Sports Medicine Colleges, Schools and Universities in the U.S.
Sports medicine schools offer educational programs at multiple degree levels. Depending on a student's career goals, he or she will want to choose either a master's degree program or medical school. Both routes prepare students to work with athletes.
How to Select a Sports Medicine Program
Sports medicine may be studied in a master's program or at a medical school. Master's programs in sports medicine prepare students to work directly with athletes as personal trainers, coaches and nutrition advisers. Medical school prepares students to be physicians that work specifically with athletes.
If choosing a master's degree program, students may want to consider a program that offers the option of specializing in one specific aspect of sports medicine. In-depth knowledge of one area may make graduates more attractive to employers. Students may also have to decide between programs that have a thesis requirement and those that do not. The thesis option may be more appropriate for a student who wants to consider further study at the doctoral level or who wants to teach sports medicine.
If choosing a medical school, students will want to ask about clinical rotations and if there will be an opportunity to train under sports medicine physicians. Students may want to consider where previous students have done their residencies. Students primarily interested in research will want to go to a research-focused institution, while students who exclusively want to do clinical practice will benefit from a school that has this as its focus. Students will also want to know what types of financial aid are available and how well-funded the school is.
Sports Medicine Program Overviews
Master's Degree in Sports Medicine
In 2-year master's degree programs, students study sports psychology, nutrition, coaching and assessment of biomechanics and physiology. Students learn to evaluate current research in sports medicine and apply it to their clients' needs. Some programs allow students to develop a specialty in coaching, sports hospitality management or National Collegiate Athletic Association compliance. Programs with a thesis requirement have advisers that mentor students as they conduct original research, present their findings at conferences and possibly prepare their studies for publication. Applicants need a bachelor's degree and GRE scores.
Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), Specialty in Sports Medicine
Most medical schools have similar curricula for the first 3-4 years, but differ in teaching style and class size. Students take courses in all areas of medicine, from clinical embryology to psychiatric medicine and complete clinical rotations in areas of interest. Students with an interest in sports medicine will want to apply for residencies and fellowships in sports medicine. Applicants to medical schools will need comprehensive education at the bachelor's degree level in biology, chemistry, organic chemistry and physics, along with scores on the MCAT.
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