Purpose: The athletic training education landscape is shifting, which has opened new avenues for postprofessional education. Previous literature has investigated stakeholder perceptions and attitudes towards hiring a DAT degree holder in academia. Yet, there is no research investigating the experiences of DAT degree holders in academic roles. The purpose of this study was to explore the preparation and experiences of DAT degree holders related to their roles in academia. Methods: We used a consensual qualitative research design to explore the lived experiences of DAT degree holders in academia through semi-structured web-based interviews. Twelve DAT degree holders with at least one-year post-graduation that have been in their current academic role for at least 6 months (5 male, 7 female) were interviewed. Participants engaged in semi-structured interviews that were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. We used a constant comparative analysis and multi-analyst triangulation to create a consensus codebook including domains and categories identified from the transcripts. Credibility and trustworthiness were established through member checking, multiple researcher triangulation, and auditing. Results: Three domains emerged from the experiences of DAT degree holders in their preparation within their program and their transition into education: 1) Common program preparation 2) Program variability and 3) Integration. Participants indicated they were commonly prepared in the areas of advanced clinical practice skills, clinically meaningful research, the value of service, and academic culture. However, there was variability in preparation regarding instructional design and program administration. Finally, participants spoke to receiving system acceptance through the perceived benefits of hybrid faculty as well as their increased translational teaching skills. Conclusions: DAT degree holders are prepared to assume academic roles based on the preparation received in their DAT program, despite not being formally prepared for teaching. Doctor of Athletic Training (DAT) degree holders are accepted by academia due to the perceived benefit of hybrid faculty and their ability to bridge the gap between didactic and clinical learning in professional athletic training programs

Author Bio(s)

Andrew J. Schweitzer, DAT, LAT, ATC, has worked through Franciscan Health for the past two years as the athletic trainer at Fountain Central Jr/Sr High School in Veedersburg, Indiana.

Matthew J. Rivera, DAT, LAT, ATC, is an Assistant Professor in the Doctorate in Athletic Training Program within the College of Health and Human Services at Indiana State University.

Cailee E. Welch Bacon, PhD, ATC, is an Associate Professor in the Athletic Training Program within the Department of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences as well as a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Basic Science in the School of Osteopathic Medicine at AT Still University.

Lindsey E. Eberman, PhD, LAT, ATC, is the Program Director and Professor in the Doctorate in Athletic Training Program within the College of Health and Human Services at Indiana State University.





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