Have a love of the game that won’t go away? Like to work with athletes of all ages? You may really enjoy a career as a sports therapist!
Sports therapists help people prevent injury during sporting events by suggesting appropriate protective equipment or braces and strengthening exercises. You will work under healthcare providers to evaluate injuries, provide basic medical care, suggest rehabilitation protocols and provide administrative support.
Requirements and Qualifications
Sports therapists work in a variety of locations, including schools, sports teams, rehabilitation clinics and hospitals.
Qualities you may find useful as a sports therapist include applied knowledge, decision making skills, being detail oriented and having good interpersonal skills.
Though a bachelor’s degree is a minimum requirement to work as a sports therapist, many in the profession have a master’s degree from an accredited program. A graduate degree also increases your chances for advancement.
Steps to Become a Sports Therapist
Most states require licensing or certification for sports therapists, with most states using the Board of Certification program. The Society of Sports Therapists is a professional association that will help give you contacts and networking with other therapists in your field.
Not quite the direction you want to go in? Here are a variety of related career paths that may interest you:
- Back straight as a board? Chiropractors relieve pain and enhance mobility through spinal manipulation.
- Like flashing lights and sirens? EMTs and paramedics provide emergency medical services and transport patients to the hospital.
- Want to care for patients but without as much education? Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses work under doctors and registered nurses to provide patient care.
- Are you a hands-on learner? Massage therapists relieve pain, help injuries heal and provide relaxation through manual manipulation of muscles.
- Like helping people remain independent? Occupational therapists provide training to the injured or ill learning how to go about their daily routines.
- Want to help people get moving? Physical therapists provide diagnoses, treatment plans and therapeutic movement to help people recover from surgery or illness.
- Not ready for the doctor’s path? Physician assistants practice medicine under a physician or surgeon by seeing patients, diagnosing injuries or illnesses and offering treatments.
- Ready to take charge and help people through illness and injury? Physicians and surgeons examine patients, determine diagnoses and treatments, prescribe prescriptions, order and interpret tests and treat illnesses, injuries and deformities.
- Light on your feet? Podiatrists are doctors who diagnose and treat foot, ankle and lower leg injuries and illnesses.
- Great at getting people to have fun? Recreational therapists make use of sports, the arts and excursions to help support their patients’ mental and physical state while dealing with an illness or disability.
- Do you love to lend a helping hand? Registered nurses provide service, care coordination, education, support and advice to patients and their families.
- Want to help someone breathe easy? Respiratory therapists give emergency care to those who are having trouble breathing whether due to illness or a specific event.
The average annual pay for a sports therapist was $41,600 in May of 2010, higher than the average annual pay for all occupations.
Though it is a very small sector, sports therapists are expected to see a much faster than average increase in opportunities, 30% over a ten year period versus 14% for all occupations over the same time period.
They are also being hired by a more broad range of clients than in the past, including worker’s compensation and insurance programs to encourage workers to move in a safe manner on the job.