Residency and Fellowship Programs
Residency is a crucial step of professional development between graduate education and autonomous clinical practice in a core specialty. Athletic training residency education occurs in clinical settings that establish the foundation for practice-based and lifelong learning. Certified athletic trainers learn to provide optimal patient care under the structured mentorship of faculty members who not only instruct, but serve as role models of excellence, compassion, professionalism and scholarship. The care of patients is undertaken with appropriate faculty supervision and conditional independence, allowing residents to attain the deep medical knowledge, patient care skills and expertise applicable to their area of specialty practice. Formal clinical development, structured didactic curricula and scholarship within the specialty area are pillars of residency programs to expand upon the foundational knowledge and experience athletic trainers have acquired during professional education.
The CAATE has identified specialty areas of clinical practice for athletic training residency programs in an effort to help guide the development of specialty training in the athletic training profession. Consistent with other health care professions, CAATE accredited Athletic Training Residency Programs are formal educational programs that prepare credentialed Athletic Trainers for advanced practice in a specialty area within athletic training. They advance the preparation of an athletic training practitioner, within the scope of athletic training, through a planned program of clinical and didactic education in a specialized area using an evidence-based approach to enhance patient care.
Identified areas of specialty clinical practice exist where there is a clear need for advanced/specialty practitioners. The specialty areas of clinical practice identified by the Commission represent areas of specialty in which Athletic Trainers clearly demonstrate advanced patient-care knowledge and skills. Athletic training residency program administrators have been historically encouraged to select specialty areas based upon a specific patient population (for example, pediatrics) or body system (such as orthopaedics). To help guide the development and advancement of residency programs pursuing accreditation, the Commission has recently established the following eight specialty areas of clinical practice. Programs seeking CAATE accreditation should design their residency training program within one of the following areas of specialty clinical practice:
CAATE Approved Residency Specialty Areas
- Prevention and Wellness
- Urgent and Emergent Care
- Primary Care
- Behavioral Health
- Performance Enhancement
Residency programs that are already accredited, or that have already submitted application for accreditation, may continue within their already identified specialty area, but may also choose to align within these approved specialty areas of clinical practice. Residency programs that are planning to submit an application for accreditation in a non-approved specialty area of clinical practice must submit additional materials prior to starting the accreditation application process so that their planned specialty area can be reviewed by the Commission. These materials must demonstrate that there is a clearly established need for specialty practitioners within athletic training for the proposed specialty area of clinical practice. Questions regarding this process can be directed to email@example.com.
Fellowship is advanced education and intensive programming beyond a core residency program for certified athletic trainers who desire to enter more subspecialized practice. A subspecialty is a narrow field within specialization. For example, manual therapy may be a subspecialty of rehabilitation and neurotrauma may be a subspecialty of primary care. Specialization and subspecialization can be nested within larger frameworks. Fellowship-trained athletic trainers provide subspecialty care and also core medical care. The prior medical experience and expertise of fellows distinguish them from residents. Formal clinical development, structured didactic curricula and scholarship within the subspecialty area are pillars of athletic training fellowship programs that expand upon knowledge acquired during completion of residency programs or similar experience routes.
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