7 Types of Jobs in Sports Medicine You Can Pursue

One of the first questions people considering a sports medicine major typically ask is what jobs they can land once they graduate. While there are various types of sports medicine jobs, exploring a few key ones can help you better understand the options this career path can provide.

The Best Careers In Sports Medicine

Here are seven of the fastest growing and most sought-after types of sports medicine careers:

  1. Physical therapist
  2. Sports nutrition/dietician
  3. Kinesiotherapist
  4. Exercise physiologist
  5. High school teacher
  6. Strength & conditioning coach
  7. Sport coach

#1. Physical therapist

Your sports medicine degree can qualify you to become a sports physical therapist. Physical therapists help to mitigate or avoid impacts of disease- or accident-caused disability. Plus, they help to bring back mobility and function to injured areas of the body. They achieve these ends through diagnosis and treatment protocols. In the context of sports medicine, physical therapists focus on athletic disabilities and injuries. 

Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, every state in the US requires physical therapists to have licenses. Typically you need to have a relevant degree from an accredited school and to have passed the National Physical Therapy Examination. You can find programs with accreditation via the American Physical Therapy Association. You will typically need a postgraduate degree to succeed with these coveted sports medicine careers. The average salary for physical therapists is $91,101.

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#2. Sports nutritionist/dietician

Pro and college supports have become increasingly focused on dietetics. By assessing individual diet and physical response, these professionals help athletes improve their on-field performance, boost overall health, and avoid disease. Sports nutritionists analyze dietary patterns, as well as the process of digestion and metabolization.

Collaboration is central. To optimize a program of exercise, diet, and recovery, nutritionists work with a team of healthcare professionals from other specialties.

Through 2024, the growth rate for these types of sports medicine jobs is forecast at 16%. The average salary is $57,000. You will need to complete a bachelor’s degree in dietetics, participate in an internship approved by the American Dietetics Association (ADA), and pass an exam from the ADA to get certified as a registered sports dietitian.

#3. Kinesiotherapist

Following athlete injuries and illnesses, kinesiotherapists help to restore mobility and strength through exercise programs they design and manage. Aquatic and other forms of exercise are used. Be sure your school is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Once you have your degree, you can become a registered kinesiotherapist (RKT) by getting an American Kinesiotherapy Association certification. The average salary for kinesiologists in the United States is $55,602.

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#4. Exercise physiologist

When patients have illnesses or disabilities, these professionals also help them enhance their health and restore their mobility. You provide at-home exercise programs and take vital signs when you meet with patients in these sports medicine careers.

To learn key medical knowledge, exercise physiologists need at least a bachelor’s degree in sports medicine. The average salary for these positions in the United States is $54,750, according to Exercise Science Guide.

#5. High school teacher

Private and public schools will both often hire recent graduates with sports medicine bachelor’s degrees. These individuals typically teach physical education but may also teach nutrition. Via exercises and wellness lessons, they help kids improve their health. These sports medicine careers also require you to manage student behavior and provide mentorship as needed. The average salary nationwide for these positions is $61,660.

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#6. Strength & conditioning coach

Usually, a strength and conditioning coach only works with athletes. These professionals are helpful to those excelling at any sport, whether baseball, football, or powerlifting.

If you want to get a position at a pro team, you will probably need to get a master’s degree. However, you can sometimes get hired at colleges and high schools with a bachelor’s. Beyond school, you need a National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) certification. Typical pay in these types of sports medicine careers is $50,000.

#7. Sports coach

One of the most popular sports medicine careers is that of a coach. In this job, your task is to train athletes in preparation for competition. Along with planning and managing practices and games, coaches give athletes positive feedback and mentorship. They are also charged with the recruitment of strong players.

A sports medicine bachelor’s degree, while not specifically required to coach, is incredibly helpful for athlete injury prevention and recovery. Unfortunately, coaches have a particularly low sports medicine salary: expect to make an average of $34,840 in these prized roles.

Building The Most Rewarding Sports Medicine Careers

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