Evaluation of Professional Preparation in Athletic Training by Employed, Entry-Level Athletic Trainers
The purpose of this study was to determine the perceived adequacy of professional preparation in athletic training among employed, entry-level certified athletic trainers. Data were gathered by means of a self-reporting questionnaire designed specifically for the study. There were 277 questionnaires mailed, and 183 entry-level certified athletic trainers (66%) responded to the survey. Demographic and employment characteristics of the respondents were examined. Respondents rated their perceptions of adequacy of professional preparation and growth in several academic and clinical task areas. Entry-level athletic trainers felt more prepared in the areas of prevention of athletic injuries/illnesses, evaluation and recognition of athletic injuries/illnesses, and first aid/emergency care. They felt less prepared in the areas of rehabilitation and reconditioning, organization and administration of athletic training programs, counseling and guidance of athletes, and education of athletes. Many entry-level certified athletic trainers were not strongly impressed with the adequacy of the number of clinical hours required or the areas of clinical experiences encountered during their professional preparation programs. Respondents felt that their mentors/certified athletic trainers could have provided more leadership, guidance, and evaluation. According to this study, professional preparation programs in athletic training are adequately preparing entry-level professionals, but certain task areas need increased emphasis.