taught health and wellness courses at PhilaU and other area universities. “We are medical practitioners and we need advanced education to fulfill that responsibility.”

Previously, El-Kerdi worked as a senior outpatient clinician specializing in orthopedic, manual and sports therapy at MossRehab in Philadelphia, where he was also a faculty member in the orthopedic residency program and served as director of the Community Falls and Injury Prevention Initiative. His research focus is on biomechanical and clinical assessments of balance, performance and injury prevention in athletes and adults.

Graduates of PhilaU’s athletic training program will have the practical, clinical and professional experience to become Certified Athletic Trainers and work in traditional athletic settings or in other medical fields. They will be prepared to take the National Athletic Trainer’s Association Board of Certification examination upon graduation.

The curriculum includes courses in anatomy; rehabilitation; emergency care; prevention, evaluation and treatment of athletic injuries; social and psychological aspects of physical activity; and exercise physiology and biomedical ethics. Students also must complete a research/collaborative project and practicum in athletic training.

PhilaU is currently seeking accreditation for the M.S. in Athletic Training program from the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. The University will be submitting a self-study to begin the accreditation process on July 1, 2017. Submission of the self­‐study and completion of a site visit does not guarantee the program will become accredited. Students who graduate from the program prior to accreditation will not be eligible to sit for the credentialing examination for athletic trainers and will not be eligible for licensure in most states.

For more information on the program,  click here. Contact a graduate admissions counselor at or email the program director at with questions or to schedule an informational visit.


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