What Is a Sports Therapy Degree?
Sports therapists work with athletes to help them with their overall performance and recovery from injury. Read on to learn more about the field and what degree programs are available, along with employment options and salary potential. Schools offering Kinesiology & Sport Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Is Sports Therapy?
Sports therapy and sports medicine are fields that focus on exercise, training and rehabilitation related to athletics. As a sports therapist, you'll work with athletes of all ages. Some of the work that you do will be to help athletes improve their overall performance by performing proper stretching techniques and doing effective exercises. Another facet of your job will be to help individuals recover from injuries, especially common sports-related injuries. As a sports therapist you may work with others in a clinic, work for a school or athletic team or open your own private practice.
What Degrees Can I Earn?
One option for you is to begin by earning an associate's degree, which will generally take two years. You can complete an associate's degree program in several areas related to sports therapy such as exercise science, kinesiology or athletic training. Many of the credits you earn may transfer to a 4-year school, decreasing the time it takes you to earn a bachelor's degree. Earning your bachelor's degree is an important step towards further education, and it increases your chances of finding employment.
After completing a bachelor's degree, you can move on to graduate school and earn either a master's or doctoral degree. Many states require physical therapists to earn graduate degrees in order to become licensed. Graduate programs in such areas as sports medicine, sports therapy, physical therapy or sports injuries could help you meet this requirement. Graduate programs can take anywhere from 2-4 years to complete. Before enrolling, you should make sure your program is accredited by an organization such as the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (www.capteonline.org).
What Can I Do With My Degree?
The degree that you earn determines the job opportunities that are available to you. If you earn an undergraduate degree, such as an associate's or bachelor's degree, one option is to work as an aide or assistant to a physical or sports therapist. Aides and assistants perform tasks such as helping patients with therapeutic exercises or helping to develop exercise plans for athletes. According to a 2010 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), aides made an annual median salary of $23,680, while assistants made $49,690 (www.bls.gov).
If you earn a graduate degree and complete the proper state licensure procedures, you can find work as a sports or physical therapist. As a sports therapist, you'll be in charge of patient care or developing training programs for athletes. According to the BLS, physical therapists made an annual median salary of $76,310, as of 2010. Your degree may also prepare you for other jobs, such as athletic trainer, researcher, sports nutritionist, strength coach or teacher.
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