Are you thinking of pursuing a sports medicine degree?
This generation has, more than ever, grown to be more health-conscious and sports-minded. Because of this, there is a growing demand for doctors who specialize in treating injuries due to sports or any physical activity. A great number of physicians pursue additional training in sports medicine. They are the ones to call for treatment of injuries and other cases like sprains, muscle strains, fractures and some chronic illnesses that limit or restrict physical activity.
Here are the vital steps to pursue a sports medicine degree:
Get a Bachelor’s Degree
You have to be a doctor first before you can actually get into a sports medicine degree. First of all, you have to take the needed pre-medical courses, and pass the MCAT or Medical College Admission Test to get into a credible medical school. You have to earn a bachelor’s degree, and get proper internship experience from being a volunteer or paid health care. The idea is to get as much related experiences that will help you gain all the knowledge and skill that will prepare you for your actual practice.
Finish an M.D. or D.O. Degree
Going to an osteopathic medical school is the best stepping stone to a sports medicine degree. From there, you will graduate to be a doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. This degree specializes on the musculoskeletal system and preventative medicine which is very beneficial to the practices done for a sports medicine degree. You can also come from a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree before going to a sports medicine degree but you will need extra training.
Get a Medical License
After graduation, you have to take the appropriate licensing examination for your chosen profession. There is the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) for allopathic medicine, and the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Exam (COMLEX) for osteopathic medicine. You have to pass all three parts of the exam to get your medical license and to actually start your practice as a physician.
Go through Residency
During the first three to four years of your practice after getting your license, you should apply for a residency program. As a resident, you will be doing hands-on training under the guidance of senior doctors. You will be doing complete clinical rotations, attend lectures, seminars, and participate in research cases. As soon as you complete your residency you will be given a board certification from the appropriate specialty board accredited by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) or the American Osteopathic Association (AOA).
As soon as you have received your board certification from your residency, you can now push through with your sports medicine degree through a fellowship training in primary sports care medicine or surgical sports medicine. This is a one to two year course focusing on the study and treatment of orthopedic injuries. Part of this training is another internship where you will be sent to sports events as a primary care sports medicine physician.
Just like your medical internship, you will also be trained through seminars, conferences, trainings and other hands-on experiences that will prepare you for your actual practice. You can also choose the kind of practice you would want to specialize in. You can choose to be an exercise physiologist, a physical therapist or a sports medicine physician.
Certification in Sports Medicine Practice
As soon as you have fulfilled all requirements for the fellowship training for sports medicine, you will be given a CAQ in sports medicine. You can also achieve other certifications through further training. Some of the most popular certifications come from the Board of Certification (BOC) certification for athletic trainers, the American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer certification (CPT) and the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) certification.
The income of a good sports medicine doctor depends on his location and the type of work he does. On average, he makes from $50k to $150k annually. Indeed, it is a lucrative career. If you genuinely love sports, pursuing a sports medicine degree is a great choice. Most sports medicine doctors are employed by hospitals, clinics, professional athletes and professional sports teams.