Context: The industrial-occupational setting provides a workplace of substantial potential for the athletic training graduate. Acquiring input from entry-level athletic trainers (ATs) pertaining to experiences, knowledge, and skills necessary to be successful in the industrial-occupational setting is critical information for future Athletic Training Education Program (ATEP) curriculums, continuing education, and post-graduate fellowships.

Objective: To gain understanding of the experiences encountered and education needed for successful preparation as an entry-level AT in the industrial-occupational setting.

Design: Qualitative

Setting: Industrial-Occupational

Participants: Seven professional-level industrial ATs

Data Collection and Analysis: Structured interview questions were used with an electronic platform. Participants were questioned relating to their experiences and perceptions pertaining to educational preparation for the industrial-occupational setting. An inductive content analysis was performed for textual data analysis.

Results: The rationale for acquiring positions in the industrial-occupational setting upon graduation was due to fewer hours and higher salaries, but once hired the most positive experience and greatest job satisfaction came from helping people. The area the participants felt ill-prepared was ergonomics, but respondents felt well-prepared in injury evaluation and treatment. They also commented that gaining respect from the company was the most challenging aspect when entering the industrial-occupational setting as an entry-level AT.

Conclusion: Graduates are attracted to the salary and hours associated with the industrial-occupational setting, but helping people provided the greatest job satisfaction. Although most entry-level ATs perceived themselves as well prepared for the industrial-occupational setting, weakness in the area of ergonomics was identified.

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Author notes

Dr. Schilling is currently an assistant professor and the rehabilitaton coordinator for the University of Southern Maine Athletic Training Education Program. Please address all correspondence to Jim Schilling, PhD, ATC, CSCS, 37 College Ave, Gorham, ME 04038.