Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education, Doctoral Program

First Advisor

Radner, Barbara

Second Advisor

Frank, Anna Marie

Third Advisor

Greene, James L.


Athletic training is an allied health profession that is currently undergoing reform of its educational curriculum standards and requirements for education programs. Despite the improvements in the curricula, initial passing rates on the National Athletic Trainers' Association Board of Certification (NATABOC) examination are consistently low. The purpose of this study was to examine entry-level undergraduate athletic training curricula accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) to determine what elements constitute an exemplary curriculum and to formulate a model of an exemplary curriculum for others to replicate. It was hypothesized that an exemplary curriculum in entry-level undergraduate athletic training education exhibits a substantial exposure to clinical experiences, provides a variety of athletic training coursework, and provides intense program requirements. An objective of this research was to identify correlations between elements of an exemplary curriculum and initial success on the NATABOC examination. Data were collected via a questionnaire from 63 program directors of CAAHEP accredited undergraduate athletic training programs. Information regarding success rates for first-time NATABOC examinees during the 2000–2001 academic year, and data related to a variety of curriculum variables that may contribute to examination success were obtained. The results of the study indicate that all but one of the curriculum variables related to clinical education, courses and instruction, and program intensity are not positively related to initial success on the NATABOC examination. Additionally, no significant difference was found between programs with high rates of initial examination success and those programs that experience low success rates in terms of the variables tested. One element that correlates positively with initial success on the NATABOC examination is the number of clinical opportunities provided by a program. Although results of this study did not identify other statistically significant components of an ideal curriculum for athletic training, it demonstrates the importance of the experiential aspect of the curriculum. The results of this study have implications to the field suggesting that athletic training educators incorporate a comprehensive clinical experience in their curricula to enhance the preparation of future graduates and increase programmatic outcomes.