The sports medicine field explores the treatment of athletic injuries and the overall maintenance of health and physical fitness. Candidates for an online master's degree in sports medicine may have pursued an undergraduate degree in kinesiology, health science, or a related field. Regardless of a student's background, pursuing master's in sports medicine degrees requires hands-on learning with professional and recreational athletes in the prevention and care of injuries.
A master's degree in sports medicine prepares graduates to work in areas such as athletic training, strength and conditioning, and sports rehabilitation. Graduates fill a variety of roles in the workforce, including as athletic trainers, nutritionists, and specialized chiropractors.
An online master's in sports medicine program meets the needs of students who work full time and cannot commute to campus regularly. Earning a degree online allows busy students to attend online courses and complete coursework at any time . Some online programs require an in-person internship, which remains one of several program components to consider when determining the best online master's in sports medicine programs for you.
While available athletic trainer positions in the United States exceed 25,000, employment levels vary by state. For example, employers in New Jersey hire almost twice as many athletic trainers as those in Connecticut. Typically, higher-demand states tend to offer higher salaries for athletic trainers. Exceptions do exist, though. For example, the District of Columbia hires fewer athletic trainers but pays a higher annual mean wage than states with much higher employment demands.
Average salary levels increase based on candidates' levels of experience. Salaries tend to jump once a trainer obtains 5-10 years of experience and continues to advance in the field.
|State||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
|District of Columbia||80||$67,190|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Career paths for those with an online master's in sports medicine will vary depending on your area of expertise. Master's in sports medicine graduates may choose to work with individuals or with teams as an athletic trainer. Alternatively, they may opt to work as nutritionists, dieticians, or an independent consultants.
Professionals in sports medicine often enjoy working with others in hands-on tasks, such as physical therapy, while others value a more independent role in research and developing best-fit nutrition and exercise programs that address specific conditions.
Annual Median Salary: $46,630
Projected Growth Rate: 23%
Athletic trainers work hands-on with athletes of all ages and backgrounds. Under the direction of a licensed physician, they create programs to prevent injury, evaluate and treat injuries, and oversee rehabilitation programs for injured athletes. Athletic trainers also take care of administrative tasks, such as ensuring athletic programs comply with state and federal regulations.
Annual Median Salary: $49,090
Projected Growth Rate: 13%
Exercise physiologists develop nutrition and exercise programs for individuals recovering from surgeries and severe illnesses. Following fitness and stress tests, they create plans based on a physiologist's assessment of a patient's health. Physiologists also work closely with a patient's primary physician to develop long-term health plans.
Annual Median Salary: $83,200
Projected Growth Rate: 24%
Occupational therapists develop plans that help patients with disabilities, injuries, or chronic illnesses to better perform daily tasks and activities. For example, an occupational therapy plan might include daily joint exercises that help a person with chronic arthritis. Therapists may also provide recommendations for family members or employers on how to best support an individual in the home and workplace.
Annual Median Salary: $47,680
Projected Growth Rate: 7%
Recreational therapists implement and direct treatment programs for individuals with disabilities and injuries in a variety of environments, including nursing homes and recreation departments. These programs integrate a variety of activities, including theater, sports, and community events, to help improve an individual's physical and emotional well-being.
Annual Median Salary: $59,410
Projected Growth Rate: 15%
Using their expertise in food and nutrition, dieticians and nutritionists create eating and lifestyle plans that promote an individual's physical health and prevent disease or injury. Nutritionists may work as individual consultants or in a variety of settings, including hospitals, government, or nursing homes. Dieticians may also teach group classes on healthy eating and maintaining a balanced lifestyle.
While the specific curriculum will depend on your chosen school and program, online master's in sports medicine programs tend to offer a set of similar courses. We have provided an overview of the more common classes that you may find at the master's degree level, though exact course titles and content may vary across programs.
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