Context: The Doctor of Athletic Training (DAT) degree has recently been introduced into academe. Limited literature exists regarding how individuals with this degree can be utilized as athletic training faculty.
Objective: To identify department chairs' perceptions of the DAT degree and determine whether they view the degree as viable when hiring new faculty within a post-baccalaureate professional AT program.
Design: Cross-sectional survey design
Setting: Online survey instrument
Patients or Other Participants: 376 department chairs who had oversight of Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education athletic training programs were invited to participate. 190 individuals (50.5%) accessed the survey and 151 of the 190 department chairs completed (79.5%) all parts of the survey.
Intervention(s): A web-based survey instrument, which included several demographic questions and 4-point Likert-scale items related to perceptions of the DAT degree, was completed.
Main Outcome Measures: Independent variables included institutional control, student enrollment, degree granting classification, faculty with a clinical doctorate, and advanced degree requirements. 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% reported it would be extremely to moderately beneficial to hire someone with this degree within the AT program. Furthermore, 67% of department chairs reported they were very likely or likely to hire someone with a DAT degree, and believed they would do so in the next 5 years. Characteristics associated with higher perception scores included higher institutional student enrollment, having more current faculty with an advanced practice doctoral degree, and increased level of institutional degree granting classification.
Conclusion(s): Department chairs recognize the DAT degree as a viable degree qualification to teach within professional AT programs. Future research should examine the need for the DAT degree within clinical practice settings.