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To determine the efficacy of the National Athletic Trainers' Association Board of Certification (NATABOC) clinical experience requirements and individual student characteristics to predict candidate outcomes on the NATABOC certification examination.
For all subjects, we gathered survey information and examination scores. The survey information included age, sex, route to certification, previous athletic training and allied health experience, and clinical education experiences.
A total of 269 subjects, 22.25% of all first-time candidates for the June and November 1993 NATABOC examinations, were included in this study.
Data were analyzed for standard descriptive statistics and parametric linear regression and correlational relationships.
Total clinical hours, high-risk sport experiences, and previous athletic training experience were not predictive of examination outcomes. Although our results indicated a relationship between previous allied health experience and both outcome on the written section of the examination and age and outcome on the oral/practical section, these characteristics also were not predictive of examination outcomes.
Gaining clinical experience hours in excess of 400 hours beyond the 800-or 1500-hour requirement may yield no greater benefit for an entry-level professional than less time. The quality, rather than the quantity, of clinical experiences should be evaluated. More emphasis should be placed on the achievement of an entry level of clinical competency, rather than on total hour collection. Also, because high-risk sport experiences did not predict outcomes on the NATABOC examination, the emphasis of clinical education should be on students' receiving a more structured clinical experience, in which they are progressively required to assume greater responsibilities integrating both cognitive and psychomotor skills, while working under the supervision of a certified athletic trainer.