Summer Internships for Students

The CAATE office has been receiving a higher volume of questions regarding ‘internship’ opportunities for students currently enrolled in a professional athletic training program. The below information was previously published in the CAATE Insight Spring 2014 Newsletter.

Some state practice acts specify that athletic training students are defined and protected by state statute if they are acting as part of an accredited educational program (see individual state practice acts). However, summer camps and/or internships are often not a formal part of a CAATE accredited program curriculum, and students may not be currently enrolled in a clinical course during the summer camp or internship.

If the camp/internship falls outside of the educational program’s requirements, then the individual is not considered an athletic training student by the CAATE, and utilizing athletic training student status during this timeframe is inappropriate and may place the student in violation of the corresponding state practice act. Program personnel who are aware of students – unlicensed personnel – practicing outside of their state’s practice act, but who fail to report the event may be subject to professional sanctions for failing to report unregulated practice. Programs cannot knowingly support or promote these situations while concurrently claiming that such camps and internships are not a formal part of the program. Such behavior is misguided and unprofessional as it may circumvent both state regulations and CAATE accreditation standards.

If a student is to be considered an athletic training student within a CAATE accredited program, the program must assure the camp/internship is in compliance with all appropriate accreditation Standards or the program risks being found in noncompliance with CAATE Standards. In order for a summer camp or internship to comply with the CAATE accreditation Standards for professional programs as an affiliated clinical setting, the institution sponsoring the educational program would need to:

  • obtain an affiliated agreement(s) with all parties involved in the camp or internship (see Standard 3);
  • establish, educate, and evaluate qualified preceptors at each clinical setting (see Standards 37-41 and 52). *It is important to note that all of a program’s preceptors do not have to go through the same training.
  • assure that Clinical placements must be non-discriminatory with respect to race, color, creed, religion, ethnic origin, age, sex, disability, sexual orientation, or other unlawful basis (see Standard 49);
  • assure that the clinical sites are all evaluated by the educational program on an annual and planned basis (see Standard 51);
  • assure that athletic training students are instructed on clinical skills prior to performing those skills on patients;
  • assure that all clinical education be contained in individual courses (see Standard 55); *This could be credit or non-credit bearing courses as consistent with institutional policy
  • assure that the clinical education experiences are educational in nature and have a written policy that delineates minimum/maximum requirement for clinical hours and that students have one day off in every seven-day period (see Standards 57 and 58);
  • assure that student experiences are educational in nature and the students receive no monetary remuneration for the experience nor replace professional athletic training staff or medical personnel (see Standards 59 and 60); *It is important to note that reimbursement for meals or per diem provisions are not considered remuneration
  • assure that all students are properly and directly supervised by a preceptor during the entire experience (see Standards 61-63);
  • assure that students have liability insurance that is documented and covers the student during the clinical experience (see Standard 69);
  • assure that the clinical site is compliant with appropriate safety standards regarding all therapeutic equipment and be able to provide proof of inspections and calibrations for the site (see Standards 71 and 72);
  • assure that students have access to site specific emergency action plans for each site and that those plans have been reviewed with the student(s) prior to beginning patient care (see Standards 78-80).