What Can I Do with a Sports Medicine Degree?

Graduates of sports medicine degree programs can pursue careers in medicine, psychology or coaching. Read on to learn about some potential job options, including their job duties, education requirements and economic outlooks. Schools offering Education - Sports Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Degree Programs

Sports medicine degrees are offered at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels. These programs may be titled 'sports science', 'sports medicine and athletic training' or 'sports medicine'.

In an associate's degree program, you may complete courses in anatomy, kinesiology, nutrition, health and wellness, optimizing human performance and physical fitness testing. A bachelor's degree program curriculum includes coursework in subjects such as anatomy and physiology, statistics, coaching technology, the history of sports and personnel management. The curriculum of a master's degree program covers topics like sports psychology, sports coaching methodology, treatment procedures in the field and sports administration. Depending on the program, you may also participate in internships, clinical rotations or field studies.

Career Options

Your career options in sports medicine will depend on the degree you earned. Some job options include sports medicine physician, sports psychologist and college coach. The education requirements for these positions ranges from a bachelor's degree to a doctorate.

Sports Medicine Physician

As a sports medicine physician, you provide non-surgical treatment for sports-related injuries. For example, you may treat musculoskeletal injuries using medication or physical therapy, work to prevent further injury or identify a patient's nutritional needs. You could work as the physician for a sports team, in a hospital or as part of a group practice.

To work as a sports medicine physician, you must complete four years of medical school, a medical residency and then a fellowship in sports medicine. The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) recommends that, because there are no specific sports medicine residencies in the nation, aspiring sports medicine physicians should complete a residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation, family practice, internal medicine, emergency medicine or pediatrics (www.newamssm.org).

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't provide information on sports medicine physician career prospects; however, it reported that physician and surgeon employment will rise at a fast rate of 18% over the decade spanning 2012 through 2022 (www.bls.gov). In March 2014, PayScale.com reported that sports medicine physicians earned a median salary of $151,571, with most being paid between $46,721 and $250,863 per year.

Sports Psychologist

To become a sports psychologist, you must complete a Doctor of Philosophy or Doctor of Psychology degree program. According to the BLS, these programs take about five years to complete. The American Psychological Association (APA) states that to work as a psychologist, you'll need hands-on clinical postdoctoral training in the form of a fellowship (www.apa.org). The APA explains that sports psychologists help athletes of all ages cope with athletic performance anxiety, recover mentally from injuries or enjoy participating in sports.

The BLS groups sports psychologists in its category for all other psychologists. It expects these professionals to experience an 11% employment increase over the 2012-2022 decade. Having some work experience can improve your job prospects. In 2012, the APA listed a salary range between $60,000 and $80,000 for sports psychologists who worked in university athletics. The BLS reported in May 2012 that many types of psychologists, including sports psychologists, earned a median wage of $90,020, with most making between $42,240 and $116,240 annually.

College Coach

As a college coach, you oversee practices, develop game strategies and manage rosters. The BLS states that many colleges and universities require their coaching staff to have a bachelor's degree in an athletic discipline, such as sports medicine. Coaches usually need playing experience in the sport they wish to coach, and some college coaches need certification.

According to the BLS, coach and scout employment growth will be at a fast rate of 15% over the 2012-2022 decade; however, college coaches can expect a lot of competition for jobs, especially those with high pay. In May 2012, coaches and scouts working for colleges, universities and professional schools were paid an average wage of $49,860, according to the BLS.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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