If you’re an athletic person who enjoys anything and everything sports, then you might be interested in finding a career that allows you to use that passion. Luckily, there are tons of jobs out there that involve working with athletes and in the world of sports.
No, we’re not talking about becoming a professional athlete or coaching a sports team. There are some great sports medicine jobs that will allow you to work closely with athletes while still providing you with a stable and fulfilling career.
So, what are some awesome sports medicine jobs you can get? Keep reading to learn more about this exciting field.
What is Sports Medicine?
First things first, what is sports medicine? This is a broad term we use to define different jobs related to sports, movement, and of course, healthcare. This brand of medicine focuses on physical fitness and is often used by athletes, or even everyday people, to treat and prevent sports-related injuries.
Most often, someone who has injured themselves while participating in a sport or when exercising will seek out help from a sports medicine specialist.
Often, sports medicine professionals are also experts on exercise routines and general movement, so they can also give advice on how to train better and maintain a healthy exercise routine.
Should You Pursue a Career in Sports Medicine?
If you want to work at the intersection of sports and medicine, then sports medicine is obviously a great choice for you. With a sports medicine degree, you’ll be able to work in both fields: healthcare and medicine.
That being said, sports medicine degrees usually aren’t as demanding as other medical degrees, which makes it a more attractive option for many. Still, your educational path will depend on what specific career you’d like.
Working in sports medicine, you’ll be able to interact with all types of patients, from professional athletes, to children, and even elderly people. Therefore, this is a great career path if you’re passionate about working with and helping people.
Sports Medicine Salary and Job Outlook
The average salary can vary widely depending on what type of job you’re doing within the broad field of sports medicine. Different jobs will also have different training and education requirements, which will also be reflected in your salary. For example, an athletic trainer usually only needs a bachelor’s degree and the median annual salary is $48,440.
On the other hand, other jobs, like a physical therapist, for example, require more schooling. Physical therapists need a specialized Doctor of Physical Therapy degree and their average annual salary is $87,930. Sports medicine physician jobs or someone with a doctorate degree in osteopathic medicine will have an even higher salary, on average $230,524 annually.
Regardless of which sports medicine job you choose, the field itself is booming. Depending on the job you perform, the expected growth is between 7-19%, which is quite high when compared to other jobs in healthcare fields.
Best Sports Medicine Jobs
There are a lot of jobs you can get within the field of sports medicine. Each one will have their own requirements in terms of what degrees you’ll need, but in general, here are some of the best and most popular sports medicine jobs.
Not to be confused with personal trainers, athletic trainers are actually medical professionals who work to treat and prevent sports-related injuries. They typically work with other medical professionals, like doctors and physical therapists, as well as athletes and coaches themselves.
Most athletic trainer jobs will require at least a bachelor’s degree, such as exercise science, in addition to a state license in order to practice.
A physical therapist’s job is to help a patient improve their movement when they are injured or ill. Physical therapists use different techniques other than just exercise, like stretching and using special equipment to promote movement.
In order to work as a physical therapist, you’ll need a master’s degree as well as local or state certification.
In this job, you’ll focus primarily on the biomechanics of movement, meaning you’ll often be conducting medical tests to check things like oxygen levels and blood pressure. Testing vital signs is done in order to try and catch and present risks to your patient and then design a personalized fitness plan suited to each patient meant to increase their performance.
In this role, you’ll likely be working with professional athletes.
Strength and Conditioning Specialist
These medical specialists also work closely with professional athletes to help them tone muscles. Strength and conditioning specialists instruct athletes on the right form when it comes to lifting weights and doing exercises. They often use gym equipment in their day-to-day job to assist them in their instruction.
In general, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree for this job.
Unlike other jobs on this list, chiropractors are considered to be alternative sports medicine professionals in that they use non-invasive techniques to treat injuries. They use natural remedies to treat pain in joints and muscles and also recommend changes to lifestyle and which drugs to take.
In order to become a chiropractor, you’ll need a Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine as well as a license to practice.
Sports medicine professionals don’t only treat athlete’s bodies, but also their minds. Sports psychologists work with athletes to ensure they have good mental health. They teach how to handle pressure and competition with techniques like meditation and different types of behavioral therapy.
To work in this field, you’ll need at least a master’s degree, though a doctorate is not uncommon.
Primary Care Sports Medicine Physician
In this job, you’ll be focused on rehabilitating patients and athletes who have suffered injuries or have gone through treatments. You’ll work with them to recommend different therapy treatments as well as provide them with nutritional and training advice so that they can go back to their regular routine or return to sports.
A kinesiotherapist is someone who uses physical education and rehabilitative exercises to treat patients. The work to design exercise programs and then monitor their patient’s progress when being treated for an injury, paying close attention to the progress of their mobility and strength. Most kinesiotherapists have at least a bachelor’s degree.
To Wrap Up
There are tons of different sports medicine jobs out there, so if this is a field you want to work in, it’s important to begin narrowing down your interests to find a job that fits you.
A good portion of sports medicine jobs require more than one degree, often in the fields of healthcare. At University of the People (UoPeople), we offer a tuition-free online health science degree, so that you can begin your journey towards working in the exciting field of sports medicine.