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One of the most sought after disciplines in today’s world is sports. If you’re looking into building a career in the said area, sports medicine is one of the branches to consider apart from active participation in the field.
Sports medicine is a lucrative area of modern medicine that has grown in popularity over the recent years. It deals with the treatment and prevention of disorders and injuries associated with sporting activities. It is a field where specialists make use of medical knowledge and technologies to diagnose and treat injuries, as well as prescribe medicines and carry out different medical procedures.
The term sports medicine and physical therapy are often used interchangeably, but they are largely not the same. Physical therapy is only one of the many choices of jobs under the broad realm of sports medicine.
The lowest educational requirement for a sports medicine practice is a bachelor’s degree, and the highest is a doctorate degree. Individuals interested in studying Sports Medicine can consider some of the following career paths:
- Sports Medicine Physician/Orthopedic Surgeon
A sports physician, otherwise known as an orthopedic physician, handles all sports-related medical issues. Sports medicine physicians are trained to have full musculoskeletal medicine knowledge just like an orthopedic surgeon. However, the thin line of difference is that sports medicine physicians are trained to focus on the non-operative treatment procedures, while orthopedic surgeons on the operative aspect.
These two are apparently the most lucrative professions in the field of sports medicine because the former earns more than $300,000 yearly, while the latter earns up to $600,000 each year..
- Physical Therapist
Physical therapy has to be the most popular field in sports medicine. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics says the job growth for physical therapists will rise by about 22% in ten years.
Physical therapists treat individuals facing various physical challenges, including sports-related injuries and disabilities. They work to prevent and limit the disabilities that can be caused by sports injuries.
In order to become a physical therapist, a postgraduate degree in Physiotherapy from an accredited university is required.
On average, a physical therapist earns about $85,790 per year.
When an athlete gets injured and needs to get back to full fitness, a kinesiotherapist is employed.
Kinesiotherapists focus on the health benefits of exercise by developing and supervising a plan that helps injured people regain lost strength and mobility. They are responsible for developing therapeutic aquatic exercises, and they help people who lost their limbs re-learn how to walk or use a prosthetic limb.
A kinesiotherapist can get a degree from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and eventually become a Registered Kinesiotherapist, and start earning between $36,000 to $47,000 a year.
- Athletic Trainer
Unlike personal trainers, athletic trainers are highly qualified, multi-skilled health care professionals who not only help athletes build their form, but they also work to prevent injuries.
An athletic trainer needs to have at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Athletic Training from an accredited athletic training program and successfully pass the Board of Certification (BOC) Exam.
An athletic trainer earns up to $48,000 annually
- Sports Physiologist or Clinical Exercise Physiologist
When it comes to the overall body fitness of an athlete, sports physiologists are involved. They work with athletes to maintain and improve their physical fitness.
Also known as a clinical exercise physiologist, a sports physiologist focuses on the cardiovascular system, and offers customized exercise plans and sports training guidance and counselling.
Sports physiologists are certified professionals who possess at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Physiology, and should be Licensed Exercise Physiologists (EP) as well.
On average, a sports physiologist earns about $47,000 to $50,000 a year.
- Sports Psychologist
Coping with the pressures of the sports world can be overwhelming. This is where a sports psychologist comes in to save the day.
As in the case of the conventional psychologist, sports psychologists are available for the consultation of all athletes who might be going through certain mental issues that hinder them from achieving their respective goals.
Sports medicine remains one of the fastest growing fields of medicine, which is primarily fueled by the ever increasing population of athletes and fitness enthusiasts. This surge in the sporting population makes sports medicine an evolving career field, and which offers a myriad of lucrative opportunities.
Sports medicine professionals are needed in various institutions ranging from schools to workplaces to gyms and on to large-scale international sporting platforms. That being said, as a sports medicine degree holder, you would never have to worry about securing a job in the near future.