Are you interested in pursuing a career in sports medicine? With a thriving job market, competitive salaries, and fulfilling job duties, this field is certainly alluring. But finding success here isn’t so simple; there are some necessary steps you must take before entering the sports medicine field.
Every sports medicine career requires professionals to hold at least a bachelor’s degree, and most require professionals to have a master’s or even a doctorate. Your schooling is critical. An excellent sports medicine program will give you the knowledge, connections, and experience needed to flourish. A below-average sports medicine program, on the other hand, will provide you with nothing more valuable than a slip of paper.
So how do you select the perfect sports medicine program? Well, it depends on your track. Sports medicine physicians and orthopedic surgeons can choose any undergraduate major, while nutritionists and athletic trainers must major in a relevant degree. Where you go and what you study depends on your future aspirations. But assuming that you know your long term goals, we’re going to give you an idea of a few schools with excellent sports medicine programs.
If you wish to become an athletic trainer, you must obtain a bachelor’s degree. Most athletic trainers, however, finish graduate school, too. A master’s degree and a doctorate sets you apart from the competition, offer you useful tools to use, and sets you up for a good salary. There are many excellent athletic training degrees in the United States, which you can access at this link.
Here, though, we’re going to suggest the best online doctorate program in the nation, A.T. Still University.
What sets A.T. Still University apart from the competition? First off, the faculty at ATSU is as good as it gets. Many of them have doctorates in athletic training, and the rest of them have enough field experience to be considered experts in the field.
And unlike many athletic training programs, which exist in separate spheres from other medical studies, ATSU’s athletic training department lies within its health program. Athletic training is a health-based profession, and it makes sense that the department and faculty have a health background. Unfortunately, though, most athletic departments are housed in different areas, meaning the scientific backing to the program isn’t as strong. At ATSU, you don’t need to worry about that.
Some courses students at this program will take include Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, Evidence-Based Practice, Patient-Oriented Incomes, and Health Information Technology. Each of these classes will help you become a legitimate expert in the field, capable of climbing the ranks in athletic departments and universities.
Nutrition and Dietetics
Sports medicine physicians have to go to undergraduate school, graduate school, and complete a residency and fellowship before beginning their trade. Because the path for this profession is so long and the learnings are so diverse, the undergraduate degree isn’t of the greatest concern. For dietitians, however, a bachelor’s degree is your one-and-done step to becoming a professional. As such, where you choose to complete your studies is critical.
The University of Delaware hosts one of the most robust nutrition and dietetics programs in the world. In this program, students take a look at the many sides of dietetics, including medical nutrition therapy, community nutrition, and nutrition in the lifespan. No matter what your specific interest in dietetics is, you will learn about it at the University of Delaware.
Students enrolled in this program begin with introductory classes such as Nutrition Concepts, General Chemistry, and Introduction to Nutrition Professions. By their senior year, students take advanced courses such as Teaching Methods: Nutrition/Foods, Nutritional Assessment Methods, and Medical Nutrition Therapy. Besides the excellent classes of this program, students also get to participate in many hands-on experiences.
An Example of An Excellent Sports Medicine Department
We’re not going to delve into every program and every university for this field, as there are multifarious excellent options. Still, we want to provide you with an example of a university with an outstanding sports medicine department: the College of Health & Human Performance at the University of Florida.
Look at the many options on their website: undergraduate students can major in Applied Physiology, Athletic Training, Health Management, Health Education, Sports Management, or Recreation Management. And graduate students can choose from over a dozen relevant programs as well.
So what? So, if a university invests millions of dollars and hundreds of faculty members into a department, that’s a promising indication that the department is legitimate. The more resources a university has, the more resources you will have. More classes, more connections, more job prospects. The University of Florida is notable for its excellent programs and exceptional career outlook for recent graduates.
Do your research, but any school with as many pathways as the University of Florida will most likely have a promising department in the discipline of your choosing.