Sports Medicine Degrees

What kind of degree will I need in order to practice in the allied health fields of sports medicine?

Physical therapists generally need only a bachelor’s degree in order to practice in the sports medicine field. However, obtaining a master’s or other advanced degree or earning a certificate in sports medicine from a higher education institution can help enhance the opportunities available to you for career advancement and pay increases.

Sports psychologists generally need at least a master’s degree in psychology, preferably with a specialization in sports psychology, in order to practice in the sports medicine field.  The most prestigious and highest paying positions in sports psychology are generally reserved for individuals with a doctorate (PhDs) a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree.

Degrees in sports medicine, rehabilitative therapy, physical therapy, and sports psychology are offered by a variety of institutions including sports medicine schools, traditional colleges and universities, online institutes of higher education, schools of public health, and schools of exercise science. 

What education do I need to become a rehabilitative therapist?

Becoming a rehabilitative therapist generally requires a degree from a four-year college or university.  Rehabilitative therapists cooperate with sports medicine physicians and other doctors to diagnose and treat athletic injuries and optimize athletic performance.  Academic majors that will prepare you for a career in rehabilitative therapy include kinesiology, human anatomy, exercise physiology, and sports science.

Prospective rehabilitative therapists take coursework and perform hands-on, clinical work in a variety of subject areas related to healthcare and the human body, including anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, biology, first aid, emergency response and care, injury assessment and diagnosis, physical therapy, nutrition, and illness and injury prevention.  Students hoping to become rehabilitative therapists may also want to take courses in sports management, sports psychology, and professional ethics. 

Those who see themselves serving as a trainer for school athletes at any level should also take some education courses as a teaching certificate or credential may be required depending on the state and school in which the rehabilitative therapist works. 

Although a bachelor’s degree is generally sufficient to become a rehabilitative therapist, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 70 percent have a master’s or other advanced degree.  For instance, additional education beyond the bachelor’s degree is generally required for rehabilitative therapists who work with student teams at the university level.

Where can I learn more about sports medicine?

There are a number of organizations and agencies devoted to educating athletes and healthcare professionals about sports medicine and ensuring a high quality of care among those who seek out sports medicine services.  These organizations and agencies provide general information about sports medicine, offer certification credentials for rehabilitative therapists, and supply educational and professional opportunities for students and practitioners of sports medicine.

Organizations that focus on sports medicine include the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, an interdisciplinary group of physicians whose work revolves around education and research in the area of sports medicine, and the American College of Sports Medicine, an organization that hosts workshops, conferences, and other meetings for sports medicine professionals.

Learn more about sports medicine schools.

Sports Medicine Schools