Best Sports Medicine Degrees

Discover how a sports medicine major can launch your career. Explore salary data and job options for this exciting field.

Updated April 11, 2024 · 5 Min Read

check mark Edited by is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Turn Your Dreams Into Reality

Take our quiz and we'll do the homework for you! Compare your school matches and apply to your top choice today.

Want to work in the exciting field of sports medicine? A bachelor's in sports medicine can launch your career as an exercise physiologist, athletic trainer, or fitness trainer. This degree can also pursue careers in nutrition, rehabilitation, or coaching.

If this sounds like a good fit, keep reading to learn more about becoming a sports medicine major.

What is Sports Medicine?

The field of sports medicine applies exercise science to human performance. In this specialized branch of medicine, you learn how to create exercise and nutrition plans, treat athletic injuries, and design rehabilitation plans. You'll also explore topics like performance nutrition and sport psychology.

Within the field of sports medicine, professionals work as athletic trainers, exercise physiologists, and sports nutritionists. A background in sports medicine can also lead to opportunities as a coach.

Popular Online Healthcare Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What to Expect as a Sports Medicine Major

Sports medicine majors explore athletic performance, sport psychology, and biomechanics. You can earn your sports medicine degree on campus or choose an online sports management program. Learn more about admission requirements, sports medicine courses, and the cost of a sports medicine degree below.

Admission Requirements

Before declaring a sports medicine major, you need to apply to college. Most schools require an application and specific materials, such as transcripts and standardized test scores.

Common application materials include:

  • High school diploma or the equivalent
  • SAT or ACT scores
  • College admission essay
  • Letters of recommendation

Each college sets its own admissions requirements. The application process and deadlines also vary by school. Check with your prospective schools to find out their specific requirements.

Sports Medicine Curriculum

During a sports medicine degree, you explore athletic performance from a psychological, nutritional, and biomechanical perspective. You also learn how to prevent and treat injuries, develop training plans, and improve athletic performance. Most programs also incorporate hands-on learning through a practicum to strengthen your skills.

Common sports medicine courses include:

Cost of a Sports Medicine Degree

How much does a sports medicine bachelor's degree cost? You can expect to spend around $9,750 in tuition at a public college, while private institutions average more than $35,000 per year. In addition, you'll need to budget for fees, textbooks, and other expenses, such as housing and transportation.

By choosing an accredited college, you'll qualify for more financial aid opportunities. You can fill out the FAFSA to qualify for federal grants and loans. Many colleges also offer scholarships and grants to lower the cost of your degree.

Annual Tuition for a Bachelor's Degree, 2022-2023

Public Institution

Private Institution

Source: NCES

Career Opportunities for Sports Medicine Majors

Sports medicine majors can pursue careers as athletic trainers, coaches, exercise physiologists, and sports nutritionists. They work in healthcare settings and in the field, with opportunities to work in amateur and professional sports organizations. Here are some common career paths for sports medicine majors.

Exercise Physiologists

An exercise physiologist creates custom exercise and fitness programs for clients. They assess a client's physical health and develop programs to address specific needs. These programs boost cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility. Exercise physiologists typically hold a bachelor's degree.

Median Salary (2022): $51,350

Athletic Trainers

An athletic trainer works closely with athletes to prevent and treat sports injuries. They evaluate injuries, develop rehabilitation programs, and create injury prevention programs. Athletic trainers may also keep reports on injuries, illnesses, and treatment progress. A bachelor's in sports medicine prepares graduates for entry-level roles, while some employers may prefer a master's degree.

Median Salary (2022): $53,840

Coaches and Scouts

Coaches and scouts evaluate the skills of athletes. Coaches train athletes and direct strategies in sports competitions. They also oversee physical conditioning and practice sessions. Both coaches and scouts recruit new players. Coaches and scouts typically need a bachelor's degree.

Median Salary (2022): $44,890

Continuing Education for Sports Medicine Majors

As a sports medicine major, you qualify for several careers after earning your bachelor's degree. You can also advance your education to increase your earning potential and professional responsibilities.

For example, a sports medicine degree offers a strong foundation to become a physical therapist, sports medicine nurse, or orthopedic physician assistant. You can also consider graduate programs in kinesiology, dietetics, or sports medicine.

By continuing your education, you can boost your earning potential. Physical therapists, for instance, earn a median salary of $97,720, according to May 2022 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while physician assistants earn $126,010. These careers require a graduate degree.

Frequently Asked Questions About Majoring in Sports Medicine

Why is sports medicine a good major?

A major in sports medicine prepares you for several careers after graduation, including as an exercise physiologist, athletic trainer, or coach. It's also a good major if you're considering graduate programs in kinesiology, physical therapy, or a related field.

Is sports medicine a good career path?

Yes, sports medicine can be a good career path. Exercise physiologists report high demand, with much faster than average job growth from 2022-2032, according to BLS projections. The BLS also expects strong job growth for athletic trainers at 14%, faster than the average for all careers. Earning a sports medicine degree can prepare you for these careers.

What can you do with a sports medicine degree?

A sports medicine degree leads to opportunities as an exercise physiologist, athletic trainer, sports nutritionist, or coach. After a sports medicine major, you can also apply to graduate programs in sports medicine, kinesiology, physical therapy, or other fields.

What's the difference between sports medicine and exercise science?

Both sports medicine and exercise science focus on physical performance and biomechanics. However, sports medicine includes a greater focus on the treatment and prevention of athletic injuries. Both an exercise science or sports medicine major can lead to careers working in the sports industry.

Online College Resources

Helping you prepare and gain the most out of your educational experience.

Discover a program that is right for you.

Search schools to find the program that is right for you.