An evaluation of the professional preparation of high school athletic trainers in the state of North Carolina.

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Wright, Kenneth
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Middle Tennessee State University
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the professional preparation of high school athletic trainers in the state of North Carolina. The three methods of professional preparation that these surveyed athletic trainers completed were either graduates of a National Athletic Traners Association (NATA) curriculum program, graduates of a NATA internship program, or graduates of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Teacher/Athletic Trainer Instructional Program (TATIP).
Sixty-five high school athletic trainers completed and returned the questionnaire that consisted of 101 statements. Categories covered in the questionnaire included certification route, highest earned degree, academic background, current teaching responsibilities, past and present athletic training experiences, job longevity, and professional advancement. Also, permission to utilize their NATA certification examination scores for comparison was asked.
Responses from the questionnaires were tabulated and, based on the findings, the following conclusions can be made from this study: (1) Certification route--fifty-seven trainers participated in the TATIP route, whereas four were either curriculum or internship graduates.(2) Highest earned degree--the majority of the athletic traners earned a bachelor's degree. (3) Current teaching responsibilities--physical education, natural science, health and social studies were taught by forty-four of the sixty-five surveyed trainers. (4) Past and present experiences--limited practical experience was exhibited by all of the TATIP graduates; most trainers had three years or less experience as a head athletic trainer. (5) Job longevity--the TATIP trainers had close to seven years experience at their present schools, whereas the curriculum and internship trainers exhibited 2.75 and 1.5 years, respectively. (6) Professional advancement--most trainers belonged to the North Carolina Athletic Trainers Association and attended state clinics and workshops; very few graduates were active members of the National Athletic Trainers Association. (7) NATA certification examination score--in comparison of state and national examination scores, the curriculum graduates did score higher.