DEPARTMENT OF SPORTS MEDICINE
"SETTING THE STANDARD"

Graduate Assistantships at James Madison University

JMU offers graduate assistantships to those interested in athletic training as a profession.  This page is designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of the opportunities provided at JMU for athletic training graduate assistantships.

JMU Sports Medicine

The sports medicine program at JMU provides a holistic approach to the well being of all JMU student athletes.  Our goal is to set the standard of care and coverage by utilizing a highly qualified staff, state of the art equipment, and an innovative yet outcomes-based approach to evaluation, treatment, rehabilitation, and return to competition.

Profile of a Successful Potential Graduate Assistant

Types of Assistantships Offered at JMU 

JMU currently offers two types of graduate assistantships to those interested in continuing their athletic training education and clinical career.  These are referred to as "athletic" or  "academic".

Athletic GA: This position is offered through the department of athletics and is a 10-month assistantship.  This position reports to the Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine and is funded through the athletics department of JMU.  The main responsibilities for this position include student athlete coverage and care, with the graduate assistant being assigned the responsibilities of a team, under the direction and mentoring of a supervising staff certified athletic trainer.  The assistantship is a 1-year renewable contract based upon availability, with a goal of having the individual providing care and coverage for the same team over the course of two years to allow for continuity of care and trusting relationships between the GA and the team and it's coaching staff.  The athletic GA will also assist in overall department care and coverage, as well as additional departmental policies and procedures necessary to maintain a professional environment.

Academic GA: This position is offered through the department of health sciences and is a 9-month assistantship.  This position reports to the athletic training education program director and is funded through the department of health sciences.  The main responsibilities for this position include assisting as an instructor in our CAATE accredited undergraduate athletic training education program, assisting the program director with administrative curricular needs, and assisting in the coordination and preparation of pre-professional athletic training students.  This is a 1-year renewable contract based upon availability, with the expectations of providing the same services over the course of two years.  This position may also assist other athletic training faculty in the instruction of material in other curricular classes.  Possession of a credential to teach Emergency Healthcare Provider Courses may be required.

Graduate Degree Offerings 

All individuals being offered a graduate assistantship will have the opportunity to obtain a graduate degree in a number of areas. Degrees are offered through the JMU Graduate School. Common areas of study for our current graduate assistants include programs within the Kinesiololgy or Sports and Recreation Leadership department with concentrations being offered in various areas. Most degrees can be completed in a two-year course of study. Some options require longer than two years, depending upon whether or not internships and additional clinical requirements in the concentration area are necessary.

Graduate Assistant Tuition Waiver 

All graduate assistantships will pay for up to 9 graduate credit hours per semester.  Individuals needing or wanting to take undergraduate pre-requisites while at JMU would need to finance these independently.  Such requirements are not common, but they occur depending upon what graduate degree one chooses to pursue.  The majority of graduate assistantship tuition waivers are granted for out-of-state tuition rates. 

Stipend 

The stipend for graduate assistantships funded through the JMU department of athletics is about $10,000 annually.  The stipend for the graduate assistantships funded by the department of health sciences is about $9,000 annually.  Graduate assistants funded through JMU health sciences have the opportunity to receive additional funding by the JMU athletic department via a one-month contract extension whereby the graduate assistant would assist with pre-season clinical care and coverage.

Requirements

Individuals will be awarded graduate assistantships provided the following criteria have been met:

  • 1. Successful graduation from a CAATE accredited undergraduate athletic training education program.
  • 2. Possession of BOC certification.
  • 3. Possession of, or eligible for, Commonwealth of Virginia Licensure
  • 4. Acceptance into JMU College of Graduate School.
  • 5. Current possession of CPR, AED, and Emergency Healthcare Provider cards.

 Application Process 

Individuals interested in applying to JMU as a graduate assistant athletic trainer must follow a two-step approach.  The two steps involve an application both to the JMU School of Graduate and Professional Programs as well as the Department of Sports Medicine:

  • 1. Guidelines for application to the Graduate School must be adhered to and acceptance into the school must occur before a graduate assistantship of any kind can be offered. Individuals should refer to the graduate school web page for the most current and specific guidelines for application. Generally, items such as official transcripts, proof of graduation, Graduate Record Exam Scores, and letters of recommendation are required for submission in addition to a completed formal application packet.
  • 2. The Department of Sports Medicine will review applicants for qualifications of providing athletic training services. Candidates must send a) a cover letter describing one's interest in an assistantship at JMU, 2) a copy or original official transcript from all schools attended, 3) an updated resume, and 4) three letters of reference from professionals who can speak to your academic and athletic training abilities. Applications need to be posted through the JMUJoblink system. Candidates should plan to begin applying to the graduate school toward the end of each calendar year.  The Department of Sports Medicine will begin posting available graduate assistantships late in the Fall semester.  These postings will be on this web site and/or the NATA position vacancy placement page.  Qualified candidates will be asked to take part in a phone and/or on-campus interview.  We highly encourage those interested in one of our assistantships to visit our beautiful campus.  The interview is also a time for us to meet you, and for you to meet us.  Beyond qualifications on paper, this interaction between us provides for a clearer understanding of the potential for you as a graduate assistant and us as a University to determine if we would be a good fit for each other.

Additional Benefits & Opportunities 

The individuals working as certified athletic trainers at JMU have a significant amount of experience to offer graduate assistants.  We highly value our mentor program so that we can invest in our own graduate assistants and also prepare the very best our profession has to offer.

Graduate assistants being mentored by our staff certified athletic trainers have the opportunity to take part in teaching in our CAATE accredited undergraduate athletic training education program.  We are extremely proud of this program, the first accredited program in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Students who graduate from this program currently perform at nearly twice the national passing average on their certification exam.  Graduate assistants are encouraged to acquire the skills necessary to become a competent instructor in the classroom.  Opportunities to assist with labs, prepare lectures, assess student performance and collaborate with faculty on a daily basis are available.

Clinically, JMU is the home to 18 diverse athletic teams competing at the Division I level.  Graduate assistants will gain significant exposure to various sports and the injuries and illnesses that are commonly and uncommonly seen with each sport.  Opportunities to assist with care and coverage of all sports are encouraged regardless of the team one is assigned to provide care for.

Educationally, our staff feels an obligation to nurture and develop our graduate assistants from a clinical perspective.  Regular in-services are scheduled to share knowledge and current trends in sports medicine.  Guest lecturers are often invited to speak at JMU in addition to the information shared by our well-respected faculty and staff.  Our team physicians, orthopaedic specialists, and other medical and allied health care providers in the community are very receptive to teaching and learning, providing for a tremendous environment for professional growth to take place.

From a scholarship perspective, the faculty and staff affiliated with JMU Sports Medicine looks forward to assisting in the professional development of our future professionals.   Graduate Assistants at JMU have a wonderful opportunity to partake in professional projects that lead to publication or presentation in nationally recognized forums.