Sports medicine is all about caring for athletes. As a sports medicine doctor you'll specialize in athletic-based injuries, whether in competitive sports or just exercise. As with any medical field, those interested in sports medicine must fulfill a rigorous commitment to education and attain all required licensure.
Sports medicine is devoted to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of musculoskeletal injuries suffered during physical exercise or competitive sports. Individuals interested in this career field must complete a medical degree program, residency, and advanced training in sports medicine. Additionally, all medical doctors must be licensed by the state in which they work.
|Required Education||Medical degree and 4-year residency|
|Licensure/Certification||Mandatory state licensure; optional board certification|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2025)||14% (for all physicians and surgeons)*|
|Median Salary (2016)||$166,562**|
*Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; **PayScale.com
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Sports Medicine Doctor Employment Information
Sports medicine doctors direct the rehabilitation process for individuals who have injured themselves during physical activity. Unlike other professionals in the field, sports medicine doctors are trained to also treat non-musculoskeletal conditions, such as brain injuries and chronic diseases.
Job Duties for Sports Medicine Doctors
Sports medicine doctors prescribe treatment for injuries, such as stress fractures or muscle strains. They also create exercise regimens for patients looking to lose weight or prevent injury. For more serious injuries requiring surgery, such as breaks or ligament tears, a sports medicine doctor may enlist the services of an orthopedic surgeon or a physical therapist.
Educational Requirements for a Sports Medicine Doctor
Sports medicine doctors must complete bachelor's degree and medical school programs. They must also complete a 4-year residency in family medicine, pediatrics or emergency medicine prior to becoming eligible for licensure as a Medical Doctor (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.). Because there are few sports medicine residencies, some physicians also complete specialized sports medicine fellowship programs. During these 1-year programs, doctors receive paid training as they make their way through clinical rotations with athletic trainers, physical therapists and other professionals in the field.
Job Outlook for a Sports Medicine Doctor
Sports medicine doctors generally work in medical centers, hospitals or private medical practices. Some find employment with collegiate or professional sports teams as team physicians. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected a job growth of 14% for physicians overall through the 2014-2024 decade (www.bls.gov).
Sports Medicine Doctor Salary Information
According to the BLS, the median annual salary for physicians varies according to their area of practice. In January 2016, PayScale.com reported that sports medicine doctors in the middle-80% pay range made between $66,384 and $251,098 per year and the median salary for sports medicine doctors was $166,562.
A career in sports medicine can be financially and personally rewarding as you'll help others, be involved with something you're passionate about and be comfortable in knowing that you'll have a stable and financially rewarding career.