A master's degree in sports science (MSS) can prepare a graduate to work as an athletic trainer as well as in other fields, depending on the specializations pursued. Due to the required clinical component, an MSS cannot be completed totally online, although some courses may be available through distance learning. Required courses included anatomy, nutrition and biomechanics.
All states require that athletic trainers be licensed. Licensing requirements generally include graduation from a program approved by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. Passing a competency examination from the Board of Certification or the state is another usual requirement for licensing. If the trainer is also working in a teaching position, a state educator's license may be necessary.
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- Kinesiology and Exercise Science
- Physical Education and Health
- Sport and Fitness Management
- Sports Medicine
Master's Degree in Sports Medicine
These MSS programs are offered with concentrations in sports medicine or human movement, also known as kinesiology. Some schools offer a dual-major option, allowing students to select an additional concentration in fitness and health, sports coaching, sports management or general sports studies. Common prerequisites include a bachelor's degree or higher and experience in sports or another athletics-related profession.
Program Information and Requirements
Similar to a traditional master's degree program, students can expect 33-42 semester hours of online coursework. Some schools do require an on-campus residency at the end of the program.
Students of these programs need access to a personal computer and Internet browser to complete courses and assignments. Access to e-mail and office software programs are also common requirements. Some schools have specific learning software they use to deliver courses.
List of Common Sports Medicine Courses
Sports medicine degree program classes cover areas related to health and wellness, including nutrition, exercise, muscle development, mental health and all other physical aspects of the concentration. Some courses are common to all master's degree-level educational sports medicine degree programs, while other courses are more unique to the schools offering them.
General nutritional recommendations for athletes and the effects of nutrition on the body are the focuses of this class. Other areas covered are aerobic and anaerobic athletic performance, lean mass gain, body fat loss and body composition.
Assessment and Measurement of Sports Medicine
This course covers fitness and performance testing along with the techniques used to interpret the results. Participants also learn how to evaluate sports-related injuries and illnesses. Emphasis is placed on developing methodical evaluation and sound systematic techniques in assessment, management and rehabilitation.
The focus of this course is on the theory and application of psychological skills related to peak performance in athletes. Also, students explore the psychological areas of motivational strategies in rehabilitating injured athletes and overall athletic personal growth.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the salary of athletic trainers depends on experience and job responsibility. In May of 2015, the median annual wage for athletic trainers was $44,670. Employment in the field was expected to grow very quickly, at a rate of 21% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov).
Continuing Education Information
A bachelor's degree is required for entry in the field of athletic training, and the majority of positions require a master's degree. In addition, certification from the Board of Certification (BOC) is available to those who hold bachelor's or master's degrees and pass a rigorous examination (www.bocatc.org). Ph.D. programs are also available in sports medicine for continuing education in the field.
While programs in sports science cannot be completed entirely online due to required in-person clinical work, hybrid programs can prepare students for work as an athletic trainer or secure employment in a similar occupation.