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:

COURSES DESCRIPTION
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 obligations.

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

CERTIFICATION DESCRIPTION
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 bachelor’s-degree-holding competitors.

Expected Salary

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.

Source: PayScale.com

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.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Opportunities

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

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 materials.

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.

Resources

Scholarships

Scholarships

Details

Michael Moody Fitness

Award: $1,500

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.

Nurse.org Healthcare Leadership Scholarship

Award: Varies

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.

Dr. Alvin & Monica Saake Foundation Fund

Award: Varies

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.