Career Options for a Degree in Sports Medicine
Sports medicine is a branch of medicine that primarily deals with the treatment of athletes. While many people assume that those who take a sports medicine degree go on and work as a doctor, it is not always the case.
In fact, sports medicine can lead to multiple career paths. Those who want to study sports medicine can expect a career as an athletic trainer, a physical therapist, or a physician, among other careers. Most career paths in sports medicine require at least a bachelor’s degree, while some careers require you to have a master’s or doctorate degree.
Whether you only want to work with athletes, or you’re an athlete yourself, a degree in sports medicine can give you many career options.
The careers that await you after taking a degree in sports medicine are challenging yet rewarding ones, allowing you to grow as a professional and an individual.
Read on below to learn more about the career options for a degree in sports medicine.
Become An Athletic Trainer
One of the most common career options for sports medicine degree holders is becoming an athletic trainer. As an athletic trainer, you’re going to work with sports teams, helping them prevent and manage sports injuries. You should have at least a bachelor’s or master’s degree to get a job as an athletic trainer in professional or school sports teams.
Work As A Physical Therapist
Another option is to become a physical therapist. The job will entail working with individuals suffering from diseases or injuries. Physical therapists make use of stretching, manual manipulation, exercise, and specialized equipment to increase physical abilities and relieve pain. You need at least a master’s degree to become a full-fledged physical therapist, but other employers also add a state license to the minimum requirements for this position.
Don’t confuse a career in physical therapy with being an athletic trainer as these are two different roles. The most significant difference is that athletic trainers focus on athletes, while physical therapists can work with anyone who has been affected by illnesses or injuries.
Expect a higher employment rate for physical therapists in the coming years due to the increasing number of the aging population around the world. Older people need therapy since they experience more physical problems. Workouts for seniors have also become popular nowadays, and older people need the guidance of physical therapists to do these things properly.
Start A Career In Nutrition
Athletes need to eat healthier food to feel better and stronger. Since athletes burn high amounts of calories and expend lots of energy during games and training, nutritionists ensure that they take the required number of calories and nutrients each day to perform consistently. As a nutritionist, you can also coordinate with chefs, so you can work together with them in creating healthy dishes for the players before and after the games.
Be An Athletic Coach
You can also use a degree in sports medicine to coach sports teams. Most lower-level schools and high schools hire sports medicine graduates to teach and coach throughout the school year. Your coaching experience with lower-level school teams can then be your ticket to sports teams in colleges and universities. These opportunities are perfect when working your way up to professional sports teams. However, in most cases, you’ll have to start as a member of the coaching staff or as an assistant coach before gaining the highest position.
Get Into Research As A Biomechanist
Being a biomechanist is one of the most significant careers in sports. As a biomechanist, you’ll engage yourself with research to determine how physics affects sports and physical activities. You’ll also dig deeper to understand how the bones, muscles, and different body systems can be improved after an injury. Take note that biomechanists do not solely focus on athletes and can also work with any patient.
Become A Team Doctor
The team physician or doctor is a highly significant career under the field of sports medicine. Team doctors work with high school, college, amateur, and professional sports teams to help players recover from different illnesses like bacterial and viral infections. These doctors also work with players who have minor injuries to help them speed up their recovery. As a team doctor, you’ll go over x-rays and other tests to determine the severity of the injury or illness of the player. Moreover, you’ll be the one to keep an eye out on players, monitoring their progress and ensuring that they’re ready to play again before being allowed to go back on the field or court.
An injury can happen to anyone who engages with physical activities, and it’s especially common in athletes. Since primary care doctors often don’t specialize in sports injuries, the field of medicine requires sports medicine professionals to carry out the treatment process.
Whether you’re planning to become an athletic trainer, a physical therapist, or a team doctor, you must have the desire to help others and possess empathy for your patients. Keep in mind that there’s one thing in common among the different career options for a degree in sports medicine—compassion.