Best Online Master’s in Sports Medicine Programs
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A master's in sports medicine can lead to many opportunities for graduates, including athletic trainer positions and more advanced careers in sports medicine. If you attend classes full time, you can usually earn an online master's in sports medicine in two years or less. If you attend part-time, it can take three years or more.
For some programs, if a student already has a bachelor's in sports medicine and is working in the field, they may be able to attend fully online. Other programs offer internship opportunities so that students can gain experience in the field. The good news is you can get a master's in sports medicine from some of the top online schools in the nation.
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The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 23% job growth for athletic trainers between 2020 and 2030. This rate nearly triples the average projected growth for all occupations during that period. Read on to learn more about this in-demand degree.
What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Sports Medicine Program?
A typical online sports medicine program consists of 33-36 credits and takes 2-3 years to complete. Some colleges offer accelerated options with shorter, more concentrated classes and semesters, making it possible to finish faster.
Many graduates work as sports therapists, athletic trainers for sports teams, or educators who teach sports medicine classes. Students considering this field should like working with people, enjoy hands-on work, and possess both a competitive and innovative mindset. A love for biology, science, and learning also enhances students' chances of success.
Sports medicine encompasses several fields, and concentrations greatly influence what a graduate can do with their degree. Possible concentration options include the following:
- Kinesiology: Kinesiology is the study of human movement focusing on the process of exercises and other rehabilitation movements and how they can enhance performance and recovery.
- Injury Prevention: This concentration studies rehabilitation, corrective practices, and other developments that help athletes enhance their performance.
- Exercise Physiology: This concentration explores how the human body responds to exercise and how to optimize human performance.
- Strength and Conditioning: Students delve into resistance training and the applications of relevant training methods. This concentration also includes some exercise physiology to help students understand the body's response to these training methods.
- Nutrition and Wellness: This concentration explores the link between diet, energy, and exercise.
Programs are intensive, may require fieldwork or internships, and demand a significant amount of time and energy. These elements are essential to keep in mind while preparing for graduate school.
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What Courses Will I Take in an Online Master's in Sports Medicine Program?
A student may take a variety of courses as a part of an online master's in sports medicine. Below are several common options.
Most sports medicine students take at least one kinesiology course. These courses look at the mechanics of human movement and provide a foundation for human mobility, fitness, exercise, and anatomy.
Advanced Exercise Physiology
This course often requires lab work and delves into hormonal responses to exercise. Coursework also examines genetics with a focus on patient-based research. During this course, online students often gain experience through internships or local partnerships in their home area.
Sports nutrition looks at the impact of foods and vitamins on sports performance. Students learn the basics of developing diet regimens that enhance athletic performance.
This course helps students understand how external forces impact the body's movements and balance and how those forces play a role in athletics, injury, recovery, and rehabilitation. Coursework emphasizes the musculoskeletal system and supporting tissues.
Principles of Physical Therapy
Students in this course learn to analyze human movements to manage health issues. For example, practitioners learn how to discover hidden injuries, identify tendencies toward compensating movements, and correct flexibility issues through an action plan. This course provides a foundation for more advanced studies.
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What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Master's in Sports Medicine Program?
In most cases, online graduate admission requirements don't differ much from in-person programs. Requirements to enroll in an online master's in sports medicine program typically include a bachelor's in a related field, at least two letters of recommendation, and official transcripts.
Some programs require a certain amount of experience in the field, but this is not typically the case. Students may be required to undergo an interview process to ensure they are a fit for the program. Many programs also require GRE scores.
The following section covers several common admission requirements for online master's in sports medicine programs.
College applications are usually digital. Applicants must often pay a fee, so creating a shortlist of schools is essential. Many online programs use application systems like the Common App or Coalition App to expedite the application process.
An application usually gathers a student's personal information. Some schools require the students to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) when they apply.
Some online master's in sports medicine programs require GRE scores. Score thresholds vary, but there are many GRE prep guides and courses to help prepare students to earn the score they need.
Letters of Recommendation
Most programs require 2-3 letters of recommendation. Applicants should consider asking former professors and employers for letters. Remember to ask several months in advance so that your recommenders have the time they need to write strong letters.
Resume and Work Experience
Most master's in sports medicine programs do not require prior experience. However, most programs still require a resume with any work experience gained during undergraduate studies, including internships. Students should prepare a cover letter and resume the same way they would when applying for a job.
A graduate application essay can take several forms, such as a letter of intent or personal statement. Through essays, admissions departments seek information like students' goals, career ambitions, and motivations for attending graduate school.
Graduate programs require official transcripts to evaluate academic performance and ensure that prospective students hold an appropriate bachelor's degree. If incoming students have already completed some graduate coursework, they may be able to earn transfer credits.
What Can I Do With an Online Master's in Sports Medicine Degree?
Sports medicine focuses on the treatment, prevention, and rehabilitation of sports injuries in several fields, and graduates with a master's in sports medicine find themselves in high demand. Between 2020 and 2030, the BLS projects 23% job growth for athletic trainers, who earned a median annual salary of $49,860 as of May 2020.
Graduates of a master's in sports medicine program have several paths to choose from, including working for athletic teams at various academic and professional levels, becoming educators, or opening their own sports medicine practice.
See where a master's in sports medicine degree can take you. Learn more about sports medicine careers.
Sports nutritionists provide personalized dietary advice, usually to more than one client at a time. They can work in gyms, hospitals, and athletic training centers. They also consult with athletes about weight loss or weight gain, muscular development, supplements, and food choices to help maximize performance.
Median Annual Salary: $63,090
Exercise physiologists develop fitness programs to help people recover from the effects of disease and athletic injury. They also work alongside physical and occupational therapists to improve the range of motion and flexibility critical to athletic success.
Median Annual Salary: $50,280
Sports Medicine Educator
Master's degree-holders in sports medicine can work as secondary or postsecondary educators. At the secondary level, this typically involves a role in the athletic department combined with teaching related classes. Postsecondary educators teach courses at community colleges and universities.
Median Annual Salary: $80,560
Athletic trainers assist in the prevention and treatment of athletic injuries. Often, they work as first responders to on-field athletic injuries. They evaluate athletes and provide immediate treatment They also train athletes to prevent injuries, increase strength, and recover and may help design workout strategies.
Median Annual Salary: $49,860
Fitness Trainer or Instructor
Fitness trainers and instructors create exercise plans for individuals or groups and often lead or coach them through workouts. Trainers assist with designing exercise routines and monitor athletes' progress. They can also observe workout and individual exercise techniques and offer critique, advice, and encouragement.
Median Annual Salary: $40,510
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Master's degree-holders in sports medicine sometimes move forward with their education to pursue various doctoral degrees. For example, a graduate might pursue a sports medicine Ph.D. in order to pursue or advance postsecondary education and research careers. Alternatively, this degree allows for the possibility to get a Ph.D. with an emphasis in physical or occupational therapy.
In addition, as sports medicine evolves, various institutions offer certification programs to enhance skills, knowledge, and overall marketability.
How Do I Choose an Online Master's in Sports Medicine Program?
Below are several key factors to consider when choosing an online master's in sports medicine program.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average master's degree cost $19,314 as of the 2018-2019 school year.
Out-of-state private schools tend to cost more than public, in-state universities.. All prospective students should also consider the true program cost, which factors in fees like books and other school-related costs. For example, online students may be able to save on costs like room and board and travel.
Because some sports medicine programs include on-campus requirements due to the need for hands-on training, students should carefully compare the costs of online vs. on-campus programs.
Online students should consider whether they prefer synchronous or asynchronous learning before committing to any program. Synchronous programs include live, scheduled, online sessions, while asynchronous programs do not.
Students should also consider whether they have the capacity to enroll full time or in accelerated programs. Learners with significant professional or personal commitments may prefer to enroll part time.
Location may seem like it doesn't matter for online students, but it can still make a big difference. Especially for online master's in sports medicine programs, which often include in-person requirements like internships or labs, it may make sense to live close to campus. Furthermore, many universities offer in-state tuition rates that are moreaffordable to state residents.
Students should only enroll at schools that hold regional accreditation. Regionally accredited schools have completed a third-party evaluation verifying program quality. You cannot receive federal financial aid at unaccredited schools, and employers may not recognize your degree.
Ideally, online programs offer access to student services similar to those offered by on-campus programs. Possible services include the following:
- Mentorship opportunities and internship placements
- Tutoring and academic assistance
- Career services
- Alumni connections and networking
Best Accredited Online Master's in Sports Medicine Programs
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Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Sports Medicine Programs
Is a master's in sports medicine worth it?
Yes. If you love sports, athletes, and helping others achieve their goals, a master's in sports medicine can lead to several fulfilling careers. Furthermore, the field benefits from relatively high salaries and projected growth rates between 2020 and 2030.
What can I do with a master's in sports medicine?
A master's in sports medicine can lead to a great career or additional education. Graduates work in exciting career fields supporting athletes at all levels. A master's in sports medicine can also lead to more advanced degrees, such as doctoral programs in sports medicine, physical therapy, and occupational therapy.
Are sports medicine majors in high demand?
Yes. Between 2020 and 2030, the BLS projects 23% job growth for athletic trainers, an entry-level job for a graduate with a master's in sports medicine. This projected growth rate is close to three times the average projected growth rate for all occupations (8%) during that period.
How much money can I make with a master's in sports medicine?
Master's in sports medicine degree-holders can expect to make $50,000-$80,000 annually. Keep in mind that salary potential depends on several factors, including employer, experience, location, and title. To earn a higher salary, gain experience or consider completing a professional certification or doctoral degree.
What are the highest-paying jobs with a master's in sports medicine?
If you can find a postsecondary teaching position, you can likely earn the highest salaries among your peers with sports medicine degrees. These professionals earn a median annual salary of $80,560, according to the BLS. You can qualify for positions at community colleges with a master's degree. You might need a doctoral degree to find work at a university.