Orthopedic Sports Medicine Doctor: Career Overview

Orthopedic sports medicine doctors require a significant amount of formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and licensure requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

Orthopedic sports medicine doctors are medical doctors who specialize in treating injuries that occur from sports-related activities. They complete medical school, a residency, obtain a license and then complete a fellowship in sports medicine. Physicians and surgeons are in demand with a job growth rate much higher than the market.

Essential Information

An orthopedic sports medicine doctor focuses on injuries to the musculoskeletal system resulting from athletic activities. While there is no orthopedic sports medicine residency program, sports medicine fellowships are offered upon completion of residencies in other areas, most commonly orthopedics and family medicine. Like all physicians, orthopedic sports medicine doctors are required to be licensed, though specific regulations vary by state.

Required Education Completion of medical school followed by a 3- to 8-year residency and completion of a sports medicine fellowship program
Other Requirements Licensure
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 14% for all physicians and surgeons
Median Salary (2015)* $187,200 or higher for all physicians and surgeons

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Orthopedic Sports Medicine Doctor Job Definition

Orthopedic doctors of all types specialize in injuries occurring to bones and other connective tissues, including ligaments, tendons and muscles. Orthopedic sports medicine doctors are more focused on the surgical aspects of sports-related injuries, rather than general non-invasive procedures that are more typically delegated towards general sports medicine doctors.

Orthopedic Sports Medicine Doctor Educational Requirements

Doctors of all kinds, including orthopedic sports medicine doctors, have rigorous education requirements. After four years of undergraduate studies, a potential doctor must then successfully complete four years of medical school, followed by a three to eight year internship and residency period. After successful completion of a medical residency program in orthopedics, a potential orthopedic sports medicine doctor must pursue a sports medicine fellowship program. These fellowships commonly last one to ten years and typically include coursework to facilitate deeper understanding of sport-related procedures and surgeries as well as fieldwork experience working for a local high school or collegiate sports team.

Common Job Duties for an Orthopedic Sports Medicine Doctor

A majority of an orthopedic sports medicine doctor's duties is to see patients for various issues and can include consultations, surgeries and non-invasive treatments. Orthopedic sports medicine doctors are more involved in surgeries and invasive procedures in comparison to a general sports medicine doctor, who focus on less severe injuries, including sprains and tears. Orthopedic sports medicine doctors may also be called for consultation on special cases closely related to their specialty in sports-related injuries. Orthopedic sports medicine doctors are also required to stay up-to-date on the latest advancements in their field, either by participating in research studies or reading medical journals.

Orthopedic Sports Medicine Doctor Salary and Employment Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary for all physicians and surgeons, including orthopedic sports medicine doctors, was $187,200 or more as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov). Physician offices and hospitals were the biggest employers of physicians and surgeons, while outpatient care centers, colleges and the government hired a significant number of professionals. Job opportunities should be excellent for all physicians and surgeons, with the rate of employment predicted to grow 14% over 2014 to 2024, which is faster than the average for all other occupations.

Orthopedic sports medicine doctors have completed medical school and a residency in orthopedics, followed by a fellowship in sports medicine, which includes classroom and practical training in this specialty. They see patients with many types of sports injuries and often perform surgeries or other invasive treatment procedures. The median annual salary for physicians and surgeons is about $187,000 or higher, and jobs for all physicians are expected to grow at a faster than average rate through 2024.


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