Master of Science in Athletic Training Joins the School

Athletic training started at Pacific as an internship program. Under the Health, Exercise and Sport Sciences Department within College of the Pacific, the bachelor of science in athletic training program earned initial accreditation in May 2003 and was granted continued accreditation status in August 2008.

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Recently, the national accrediting body recommended that all candidates sitting for the certification exam have a master’s degree. Pacific has embraced this opportunity and in 2017 hired Thomas “TK” Koesterer, PhD, ATC, program director and associate clinical professor of athletic training to launch the master of science and athletic training (MSAT) program. In April 2018, the MSAT program joined the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

“We are one of a few institutions to offer this program, which puts us at the forefront of this change.”

The full-time, two-year graduate program prepares students to become highly qualified health care professionals who collaborate with physicians to provide preventative services, emergency care, clinical diagnoses, therapeutic interventions and rehabilitation for athletes and active patients. The first cohort began in July 2018.

Chris Pond, director of athletic training, has been at Pacific for more than 25 years and provides exceptional hands-on experiential learning opportunities for athletic training students. “We are one of a few institutions to offer this program, which puts us at the forefront of this change,” said Pond.

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 Stockton
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2 years
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Deadline May 1
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Pacific’s athletic training alumni continue to thrive. One hundred percent of the bachelor of science in athletic training class of 2018 passed the national certification exam on their first attempt. Pacific’s athletic training graduates have gone on to secure positions with the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, Oregon State University, Washington State University and other universities.

University of the Pacific is currently seeking accreditation for our new master of science in athletic training (MSAT) program and is not accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. The institution will be submitting a self-study to begin the accreditation process by Oct. 1, 2019, with a projected accreditation date in spring 2020, with our first graduating class.

Faculty Spotlight: Thomas “TK” Koesterer, PhD, ATC

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Thomas “TK” Koesterer, PhD, ATC, program director and associate clinical professor of athletic training, enjoys his daily commute on his bicycle. He likes cycling and Stockton’s beautiful weather, but what he is most passionate about is teaching future athletic trainers.

The athletic training profession is moving toward a graduate level requirement. In response, Pacific has established the master of science in athletic training (MSAT) program within the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. In June 2017, Dr. Koesterer joined the Pacific faculty to help launch the program.

Dr. Koesterer brings to his role more than 30 years of experience as a certified athletic trainer. He served as an athletic training program director at State University of New York (SUNY) Cortland for five years and at Humboldt State University for 10 years. Prior to being a program director, Dr. Koesterer was the head athletic trainer in the Department of Physical Education at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

He earned his bachelor of science in physical education with a concentration in athletic training from SUNY Cortland, his master of science in exercise physiology and athletic training from University of Buffalo and his doctor of philosophy in exercise physiology from University of Florida. Dr. Koesterer currently serves as a site visitor for the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education and a regional director for the California Athletic Trainers’ Association.

“I maintain an open-door policy as much as possible. I believe the best opportunity to talk with students is when they have the interest and time.”

He enjoys having conversations with students and athletes about their coursework, career opportunities and life in general. “I maintain an open-door policy as much as possible,” he said. “I believe the best opportunity to talk with students is when they have the interest and time.”

As program director, Dr. Koesterer’s goal is to provide students with extensive hands-on clinical experience to prepare them for careers as certified athletic trainers. He strives to help each student become a confident, highly skilled health care professional who is prepared for the challenges and rewards of working independently as an athletic trainer.

Speaking from experience, he shared that most people are drawn to the profession because of the environment in which they will be working. “They love it,” Dr. Koesterer said. “They love interacting with athletes; being on the sidelines and on the field.”

Faculty Spotlight: Christine Lo Bue-Estes, MS, PhD, ATC

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Christine Lo Bue-Estes, MS, PhD, ATC, clinical assistant professor of athletic training and coordinator of clinical education, has been working with athletes since 1999. “As a former athlete who competed in athletics at an elite level, I was always involved and interested in sports,” said Dr. Lo Bue-Estes. “Learning the physiology of how the human body works, to achieve peak performance and rehabilitate athletes was my entry into the fields of athletic training and exercise physiology.”

She was drawn to Pacific by the opportunity to actively engage with students and collaborate with colleagues. “The people and environment at Pacific are conducive to high-quality learning experiences in the classrooms, labs and clinical placements,” Dr. Lo Bue-Estes said.

Her goal is to apply her years of clinical research and classroom experience towards training the next generation of clinicians who will be responsible for the health and wellbeing of athletes in a variety of different settings. She believes that building a strong foundation of core principles, complemented by creative, critical-thinking, will prepare her students for success in the constantly evolving athletic training profession.

“The people and environment at Pacific are conducive to high-quality learning experiences in the classrooms, labs and clinical placements.”

Dr. Lo Bue-Estes is originally from Sacramento. She lived on the East Coast for almost 20 years before returning to Northern California. She enjoys baking, making jewelry and coaching youth soccer. She also loves extreme sports, but as a viewer, not a participant.