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Abstract

Purpose: Requiring students to complete and record professional development type activities similar to the requirements of certified athletic trainers may help promote the values and behaviors associated with life-long learning in the evolving practice of athletic training, as well as prepare students more practically for the expectations of credential maintenance. We sought to design, implement, assess, and improve a new professional development program requirement in a professional-level athletic training program that closely mirrored the process and re-certification requirements for certified athletic trainers. Methods: a quasi-experimental mixed-methods approach was used. Data were collected over two consecutive years at a private university in the Midwestern United States. A convenience sample of students enrolled in a professional athletic training program participated in the study. Student-rated perception of the new professional development requirement and qualitative student perceptions were mined from various data sources. Results: Participants in the study reported positive, self-reported progress toward achieving program outcomes. Major benefits as identified by the participants included socialization opportunities, exposure to emerging practices and techniques, and appreciation of the process for credential maintenance. Feedback given by students was integrated into the professional development program requirement where appropriate between years one and two of the study, and changes were received well by participants. Conclusions: Athletic training students in the current study benefitted from participation in overt pedagogy in professional development. Establishment and cultivation of a professional development requirement may benefit athletic training programs for the best preparation of athletic trainers before they transition to practice.

Author Bio(s)

Christina Davlin-Pater, Ph.D., AT, ATC, EMT, is an Associate Professor of athletic training at Xavier University. She also serves as the Director of the Master of Science in Athletic Training Program at Xavier University.

Elisabeth C Rosencrum, PhD, NH-LAT, ATC, CSCS, is an Assistant Professor of athletic training and allied health sciences at Plymouth State University.

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