Do you enjoy sports? Are you interested in a health-related career that allows you to work with athletes? If you answered yes, then you might be interested in getting into a college with sports medicine.
In reality, sports medicine is a fast-growing healthcare field that focuses on the treatment of athletic injuries. Particularly, sports medicine healthcare providers help athletes and other physically active patients improve movement and performance. Also, these professionals work to prevent illness and injury and treat sports-related injuries.
The field of sports medicine encompasses a variety of career paths, including physical therapy, athletic training, and exercise physiology. Thus, those interested in healthcare and sports may find a career in this industry highly rewarding.
Today, let’s learn everything about this scientific field. Also, let’s find out which one is the best college with sports medicine that is highly recommended for students aspiring to pursue a career in the field.
What is the difference between sports medicine and physical therapy?
Sports medicine’s goal is to treat and prevent injuries within the context of sports. Furthermore, a sports medicine specialist understands the movements and physical demands that each sport requires.
For example, if you play volleyball, a sports medicine doctor will have a better understanding of the cause of your injury than another doctor. Of course, it is because he or she knows the required physical motions of volleyball.
Thus, when it comes to treatment, a sports medicine doctor will recommend the treatment best for recovering and returning to the same motions as before in volleyball (or soccer, football, etc.).
On the other hand, physical therapists work with anyone – regardless of age or sports involvement – to aid in recovering from an injury. Interestingly, oftentimes sports medicine specialists will send their patients to a physical therapist – and vice versa.
Nevertheless, aside from the sports focus, the main difference between the two fields is that a sports medicine specialist offers a variety of treatments, including surgery. However, physical therapy uses only stretching and strengthening exercises and tools to help foster orthopedic recovery.
What colleges offer sports medicine?
Interestingly, there are over a hundred colleges and universities that offer different degree programs in sports medicine and other related courses.
Besides, although the tuition fees for some of these programs are high, what you will stand to gain once you get the certificate is far more than what you will spend in pursuing the program. In fact, these colleges with sports medicine offer degrees that provide learners with a fundamental understanding of the human body, human performance, and human movement.
For example, here are some colleges across the United States that offer sports medicine. These colleges for sports medicine may offer undergraduate and/or graduate degree programs in the field.
- University of North Carolina
- Suny College Cortland
- University of Illinois
- Rutgers University
- University of Georgia
- Texas A&M University
- University of Minnesota Twin Cities
- Michigan State University
- Truman State University
- University of Northern Iowa
What college has the best sports medicine program?
In fact, according to College Choice, the University of North Carolina is the best college with sports medicine of all colleges across the country.
First of all, UNC’s Orthopedic Sports Medicine Fellowship accepts two candidates per year-long program. The ACGME-accredited program partners with the Raleigh Orthopedic Clinic to provide fellows a high volume of diverse training opportunities, focusing on shoulder, elbow, hip, and knee surgeries.
Also, fellows can expect to dedicate about one day per week to research. Nevertheless, the fellowship program is only available to graduates of ACGME-accredited schools who have already completed a residency.
What is the major for sports medicine?
Actually, there is more than one type of major that you can choose when you want to pursue a professional in sports medicine. For starters, the most common majors include:
- Athletic training,
- Exercise science (and others that cover human physiology),
- Human anatomy,
- Athletic injury prevention,
- Community health,
- Sports nutrition,
- Therapeutic exercise, and
What classes should I take for sports medicine?
Believe it or not, the classes you’ll take vary depending on the level you pursue. Look at the following explanation.
1. Associate’s Degree
Associate’s degree programs in sports medicine can be found at many community colleges. You can expect to take classes such as:
- First aid,
- Sports nutrition,
- Strength conditioning,
- Lifetime fitness, and
- Sports injury management.
However, if you’re interested in a shorter, more condensed program, certificate programs are also available.
2. Bachelor’s Degree
A bachelor’s degree gives you the foundation for your career in sports medicine or to pursue further educational goals. For starters, some of the classes you can expect to take include:
- Human anatomy,
- Exercise physiology,
- Human physiology, and
3. Master’s Degree
At the graduate level, sports medicine programs focus on advanced topics such as biostatistics, clinical biomechanics, and muscle physiology. In fact, these programs often require a thesis to be completed at the end of the 2-year program. For instance, classes include:
- Human movement,
- Advanced exercise physiology,
- Musculoskeletal injuries, and
- Advanced conditioning.
How many years of college is sports medicine?
A bachelor’s degree in sports medicine typically requires four years of full-time study. On the other hand, a sports medicine master’s degree requires approximately two years of full-time study, though there are plenty of part-time options that require three or more years of school.
However, new physicians must complete either a three- or five-year residency before continuing on to a two-year fellowship. In short, becoming a primary care physician requires three years of residency in family medicine and other practices.
Is sports medicine a good career?
If you like sports and exercise training, enjoy helping others improve their health and wellness, and feel comfortable working in a physically demanding environment, a career in sports medicine may be a great fit for you.
Surprisingly, available career options depend on the degree and specialization you select. For example, graduates with a bachelor’s degree can work as athletic trainers, exercise physiologists, or recreational therapists. On the other hand, graduates with a master’s degree can pursue positions as occupational therapists or kinesiotherapists.
Furthermore, salaries vary greatly depending on your degree and career path. For instance, while athletic trainers need at least a bachelor’s degree, occupational therapists require a master’s degree or higher. Specifically, according to the BLS, these professionals earn median annual salaries of $48,440 and $84,950, respectively.
Where can I work as a sports medicine professional?
Interestingly, sports medicine professionals work across the healthcare and education sectors. In fact, many sports medicine healthcare providers work in hospitals, nursing facilities, and private offices and clinics, while others work directly for professional sports teams. Besides, professionals can find employment opportunities in fitness centers, colleges, and secondary schools.