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Athletic Training Program continues perfect exam pass rate

Athletic Training image
2018 Athletic Training program graduates Brenden Sherrill, (left) Roelvis Vargas and Rebecca Laverick

For the fourth consecutive year, UNC Pembroke’s athletic training students earned a 100 percent pass rate on the national Board of Certification exam.

The perfect mark reflects the students’ first attempt at the comprehensive exam.

 “We are so proud of how hard our students have worked throughout the program and we are excited that they have been successful in passing the BOC exam,” said Susan Edkins, Athletics Training Program director.

“Passing the exam prior to graduation makes them more competitive when applying for jobs or graduate assistantships since they can’t practice as athletic trainers without being licensed and they have to be certified in order to get licensed.”

New strategies have been put in place to ensure the students are better prepared for the exam.

“We re-formatted all of our exams, including the final exams for each of their required courses, so that they reflect the same style guide as the national Board of Certification exam,” she said.

A required preparation course is now offered both in fall and spring and a third full-time faculty member was hired.

“It has been completely a team effort with amazing faculty members in Beverly Justice and Caroline Taylor, along with the preceptors guiding the hands-on learning, and the students working extremely hard” said Edkins. 

“We have made a concerted effort to get our pass rate to 100 percent and implementing these strategies has really made a difference.”

Established in 2004, the Athletic Training Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). Students apply for acceptance into the program during the fall of their sophomore year. Once accepted, students begin the professional phase of the program.   

The program is demanding and requires 975 clinical hours. Students work with UNCP’s athletic teams as well as the county high schools and local physicians’ offices.

“I think UNCP has a huge advantage over other programs in that our students get a significant amount of hands-on practice of skills on our actual student-athletes,” Edkins continued.

“Parents and prospective students are looking for an affordable program that will prepare their student for the real world. Our program does that very well and we are the most affordable option in North Carolina.”

Many of the program graduates, including Kenny Lassiter, Cameron Barfield and Joey Tamburo have landed jobs at the collegiate level. Tamburo is an assistant athletic trainer at UNCP.

Samantha Colbourne was the first certified athletic trainer on staff at South View High School. Rebecca Laverick, likewise, was the first certified trainer hired at James Kenan High.

Derrick Bridges, Myranda Hammonds and Christopher Chapman are athletic trainers at Hoke High, Purnell Swett and Red Springs High, respectively.

Hannah Mattocks works for an outreach clinic in Charlotte and Ashlyn Jones is a grad assistant with UNCP’s Athletic Training Department.

Roelvis Vargas who graduated last Saturday has accepted a position in the Dominican Republic with the Toronto Blue Jays’ minor league baseball team.

“We have so many success stories,” Edkins said. “So many of our students are first-generation college students. We have given so many students an opportunity they would not have had somewhere else.”

Nationwide, only 14 percent of working athletic trainers are minorities. Edkins said UNCP, where 70 percent of its program’s graduates are minorities, is doing its part to expand the diversity in the field.


Caroline Taylor, Brenden  Sherrill, Roelvis Bone Vargas, Rebecca Laverick, Susan Edkins and Beverly Justice