Characteristics of Athletic Training Students That Preceptors Find Desirable


Context: Athletic training students acquire clinical hours under the direct supervision of athletic training preceptors.

Objective: The purpose of this project was to explore what characteristics preceptors desire in their athletic training students.

Design and Setting: Online survey instrument.

Patients or Other Participants: A total of 286 certified athletic trainers (128 male, 158 female; average years experience 10.58 ± 8.48). Participants were required to be current preceptors and have 1 or more years of preceptor experience.

Main Outcome Measure(s): An instrument of 21 questions, including 7 demographics, 13 Likert-scale (1 = not important; 10 = strongly important), and 1 rank order item was developed. Validity of the instrument was established by a review of experts. An analysis of internal consistency revealed an α of .834. Data was analyzed with SPSS (version 20.0; IBM Inc, Chicago, IL). Basic descriptive statistics were calculated, and an analysis of variance was conducted to determine differences.

Results: Top 3 characteristics seen amongst all settings were initiative (mean = 9.091 ± 1.166), communication skills (mean = 8.769 ± 1.241), and intelligence (mean = 8.723 ± 1.247). Gender differences were observed in 4 of the 13 characteristics.

Conclusions: Findings demonstrated initiative, communication skills, and intelligence to be perceived as the most important athletic training student characteristics. These findings differ with previous literature and the preliminary focus group findings, where emotional intelligence and communication skills were reported to be of greater importance.


Sports Medicine and Athletic Training

Document Type





clinical education, online survey, athletic trainer opinions

Publication Date


Journal Title

Athletic Training Education Journal