Are you ready to jump into an exciting career filled with energized people? A career in medicine can put you into the action, even if you are on the sideline instead of actually in the middle of the game. Jobs in sport medicine are fast growing.
What is This Medical Career?
Before listing career opportunities it is important you have a good understanding exactly what sports medicine is. It is the study and practice of skills and techniques for the medical treatment and therapy for individuals who participate in athletics or physical activity. The definition is actually quite broad. Professional medical techniques are used for the treatment of injuries sustained through all types of physical activity which can include:
Sore Muscles from Weight Lifting
Broken Bones or Injured Joints from Contact Sports
Strained Backs from an Over Zealous Golf Swing
Minor Impact Injuries from Aerobics Classes
Torn Ligaments of a Professional Baseball Pitcher
Treatment of a Sprained Ankle
If you see a professional treating a sports or exercise related injury it can be considered under the umbrella of sports medicine.
The Variety of Careers in Athletic Medicine
As you may be guessing from the broad and somewhat vague definition of sports medicine the careers in this profession can cover a wide range of choices. Here are some of the more popular titles you may run across:
Sports Medicine Physician
Certified Personal Trainer
Certified Health Fitness Specialist
Along with this wide variety of titles comes a large disparity in wages, too. At the pinnacle of wages is the medical physician with trainers being towards the lower end of the spectrum. Here are some median salaries for a variety of jobs in this field:
Medical Physician – $240,648
Physical Therapist – $74,336
Athletic Trainer – $38,972
Massage Therapist – $42,737
Chiropractor – $129,420
Exercise Physiologist – $44,849
Certified Personal Trainer – $52,750
Sports Nutritionist – $52,867
As becomes very obvious from these salary figures, medicine has a highly variable range of salaries. Depending on your level of education, experience, and specialty you can expect to make anywhere from an average income to very high income levels.
The Educational Requirements of a Sports Medicine Career
Careers can have a wide variety of educational requirements depending on your specialty. Let us examine a few of the sports medicine jobs and their educational demands.
Medical Physician – This broad specialty of medicine will require the following educational requirements:
4 Year Bachelor of Science Degree in Pre-Med or Science
4 Years of Medical School
3-5 Years of Residency
Multiple years of fellowship depending on specialty.
Sports Physical Therapist – This specialized form of physical therapy is also highly demanding in educational requirements, but the rewards are high. Physical therapists usually have less stress and work less hours per week than the average physician. The education requirements include:
4 Year Bachelors Degree
3 Years Doctor of Physical Therapy education. (Note: Some programs allow a 3+3 program where one year of physical therapy education replaces a year of your Bachelor Degree requirements.)
Sports Massage Therapist -This is a loosely regulated position which is usually licensed on a state level. Two examples of requirements for a massage therapist are:
Florida – 500 Hours Training – Passing of licensing exam.
New York – 1000 Hours Training – Pass State Exam.
This is one of the easiest educational directions to start your career in medicine. Many of the job openings will be found in fitness centers and spas with pay being based upon a percentage of sales.
Certified Personal Sports Trainer – Educational requirements on this position vary greatly. You can find courses through universities, trade schools, and online educational classes. You should check your local state requirements. Often the most important requirement is your own extreme level of fitness, knowledge of exercise mechanics, and ability to motivate.
A sports medicine career does not always mean going to 4 years or more of school. As you can see in the examples of a massage therapist or trainer the requirements can be much lower. The difference will be in your earning potential and ability to specialize. Choosing to pursue a career in sports medicine offers not only great income opportunities, but unique opportunities to serve in a career you love.