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An online master’s in sports medicine prepares students for careers in athletic training, sports therapy, and education. Job growth is promising, with athletic training and exercise physiology outpacing most other professions at a 17% and 9% growth rate, respectively. The average salary for these professionals is approximately $48,000, on average.

Most online graduate degrees in sports medicine require 30 to 42 credit hours, which can take a full-time student anywhere from two to three years to complete. As of 2021, master’s degree programs at public schools cost approximately $12,394 per year and are often the most affordable, especially if they offer in-state student discounts. On average, private schools cost $26,621 per year.

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Sports Medicine Program

Choose your area of study

Sports Medicine encompasses numerous specializations, such as sports nutrition, sports psychology, sports injury management, and exercise physiology. Successful sports medicine professionals are excellent communicators, work well in high-stress situations, and can share their compassion and empathy with others.

Consider your long-term goals as you choose your area of study. If you want to work with and help manage sports teams, select courses that include business and management skills. If you’d prefer to work with athletes individually, sports psychology and exercise programming might be more advantageous.

Research schools and programs

You are probably already aware that the best place to begin researching schools and programs is on each institution’s website. You can often find details about acceptance rates, delivery formats, fees, and faculty specializations. Contacting an admissions representative is always a good idea because they know the school intimately and can formulate academic plans that match your professional goals.

It’s also important not to overlook personal preferences. If you do well in groups, find out if any student meetups or study groups are available to online students. Asynchronous formats may be best for self-directed learning if you prefer to work alone. These preferences may not seem like a big deal initially, but they can significantly affect your learning experience.

Prepare for tests and applications

Each program’s application process differs, but most schools require an undergraduate degree and a minimum grade point average. While schools may prefer students with exercise science-related degrees, many accept students with unrelated prior coursework.

An admissions counselor can let you know if there are any entrance exams required or strict deadlines to meet, but research the school’s website and student catalog ahead of time to prepare questions and clear up anything that might be confusing. Watch for application fees and include these costs in your financial planning.

Select your program

While considerations like cost, delivery format, and duration are necessary, don’t forget to prioritize your preferences as a scholar. Faculty relationships and a sense of community are as important to online students as they are to on-campus students. Inquire about the school’s academic and social support for online students and how it optimizes student success.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Most students begin planning for the cost of graduate school by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which can help determine which funding options best meet their needs. Your school’s financial aid office can also provide information about grants, scholarships, and other tuition assistance that may be available.

While you can most likely find the per-credit cost of your program’s coursework online or in the course catalog, talk to your financial aid advisor about additional costs that may not be listed. Things like laboratory, technology, or library fees can add up quickly, so you’ll want to account for them early in your planning.

Best 50 Accredited Online Master’s in Sports Medicine Programs

Best Online Master's in Sports Medicine Degree Programs

Concordia University Chicago

Liberty University

Fresno Pacific University

University of Louisiana at Monroe

McNeese State University

Logan University

Florida Atlantic University

Sam Houston State University

University of Northern Colorado

The University of Texas at Tyler

Southern Utah University

United States Sports Academy

California Baptist University

Louisiana State University

Texas A&M University at Commerce

Concordia University at St. Paul

University of Southern Mississippi

GW University Milken Institute School of Public Health

University of Wyoming

Sul Ross State University

Texas A&M University at Kingsville

Texas Woman's University

Southern Arkansas University

Houston Christian University

Lenoir-Rhyne University

Ashland University

A.T. Still University

Auburn University at Montgomery

Moravian University

University of Idaho

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How We Rank Schools

We included programs in related areas like kinesiology, exercise science, and health and human performance to fit a range of options for students seeking advanced degrees in sports medicine. These programs cover different theories and skills, so look carefully at the curricula to find the program that best suits your interests and career goals.

All of the programs on our list are offered by regionally accredited schools, which is a confirmation of their quality. The programs on our list are offered in various formats, including in-person, online, and hybrid, so that you can find the right program for your learning preferences and schedule.

We evaluated each program for course strength, cost, flexibility, faculty, and reputation. Then, we gave each program an Intelligent Score of 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out our ranking methodology.

What Can You Expect from an Online Master’s in Sports Medicine Program?

Depending on the program, you’re expected to complete a minimum of 30 credit hours, with some schools requiring up to 42. This requirement should take full-time students approximately two to three years to complete. Some schools may require clinical rotations or internships, so ask your admissions counselor how these work for online students.

Sports medicine students should be innovative and critical thinkers with a talent for social perceptiveness. They will develop a greater understanding of disease and injury in athletes and how to help athletes regain lost mobility. Students will refine their research and organization skills, which could help them obtain executive leadership positions or move into more specialized fields like health informatics.

Because sports medicine encompasses a broad range of specializations, students can often choose concentrations from the following fields of study:

  • Strength and conditioning
  • Sports psychology and mental well-being
  • Dietary strategies and nutrition supplements
  • Athletic performance optimization
  • Injury prevention
  • Motivation and resilience
  • Management and leadership

Potential courses you’ll take in an online master’s in sports medicine program

  • Gross Anatomy. Students examine anatomical structure and function. Students also study histology, embryology, and pathology. The associated laboratory component covers the relationships between organ systems.
  • Fundamental Skills in Athletic Training. Students explore clinical skills needed in a patient care setting, such as taking a patient history, conducting a physical examination, and performing musculoskeletal palpation. Injury prevention and documentation are also covered.
  • Pathophysiology. This course covers the assessment and treatment of injuries and diseases related to conditions encountered in sports medicine.
  • Managing Medical Emergencies. Students learn to identify emergency risk factors, prepare emergency action plans, and recognize emergency medical conditions. This course often includes hands-on clinical experience.

What Can You Do With an Online Master’s in Sports Medicine?

Career outlook

The career outlook for individuals with a master’s degree in sports medicine is promising, driven by the growing awareness of the importance of sports and exercise in maintaining overall health and well-being. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of exercise physiologists, a related field, will grow by ten percent by 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is attributed to an aging population seeking to stay active, the increasing emphasis on preventive care, and the role of exercise in managing chronic conditions. Exercise physiologists earn a median salary of $51,350 annually, according to the BLS.

Career paths

As professional sports organizations, colleges, and fitness centers continue to invest in injury prevention and performance optimization, the demand for sports medicine professionals is expected to rise. Sports medicine practitioners play a critical role in helping athletes and individuals of all ages and fitness levels achieve their goals while minimizing the risk of injury. Graduates with an online master’s degree in sports medicine have a diverse array of career paths to explore, each offering opportunities for clinical work, research, or specialization.

Here are some common career paths for individuals with a master’s in sports medicine:

  • Performance enhancement coach — helps athletes optimize their physical and athletic abilities
  • Cardiac rehabilitation specialist — designs exercise programs, monitors cardiac health, and educates patients with cardiovascular conditions
  • Sports medicine researcher — conducts studies and contributes to the body of knowledge in sports medicine
  • Fitness director —oversees fitness centers, gyms, or wellness programs, managing staff and ensuring smooth operation of the facilities
  • Sports medicine physician assistant —works alongside sports medicine physicians to diagnose and treat sports-related injuries

Exercise Physiologist

Earning Potential: $36,570-$82,330 annually

Education Required: Master’s degree in sports medicine or related field

Exercise physiologists specialize in assessing and improving an individual’s physical fitness and overall health. They conduct fitness assessments, including cardiorespiratory, muscular, and flexibility evaluations, to create personalized exercise programs. These programs aim to help clients achieve fitness goals, manage chronic conditions, or recover from injuries. Exercise physiologists monitor clients’ progress, adjusting exercise regimens as needed. They provide education on exercise techniques, proper form, and nutrition. Often working in clinical settings, sports teams, or fitness centers, they play a crucial role in promoting physical well-being and helping individuals enhance their fitness levels while minimizing the risk of injury or health issues.

Sports Rehabilitation Specialist

Earning Potential: $44,820-$90,140 annually

Education Required: Master’s degree in sports medicine or related field

A sports rehabilitation specialist specializes in helping athletes recover from sports-related injuries or surgeries. They design and implement customized rehabilitation programs tailored to each patient’s condition. These programs typically include therapeutic exercises, hands-on therapy, and the use of modalities like heat or cold therapy. Sports rehabilitation specialists work closely with patients to restore strength, flexibility, and functional abilities while minimizing pain and preventing re-injury. They often collaborate with orthopedic surgeons, sports medicine physicians, and physical therapists to provide comprehensive care and ensure a safe return to sports or daily activities.

Orthopedic Specialist

Earning Potential: $76,590-$166,400 annually

Education Required: Master’s degree in sports medicine, physical therapy, or related field; Medical degree necessary for some positions

Orthopedic specialists, often orthopedic surgeons or physicians, diagnose and treat musculoskeletal conditions and injuries. They assess patients’ orthopedic issues, which may include bone, joint, muscle, and ligament problems, and develop treatment plans. Orthopedic specialists may provide surgical interventions, such as joint replacements or fracture repairs, but they also offer non-surgical approaches like physical therapy and medication. They aim to alleviate pain, improve mobility, and enhance the overall quality of life for their patients. These specialists work in hospitals, private practices, and orthopedic clinics, collaborating with other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive orthopedic care.

Online Master’s in Sports Medicine Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online master’s in sports medicine degree program?

Remember that the application process can take weeks or longer, so start as early as possible. You must request some required documents, such as official transcripts, from your undergraduate college. Allowing time for each of these steps is key to avoiding missing deadlines.

Other common materials you may need in the application process are letters of recommendation, standardized test scores, an application essay or letter of intent, and a resume or curriculum vitae.

How much does an online master’s in sports medicine degree cost?

According to, the average cost of a master’s degree is $62,650. Most graduate schools charge a lower per-credit fee for in-state students. Nonresidents can sometimes pay more than double the in-state rate. Check with your financial aid office for any fee waivers or tuition assistance available to help with your educational costs.

How long does it take to earn an online master’s in sports medicine degree?

Most online master’s in sports medicine degrees require between 30 and 42 credits or roughly 10 to 14 classes. Full-time students can finish the program in two to three years, but many students opt for part-time attendance, especially if they remain employed while they go to school.

Part-time students will likely need three to five years to finish their degree. However, some colleges offer accelerated programs that condense classes into shorter semesters which provides the opportunity to complete the program more quickly. Check with your admissions counselor to see if you have any transferable credits that can shorten your program’s duration.

Is an online master’s in sports medicine degree worth it?

An online master’s degree in sports medicine can be worth it for individuals seeking to advance their careers in the field of sports and exercise-related healthcare. It equips them with specialized knowledge and skills that are highly valued in a growing industry.

Athletic trainers have a median salary of $53,840 per year, according to the BLS, while the top ten percent in the field earn more than $77,980.

Online education offers multiple benefits for students and may be an especially good fit for adult learners who need to balance their studies with personal or professional commitments. Asynchronous courses allow students to attend classes at a time that is convenient for them. Online education may also result in cost savings, as there will be no charges for on-campus residential life or regular commuting to the campus.

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