The University of Nebraska Athletic Training Education Program has been informed that they have gained accreditation from the Committee on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
Jeff Rudy, senior lecturer in the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Health Science and the director of athletic training education, said that completion of the accreditation process is significant for several reasons.
"First, due to changes in the professional certification of athletic trainers, our students would not be able to take the national certification examination if we did not complete the accreditation process," Rudy said. "This would make it impossible to continue to attract and retain the high quality of athletic training student that we have had in the past.
"Husker athletics has obviously been blessed with great athletes, but also with a tremendous staff and with outstanding facilities and equipment. This accreditation validates that the quality of the athletic training students and the staff members who teach and supervise the students are at the same high level that is expected in all aspects of the athletic department."
Currently 35 undergraduate students are enrolled in the athletic training education program. They work daily under the supervision of the Husker athletic training and medical staff and provide assistance in the prevention, evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries suffered by Husker athletes. Students are required to take a rigorous course of study that includes basic and applied sciences as well as courses detailing the art and science of athletic training.
Upon graduation the athletic training students take a national certification examination, and may find employment in sports medicine clinics, high schools, college, university or professional athletics. Many will also pursue additional professional certifications or additional educational opportunities.
According to Rudy, University of Nebraska students outperform national averages on the certification examination by 25 to 30 percent. Over the past few years, students have been accepted to a wide variety of health professional schools such as physical therapy, medicine, dentistry, podiatry and physician assistant programs. Students have also been accepted to graduate education programs and advanced internships at schools such as Oklahoma, LSU, Texas, Florida State, Missouri, Arizona State, Houston, Miami and many others.
"The accreditation process has been extremely taxing, and we are all really glad to have reached this stage. We began the process nearly six years ago with a re-writing of the entire curriculum. Getting the courses approved by the various levels of university committees, implementing new courses, new policies and procedures, filing multiple volumes of reports to professional committees, and hosting a visitation team has been really consuming for me and for the entire athletic medicine staff. Of course, we will need to continue with our hard work to maintain the accreditation, and there is always room to improve, so we won’t be able to rest on our laurels for very long."