Sports Medicine Associates Degree Programs

In general, sports medicine associate's degree programs emphasize athletic training. Graduates are prepared for entry-level positions in the fields of nutrition and exercise, or for transfer to a 4-year bachelor's program in a relevant field, like athletic training.

Essential Information

Sports medicine associate's degree programs prepare students for a career in athletic training and allow them to gain hands-on experience in a school's athletic training facility. Students learn to safely use and assist others with exercise and fitness equipment. Training in proper CPR and first aid procedures is also included.

  • Program Levels in Sports Medicine: Associate's degree in sports medicine; Bachelor's degree in sports medicine; Master's degree in sports medicine; Ph.D. in sports medicine
  • Prerequisites: High school diploma or its equivalent
  • Program Length: 2 years at a community college or technical school
  • Other Requirements: General education classes; certification is required for those wishing to become athletic trainers.

Associate's Degree in Sports Medicine

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. 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

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), athletic trainer employment is expected to grow 21% between 2012 and 2022, which is much faster than the average of 11% for all occupations during that time period. The BLS also reported that in 2014, athletic trainers made a median annual wage of $43,370.

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. Those who go on to complete at least a bachelor's degree in sports medicine can pursue careers as athletic trainers.

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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