Board of Certification Examination Success and Clinical Education

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Virginia Tech


Athletic training education has evolved from a model with a strong experiential component and a weak educational curricular component to a standards based framework program. Throughout the development of Athletic Training Education Programs (ATEPs), starting in 1950's through today when the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) has tightened restrictions and standards for athletic training curriculum. Athletic training education is broken into two components. The first component includes a didactic education or classroom curriculum and the second component involves clinical experience, where hands on experience supplements classroom understanding and allows students to becomes competent with the concepts taught during classroom curriculum. In comparing allied health professions, entry-level athletic trainers perceive approximately 53% of their professional development comes from clinical experiences, while physical therapy clinical experience have been reported to be 23% - 30% of the professional development (Weidner & Henning, 2002). The purpose of the study was to examine if relationships exist between characteristics within ATEPs and athletic training students (ATSs) success on the Board of Certification (BOC) examination.

Twenty-four graduates from six selected CAATE accredited NCAA Division I participating Institutions completed a 20 question survey regarding characteristics of clinical experiences within the ATEP as well as other demographic information that may identify relationships between those characteristics and success on the certification examination.


Results of this study identified no significant relationships between characteristics within ATEPs, football experience, or student demographics and success on the BOC examination. The number of subjects was limited and, if a larger population were surveyed, results may differ. Although not statistically significant, GPA as a predictor of and first attempt success on the BOC examination approached a significant value. These findings show consistency with previous research.

In conclusion, this study did not identify relationships that were significant but relationships that approached a level significance. No significant relationships were identified between ATEP characteristics, football experience, or student demographics and BOC examination success. Although fall football experience is not related to success on the BOC examination results show significant relationship between football experience and students' perception of observational role as well as hands on injury evaluation experience. Students who are placed within Division I football tend to hold roles strictly as observers versus those students who are placed within the high school football settings. Future research in the area of clinical experience and success on the BOC examination should continue. A larger sample size, from a variety of athletic conference's should be included in the survey population.



BOC examination, Football Clinical Experience, Clinical Education, Exam Success