Master of Science in Athletic Training | Concordia University Irvine

Concordia University Irvine is proud to offer an educational foundation for an exciting and rewarding career in athletic training and sports medicine with the Master of Science in Athletic Training (MSAT) degree. A career as a certified athletic trainer offers a dynamic and rewarding working environment with exposure to a variety of athletic and allied healthcare settings and professionals, including athletes, coaches, physicians, physical therapists, exercise physiologists, and other allied healthcare professionals. As outlined by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, certified athletic trainers provide comprehensive patient care in five areas of clinical practice: prevention; clinical evaluation and diagnosis; immediate and emergency care; treatment and rehabilitation; and organization and professional health and well-being.

Recognizing the need for further professional preparation of athletic trainers, Concordia University Irvine is an early adopter of the 3+2 model for earning both a Bachelor and Master of Science in Athletic Training. Our innovative, cohort-based curriculum is designed to accommodate traditional undergraduate students, transfer students, and recipients of undergraduate degrees to meet the minimum professional degree level recommended by the CAATE for successful completion of the Board of Certification examination. With Concordia University Irvine’s MSAT program, you will experience a distinctive academic environment that fuses the elements of sports medicine, allied healthcare, and the dynamics of intercollegiate athletics with the holistic values and ethics of Christian higher education.

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Two-Year Program
Traditional Graduate degree

Students who have completed a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university and meet all requirements for admission can enroll in our two year Master of Science in Athletic Training program. All students who complete the MSAT curriculum will be endorsed to take the Board of Certification Examination to become a Certified Athletic Trainer.

Five-Year Program
Dual degree 3+2 program for incoming first-year students (freshmen)

Students complete a BS in Pre-Athletic Training & Allied Health + an MS in Athletic Training in 5 years. Prospective students interested in this option will apply to CUI as an undergraduate Pre-Athletic Training & Allied Health student. Our five-year (3+2) program offers students an opportunity to study in a traditional liberal arts environment, and share 15 credits of instruction with your undergraduate enrollment.

At a Glance
Application Deadline March 1
Start Date June 2018
Units 64
Clinical Hours 800
Completion Time 2 years
Cost per unit $625
Accreditation CAATE, WASC

Prospective transfer students are welcome to apply. Please contact your undergraduate academic advisor to explore your options.

This program is accredited by the Commision on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE)

CAATE Accreditation

Concordia University Irvine's Master of Science in Athletic Training is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). The CAATE has required that all bachelors-level programs transition to masters-level by 2022. Concordia’s three year, sequential, undergraduate cohort education and clinical training is created to transition to a two year Masters of Science in Athletic Training. Upon completion, you will be eligible for certification, credentialing, and licensure via the Board of Certification (BOC) and state medical boards that require licensure for certified athletic trainers to meet the standards of state practice or title protection acts.

Concordia University Irvine's Athletic Training Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). The program has been placed on Probation as of February 24, 2017, by the CAATE, 6850 Austin Center Blvd., Suite 100, Austin, TX 78731-3101.

Why a Master’s?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for certified athletic trainers are expected to grow much faster than average occupations by 22% between 2016 and 2026. These employment trends highlight the need for masters prepared certified athletic trainers in order to advance the profession and provide the highest quality of healthcare for the physically active. Certified athletic trainers play an integral role in the sports medicine team in the prevention, evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation of athletic injuries.

After 2.5 years of diligent analysis, leaders of the key athletic training organizations recently announced their decision to establish the professional degree in athletic training at the master’s level. Research shows that the master’s level Athletic Training programs demonstrated more favorable outcomes on the BOC exam pass rate. This move will "best prepare athletic trainers for an integral role in the evolving health care system."

What Students are Saying

Concordia's Athletic Training program will guide you in preparation for taking the BOC exam. It’s a fun learning environment where you become close with your professors, can get the help you need, and have many mentors who guide you. We also have many clinical sites that can accommodate your interests in the field, including cheer, football, orthopedic surgery, and NCAA DII sports.

Hannah Cavalier

Athletic Training at Concordia University Irvine

Learning Facilities

CUI's athletic training clinical lab serves as a central location for didactic and clinical instruction. Our lab is fully equipped for evaluation and treatment of athletic injuries, performed under the supervision of certified athletic trainers. Our recently upgraded facility features multiple hi-low treatment tables, electrical muscle stimulation and ultrasound machines, taping tables, and a hydrotherapy area.

Program Faculty

At Concordia University Irvine, you will connect with faculty who partner with you on your path to becoming a certified athletic trainer. You will work with a small group of peers in our own lab, and at clinical placements where you will benefit from immersive learning experiences ranging from the field, to the clinic, to the operating room.

Photo of Cliff Pawley

Cliff Pawley, Ed.D., ATC

Program Director of Athletic Training Education

Prior to his appointment as Program Director of Athletic Training Education, Cliff Pawley served for thirteen years in athletic training administration at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Cliff holds current memberships in good standing with the National Athletic Trainer's Association (NATA), the Southeast Athletic Trainers Association (FWATA), and the California Athletic Trainers Association (CATA).

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Program Director of Athletic Training Education

Degrees Earned

  • Southern Illinois University (1990) Bachelor of Science in Physical Education with Specialization in Athletic Training.
  • University of Louisiana - Monroe (1992) Master of Education in Exercise Physiology
  • Union University (2014). Doctor of Education in Higher Education


Cliff Pawley enters his third year as full time faculty at Concordia University Irvine following thirteen years in athletic training administration at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. He is appointed as the Program Director of Athletic Training Education at Concordia, a position that he previously held at Union for 9 years. He also served as the Associate Head Athletic Trainer for Union University's men's basketball team and served 4 years that the athletic training programs Clinical Education Coordinator. Cliff holds current memberships in good standing with the National Athletic Trainer's Association (NATA) the Southeast Athletic Trainer’s Association (FWATA), and the California Athletic Trainers Association (CATA). He was certified by the National Athletic Trainer's Association Board of Certification in 1990 and been licensed to practice in the states of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee. He was appointed to the State of Tennessee Board of Athletic Trainers in 2011 and also served as a liaison to the TATS Education Committee. In 2014 he received the Jerry Robertson Educator Award by the membership of the Tennessee Athletic Trainer Society for service to promoting athletic training education in the State of Tennessee. He also he the SEATA Education/Administration Athletic Trainer Award in 2015.

Cliff is originally from Elkville, Illinois where he graduated from Elverado High School in 1980. Following four years of service in the United States Navy, Cliff pursued degrees from Southern Illinois University - Carbondale (Bachelor of Science, 1990), University of Louisiana - Monroe (Master of Education, 1992), and Union University Doctor of Education, 2014) with emphases in athletic training, exercise physiology, and higher education respectively. His background of professional practice includes 10 years of service at three private physical therapy practices in Pascagoula, Mississippi, Fairhope, Alabama and Bay Minette, Alabama in which he was responsible for coordinating outreach sports medicine programs for Pascagoula, Moss Point, Daphne and Baldwin County High Schools. Cliff began teaching career as an adjunct instructor at the University of Mobile and Faulkner State Community College before accepting a faculty appointment at Union in 2001.

Cliff is married to the former Sherrie Cossey of Senatobia, Mississippi. They share their home in Aliso Viejo with their dogs, Beau and Chevy. Cliff has one daughter, Bethany, who is 18. Sherrie has three children, Caty, Courtney, and Codi Lyn, ages 23, 21, and 16 respectively.

His interests include cycling, body boarding, paddle boarding, roller coasters, basketball, softball, golf, physical fitness, watching college sports and spending time with his family.

Photo of Jennifer Rizzo

Jennifer Rizzo, Ed.D., ATC, CES

Coordinator of Clinical Education

Jennifer Rizzo earned her B.A. in exercise and sport science with an emphasis on athletic training, in 2003 from Concordia University Irvine. In 2005 she earned her Master’s in business administration, also from Concordia University. She is currently working on her EdD from the United States Sports Academy.

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Coordinator of Clinical Education

Degrees Earned

  • Ed.D. (doctoral candidate) United States Sports Academy, Daphne AL
  • M.B.A. Concordia University, Irvine 2005
  • B.A. ESS/Athletic Training - Concordia University, Irvine 2003


Hometown: San Juan Capistrano, CA

Jennifer Rizzo started her career at Concordia University in 2002 as a student-athlete on the volleyball team majoring in athletic training. Upon graduating, she became the graduate assistant athletic trainer while getting her Master’s in business administration. In 2005 she was hired as a full-time Assistant Athletic Trainer. She did not stay in that position long, becoming assistant professor in Exercise and Sport Science in 2007. In 2011 Dr. Rizzo became the ATEP Program Director and she continues to work with the volleyball program. Dr. Rizzo earned her B.A. in exercise and sport science, emphasis on athletic training in 2003 from Concordia University, Irvine. In 2005 she earned her Master’s in business administration, also from Concordia University. She is currently working on her Ed D from the United States Sports Academy.

Dr. Rizzo played volleyball in college at Georgia State University and continues to enjoy recreational volleyball. She also enjoys hiking mountains such as Kilimanjaro and being in the outdoors. Her only child is her cute puppy Joey.

Photo of Scott Graham

Scott Graham, M.D.

Medical Director

Dr. Graham holds a BS from USC and is a graduate of the USC School of Medicine. He completed his residency in Orthopedics at UC Irvine Medical Center. During his residency, Dr. Graham worked at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic as an assistant team physician with the Los Angeles Lakers and Anaheim Angels. During his Fellowship at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic, he was the Team Physician and Orthopedic Consultant for the NFL's Cleveland Browns, NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers and the WNBA's Cleveland Rockers.

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Medical Director


Fellowship Trained Sports Medicine Specialist/Ligament Reconstruction/Arthroscopy/Cartilage Restoration

Dr. Graham is a native of Santa Barbara where at Dos Pueblos High School, he competed on their waterpolo, basketball, volleyball and tennis team as a multi-team Varsity Letterman earning All CIF 4A Honors in the 1980's.

After obtaining his BS from USC and graduating from USC School of Medicine, he completed a residency in Orthopedics at UC Irvine Medical Center; one of the premiere "Hands On" training centers for orthopedic surgeons. During his residency, Dr. Graham worked at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic as an assistant team physician with the Los Angeles Lakers and Anaheim Angels.

Dr. Graham then traveled to the prestigious Cleveland Clinic for further training with a Fellowship in Sports Medicine. During his Fellowship, he was the Team Physician and Orthopedic Consultant for the NFL's Cleveland Browns, NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers and the WNBA's Cleveland Rockers. He worked at the NFL Combines evaluating players for the NFL Draft process along with Rookie and Veterans Camps.

During his training, Dr. Graham has published many research articles in peer reviewed journals, has presented Nationally and Internationally his work and has received notable awards for his work in Sports Medicine research.

Dr. Graham has been the team physician for Santa Margarita Catholic High School Athletics for many years and continues to care for and treat athletes as a Sports Medicine Specialist for nearly all the regional high schools and colleges in both North and South Orange County. He is the Medical Director of Athletics for Concordia University and is the Program Director for Athletic Training at the University.

Dr. Graham is our Sports Medicine specialist, providing advanced and minimally invasive care for all sports medicine injuries. He specializes in knee and shoulder arthroscopy, minimally invasive surgery, PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) treatments and Cartilage Restoration and Reconstruction.


Dr. Graham Receives Subspecialty Certification in Orthopedic Sports Medicine

Scott Graham MD, a board certified orthopedic surgeon for South County Orthopedic Specialists, has recently added to his credentials by receiving Subspecialty Certification in Orthopedic Sports Medicine. This certification means he is one of the few Sports Medicine Orthopedic Surgeons who has achieved the highest level of proficiency in Sports Medicine as defined by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery.

The requirements to take the rigorous Orthopedic Sports Medicine Certification examination are submission of surgical and nonsurgical cases of specific sports injuries in addition to peer recommendations. The nationwide examination was given last November, and Dr. Graham was recently notified that he has successfully passed the test.

“Board certification is an important yardstick to determine the quality of a practicing physician, and I have been board certified in Orthopedic Surgery since 2003. This Subspecialty Certification denotes proficiency in the specialized area of Sports Medicine within Orthopedics. Becoming Subspecialty Boarded was a natural extension of my 10+ years of working with professional, Olympic, collegiate and high school athletes.”

Dr. Graham included in OCMA "Top Doctors"

Dr. Graham was selected as one of the Orange County Medical Associations" Top Doctors of 2013 in Orthopedic Surgery as seen in Orange Coast Magazine Jan 2013.

Scott Graham, M.D. Named to Physicians of Excellence 2014 List

Every year the Orange County Medical Association (OCMA) conducts an extensive survey of the region’s top doctors in a wide range of medical fields. The goal of the OCMA’s list is to provide patients with the names of the best doctors who are known as some of the most accomplished and caring. Each physician is rated on the leadership they demonstrate, the teaching and mentoring they provide, the research they conduct and the humanitarian efforts to which they are committed. This year, the OCMA named 425 doctors in 61 specialties to its Physicians of Excellence list. Dr. Graham was named to the 2014 list in the area of Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine. This is the second year in a row Dr. Graham has been honored.

Meet Our Professors

One of our greatest assets at Concordia University Irvine is our dedicated faculty. In a small learning environment, our professors care about you—not just your performance—and they cultivate lifelong mentoring relationships with the students they teach.

Athletic Training Faculty

Tuition & Financial Aid

Tuition/Fee Cost
Application Fee $50
Clinical Fees $400
Liability Insurance $25
Tuition $625/unit

Concordia’s School of Arts & Sciences offers a competitively priced Athletic Training degree program. For your convenience we offer payment plans for our graduate students. Our counselors are available to help you plan how to finance your education. We can also walk you through the process of applying for financial aid.

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