8 Sports Medicine Jobs That Will Keep Your Future in Shape
In Education, Job Search
February 4, 2016
Sports medicine jobs are great for people who love sports and want to help people. They are also great for people who want to work in sports, but can’t play them professionally.
The Super Bowl is coming up and it’s got people wishing they were pro athletes or, at least, as rich as pro athletes. But for most of us, that dream will never be realized. For the other percentage of people that are smart, healthcare oriented, and would like to work in the sports industry, choosing a sports medicine job might be your ticket to the game.
We thought that it would be interesting to compile a list of the best sports medicine jobs and see what it takes to work with professional athletes. In the following article, you will see our list of the best sports medicine jobs, how much they make, and what it takes to become one.
8 Sports Medicine Jobs With the Best Outlook:
8. Personal Trainer
Personal trainers are people that develop personalized exercise programs for their clients and assist them in their physical development. This job is important in every facet of competitive sports; from high school to professional sports, they have personal trainers curating customized programs to help athletes realize their highest levels.
Athletes usually don’t have the time to come up with their own exercise regimens, so a personal trainer comes in and helps them along. Personal trainers allow athletes to train and focus on their goals of being the best and winning. They can work with people who aren’t athletes, too.
They can work outside of sports and focus on normal people who want to get in better shape and be healthier, but you wouldn’t get paid as much as if you worked for a professional sports organization– unless your niche is working with rich clients. Rich people will pay a ton of money to someone who can get them looking great. You have basically the same duties in whatever area you work, though; you work one-on-one with your clients and train them at a fitness center, health club, or their house.
If you want to land one of the better, higher paying jobs, you need to get a degree in Sports Medicine or Exercise Science. Although you don’t need a degree to work in other fields. But with more education comes more money. You probably will need some type of certification, too.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has this position seeing an 8% increase in jobs between now and 2024, so that’s promising enough. They also make an average of about $50,000 a year, which isn’t too shabby– and trainers for the pros make even more! With people becoming more conscious of their health, it’s safe to say this job isn’t going anywhere.
In short, a biomechanist studies how people move. They use physics to determine and explain how exercise and physical activity works. Biomechanics explains how muscles, bones, and joints are injured under certain conditions and to improve performance using motion analysis techniques. That is why they are valuable to sports organizations.
They can analyze the actions of players and see what strategies are best for improving performance and preventing injury. They can help players get better, faster, and stronger using techniques that focus on proper form and that are scientifically better than just lifting weights or running constantly; they can show them how to get the most out of their workouts and limit wasted energy and stress on the body.
You do need a Ph.D. in Biomechanics to work professionally in the field (like on a sports team). If you just get your Master’s Degree in Kinesiology, then you can work in a lab or do research, but to really make money and work in the field, you need that doctorate degree.
The average pay for a biomechanist is about $63,000 a year, but those who work for professional sports organizations can earn well more than that.
6. Sports Nutritionist
Dietetics is a very important aspect of professional sports. Sports Nutritionists study a player’s nutrient intake and analyze how foods are digested and metabolized in order to create meal plans that allow them to perform at a high level.They also study dietary patterns of athletes to prevent disease and improve their overall health.
Nutritionists work with other healthcare professionals to ensure a well-rounded diet, exercise, and recovery program so that athletes can do what they do best. To become a registered dietitian, you must complete an undergraduate degree in dietetics, complete an American Dietetics Association (ADA) approved internship, and pass the ADA certification examination.
Outside of working in sports, nutritionists have many other opportunities, as well. They can work for organizations, schools, hospitals, and even work for private clients. Nutritionists make about $57,000 a year on average and have a good job growth of 16% through 2024.
5. Physical Therapist
Physical therapists are who athletes go to after an injury or health issue. They are responsible for restoring a clients’ overall fitness and health. This is a high-demand job in professional sports because players are constantly getting injured and need to be rehabilitated quickly. Of course, this isn’t just a job in professional sports.
There are all kinds of people who need physical therapy and a physical therapist can help them bounce back from injury or illness, too. In whichever realm a PT works in, they have to assess the needs of a patient and develop a treatment plan that suits them.
You do need an advanced degree for this job, though. To become a PT, you’ll have to complete a master’s or doctorate degree program (Doctor of Physical Therapy or DPT) and get your license. Getting your DPT could make you more valuable to employers and land you better, higher paying jobs.
The number of jobs for physical therapists is expected to grow by 34%. And as baby boomers are getting older, it just keeps increasing demand. Sports organizations also need highly qualified PTs as they have millions of dollars on the line– an out-of-service player, who is paid millions, is of no use to them; so they need their players back playing ASAP. They also make a cool $85,000 on average.
4. Athletic Trainer
This is sports medicine job is very similar to a physical trainer, but as an athletic trainer, you work solely with coaches, team physicians, and physical therapists to treat and prevent sports-related injuries in high school athletes, college players, and professionals. You also definitely need a degree to land this job.
To be an athletic trainer, you need an accredited undergrad degree in order to sit for the certification examination, which is administered by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA). The BLS projects that athletic trainer jobs will grow 21% between 2014 and 2024.
But once you get your credentials, you can work with professional athletes and have a fun job working alongside famous athletes. If you don’t work with the pros you could still work at a college level where you could help athletes make it to the pros. If you work at the high school level, you could help kids gain the skills necessary to become professionals or, at least, play at a college level. So it’s a highly rewarding career if you want to work in sports and help athletes meet their full potential.
This job also makes a decent salary at about $45,000 a year on average. If you work for the pros you could make $75,000 or more. So, if you want to work in a healthcare job that doesn’t require twelve years of school and still makes a decent living, then be an athletic trainer.
3. Sports Psychologist
Sports psychology is one of the relatively new and growing sports medicine jobs. Many athletes and parents of young athletes seek out Sports Psychologists to help them overcome emotional and mental barriers that hinder training and performance.
Well-rounded athletes know that how you think affects how you perform. That’s why they use sports psychologists to help them with goal setting, overcoming anxiety, focusing, relaxation techniques, and stress relief. Professional teams keep sports psychologists on the payroll to help their players through psychological issues and maintain a high-caliber of being.
Recreational athletes are using them too. People find that the right motivation and concentration techniques are beneficial in achieving goals, and they turn to sports psychologists to help.
Since there is so much money in sports, we find many parents pushing their kids to be top athletes. Parents turn to sports psychologists to help their young athletes thrive in competition and maintain a healthy mind; it isn’t easy being a kid with a ton of pressure from adults to live up to high standards and play at and adult level.
Sports psychologists make about $71,000 a year but could make more if they work for professional athletes or have a private practice. They also have a projected growth of 19% since professional sports aren’t leaving anytime soon.
2. Sports Physician
This is one of the sports medicine jobs that takes more schooling and time than some of the others. A sports physician is a medical doctor (MD) who specializes in the prevention and treatment of injuries and conditions related to sports activities.
Sports physicians (SP) work with professional sports teams and are usually their primary medical resource. They develop healthcare plans and decide the best routes of treatment for players and staff. A sports physicians main duty is to evaluate players and decide their well-being and eligibility to play. SPs do whatever is necessary to prevent and treat injuries while working with physical therapists and trainers to ensure proper care.
As if physicians already didn’t get paid a ton of money ($187,000 on average!), working with professional sports teams could land even more greenbacks in your pockets. There is a saying in business that if you save or make people money, then you will get some of that cash in kickbacks, so just imagine the kickbacks if you get the star athlete back on their feet and playing at a high level. $$$
There is also great job security and growth with this job. The BLS projects that employment of physicians and surgeons is expected to grow 14% between 2014 and 2024.
1. Strength & Conditioning Coach
This is one of the best sports medicine jobs, in my opinion, because you get to stay in great shape and help other people do the same. You, almost always, work solely with athletes, which is a big plus if you love sports and have favorite athletes that you would love to work with. Also, strength conditioning has a huge following and pays big bucks, so you can make a ton of money if you find the right niche. Olympic lifters, Mr. Olympians, football players, baseball players, basically any athlete uses a strength and conditioning coach at some point.
And just because you are a strength and conditioning coach doesn’t mean you’re a meathead. To be a strength and conditioning coach, you need at least a Bachelor’s Degree focused in Sports Medicine or Kinesiology. To work in college or the big leagues, you need a Master’s Degree and certification from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). To be competitive in the job market, you need as much education and experience as you can get.
The job market is solid for these professionals, too, but you need to know people and be competitive with your credentials if you want to break into the club. Sports teams at the high school, college, and professional level employ strength and conditioning coaches. Many coaches earn around $40,000-$60,000, but some can make as much as $200,000 a year in the pros.
No matter which job you like the best, they are all pretty cool. These professionals make great money, don’t have to spend a terrible amount of time in school (except for sports physician), and get to work with professional athletes. If you can’t play sports at a professional level but are talented enough to work in the medical field, you should consider one of these sports medicine jobs. Who knows, maybe one day you could be on the sidelines for the Super Bowl.