Sports Medicine Degree Program and Course Facts
A degree in sports medicine will give you the foundation to work with sports teams and athletes in a number of careers. Read on to learn about your degree and course options for sports medicine, including both undergraduate and graduate options.
What You Need to Know
Sports medicine is the branch of medicine that focuses on the prevention and treatment of athletic injuries. The field aims to maximize athletic performance and teach athletes not only how to prevent injury, but also how to manage existing conditions. A sports medicine treatment team consists of various health professionals, including physicians and athletic trainers, who work together to ensure that athletes perform at their highest level of athletic ability.
|Degrees||Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)|
|Courses||Nutrition, exercise physiology, care of athletic injuries, preventing and evaluating injuries, rehabilitation, therapeutic modalities|
|Training||Clinical and lab work supervised by trainers and health professionals|
What Are My Undergraduate Degree Program Options?
Sports medicine is offered at the associate's and bachelor's level at many colleges and universities. Your career aspirations will determine which level of education is appropriate for you, since each degree qualifies you for more advanced certification in the field. Associate's programs can generally be completed in two years and will qualify you to work as a fitness professional assistant or to complete the certification process to become a personal trainer. An Associate of Science in Sports Medicine and Fitness Technology is one example of a 2-year program.
A bachelor's degree, such as a Bachelor of Sports Science, will qualify you for numerous careers and certifications in the field, enabling you to work as an athletic trainer, group fitness instructor or employee fitness director.
What About Graduate Degrees?
Master's-level programs in sports medicine are also widely available, and Ph.D. programs exist as well. With a master's degree, you can gain advanced certification in the sports medicine field and work in positions in strength and conditioning coaching, biomechanics or research. One common program option is a Master of Science in Sports Medicine, which is generally a 2-year program. Master's degree programs typically culminate in a thesis or a project related to sports medicine.
Two sample Ph.D. program titles include a Ph.D. in Human Movement Science and a Ph.D. in Education - Kinesiology with a sports medicine concentration. A program like the human movement science program would prepare students for careers in research and clinical scholarship in sports medicine and related areas, such as exercise physiology and rehabilitation. Meanwhile, an education-focused program is intended for students who want to pursue careers in academia, such as sports medicine professorships. All types of Ph.D. programs are research-intensive, and students can expect to complete a dissertation in an area of sports medicine research that interests them, such as a particular type of injury or therapy technique.
What Kind of Courses Can I Expect to Take?
Most programs require that you complete prerequisites in subjects like psychology and anatomy prior to your training in sports medicine. Sports medicine programs typically include courses in the following:
- Exercise physiology
- Strength training and conditioning
- Care of athletic injuries
- Personal health and wellness
- Therapeutic modalities
- Basic fitness assessment
- Injury prevention
- Rehabilitation instruction
- Injury evaluation
At each level, your education will combine classroom learning with clinical and laboratory experience. Generally, you will gain experience in the field working with your school's sports teams at campus athletic facilities. You will gain first-hand experience from athletic trainers, doctors and other professionals while completing your program.