Questions To Ask

Questions To Ask Before Applying

The following is a list of questions the prospective athletic training student should ask of potential programs and institutions before applying.

Professional Programs

What is your program’s accreditation status?
Students must graduate from an accredited program to eligible to sit for the BOC credentialing examination, therefore it is important to understand the accreditation status of the institution the student is considering attending. A status such as Voluntary Withdrawal of accreditation or Not Admitting Students means that the program may not be an option for prospective students. A program status such as Probation or Withdrawal of Accreditation means that the program has one or more non-compliances with the Standards for Accreditation that have not been rectified and their status has been changed accordingly.  Prospective students can contact the CAATE or the program directly to find our more information about such a status.

Is there a secondary application process? If so, what is it?
Some programs require students to apply for entry into the athletic training major separately from the admissions process to enter into the institution. This secondary process may take place sometime after initial coursework has begun, and typically has pre-requisite criteria that the student would need to obtain prior to applying for program acceptance.

What is your program’s average cohort size? What is the instructor to student ratio?
A student’s learning may be impacted by very large or very small class sizes. Typically program cohorts attend the majority of classes together during the progression through the program curriculum. Very large cohorts or instructor to student ratios may limit one on one time with the instructor. Very small cohorts may result in limited collaboration with peers. It is up to the student to determine which learning environment will best foster their development of knowledge and skills, but it is important to note that all athletic training programs structure their cohort size and instructor to student ratios differently.

What is your program’s BOC examination passing rate?
Per educational standards all programs are required to publicly release their BOC passing rate for the most previous year as well as a three year aggregate. Programs also must differentiate between first-time passing rates and overall passing rates. The CAATE educational standards require programs to maintain a minimum of 70% three-year aggregate first-time BOC passing rate in order to maintain accreditation. As the BOC credentialing exam must be passed in order for a student to practice as a professional, therefore the student should select a program that best provides them with an opportunity for a successful career upon graduation. BOC exam scores are posted on the CAATE website and are updated annually.

Post-Professional Programs

What is your program’s accreditation status?
While graduation from an accredited Post-Professional program is not required to practice within the profession, students typically attend such programs to receive a post-baccalaureate degree that expands upon their professional education and experience. It is important to understand the accreditation status of such a program. There are Post-Professional degree programs that are accredited, and some that are not.  Accredited programs meet the CAATE’s stringent quality assurance Standards.

What are the research requirements of your program?
Research projects are often tied to a students’ ability to graduate from a post-baccalaureate program. Some institutions have a greater research component within their degree requirements than others. Student should have a good understanding of what research will need to be completed in order to successfully graduate from a program.

What is your program’s employment placement rate for its graduates?
Programs should support their graduates and assist them in finding an employment opportunity within the profession. It is important for students to know that a program has a history of helping its graduates find such opportunities.

What types of clinical experiences are available to students within your program?
Students often attend post-professional programs to increase the experience in a particular setting in which they envision themselves practicing in the future. Not all programs are the same with regard to the clinical experiences that they offer. Students may wish to ensure that the clinical experience they are seeking is available to them at the program that they are considering.

What clinical and didactic components of your program are distinctive and set you apart from other programs? How are these components considered “advanced” beyond that which is taught within a professional program? This question may allow students to differentiate between programs and select a program that best suits their needs.

Post-Professional Residency Programs

What is your program’s accreditation status?
While graduation from an accredited Post-Professional Residency program is not required to practice within the profession, residents typically attend such programs to receive a fully immersed clinical experience that expands upon their professional education and experience. It is important to understand the accreditation status of such a program. There are Post-Professional Residency programs that are accredited, and some that are not.  Accredited programs meet the CAATE’s stringent quality assurance Standards.

What is the expected length of your program? What is the anticipated weekly hourly requirement? The standards for residency programs require a full-time commitment from residents. Full-time may be defined differently between programs, so it is important that a potential resident understands this time commitment.

What is the residency’s focused area of clinical practice? Accredited Residency programs must declare an focused area of clinical practice in which residents obtain advanced knowledge and practice.  This information might be of particular importance to prospective residents who have identified a specific clinical area in which they intend to practice as part of their career and are seeking more knowledge and experience in such an area.

What clinical and didactic components of your program are distinctive and set you apart from other programs? How are these components considered “advanced” beyond that which is taught within a professional program?
This question may allow residents to differentiate between programs and select a program that best suits their needs.