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BOC Athletic Trainers Offer Their Advice on Completing CE Requirements

Completing continuing education (CE) requirements can be a challenge even for the Athletic Trainers who currently work at the Board of Certification (BOC).  Take a look at their process for selecting CE programs, their challenges and advice to other ATs currently working on their CE requirements for the reporting period ending December 31, 2015.

1. What do you normally look for in your CE programs? 

Nathan Burns, MS, ATC - Credentialing Program Coordinator

As I put together my plan to complete my CE requirements, I first look at new technologies and NATA position statements I may need to learn about to be a more efficient AT.  After that, I search out CE opportunities that will allow me to grow as an AT.

Chad Kinart, MS, ATC - Exam Development Manager

I look for the highest quality programs from an evidence and expertise perspective that I can afford within the given reporting period.  I also look at the current state of the profession and determine if there are any new changes I need to have an increased awareness of, including new position and consensus statements.

Shannon Leftwich, MA, ATC - Director of Credentialing and Regulatory Affairs

I look for on-demand programs that work within my time to complete them.  I also look for topics that I find interesting or are necessary to maintain my certification.

Jessica Roberts, MS Ed, ATC - Professional Development Coordinator

In no particular order, the 3 most important components of choosing CE for me are 1) topics of content offered and level of difficulty, 2) reputation of the BOC Approved Provider and 3) quality of CE programming.

Kelli Wilkins, MA, ATC - Compliance Specialist

I normally look for courses that can provide me with a new tool, technique, protocol or a topic I know little about.  These types of programs generally keep me intrigued, and I am learning something new the entire time.

 

2. What was your biggest challenge completing CE requirements?  How did you overcome this challenge?

Nathan Burns, MS, ATC - Credentialing Program Coordinator

The biggest challenge was finding CE opportunities that align with my current job responsibilities at the BOC.  I made the decision to seek out CE opportunities to allow me to grow as an AT in the event I begin to work as an AT in a PRN  or as needed environment.

Chad Kinart, MS, ATC - Exam Development Manager

 Recently, my biggest challenge in completing CE requirements has been time.  In addition to family life and work, I have been completing my MBA.  In order to balance everything, I had a plan developed that would allow me to get the requirements in a timely manner without undue stress.

Shannon Leftwich, MA, ATC - Director of Credentialing and Regulatory Affairs

My biggest challenge is finding the time to sit down and complete them.  I usually have to block out time on my calendar and make myself do it.

Jessica Roberts, MS Ed, ATC - Professional Development Coordinator

I struggle to find programs that align with my daily duties as an AT.  As I spend my days working for the BOC and protecting the public, I prefer to learn about regulatory issues and other organization and administrative types of content.  Options for programs that fall under domain 5 are limited.  I overcome this challenge by attending the Regulatory Conference, leadership workshops and giving presentations on areas of interest that fall within domain 5.  I find this content interesting to learn about and even more fun to present to others.

Outside of the BOC, I practice as an AT in a PRN capacity.  My practice mostly revolves around evaluation and immediate care of acute injuries.  I have been fortunate to identify reputable BOC Approved Providers who offer CE programming in these domains at an advanced level to help me increase my knowledge, skills and abilities and to ensure I am providing the best care possible to patients with acute needs.

Kelli Wilkins, MA, ATC - Compliance Specialist

My biggest challenge is finding a program that fits conveniently into my schedule.  I have had good luck with online or home study courses that allow me to dictate the schedule.

 

3. What advice would you give to other ATs currently working on their CE requirements? 

Nathan Burns, MS, ATC - Credentialing Program Coordinator

It is important to decide what your ultimate goal of your CE plan is.  Are you trying to learn a new skill, perfect an old skill or stay current with the changing environments?

 Chad Kinart, MS, ATC - Exam Development Manager

 Develop a game plan at the end of one reporting period in order to begin executing on Day 1 of the new reporting period.

Shannon Leftwich, MA, ATC - Director of Credentialing and Regulatory Affairs

There are a lot of options out there to explore in order to find the right fit for you.  There are subscription based providers, live events, on-demand or home study programs, journals and so much more!  If you aren’t aware of all the options, don’t hesitate to contact the BOC staff.  We’re here to help you.

Jessica Roberts, MS Ed, ATC - Professional Development Coordinator

Free does not always equal quality programs.  While cost is a concern for many, I feel the content and quality of the program to be highly important.  To me, it doesn’t matter if a program is free if I didn’t learn a substantial amount of information or new skills to better myself or my patients.

Easy does not equal maintenance of minimum competence.  Choose programs that stretch your knowledge, skills and abilities as a healthcare provider.  Build your knowledge bank and your resume; don’t just go through the motions.  Attendance at a conference does not always equal competent practitioners.  You’ll get out of it what you put into it, so make it worth your time and give it your all.

Participate in a variety of activities.  Try programs that offer content in areas where you may be weak in order to maintain minimum competence.  Extend yourself by presenting on a topic where you may be a subject matter expert and share your passion with others. Consider a specialized CE program to learn in-depth information about one topic.

Don’t be afraid to explore new activities and providers, learn about new content and stretch yourself as a student of the profession. If you’re not growing, you’re dying.

Kelli Wilkins, MA, ATC - Compliance Specialist

Don’t look for CE programs just based on price.  Look for a program that you know you will benefit from.  Attend a program because you want to and not because you have to.