What Are the Education Requirements for Sports Physicians?

The practice of sports medicine has grown along with the many muscular, ligament and bone problems associated with sports related injuries. Keep reading if you want to know the educational requirements for sports physicians. Schools offering Kinesiology & Sport Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.


If you pursue a career as a sports physician, you will specialize in treating athletes and active individuals, diagnosing and treating their illnesses and injuries. Your education will require several steps, including years of education and hands-on experience. You'll need to earn a medical degree and complete a residency, as well as a fellowship.

Important Facts about Sports Physicians

Prerequisites Undergrad admission requires completion of certain classes, including biology, chemistry, and physics
Common Courses Human physiology, sports nutrition, psychology, medical ethics
Degree Level Professional
Continuing Education Requirements to maintain license registration vary by state

Earn a Medical Degree

Becoming a physician is the first step toward your career as a sports physician. You can earn either a Medical Doctor (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree. Applying to medical school is a very competitive process. A medical degree is a professional degree, and you should first earn a bachelor's degree in biology or other sciences. That, along with your scores from the Medical College Applications Test (MCAT) and your letters of recommendation, will help to ensure your admission.

In medical school, you will be required to study subjects including biology, anatomy, pathology, genetics, microbiology and public health. The next two years are devoted to clinical studies in pediatrics, surgery, internal medicine, emergency and ambulatory medicine.

Apply to a Residency Program

After earning your medical degree, you will need to apply to a medical facility for a residency program. At this time, you can choose to apply to a program in orthopedic surgery. Requirements for admission include submission of your medical school transcripts, letters of recommendation and usually a personal interview.

The orthopedic residency program consists of a series of clinical rotations in general orthopedics, intensive care, the burn unit and rehabilitative therapy. The rotations are taken in conjunction with lectures and seminars on many subjects that you will use in your rotations, such as metabolism and genetics. Other specific lectures give you details about orthopedic subjects, such as foot and ankle, shoulder and elbow, the spine, musculo-skeletal oncology and sports injuries. Residencies can last up to five years and can include one year focusing on research.

Enter a Fellowship Program

Fellowship programs in sports medicine usually last one year and give you valuable experience as you prepare for your own practice. Clinical experience will prepare you for independent evaluation and assessment, diagnostic analysis and decision making. Many programs are run with the medical facilities of colleges and universities, and part of your fellowship may involve working with the school's athletic department and many of the men's and women's teams.

You would typically work two or three days per week at the hospital, followed by time spent with the trainers and the teams and on academics. Academically, you will attend and participate in presentations on specific case studies and subjects such as rehabilitation. Clinically, you will perform many of the teams' pre-season physicals, you will have opportunities to travel with teams, and be on the sidelines to diagnose and treat any injuries.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next »