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Sports Medicine Associates Degree Programs

Read this article for information about sports medicine associate's degree programs. Following are coursework, employment outlook and continuing education details.

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Essential Information

The sports medicine associate's degree program helps prepare students for entry-level positions in the fields of nutrition and exercise through focused studies on the health of athletes. Graduates of the associate's degree program can transition to a 4-year program, which prepares them for careers in sports medicine, personal training and athletic training.

The sports medicine associate's degree program emphasizes athletic training and gears students for their transfer to an accredited 4-year school to continue their education. Some associate's degree programs allow students to assist with the school's athletic training facility and gain hands-on experience while working with the school's athletes. Students also learn to safely use--and assist others with--exercise and fitness equipment. Training in proper CPR and first aid procedures is also included.

Educational Prerequisites

Associate's degree programs in sports medicine are typically offered through community or junior colleges and other 2-year technical or vocational schools. Potential students wanting to enroll in a sports medicine associate's degree program should complete specific high school courses; they must pass math and chemistry classes with at least a C average. Applicants must also have high school diplomas or the equivalent.

Program Coursework

Students enrolled in sports medicine associate's degree programs develop their science, mathematics and communications skills. Typical coursework in a sports medicine program includes:

  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Health and wellness
  • Sports psychology
  • Sports nutrition
  • Strength training and conditioning

Salary Info and Employment Outlook

Those who go on to complete at least a bachelor's degree in sports medicine can pursue careers as athletic trainers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), athletic trainer employment is expected to grow 30% between 2010 and 2020, which is much faster than the average of all occupations at 14% between that time period. This will result in approximately 5,500 new jobs between 2010 and 2020. The BLS also reported that in 2012, athletic trainers made a median annual wage of $42,090 (www.bls.edu).

Continuing Education Information

Once students graduate from an associate's degree program in sports medicine, they can opt to continue their education and attain a bachelor's degree. Some schools also offer master's degree and Ph.D. programs in sports medicine, in which students can specialize in athletic training or physical therapy.

For certification, athletic trainers need a bachelor's degree and must pass an examination administered by the Board of Certification, Inc. (BOC). According to the National Athletic Trainers' Association, in order for members to retain certification, they must obtain 80 hours of continuing education credits related to medicine every three years. Additionally, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) can offer certification, which is recognized by the BOC, to those with a doctoral degree in sports medicine. The ACSM can certify personal trainers and health fitness specialists.

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