If you have always wanted to work in healthcare and also have a passion for sports, you may be interested in learning about the jobs available in sports medicine. Sports medicine is an interdisciplinary field where professionals will help individuals or teams improve their athletic performance, reduce their vulnerability to injury, or help injured athletes recover and regain full function. While it might sound like you must study to become a medical doctor to work in sports medicine, in actuality there are several professional titles that you can hold that do not require a medical degree. Read on, and learn more about the occupations in the field so that you can decide if this is the field for you.
Careers in Nutrition and Dietetics
While nutrition and dietetics may sound similar in an essence, they are actually two different fields within the broad category of sports medicine. A sports nutritionist is a professional in the health field who will work with athletes to help them develop a nutrition plan that will help them increase their stamina and endurance. It is also a nutritionists goal to help the athlete develop a regimen that will help with post-workout recovery so the muscles can repair themselves effectively.
A dietitian also works in the nutrition platform, but their goal is to help prevent or control diseases with nutrition therapies, according to Explore Health Careers. They may educate the community or a public demographic rather than just an individual. While their target audience is different, dietitians do design meal plans and help with menu planning like a nutritionist.
Careers in Physical Therapy
While not all physical therapists treat patients with sports injuries, many do. The goal of a physical therapist is to use physiology treatments to treat patients with physical disabilities or challenges. They will help restore function and when mobility is affected they will try to limit the effects of the disability. In order to pursue a career in physical therapy, you must complete a bachelor's degree program and then a physical therapy program so that you can get licensed.
Careers in Athletic Training and Exercise Physiology
An athletic trainer and exercise physiologist do similar tasks but work with different groups. When you pursue a career in athletic training, you will diagnose issues, treat injuries and help an athlete prevent injuries. When you hold the title athletic trainer, you will be classified as an allied health professional who is licensed to work with professional or amateur athletes. Those who pursue a career in exercise physiology will work with all patients so that they can improve their fitness or maintain it. They will develop exercise plans, guidance and counseling and must be board certified to practice in each state.
Related Resource: Health Services Manager
The demand for professionals in the field of sports medicine is on the rise. Once of the main reasons why the demand is growing is because people want to live healthier and happier lives regardless of if they are athletes or just a professional who exercises routinely. While the projected growth ranges from occupation to occupation, the entire field is projected to grow by 19% in the upcoming years, which is much higher than the national average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Now that you know some of the jobs available in sports medicine, it is time to decide if any of them are the right fit.