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Careers Sports Medicine

There Are Many Career Choices in Sports Medicine


Are you interested in a career in sports medicine? How about exercise science, athletic training, or physical therapy? If you are a motivated self-learner who enjoys the art and science of medicine and being physically active, then this might be a career choice worth investigating.

There are many careers within the sports medicine field. Here are some to consider:


American College of Sports Medicine

The ACSM Certified Personal Trainer is designed for a fitness professional involved in developing and implementing an individualized approach to exercise leadership in healthy populations and/or those individuals with medical clearance to exercise.

The ACSM Health/Fitness Instructor is designed primarily for leaders of preventive health programs in corporate, commercial, and community settings aimed at low- to moderate- risk individuals or persons with controlled diseases, such as hypertension, obesity or asthma.

The ACSM Exercise Specialist certification for professionals performing exercise testing and training clients with cardiovascular, pulmonary or metabolic diseases. ACSM Exercise Specialists are competent in graded exercise testing and exercise prescription, performing emergency procedures, and providing health and fitness counseling for patients in clinical settings.

The ACSM Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist provides exercise management for patients with a broad spectrum of chronic diseases or disabilities. This national registry for clinical exercise physiologists catalogues allied health professionals who work in the preventive or rehabilitative application of exercise and physical activity for populations where exercise has been shown to provide a therapeutic or functional benefit.

National Academy of Sports Medicine

The NASM Certified Personal Trainer are health & fitness professionals who perform individualized assessments, and design safe, effective and individualized exercise and conditioning programs which are scientifically valid and based on clinical evidence to clients with no medical or special needs. They provide the guidance to help clients achieve their personal health, fitness and performance goals via the implementation of exercise programs, nutritional recommendations and suggestions in lifestyle modification. They hold a current emergency cardiac care (CPR) certification and respond appropriately in emergency situations. Certified Personal Trainers do not diagnose and/or treat areas of pain or disease and will refer clients to other health care professionals/practitioners when appropriate. They abide by NASM’s Code of Professional Conduct at all times. The NASM-Certified Personal Trainer (NASM-CPT) certification was developed in 1987 for professionals who work one-on-one with their clients in a variety of environments, including health & fitness clubs, wellness centers, private studios, schools, clinics, hospitals and clients' homes. Today, thousands of qualified professionals receive this prestigious credential annually, by demonstrating entry-level competence on the NASM-CPT Certification Examination. This exam effectively measures the knowledge, skills and abilities required to be a safe and effective Certified Personal Trainer.

The NASM Performance Enhancement Specialist deliver consistent results in rehabilitation, reconditioning and performance enhancement. Individualize integrated training programs keep their athletes performing at the highest level. They utilize the Optimum Performance Training™ method, a science-based training system that guarantees measurable results. The PES is designed for athletic trainers, chiropractors, physical therapists, coaches and other sports professionals who want to work with players at all levels, from the secondary education and university tier, to professional and Olympic level athletes.

The NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist provides the advanced knowledge, skills and abilities to successfully work with clients suffering from musculoskeletal impairments, imbalances or post-rehabilitation concerns. With nine modules of information on important corrective topics such as movement assessments, inhibitory techniques, muscle activation techniques and common musculoskeletal impairments the NASM-CES arms professionals with the most innovative education tools and techniques for optimal results.


National Athletic Trainers Association

The NATA Certified Athletic Trainer is a health care professionals who specializes in preventing, recognizing, managing and rehabilitating injuries that result from physical activity. As part of a complete health care team, the certified athletic trainer works under the direction of a licensed physician and in cooperation with other health care professionals, athletics administrators, coaches and parents.


American Physical Therapy Association

The APTA Physical Therapist is a trained professional who performs and teaches exercises and other physical activities to aid in rehabilitation and maximize physical ability with less pain. They provide treatment to help injured people achieve maximum physical restoration through physical agents (heat, light, water, electricity, massage and exercise).


Merced College offers an introductory course to launch you into any of these sports medicine professions.

  1. Studnet Athletic TrainersSPMD 42 – Introduction to Athletic Training
    lays the foundation for your education and is a requirement by most educational institutions you transfer to. It is in SPMD 42 that you will connect with the sports medicine team at Merced College and discuss your interests. The course instructor will assist you in determining which career might be best suited for you.

Other major coursework to complete in addition to your graduation/transfer requirements are:

  1. Health 11 (CRP and First Aid)
  2. Anatomy 25 (Human Anatomy)
  3. Physiology 1 (Human Physiology)

Some careers specifically require you to apply to a program in addition to the university. It is important that you investigate which professional careers area(s) interest you the most. Each one is unique and the requirements may be different depending on which university you transfer to and which organizations you desire to seek licensure or certification..

To help get you started, Merced College Sports Medicine has set up a practical "hands-on" experience through the athetics division. If you are interested in a sports medicine career please schedule an appointment..

Chris Barrett