So you’re interested in Sports Medicine? You probably played sports growing up, so you are probably familiar with sports-related injuries – you know, shin splints and ankle sprains, all that fun stuff. Those with a degree in Sports Medicine will have medical expertise and be qualified to help in many different scenarios in athletic departments or health and wellness centers.
Not only are those with this background helpful for the accident-prone, but for general athletic training as well. An Athletic Trainer at your local gym or your favorite coach from High School might have a degree in Sports Medicine. This degree will help you find a career in the fields of exercise, health or sports. You will be a master of the human body, you will have medical knowledge to help all people including athletes not only preventing but identifying and rehabilitating injuries.
Before you can lend a hand, you will need to get the proper training. There are a few options depending on the desired career for those who study Sports Medicine. 2-year, 4-year and graduate school options are plentiful. However, they will all start with the basics as far as coursework goes:
- First aid
- Therapeutic recreation
- Athletic medical conditions
- Exercise physiology
- Weight training
- Exercise science
Careers with a 2-Year Degree:
- Coach for community center (YMCA)
- Personal Trainer
- Fitness Instructor
Careers with a 4-Year Degree
- Phys. Ed teacher
- Instructor for hospital/wellness center
Careers with a Graduate Degree
Athletic Trainers typically need a master’s degree, that will be an Master of Science and will take an additional 2 years post bachelor’s degree. Doctoral degrees are also available, they are intended for those who wish to conduct research within the field. Common graduate coursework is as follows:
- Strength and Conditioning theories
- Human Movement
- Injury prevention
Trainers and coaches can expect to find work for a gym, a college or school, recreation facilities or within a hospital’s wellness centers. Some graduates of Sports Medicine may seek PTA (Physical Therapy Assistant) certifications in order to practice that specialty within a sports context. Of course hours can vary, but many positions are during the day.
More states than not require Athletic Trainers to be Board Certified. You will find it advantageous to find accredited programs where you can receive your certification before you set upon this degree path. The following organizations can direct you:
- The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
- The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
- Fitness Certifications (ACE)
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Exercise Physiologists and Athletic Trainers can expect to make a median of just over $42k. The job market is looking pretty stable with an estimated growth of 19% between years 2012-2022. The demand for these positions should remain high as people become more aware of sports-related injuries and the importance of addressing them at a young age. We can expect to see secondary and post secondary schools employing most of the Athletic Trainers in this field.