Athletic training program guidelines

The athletic training major is designed to prepare students to pass the Board of Certification (BOC) for the Athletic Trainer (AT). Admission into the athletic training program (AT Program) will be on a competitive basis. Applications will be accepted twice a year: Oct. 1 and Feb. 1. Students will have until the February deadline of their sophomore year to make an official application to the program. The acceptance procedures for a transfer student will depend on the institution from which the student is transferring (i.e., an accredited or non-accredited program). There is no guarantee that students joining the program late in their career will be qualified to graduate in four years. Each applicant must submit a formal application to the program. If the student meets all necessary criteria, he/she will be asked to interview with the Athletic Training Program Director and the current athletic training staff. Students intending to pursue a career in athletic training will be given preference to admittance into the Northwestern College AT Program.

Specific information regarding admission, technical standards, retention, graduation criteria and degree completion timeline follows:

Admission Requirements

  1. Completion of the formal application to the AT program.
  2. Meet established technical standards (see below, III), which will be assessed by:
    1. Global GPA
    2. Successful completion of Mock Assessment (interview)
    3. Successful completion of a physical examination administered by an MD, PA, or ARNP (currently on file and verified by the NWC Wellness Center)
  3. Certification in CPR for Professional Rescuer (American Red Cross) or Health Care Provider (American Heart Association) and certification in First Aid, with copy of cards attached to the application
  4. Completion of 15 or more observation hours
  5. Students must have the following in order to be considered for *full admittance into the AT Program
    1. Cumulative college GPA of 2.5 or higher
    2. Cumulative major GPA of 2.0 or higher
    3. Completion of 3 credits minimum from the following courses within the major:
      1. KIN 180: Introduction to Kinesiology
      2. BIO 102: Human Anatomy and Physiology
      3. BIO 115: General Biology
      4. BIO 121: Introduction to Human Anatomy
      5. CHE101: College Chemistry
  6. Submit a completed recommendation form by one peer (current athletic training student)
  7. Interview by the AT Program staff

Note: *Full Admittance is based on meeting the above criteria. However, Provisional Admittance may be warranted even if one of the above criteria is not met as long as the preceptor-to-student ratio within the AT Program allows the space available to admit such a student. This policy is in place to adhere to accreditation standards as well as the Northwestern College AT Program’s commitment to high quality education through clinical experiences.


Transfer Student Admission Procedures

Students transferring to Northwestern College who are interested in entering the AT Program must first declare this intention in writing to the AT Program Director. Due to the unique characteristics and background of each individual, a transfer student will be evaluated on an individual basis to determine his/her suitability for the program as well as an appropriate entry level. This evaluation will be made in conjunction with review of the following information:

  1. Letter of recommendation (from faculty, staff or allied healthcare professional).
  2. A copy of transcripts from the institution from which the student is transferring (or documentation of degree earned, e.g., Associates Degree). Any request for course credit transfer must be made to the Registrar's Office and then communicated to the AT Program Director.
  3. A copy of the NATA competencies successfully completed at the applicant's previous institution (if an accredited AT Program or Pre-AT Program).
  4. Documentation of observation hours (from allied healthcare settings/facilities). Documentation of clinical experience/observation hours must include a log of hours, including the name of the supervising preceptor or athletic trainer and the clinical site (e.g., college, high school, medical clinic, etc.). Clinical experience/observation hours must also include a signature from the supervising preceptor or athletic trainer to verify completion. If competencies were successfully completed during clinical experience/observation hours, a signed statement verifying completion will also be required. All competencies must meet the standards set forth by the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA).

Specific Transfer Procedures

  1. Non-accredited Program Transfer
    Students transferring from a non- accredited AT Program must follow the admission procedures stated above (I. Admission Requirements).
  2. Accredited Program Transfer
    Students who are in good standing at another CAATE accredited AT program wishing to transfer to Northwestern College, must follow the application procedures prescribed in Section I. These students must contact the AT Program Director by October 1 of the fall semester of application to receive instruction about the process.  Review of applications will be based on the same criteria as stated above (I. Admission Requirements). Placement of students will be determined after admission to the program. The transfer student will be given a battery of tests including physical skills assessment to determine any advanced placement to the extent that the first year of program requirements may be waived. All transfer students must complete at least the final four semester sequence of athletic training course work and clinical practicum at Northwestern College.
  3. Pre-Athletic Training Program (or institutions with Articulation Agreements)
    Students who have earned an Associate’s Degree or transfer from an institution with which Northwestern College has established an articulation agreement for an athletic training major will be required to follow the procedures in Section II as well as any other procedures set forth by the articulation agreement between institutions.

Technical Standards For Admission

Objectives of this program are to prepare graduates to enter a variety of employment settings and to render care to a wide spectrum of individuals engaged in physical activity. The technical standards set forth by the AT Program establish the essential qualities considered necessary for students admitted to this program to achieve the knowledge, skills, and competencies of an entry-level AT, as well as meet the expectations of the program's accrediting agency (CAATE). The following abilities and expectations must be met by all students admitted to the AT Program. In the event a student is unable to fulfill these technical standards, with or without reasonable accommodation, the student will not be admitted into the program. Compliance with the program’s technical standards does not guarantee a student’s eligibility for the BOC examination for the AT.

Candidates for selection to the Athletic Training Program must demonstrate:

  1. The mental capacity to assimilate, analyze, synthesize, integrate concepts and problem solve to formulate assessment and therapeutic judgments and to be able to distinguish deviations from the norm.
  2. Sufficient postural and neuromuscular control, sensory function, and coordination to perform appropriate physical examinations using accepted techniques; and accurately, safely and efficiently use equipment and materials during the assessment and treatment of patients.
  3. The ability to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients and colleagues, including individuals from different cultural and social backgrounds; this includes, but is not limited to, the ability to establish rapport with patients and communicate judgments and treatment information effectively. Students must be able to understand and speak the English language at a level consistent with competent professional practice.
  4. The ability to record the physical examination results and a treatment plan clearly and accurately.
  5. The capacity to maintain composure and continue to function well during periods of high stress.
  6. The perseverance, diligence and commitment to complete the AT Program as outlined and sequenced.
  7. Flexibility and the ability to adjust to changing situations and uncertainty in clinical situations.
  8. Effective skills and appropriate demeanor and rapport that relate to professional education and quality patient care.

Candidates for selection to the AT Program will be required to verify they understand and meet these technical standards or that they believe that, with certain accommodations, they can meet the standards. The Northwestern College Department of Academic Support will evaluate a student who states he/she could meet the program’s technical standards with accommodation and confirm that the stated condition qualifies as a disability under applicable laws.


Retention Requirements

In order to maintain Full Acceptance status, students must:

  1. Maintain a cumulative college GPA of 2.5
  2. Maintain a cumulative major GPA of 2.0
  3. Maintain current certification in CPR for Professional Rescuer (American Red Cross) or Health Care Provider (American Heart Association) and certification in First Aid
  4. Successfully complete benchmark proficiency assessments
  5. Show effort and demonstrate the appropriate professional and ethical standards
  6. Complete the minimum number of clinical instruction/observation required for their current level to attain a minimum total of 800 hours (1500 maximum)
    1. level 1 –20 hours(observational hours)
    2. level 2 –220 hours
    3. level 3 –250 hours
    4. level 4 –300 hours
  7. Weekly communication with Clinical Coordinator
  8. Adhere to the Clinical Rotation Schedule (see AT Policies and Procedures Manual)

Remediation Plan

If a student does not adhere to the retention requirements, the remediation plan will include but will not be limited to the following steps:

  1. Student will be placed on a Provisional Acceptance status in which the following will be performed:
    1. Weekly meetings with the AT Program Director, Clinical Coordinator, or specified individual to help the student:
      1. Address any academic needs
      2. Address any deficiencies in clinical skills
      3. Address deficiencies in clinical observation hours
      4. Facilitate or encourage communication with professors
    2. Student will retake courses with the AT Program major if deemed as appropriate to achieve a major GPA of 2.0 or if necessary for remediation of content/skill knowledge.
    3. Student will be required to improve cumulative GPA to a 2.5 by the following semester. This will also be addressed on a case-by-case basis, depending on academic and accommodation needed.
  2. If the graduation requirements are not met, the student will be required to adhere to the above steps for remediation depending on the student’s deficiency. This may require an additional semester of enrollment.

Graduation Requirements

In order to graduate the following criteria must be met:

  1. Cumulative college GPA of 2.5
  2. Cumulative major GPA of 2.0
  3. Certification in CPR for Professional Rescuer (American Red Cross) or Health Care Provider (American Heart Association) and certification in First Aid
  4. Professional membership in good standing (NATA membership)
  5. Proficient in all clinical competencies that meet the standards set forth by the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA)
  6. Completion of the minimum hours (800) of clinical instruction/observation with a maximum of 1500 hours
  7. Completion of the required Clinical Rotations
  8. Pass Physical Fitness Competency Examination which is required of all Athletic Training majors
  9. Pass (70% or better) a practice certification examination or pass the BOC for an Athletic Trainer examination prior to graduation

Degree Completion Timeline

The AT Program is designed to be completed in a typical eight (8) semester sequence including all coursework and clinical experiences. Situations that might prolong a student’s completion of the program may include but are not limited to:

  1. Athletic participation or co-curricular activities
  2. Study abroad or an off-campus semester
  3. Transfers
  4. Admission into the AT Program after a student's third semester of attending Northwestern College.
  5. Any other extenuating circumstances requiring students to miss a semester of school.