With its recent accreditation and two classes of graduates under its belt, UNC Pembroke’s Athletic Training Education Program (ATEP) is fulfilling its mission of training entry-level professionals who can address the health-care needs of physically active individuals.
Accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) allows grads to gain certification, work and continue their education. Two ATEP graduates are earning advanced degrees, another is working at a college athletic training program and others are working in high schools and fitness programs, said Susan Edkins, director and 18-year member of UNCP’s faculty.
“We’re very pleased with the status and direction of the program,” Edkins said. “Our next class starts in the spring semester and we are actively recruiting for next year’s class.”
Edkins is also pleased with the synergy between her program and the second year football program.
“Football is a real plus for an ATEP program,” she said. “Our students are required to have an equipment-intensive experience, such as football, and it is great that they are able to complete this experience on campus. Without football at UNCP, our students would have to travel in order to gain this experience.”
Athletic training majors shuttle back and forth between the new athletic training facility in the Bob Caton Fieldhouse and the new facility in the English E. Jones Athletic Center. Both facilities are outstanding, said Beverly Justice, clinical coordinator for the ATEP.
“Our students appreciate the quality of our facility, especially when they visit other colleges and universities,” Justice said. “The aquatic piece with the SwimEx and hot and cold plunge tubs are state of the art.”
UNCP ATEP students and athletes alike benefit from the aquatic equipment that treats injuries and allows faster rehabilitation by exercising relatively stress-free in water. Without this equipment, students would only learn through concept, rather than clinical experience. The facilities are a testament to the University’s high level of support for athletic training at UNCP, Edkins said.
“From an accreditation standpoint, one of our greatest strengths is support from administration, the School of Education and the Department of Physical Education,” she said. “CAATE accreditation was a four-year process that culminated in a site visit, where we received an outstanding review for a first-year program.”
Students apply to the Athletic Training Education Program in the first semester of their sophomore year at UNCP. Once admitted, the AT major requires 63 hours in the classroom and 975 clinical hours in a variety of settings, including with athletic teams across campus, physician’s offices, physical therapy clinics, and a local high school.
Athletic trainers are highly educated allied health professionals who are experts in preventing, recognizing, managing and rehabilitating injuries associated with physical activity.
The next CAATE comprehensive review will be in 2012. CAATE is the recognized accrediting organization for athletic training education programs. It is sponsored by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine(AOSSM), and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, Inc. (NATA).