I began my career as an athletic trainer, working on interprofessional healthcare teams to create customized treatment and rehabilitation programs for athletes. But I always knew I was going to get a doctorate degree. Even as an undergraduate I was looking at graduate programs. I never felt like I could know enough, and I wanted a terminal degree so that I could steward the profession I love and make it even better.
When I was close to graduating from the online Master of Health Science program at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences (USAHS), I started looking at my doctoral program options again. I was leaning toward a clinical doctorate, but my goal is to be the director of an Athletic Training program. I enjoy preparing students for success in the courses I teach, and I want to do that across an entire program. That’s why I chose the online Doctor of Education (EdD) program at USAHS.
How the Online EdD Is Improving My Teaching
At first, I was concerned that an EdD program would be more appropriate for K-12 educators. What I found at USAHS is that the online EdD program continues my health sciences education, emphasizes research, and gives me the higher education teaching focus I need.
I am improving the courses I teach because of what I’m learning in the online EdD program. USAHS’s Motivational Theory in Education course helped me focus on a big problem in athletic training: preparing entry-level students not just for the licensing exam, but to transition into daily life as an athletic trainer. Too many athletic trainers burn out or change professions early in their careers because they don’t know how to prepare for the challenges they will face in the profession. For example, handling a catastrophic event, such as an athlete’s cardiac arrest or injury that requires emergent care, can be incredibly stressful.
Based on what I learned in USAHS’s Teaching Methods in Higher Education course, I developed a module for the Preparation for Entering and Growing in the Profession course I teach. In the month before graduation, I have my students research the biggest issues in the profession, identify what self-actualization as an athletic trainer would be for them, and consider the professional development they need to achieve their goals. With reflection and self-awareness, they can chart a course for success.
The Advantages of Earning an MHS and EdD at USAHS
USAHS impressed me from day one, and I recommend it to everyone I know who is looking for a Health Sciences Graduate Degree. I completed the Masters in Health Sciences, MHS, online program at USAHS in four trimesters, which was a year and four months. Then, I was able to transfer 16 credits from my MHS program to the online EdD program. (Students in some specializations can transfer up to 30 credits.) That will help me finish the EdD online program a year sooner.
Earning an EdD to Prepare for Changes in Athletic Training Education
Athletic training is moving from requiring a bachelor’s degree to enter the profession to requiring a Master’s. That means faculty members who have a Master’s degree and are teaching in entry-level bachelor’s programs will soon need a Doctorate degree to teach in entry-level Master’s programs. By completing the MHS program and bridging into the online EdD program now, I can be part of the wave of faculty members needed with terminal Doctorates for this change in the profession.
The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences (USAHS) offers an online EdD program designed for working clinicians and healthcare educators, with optional on-campus immersions and an optional international trip to study global health systems. Specializations include Nursing Education, Athletic Training, Teaching and Learning, and Executive Leadership. Complete coursework when and where you want and earn your advanced degree while keeping your work and life in balance.