Date of Award

Spring 2006

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Human Movement Sciences


Athletic Training

Committee Director

Bonnie Van Lunen

Committee Member

Brent L. Arnold

Committee Member

Linda M. Gagen

Committee Member

James Onate

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.E44 L36 2006


The purpose of this study was to identify specific characteristics collegiate employers prefer in potential athletic training job candidates. A secondary purpose was to determine any relationships or differences in employer preferences based on characteristics of the employer or demographics of the institution. A survey instrument was developed to gather background information about the employer and hiring institution, rate the preferences of employers and collect information about the candidate who was actually hired. The instrument was piloted among survey experts and employers who had recently hired an athletic trainer at the college setting and the survey was considered reliable. Email addresses of employers seeking athletic trainers at the college setting were collected from the position vacancy notice (PVN) career center on the National Athletic Trainer's (NATA) Website from October 2004 to July 2005. Subjects were emailed a scripted letter and a link to the on-line survey. Their responses were coded and sent anonymously to an excel database. Two hundred fifty surveys were emailed to employers and 109 surveys were returned for a 44% response rate. Descriptive statistics were used to determine the most preferred characteristics. Pearson correlations, repeated measures ANOVAs and Tukey Post hoc tests were used to analyze relationships and differences among employers based upon characteristics of the employers and demographics of the institution. The results showed employers have the highest preference for a candidates performance on the interview, collegiate athletic training experience and recommendations from references. An accredited post certification graduate athletic training education program was the highest preferred type of master's degree among employers. Significant differences existed among employers preference of master's education existed among males and females. Males had a significantly higher preference for a candidate with a master's degree from an accredited graduate athletic training education program. There was no significant difference between female employer's preference for a candidate from a specific master's education program. A significant relationship was also discovered among employers' age and their preference for candidates with a master's degree from an accredited program (r = .248; p = .009). This information is valuable as athletic trainers determine what type of master's degree to pursue. This research also suggests educators should continue to emphasize interview practice, clinical experience, and developing an extensive network of references among athletic training students. Future research should study the relationship and differences among employers preference for other characteristics in job candidates based upon information about the employer and demographics of the institution.


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