Mercyhurst Athletic training majors have an average pass rate of 96.97 percent on the Board of Certification (BOC) exam during the last three years. This is far average pass rate for the country which currently is between 80 and 82 percent according program director Suzanne Gushie.
The Board of Certification exam is what allows an athletic training major to become a certified athletic training major. Without passing, this exam students would be unable to get jobs as athletic trainers. “We try to have our students take this exam before they graduate, so about 80 to 90 percent of students take it by the end of their senior year,” Gushie said.
When asked what about the Mercyhurst athletic training program gives its student such a high pass rate, Gushie said, “I think what sets our program apart from other schools is all of the clinical experience our students get.”
Mercyhurst Athletic training majors are a required to have 75 hours which they observe an athletic training environment. Starting their sophomore year, the students are required to have hands-on experience in an athletic training environment.
“At Mercyhurst we have our students do seven clinical rotations whereas most schools only require about four” Gushie said. A rotation or a clinical experience is when a student works with a local university or high school working with a clinical supervisor. This allows the students to hone their skills and aid with athletic training and rehabilitation first hand.
The injuries that our students deal with in these experiences can be anything from a bruise to a spinal injury, which could have an athlete sent off in an ambulance, according to Gushie.
“These experiences help our students apply what they learn from the classroom in a real-world environment,” said Gushie. The BOC is based primarily on decision making which why clinical experience is so important to preparation for the exam.
“Another thing that helps our students so well is the ability of our faculty to communicate with our students so well and we try to listen to the feedback we get from students to improve the learning environment” Gushie said.