Why Earn a Sports Medicine & Nutrition Degree

This article has information about why earning a sports medicine & nutrition degree may be beneficial for your career. We will explain what a sports medicine & nutrition degree is and what is normally taught, so that you are able to make a wise decision. Also, we will provide information about some of the various careers that you can enjoy with this degree.

What Is a Sports Medicine & Nutrition Degree?

A sports medicine & nutrition degree can be an associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree. These degrees can be a good fit for professionals who are truly passionate about athletics, top physical performance, and physical fitness. Below is more information about each degree.

Associate’s Degree

Associate’s degrees in sports medicine and nutrition are offered at some vocational colleges or community colleges across the country. Students in an associate’s degree in this program will be required to take basic liberal arts requirements in mathematics and English. They also will take courses in kinesiology, physiology and nutrition.

Your kinesiology and physiology courses help you to have a better understanding of the human body. You will understand how different types of exercise affect the different joints, bones and muscle groups. Nutrition classes will teach you about the importance of all the food groups, vitamins and various other nutrients.

Some associate’s degree programs will have you earn your CPR certification, which can be needed if you want to become a personal trainer.

Bachelor’s Degree

A bachelor’s degree in sports medicine and nutrition is a four-year degree that some students transfer into after they have earned their associate’s degree and have work experience.

A bachelor’s in this field requires a heavy focus on science, including courses in kinesiology, anatomy, physiology and biology. You also will be required to take classes in injury evaluation, rehabilitation, and sports medicine principles. These courses are important because it gives them the skills to work with athletes who have injuries.

Master’s Degree

A master’s degree requires you at least two years of full time study, but there are some part time, online degree options that can be finished in three years. Master’s level sports medicine and nutrition students must study more advanced kinesiology, physiology, sports injury, rehabilitation and evaluation.

The also will study physical therapy, rehabilitation and the fundamentals of fitness training. The student will study many of the same courses as in the bachelor’s program, but it is done at a more detailed level so the student can improve his or her skills and knowledge.

In addition to the classes, students for a master’s degree in sports medicine and nutrition often need to write an original thesis on a topic related to sports medicine and nutrition. Students typically must dedicate a semester to writing and research, and others may spend a full year.

After you have earned one or more of these degrees, you may decide to earn a certification in sports medicine in a specialized field. Some of the options are:

  • Certified Personal Trainer
  • Clinical Exercise Specialist
  • Clinical Exercise Physiologist
  • Certified Health Fitness Specialist

Why Earn a Sports Medicine & Nutrition Degree?

Employment in all healthcare-related professions is going to increase by 19% by 2024, which is much faster than average. In total, there will be more than 2.3 million new jobs, and more healthcare jobs will be added than in all other professions.

One of the areas where there will be more jobs specifically is in nutrition, sports medicine and dietetics. In these fields, there will be a 16% increase in job demand by 2024, and this also is much faster than average.

In the last decade, there has been much more interest in promoting health and wellness, as it is understood that preventing healthcare problems can reduce complications and health care costs.

The CDC reports that at least ⅓ of US residents are seriously overweight. Many diseases, including heart disease and diabetes, are related to obesity. It is important for people to manage their diet properly so that they can reduce their weight and avoid serious health problems.

The subject of sports medicine is also very timely and important, as people need to be able to work out and exercise regularly to stay healthy. Many people in all walks of life need assistance with managing injuries and conditions so that they can stay fit.

Employment for fitness trainers and instructors, another field you may work in, is going to increase by 8% by 2024, also faster than average.

The above factors are leading to a greater demand with professionals with skills in sports medicine and nutrition in fields such as nutrition, dietetics, personal training, exercise instructors, physical fitness center management and more.

Pay in this field also is solid, with the median wage for nutritionists and related professionals earning $58,900 per year. Nutritionists often work in the following areas, and those with a sports medicine and nutrition degree could find work in these sectors, too:

  • Outpatient care: $64,800
  • Hospitals: $59,300
  • Nursing homes: $57,300
  • Food services: $56,000
  • Government: $56,200

Online Degree Options

If you want to get started in an exciting career in sports medicine and nutrition, we recommend that Bachelor of Science in Sports and Health Sciences. This is a four year online program that studies human movement and behavior as it relates fitness, exercise, nutrition, health and wellness.

The degree will prepare you to handle the challenges in these demanding and changing fields. You will focus on core concepts and issues such as anatomy and physiology; nutrition; kinesiology and exercise programming/testing.

This degree program is frequently chosen by students who want to work as exercise physiologists, fitness trainers, health educators, program directors, coaches, or scouts.

Objectives of the degree program are:

  • Be able to apply basic concepts in physiology, nutrition, health, kinesiology, and human anatomy to sports and fitness situations.
  • Become experienced in strategies to motivate others so that you can encourage better practice and performance in various types of physical activity.
  • Learn how to design healthy diets for different populations, based on the principles from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  • Study how steroids affect athletic performance, and learn about all of the associated medical risks.
  • Be able to use the appropriate techniques to manage lower and upper body sports injuries.
  • Offer exercise programs that apply in fitness, rehab, and athletic training.

Your required courses include:

  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Sports psychology and human behavior in a sport and exercise setting
  • Principles and terminology of basic chemistry
  • First aid and emergency treatment of sports injuries
  • Exercise programming, testing, and physiology
  • Training, conditioning, and health and wellness
  • Coaching theories and methods, and leadership concepts
  • Nutrition and exercise programs
  • Sports law, risk, and regulations


Earning a degree in sports medicine and nutrition gives you the possibility of working in many in-demand fields, such as physical fitness trainer, nutritionist, a sports physiologist, gym manager and many other related fields. This is a great fit for a person who wants to combine their passion for physical fitness with earning a good living.


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Written by Robert Sanchez
Robert Sanchez is HealthGrad.com's Chief Editorialist. Robert Sanchez has over 10 years experience in the Healthcare field and more recently has become an avid writer advising on career and job topics in this exciting field.

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