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King University News :: King University’s Athletic Training Program Experiencing Steady Growth

Student enrollment has nearly tripled in King University’s Athletic Training Program (ATP) since the program received accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education in May of 2010. 

At the time of accreditation the program had just 10 students enrolled. Today the program has 27 current students and eight graduates. For the past two years, 100 percent of the graduates from King’s Athletic Training Program passed the Board of Certification exam on their first attempt, exceeding the national average of a first-attempt pass rate of 80.9 percent.

“This success rate can be attributed to the quality of our curriculum and the types and numbers of clinical opportunities being offered to our students,” says Cara Anderson, dean of the School of Education at King University. “The increase of students in the Athletic Training Program is a natural byproduct of the educational initiatives being put in place as we continually strive to enhance the program.”

The increase in students created a need for a new, multi-purpose space that would offer opportunities for hands-on experience alongside classroom learning. This fall, ATP students have begun utilizing this new space for the first time, and they now have room to practice the skills learned in the classroom and through clinical experiences.

The Athletic Training Program has proven to be a successful program for students pursuing careers as certified athletic trainers. Eighty-six percent of the program’s graduates are working in the field for which they were trained or are pursuing additional education. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of athletic trainers is expected to grow by 30 percent over the next several years, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Leigh Ann Adams, director of the Athletic Training Program, attributes the student success in part to the program coursework, but also gives credit to the diverse group of preceptors utilized by King to facilitate the required clinical hours for each student.

“We have really good preceptors and athletic trainers,” Adams says. “Students are placed with multiple preceptors who are knowledgeable and very skilled. They get a variety of experiences and, as a result, see a lot of theories and different ways to practice. I think that really helps them.”

Whitney Osborne, a May 2013 graduate, says the opportunity to work with King’s athletic programs as well as with professional athletic trainers in a variety of clinical settings provides students a multitude of firsthand learning experiences.

“We learned in the classroom but we also had lots of hands-on experience,” Osborne says. “We were matched up with athletic trainers who have been doing this job for years. Being able to watch what they do and ask them questions was great. We got to experience real-life situations rather than just read about it in a book.”

King’s Athletic Training Program is one of only seven bachelor’s degree athletic training programs offered in the state of Tennessee. Students are accepted into the program through a competitive admissions process that takes place in the spring of their freshman year. Starting with their sophomore year, students are required to complete a minimum of 150 clinical hours each semester. During the last semester of the program, the required number of clinical hours jumps to 500.

Adams says the new laboratory classroom supplements rigorous student clinical experiences by offering taping stations, treatment tables and other equipment, providing students the opportunity to learn in an environment that mirrors those in which they will be working after graduation.

“This is definitely space that was needed,” says Mikki Oliver, a senior in the program. “The program has grown tremendously, and the new classroom gives us extra room, enabling students to practice their skills even more. “ 

King University is headquartered in Bristol, Tenn., and has established 14 campuses and locations across Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. King University also offers degree programs online.


King University is a Presbyterian, master's-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, digital media, education, and humanities.  Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing.  A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity athletic teams. For more information about King University, visit King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia. For more information, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.