Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Curriculum & Instruction/Literacy Studies

Committee Chair

Melissa Sherfinski

Committee Co-Chair

James Rye

Committee Member

James Rye

Committee Member

Sam Stack

Committee Member

Damien Clement


This research inquiry examined the factors that influence soon-to-be graduating senior athletic training major’s decisions on their career intentions. Two research questions guided this study: What are the factors, experiences, and/or circumstances that contribute to senior athletic training students approaching graduation planning to persist in or pursue the athletic training profession? and What are the factors, experiences, and circumstances that contribute to senior athletic training students approaching graduation leading to displacement and students not planning to seek employment in the athletic training profession? Qualitative research methods employed a multiple case approach examining four different CAATE accredited athletic training programs in West Virginia. Thirteen soon-to-be graduates in their final semester of academic coursework across the four programs completed face-to-face interviews with the researcher. One institutional representative from each program also participated in a face-to-face interview. Additional program information was obtained through researcher observations and publically available program documents. Data collected was analyzed using open, axial and thematic coding. Six main themes emerged in the data that included: attractors, selection factors, initial impressions of the athletic training environment, pros of an athletic training program, cons of an athletic training program and students’ impressions of challenges of the field. Results indicated that educators and professionals in athletic training need be cognizant of how students are socialized to the profession as well as programs should include additional career mentoring and advisement for students throughout the program.