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Five Ways to Find a Job in Sports Medicine

Tips and advice for finding your ideal sports medicine career


Updated January 10, 2011

Want a career in sport medicine? Here are five ways to find your ideal sports medicine job or career.

1. Choose a Specialty

The field of sports medicine is massive and you can find satisfying work in a variety of specialties: fields:  sports medicine physician, athletic trainer, personal trainer, sports psychologist, coach, physical therapist, nutritionist, massage therapist, professional athlete, or something else. If you aren't sure what sort of specialty to pursue, talk to people in the field and ask about their day to day work schedule to see if that’s how you want to spend your days.

2. Get an Education

If you're interested in becoming a sports medicine physician, sports psychologist, or physical therapist, you’ll follow the traditional path through college and graduate (or medical) school to obtain a higher degree.  Athletic trainers massage therapists, personal trainers, and coaches generally have more flexibility in their educational and scope of work.

3. Get a Variety of Experience

The degree or certification is only the beginning of your sports medicine education. Once you have learned the basics, you’ll need practical, hands on experience in the world. This practical experience often begins during your internships or during your first, low-paying job. It may be hard to start at the bottom, and you may have to work in a more general capacity at first, but this education will pay off as you work your way up in your field

4. Learn from the Best

After school, internships and your first job, you will probably find that you want to start specializing. This is a great time to seek out others in that field with a reputation for being the best. Learn everything you can from those who are the recognized leaders and the most active in the in the field you want to pursue. Read everything they publish and attend any training they offer. You may even consider continuing education at a facility or University that is the recognized leader in your area of interest.

5. Develop Your Own Style

By this time in your career, you will know enough to be an expert in your field and now is the time to start differentiating yourself from your peers. This doesn’t mean you need to develop a new theory or cutting edge treatment plan, but you do need to find your own style or niche. This may be working with a broad group of athletes who want to ‘get into shape’ or specializing in something as narrow as women over 40 who want to complete their first triathlon. By focusing on something you are passionate about, you will find it easy to work, learn and continue to excel in your sports medicine career.
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