Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Mejai Avoseh


The purpose of this phenomenological study is to gain an understanding of the professional socialization experiences of preceptors who serve in the same masters-level athletic training program. Professional socialization is a phenomenon that occurs as the individual begins to acquire the skills necessary within a given vocation or profession (Bierema, 2010; Merton et al., 1957). Professional socialization within athletic training occurs when the individual adopts the knowledge, skills, values, roles, and attitudes accepted by the profession (Eason, et al., 2014). Preceptors are critical in the education of athletic training students and therefore this study investigated the lived experiences of preceptors to explore the essence of the phenomenon. The educational curriculum prepares students to be an entry-level athletic trainer, and not necessarily for other roles, the athletic trainer may accept during their career. Ten individuals were selected to participate in this study and currently serve as a preceptor for the same master’s level athletic training program. The data was collected through two semi-structured interviews with each of the participants. Analysis of the qualitative data was conducted using the Whole-parts-whole from Vagle (2018) and a Validation Strategy from Creswell and Poth (2018). Validation of the data was established using the guidelines from Lincoln and Guba (1985) and Creswell and Poth (2018). Within the findings, three themes emerged from the analysis of the data: 1) Management of Chaos and Moving Parts; 2) The Rewards of the Role Motivate Investment in the Future; 3) Self-efficacy in the Role. This study showed there is a strong desire to give back to the profession through the education of future athletic training students and that experience is a contributing factor to learning to navigate the challenges of the role. Recommendations for practice include incorporating a course within the curriculum to prepare athletic training students for the role, providing quality workshops to educate individuals, providing resources to support preceptors in the role, and considering adding a minimum of one year of experience as an athletic trainer before serving as a preceptor for a program.

Subject Categories

Adult and Continuing Education


Athletic Training, Preceptor, Professional Socialization

Number of Pages



University of South Dakota