Context

The doctor of athletic training (DAT) degree has recently been introduced into academe. Limited literature exists regarding how individuals with this degree can become part of an athletic training faculty.

Objective

To identify department chairs' perceptions of the DAT degree and determine whether they viewed the degree as viable when hiring new faculty within a postbaccalaureate professional athletic training program.

Design

Cross-sectional study.

Setting

Online survey instrument.

Patients or Other Participants

A total of 376 department chairs who had oversight of Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education athletic training programs were invited to participate. Of these, 190 individuals (50.5%) accessed the survey, and 151 of the 190 department chairs (79.5%) completed all parts of the survey.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

A Web-based survey instrument consisted of several demographic questions and 4-point Likert-scale items related to perceptions of the DAT degree. Independent variables were degree qualifications, advanced degree requirements, institutional control, student enrollment, current faculty with a clinical doctorate, and institutional degree-granting classification. The dependent variables were the department chairs' responses to the survey items.

Results

More than 80% of department chairs were moderately or extremely familiar with the concept of an advanced practice doctoral degree, and 64% believed it would be extremely to moderately beneficial to hire someone with this degree in the athletic training program. Furthermore, 67% of department chairs were very likely or likely to hire someone with a DAT degree and expected they would do so in the next 5 years. Characteristics associated with higher perception scores were higher institutional student enrollment, having more current faculty with an advanced practice doctoral degree, and a higher institutional degree-granting classification.

Conclusions

Department chairs recognized the DAT degree as a viable degree qualification for teaching in professional athletic training programs. Future researchers should examine the need for athletic trainers with the DAT degree in clinical practice settings.

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