The study of sports medicine revolves around applying medical and scientific principles to the world of sporting activities, exercise, and the ability to perform physically. The broadness of this field allows you to pick from a wide variety of concentrations and pursue a career that interests you the most.
To enter this field, you need to start looking for a sports medicine program that suits your educational and career goals. There are various sports medicine programs available, offered by quite a few colleges all over the United States.
Sports Medicine Degrees
There are different levels of degrees available in the field of sports medicine. The level you should go for will depend on your previous educational qualifications.
Associates Degree in Sports Medicine
You can get an associate degree in sports medicine by enrolling in one of the many community colleges that offer it. The degree will require around two to three years of your time, though if you do it on a part-time basis, the timeline might go beyond three years as well. To apply to an associate degree in sports medicine, you must have a high school or a GED diploma.
As part of the program, there are several sports medicine courses that you will need to clear. These include fundamental courses in subject areas such as kinesiology, physiology and nutrition. A basic understanding of the human body will be needed so that you are aware of how various exercises affect different muscle groups, joints and bones.
Bachelors in Sports Medicine
To enroll in a sports medicine bachelor program, you will typically need more than just a high school diploma or a GED. There are usually certain additional requirements that vary according to programs. For instance, you might be required to complete specific courses, be certified in first aid or have completed a certain number of hours observing a certified athletic trainer in a professional setting.
As far as the coursework is concerned, you will be covering intermediate level subject matter in areas such as kinesiology, health and exercise science, first aid, sports psychology, nutrition, weight training exercises, therapeutic modalities and so on.
Sports Medicine Certification
Various organizations in the US offer certifications related to the field of sports medicine. The certification typically requires you to pass a written exam. However, in some cases, automated external defibrillator (AED) certification, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or passing a practical exam may be a requirement.
Among the organizations that offer sports medicine certificate programs are American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), American Osteopathic Association (AOA) and the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). All these organizations offer a variety of certifications for professions such as group fitness instructors, health fitness specialists, cancer exercise trainers and so on.
Sports Medicine Graduate Programs
If you are looking for a more advance sports medicine course, you would be better off looking into graduate programs.
Masters in Sports Medicine
There are many careers in sports medicine that require a masters degree. This degree is typically offered as a Master of Science and may take up to two years to complete. Some programs might allow students to select a specialty within the field of sports medicine such as athletic training or strength conditioning.
To get into a masters program in sports medicine, you will need a bachelor’s degree in sports medicine. If your bachelor degree is not in sports medicine or a relevant field, then you should have ideally taken the minimum required courses related to the subject.
Some common course topics covered in a master program may include injury prevention, epidemiology, human movement, biostatistics, advanced exercise physiology, biomechanics and musculoskeletal injury.
Doctorate in Sports Medicine
A doctoral degree in sports medicine is designed mainly to cater to students who are interested in research or professional teaching. The course structure is designed in a way to expose students to advance topics in the field of sports medicine, focusing on research. Students are typically required to choose an area within the field to specialize in. This could be anything ranging from biomechanics to exercise nutrition or sports management. The timeline for a PhD in sports medicine usually spans over a four year period of full-time study.
To be eligible for a doctorate in sports medicine, you will have to check individual college requirements since they vary quite a bit. However, common requirements include a masters degree or a specific undergraduate degree in exercise science of sports medicine. Preference might be given to applicants who hold a certification for athletic trainers or physical therapists.
The common course work involved with this degree revolves around clinical biomechanics, sports medicine laboratory techniques, epidemiological methodologies, athletic injury care, multivariate statistics and athletic eating disorders.
Online Sports Medicine Degree
With advances in technology and availability of high-speed internet, the world of online education has progressed. Therefore, if you are, for some reason, unable to attend a traditional on-campus college, there are many options for you in distance learning educational institutes.
By getting a sports medicine degree online, you can acquire all the skills necessary to enter this field. Due to the nature of this field, and a required clinical component in the course structure, it is usually not possible to get this degree in an entirely online program. However, some courses are made available to the student body through online channels. These include courses on sports nutrition, assessment and measurement of sports medicine and sports psychology
The best option for individuals looking for the convenience and flexibility that comes with an online program is to go for a hybrid degree. This would have an online component, as well as a traditional on-campus component, making your degree convenient and wholesome at the same time.
Career Outlook for Sports Medicine Majors
There are a variety of career opportunities available in sports medicine, depending on your educational qualification and prior experience level. For instance, with an associate’s degree, you can get entry level jobs such as a fitness worker or a physical therapist aide. If you have a bachelor’s degree in sports medicine, you can pursue careers as an athletic trainer. According to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities in this profession are expected to grow by 21% between 2012 and 2022.
Moving on to careers with a masters degree in sports medicine, you could go on to become a physical therapist or teach at a university or a college. According to the BLS, the demand for physical therapists will increase by 36% between the years from 2012 to 2022, and the median average salary for these professionals was $81,110 as of 2012.
So if you are interested in the science of sports and athletics, getting a sports medicine degree might just be the right career move for you.
Frequently Asked Question(s)
Q:What courses will I study in sports medicine programs?
A:Sports medicine programs are designed to provide students for a career in this field. The curriculum may vary from school to school, and will also depend on the degree-level. Commonly covered subjects are: orthopedic surgery, scoliosis, nutrition and disorder eating, physical medicine and rehabilitation, orthopedic sports medicine, rehabilitation, and radiology.
Q:Can you name a few courses that I will be studying in a masters in sports medicine degree?
A:In a masters degree in sports medicine, you will acquire theoretical and clinical knowledge of healthcare and sports. The program will highlight different facets of the sports medicine sector. Some of the courses covered in the program include: epidemiology and biostatistics, medical publications, cultural issues in health care, research methods, health policy, and a practicum.
Q:How long do sports medicine graduate programs take to complete?
A:The duration of a sports medicine masters program is two years. The exact duration may vary from place to place. Students can also earn the degree in less than two years by opting for an accelerated masters degree. It is best that you check with perspective schools to find out more about the duration of the masters program they are offering.
Q:What are the benefits of getting a sports medicine certification?
A:The demand for professional certifications is on the rise. Many employers prefer hiring individuals who have gone one step ahead and acquired a professional credential. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) offers a wide range of certifications in sports medicine. You can improve your career prospects by getting certified.
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