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story.lead_photo.caption FILE: Westminster College is partnering with Culver-Stockton College on an accelerated master's of athletic training program. Photo by Helen Wilbers / Fulton Sun.

Westminster College announced Monday it is working with Culver-Stockton College to offer an accelerated master's of athletic training program.

Beginning this fall, students will be able to earn an undergraduate and master's degree in athletic training in five years.

Students in the program will spend three years at Westminster for their undergraduate degree and two years at Culver-Stockton for their master's degree. Culver-Stockton is located in Canton.

"I am excited for the future of this program," Westminster health and exercise science department chair Amanda Gowin said in a news release, pointing to the partnership as an opportunity to help grow the Westminster exercise science program.

The Culver-Stockton courses will include clinical experiences in athletic and hospital settings in Canton, Hannibal or Quincy, Illinois.

Over the past three years, all Culver-Stockton master's of athletic training graduates passed certification tests. Culver-Stockton students also attended professional conferences and participated in professional advocacy events at the state and national level.

Eleven students graduated from the Culver-Stockton program over the past three years. Nine found employment as athletic trainers.

"Occupations in athletic training are growing at a higher rate than the average of other occupations," Gowin said. "This partnership secures a high-quality education and provides students a competitive advantage into a thriving market at a quicker pace."

Westminster currently offers three other dual-degree programs, including a chiropractic partnership with Logan University of Chiropractic, an engineering partnership with Washington University, Missouri University of Science and Technology or Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, and a nursing partnership with Goldfarb School of Nursing.

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