What Is a Sports Therapy Degree?

A sports therapy degree, also known as an athletic training degree, and is required to become a sports therapist. Read on to find out more about the associate's, bachelor's, and master's degrees for sports physical therapy. Schools offering Kinesiology & Sport Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is Sports Therapy?

Sports therapy is a specialization in the healthcare field that deals with preventing and rehabilitating injuries common to athletes. Individuals in this profession are also referred to as athletic trainers. A sports therapist works directly with athletes to develop fitness plans, prevent injuries, and rehabilitate them so they can function at levels ideal for athletic performance. While their job duties may sound similar or even overlap with physical therapists, sports therapists usually require less education are not qualified to perform all of the same tasks as physical therapists.

Sports Therapy Degree Options

There are a few educational options for those seeking a career as a sports therapist. However, sports therapy jobs require a bachelor's degree and some employers prefer a master's degree, so it may be beneficial to pursue graduate education.

Degree Level Program Title Program Length
Associate *Associate of Science in Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Sciences
*Associate of Arts in Kinesiology
*Associate of Science in Exercise Science
2 years
Bachelor *Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training 4 years
Master *Master of Athletic Training
*Master of Science in Athletic Training
2 years

Sports Therapy Associate Degrees

Sports therapy degrees at the associate's level take around 2 years to complete and offer more flexibility when it comes to choosing a program that will qualify an individual for a bachelor's degree. A few examples include:

  • Associate of Science in Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Sciences
  • Associate of Arts in Kinesiology
  • Associate of Science in Exercise Science

These programs all have courses in kinesiology, anatomy and physiology, college math, psychology, and nutrition. Graduates of these programs fulfill the requirements to become a personal trainer or other health and fitness professionals, or they can move on to pursue bachelor's degrees in athletic training, physical therapy, kinesiology, or physical education. Associate's programs generally require a high school diploma or equivalent, and some sports therapy programs may require prerequisite math and science courses.

Sports Therapy Bachelor's Degrees

Aspiring sports therapists need a bachelor's degree in athletic training accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education to take the Board of Certification for the Athletic Trainer exam. The admissions criteria into these programs include prerequisite courses in anatomy and physiology, and general foundational courses, among others.

Bachelor's programs typically last 4 years, and some athletic training courses include emergency care, nutrition, principals of athletic training, and a clinical internship. Students will divide their time between classrooms and laboratories for theoretical and hands-on experience. Depending on the university, students may collaborate with the university's athletic teams.

Sports Therapy Master's Degrees

It is becoming more common for employers to prefer or even require individuals to have a Master of Science in Athletic Training to practice athletic training. Those who wish to advance their skills or advance in their career may want to consider pursuing an athletic training master's degree. Some universities offer joint degree programs where students can earn their bachelor's and master's degrees in less time than transferring graduate students.

Master's degrees typically last 2 years, and students will take courses such as preventative care, evidence-based practice, athletic training, and a clinical experience/internship. As with the bachelor's program, classroom and lab work are integrated, and students can work with the university's athletic teams. Graduates of this degree are qualified to conduct and analyze research for the field of athletic training.

Requirements may vary by university, but athletic training master's programs generally require applicants to possess a bachelor's degree; the degree does not have to be in athletic training as long as they have completed prerequisite courses in anatomy, physiology, nutrition, physics, biology, and others, and demonstrate certification or eligibility for certification from the BOC. Applicants must also provide a resume and letters of recommendation.

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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