Master’s in Sports Medicine Career Guide
What Can I Expect from an Online Master’s in Sports Medicine Program?
Completing an online master’s in sports medicine program provides the
same standard of education as an on-campus program and prepares you for
a successful sports medicine career. Sometimes labeled as a master’s in
kinesiology, the program’s flexible attendance standards let you pursue
your degree even while working full-time, all from the comfort of your
home. When choosing your online sports medicine graduate program, make
sure to check all your options so you can find the school that best
meets your personal and professional goals.
Concentrations Offered for an Online Master’s in Sports Medicine
|CONCENTRATION||DESCRIPTION||POSSIBLE CAREERS THIS CONCENTRATION PREPARES FOR|
|Fitness & Wellness Professional Studies||Combines the use of fitness and nutrition to develop a health or training program. Students learn how to help athletes reach their fitness goals through diet plans and workout programs.||Personal trainer in a gym setting|
|Coaching Studies||Prepares students for the coaching field. Performance enhancement, injury prevention, effective coaching techniques and coaching administration are all part of this concentration’s focus.||Athletic coach for a sports team in a sporting facility setting|
|Leadership in Education and Sport||Offers training in the skills necessary for coaching or teaching physical education courses. Students learn the principles of management and supervision along with the psychological components of physical activity.||Athletic coach or physical education instructor in a school, college or university|
Curriculum for an Online Master’s in Sports Medicine
The curriculum for an online master’s in sports medicine program is
often focused on the mechanics of the human body and other
health-related topics. However, programs from different schools vary as
do the classes between concentrations. To find the best program for your
needs, check the courses offered against your career goals, and select
the option that provides you with the best training for the field you
wish to enter.
Although full programs can be very different between educational
institutions, there are some basic courses you’re likely to encounter
with any school or concentration. These can include:
|Kinesiology||Tteaches students the processes behind movement, the muscle groups involved and what systems are engaged to initiate motion.|
|Prevention and Care for Sports-related Injuries||Covers common injuries in sports, how to prevent them from happening and how to care for them when they do.|
|Physiology and Exercise Science||Focuses on the body’s responses during and after exercise. This topic also covers the different types of exercise, such as aerobic and anaerobic, and explains the different body responses between them.|
How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master’s Degree in Sports Medicine?
The number of credit hours required to complete a master’s degree in
sports medicine can vary from 35 to 45, and programs are often designed
to take two years to complete. However, there are several factors that
can affect this time line. Opting for a part-time schedule reduces your
course load each semester but requires more semesters to complete the
program. There are also accelerated programs available to shorten the
length of completion time, but these often require a more intense
schedule that may be difficult for students who have other life
How a program is delivered can also have an impact on total time
needed. Some schools require student groups to move through the program
together, encouraging networking but preventing anyone from working
ahead. Others allow an individual pace, giving the students freedom to
choose a faster pace if they grasp concepts quickly. Whether the program
is synchronous or asynchronous is also an important factor.
Asynchronous structures offer several start dates throughout the school
year, but synchronous structures only allow for one.
Certifications and Licenses an Online Master’s in Sports Medicine Prepares For
|Certified Personal Trainer||The certified personal trainer exam is offered by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). Clients can be assured that their trainer has great foundation of knowledge of sport and health fitness that’s on safe, proven, research-based techniques|
|Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist||Completing an MS in sports medicine program provides the knowledge needed to become certified as a strength and conditioning specialist. The Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist exam is offered through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and a passing grade demonstrates an understanding of how to apply scientific principles to improve athletic performance.|
|Certified Health & Wellness Coach||Brought to you by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), this certification offers personal trainers further insight on how to evaluate and assess client movements to prevent injury.|
|Certified Specialist in Speed and Explosion||National Association of Speed & Explosion Inc offers a certification program to develop, create, plan, analyze, and assess a speed improvement training program for individuals, teams or by sport. Exams are held 3-4 times a year in over 30 states.|
|Certified Health & Wellness Coach||Wellcoaches offers a cerification for credentialed health professionals want to improve their coaching skills to enchance the health and well-being of their clients. The program is endorsed by the ACSM and ACLM.|
Accreditation for Online Master’s in Sports Medicine
To protect your interests, it’s important to choose a program that
has been accredited by a recognized agency. Accreditation is given when a
program’s curriculum is deemed to be at or above the educational
standards set by the accrediting agency. Choosing to go through an
unaccredited program puts students at risk of paying for an inferior
education, possibly excluding them from professional certification or
some job openings.
National accrediting agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Education, ensure national standards are met. Regional accrediting agencies, like the Higher Learning Commission,
set regional criteria that helps determine whether course credits are
recognized by other schools in that region. Industry-specific
accreditation, like that of the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education, sets standards based on industry needs.
Employment Outlook for Master’s in Sports Medicine Graduates
Job Placement: Master’s v. Bachelor’s
As a health-based field, sports medicine recruiters often give
preference to those who demonstrate a greater knowledge of their
profession through the completion of a graduate degree program. A
graduate degree may even be required for some of the more coveted job
opportunities. With the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting job growth
that is more than double the average of 7 percent for sports medicine
careers, having your master’s degree lets you be selective about the
positions you apply for and gives you an edge over
The extra experience you gain from pursuing a master’s degree in sports medicine is also reflected in your salary potential. The table below demonstrates the salary ranges for a number of possible careers available to a master’s in sports medicine program graduate.
Geography and industry can affect your earning potential as an exercise physiologist. The charts below illustrates the top paying industries and the five states with the highest annual mean wages for this occupation.
Depending on the specialty you choose for your sports medicine
graduate degree, there are a number of career options available to you.
With you master’s in sports medicine, you have the freedom to choose a
career that meets or exceeds your expectation for job satisfaction
through hours worked, your professional setting and getting to choose
the clients you want to work with.
|JOB TITLE||JOB DESCRIPTION||MEDIAN SALARY||PROJECTED GROWTH RATE|
|Exercise Physiologist||Exercise physiologist are responsible for designing an exercise plan for individuals based on risk factors in their medical history. Testing physical limits and monitoring response to exercise provides data used to develop an exercise schedule to improve the individual’s health.||$49,090 per year||13%|
|Fitness Trainers and Instructors||Fitness Trainers and Instructors work with all populations usually leading groups in various types of physical activity. Personal trainers become certified to work with individuals to design programs to improve clients health and based on their personal goals.||$39,210 per year||10%|
|Coaches and Scouts||Coaches instruct, demonstrate techniques, evaluate, and manage individuals or groups in specific or various sports, while scouts discover new players or athletes in the player pool to better suit their teams needs.||$32,270 per year||13%|
Professional organizations provide an excellent opportunity for
sports medicine professional to network with their peers, stay
up-to-date on the latest news in their field, keep up with continuing
education requirements and have access to industry-specific resources.
Here are a few organizations that can be beneficial to someone with a
master’s degree in sports medicine.
American Medical Society for Sports Medicine:
The AMSSM provides members with discounts on continuing education
courses and several industry publications. The organization has a
collection of resources available to members and hosts events to
encourage networking and share industry innovations.
American College of Sports Medicine:
Membership in the ACSM provides access to several industry publications
and discounts for tickets to events. The organization offers
professional certification and provides professional development
Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition:
SCAN is a dietetic practice group of the Academy of Nutrition and
Dietetics. Member benefits include networking opportunities, a
professional listing service that encourages self-promotion, educational
and professional resources, professional certification and access to
the latest industry news.
Financing Your Online Master’s in Sports Medicine
In most cases, opting to enroll in an online master’s in sports
medicine program provides a savings in tuition when compared to a
traditional, on-campus program. Some students, however, may still find
the cost prohibitive and need to seek out financial assistance. If you
need help paying for your graduate sports medicine program, start your
search by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid
(FAFSA) to see if you qualify for federally funded grants and loans.
Private loans and scholarships are also an option, and the resources
below can help you navigate your search.
|Financial Aid for Graduate Students|
|Knowing Your Options|
|Scholarships for Sports Medicine Majors|
Deadline: July 15
Eligibility: Open to students who demonstrate outstanding achievement in work experience and school activities and are pursuing a health and fitness career.
Deadline: January 29
Eligibility: Must be over the age of 17 with at least a 3.0 GPA and enrolled in a program related to health care.
Deadline: March 1
Eligibility: Open to Hawaii residents who are at least at the Junior level in college with a minimum 2.7 GPA. Applicants must demonstrate financial need, attend an accredited institution and major in sports medicine or a related subject.