Article - What Degree Do I Need For A Career In Sports Medicine?:

Sports Medicine can be defined as the study and practice of medical principles applied to athletics. This encompasses a number of areas of knowledge and specialization including sports training, performance, nutrition, psychology, exercise and training plans, as well as the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of sports related injuries.

To work in Sports Medicine, one needs education and training in the medical aspects of sports including the study of anatomy, physiology and therapeutic techniques. While there are individuals in the field of Sports Medicine who also hold full medical degrees, they are only a requirement for practicing Sports Medicine Doctors.

A Sports Medicine Doctor is comparable to other licensed medical doctors, but with a specialization in Sports Medicine. Oftentimes, a doctor working towards a career in this field will specialize in cardiology, Pulmonology and then participate in a fellowship program for Sports Medicine. There are also Sports Medicine Physicians who are more akin to family doctors, with similar restrictions on their practice. To act as Primary Care Physicians they must take the Certificate of Added Qualifications Exam in Sports Medicine (CAQ).

Sports Medicine students can choose to become Certified Athletic Trainers (ATCs). ATCs specialize in athletic health care, and are required to hold a related bachelor’s degree (i.e. physical education, health studies, or exercise science). Students must pass the National Athletic Trainers' Association Board of Certification exam to become official ACTs. Students can also pursue a degree in Sports Medicine at the associate level. This often involves an externship to obtain “real world” experience in a professional environment. An Associate Degree in the field is suitable for work as a fitness instructor or a personal trainer, while some will use this degree to step up to a Bachelor’s Degree.

Bachelor’s degrees in Sports Medicine can lead to employment as a certified athletic trainer, or act as a stepping stone to further study of medicine or surgery in medical school. Another possible path related to Sports Medicine is Physical Therapy (PT). Physical therapists must earn a degree from an accredited program, and pass a license examination before they begin practice.

Sports Medicine is a rewarding, hands on career path that combines the dynamics of various sports with medicine, fitness, prevention and therapy. It can also be very financially profitable and has numerous paths for specialization and advancement.

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