Year of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Department or School/College

Department of Health and Human Performance

Committee Chair

Valerie Moody

Commitee Members

Charles Palmer, Patty Kero


athletic training, clinical experience, education, role strain


University of Montana


ABSTRACT. Howard, Christine, M.S., December 2013 Health & Human Performance Descriptive Study on the Academic and Employment Expectations of Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainers Chairperson: Dr. Valerie Moody Introduction: It is common for newly certified athletic trainers to acquire a graduate assistantship as a certified athletic trainer. This graduate assistantship is a unique role in the profession where they juggle the demands of the job as a certified athletic trainer with the demands of attending graduate school full-time. There are few studies on this specific population of athletic trainers. Objective: To describe the academic and employment expectations of graduate assistant certified athletic trainers, Design: A descriptive study that used an electronic survey to explore the expectations of graduate assistant athletic trainers. Methods: National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) sent a broadcast email to 302 ‘certified-student’ members inviting them to participate in the study. Two reminder emails were also sent during the collection period. Eighty graduate assistant athletic trainers completed the survey in its entirety for a response rate of 26.5%. Intervention: Expectations of Graduate Assistant Certified Athletic Trainers Survey (EGAATCS) was developed using SurveyMonkey software. The survey consists of 7 demographic questions and 36 questions pertaining to specific job requirements (employment expectations) and academics (academic expectations), as well as two open-ended optional questions asking about the rewards and challenges of the position. Analysis: Quantitative data was analyzed using Microsoft Excel. Qualitative data analysis used a grounded theory approach that utilized open, axial, and selective coding procedures. Results: Graduate assistant certified athletic trainers focus more on their job and employment responsibilities than they do on their academic responsibilities. Conclusion: Graduate assistant certified athletic trainers are expected to attend graduate school full time while working (essentially) a full time job. Balance and time management pose to be the biggest challenges they face, while the most gratifying aspect was found in their socialization and clinical experiences. Keywords: clinical experience, education, athletic training, role strain

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© Copyright 2013 Christine D. Howard