An online Master's in Sports Medicine is the best advanced degree for professionals who are interested in working in this specialized health care field. The field requires in-depth knowledge of how exercise, sports, and medicine interact with each other, making it mandatory for all professionals to earn at least a graduate degree in the field prior to working in the sector. And while some people may think that sports medicine can be practiced at the bachelor's level, this advanced degree is necessary to ensure that all pre-service professionals understand sports medicine to a degree in which they can work as ethical and compassionate sports medicine leaders.
However, for many who are already working in the sports medicine field, a traditional graduate program is not an option. These professional require flexible and affordable programs that can be completed on their own schedule. Thankfully, there are online programs that cater to this profession that are found all around the United States. This ranking lists the top ten most affordable programs for sports medicine professionals.
This ranking is made possible by the information found on the National Center for Education Statistics website and its College Navigator database. Out of an initial pool of 35 schools, the final 10 were selected based on their in-state graduate tuition rate.
Ranking Low-cost Online Sports Medicine Master's
10. Concordia University at St. Paul
St. Paul, Minnesota
Online Master of Science in Exercise Science
Concordia University at St. Paul provides students with an excellent online Master's in Sports Medicine. This program is conferred entirely online through asynchronous and synchronous courses, enabling students the chance to choose how and when they study. The curriculum focuses on theoretical inquiry as well as practical application; this integrated approach to the subject creates a professional degree that will help any student who wishes to advance their standing in the field. Students will learn everything from research methodologies in the field to how to conduct proper exercise testing for their clients. Students can expect to complete between 33 and 36 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project or a thesis, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Ethics and Policy in Sport and Exercise Science, Clinical Exercise Assessment, and Mechanisms of Skilled Neuromuscular Behavior.
9. The University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley
Online Master of Science in Kinesiology
Students at the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley are offered the chance to earn a Master's in Sports Medicine online degree. Focusing on kinesiology, this program was built for students who have a bachelor's degree in kinesiology or a related field. It is a 100 percent online degree that provides students with the chance to choose between asynchronous and synchronous courses. The degree can be completed in two years with full-time study. Students will find that the degree is highly customizable; the majority of the credit hour requirements depends on a student's choice of electives. Online students will have full access to the University of Texas Online Consortium UTOC, enabling them the chance to take online courses from different universities while meeting the requirements for their degree at their main campus. Degree requirements require 33 to 36 credit hours of coursework, a thesis or a capstone project, and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Determinants and Perspective of Health and Illness, Motor Learning and Control, Advanced Scientific Principles of Strength Training and Conditioning.
8. The University of Western States
Online Master of Science in Sports Medicine
The University of Western States offers an online Master's in Sports Medicine that is best suited for students who live in Oregon and are committed to advancing in the field. It is a program that is designed for professionals who have a first-professional degree and previous work experience in the field. This is a hybrid program; students will need to meet the residency requirements in order to qualify for graduation. The curriculum is extremely comprehensive and requires practicums for all graduate candidates. Students must complete the practicums in their own area of residency under the supervision of a preceptor. Other requirements include 60 quarter credit hours, practicums, a capstone project, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Extremity Muscle Testing, Sports Performance Enhancement, and Advanced Sports Medicine.
7. Southern Utah University
Cedar City, Utah
Online Master of Science in Sports Conditioning and Performance
Professionals who pursue a sports medicine master's online degree at Southern Utah University will be met with an exceptional program that focuses on coaching, sports conditioning, and more. The school is known for its "Coaching Factory" model, which uses theory and practical application in its plan of study. This is a primarily online degree; however, students will be required to complete a summer residency for every year they are in the program. Courses available online are asynchronous and follow the traditional academic term schedule. The program was built to help professionals learn how to design and implement safe sports conditioning programs. Degree requirements include 30 credit hours of coursework, a thesis, and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Foundations of Sports Conditioning, Introduction to Sports Science Research and Statistics, and Athletic Training and Sports Medicine.
6. McNeese State University
Lake Charles, Louisiana
Online Master of Science in Health and Human Performance, Exercise Physiology Concentration
McNeese State University offers students the chance to earn an online master's in sports medicine. This is a 100 percent online program that focuses on health and human performance and specifically sports medicine and its relationship to exercise physiology. This program delivers asynchronous and synchronous courses through the school's virtual portal, enabling students the opportunity to finish the degree in two-and-a-half years of full-time study. The curriculum does require an internship, an experience that students will be required to complete in their community under the supervision of a preceptor. Other degree requirements include 30 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include The Physiological Basis of Human Performance, Advanced Exercise Prescription, and Analysis of Health Care Delivery Systems.
5. The University of Texas at El Paso
El Paso, Texas
Online Master of Science in Kinesiology, Concentration in Exercise Science
Students at the University of Texas at El Paso will earn an online Master's in Sports Medicine that focuses on kinesiology. This program is part of the University of Texas System Online Collaboration, meaning that students can complete the degree entirely online by utilizing courses offered at participating schools. Courses can be delivered either as asynchronous and synchronous courses, and lab simulations are also completed through the school's virtual portal. Courses are also taught by the same professors and instructors who teach on campus, ensuring that every single student is educated by world renown experts in the field. The degree requires 36 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Educational Research and Statistics, Measurement Technology in Biomechanical Analysis, and Effective Instruction in Physical Education.
4. Texas A&M University at Kingsville
Online Master of Science in Kinesiology, Health and Exercise Science
Texas A&M University at Kingsville offers students the chance to earn an online sports medicine master's degree from a nationally renown program. This is an advanced professional degree that provides the flexibility and freedom that professionals expect from an online program. The main goal of the program is to prepare students to become administrators or leaders in sports medicine, pursue other career goals, or prepare them for doctoral study. The degree is offered entirely online; students should note that they must follow the coursework-only plan of study to complete the requirements. All courses are delivered asynchronously and the entire program is structured to be completed in less than three years of part-time study. This degree requires at least 36 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Research in Kinesiology, Physiology of Exercise, and Statistical Analysis of Research Data.
3. Sul Ross State University
Del Rio, Texas
Online Master of Science in Health and Human Performance
Students at Sul Ross State University are offered a comprehensive online Master's in Sports Medicine. This program was designed to be completed entirely online and follows an applied practiced education model. Students will find that courses are delivered asynchronously or synchronously and on the traditional academic schedule. The program is structured so that students complete all of their coursework first, which focuses on sports science and behavior, prior to moving on to a practicum or internship in the field. The internship is to be completed in a student's community with the approval of the department and under the supervision of a preceptor. Students will also be expected to complete 36 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Health and Human Performance, Physiological Basis of Human Behavior, and Neurological Basis for Motor Learning and Control.
2. Texas A&M University at Commerce
Online Master of Science in Health, Kinesiology and Sports Studies, Concentration in Exercise Science
Texas A&M University at Commerce provides an online Master's in Sports Medicine that comes with four concentrations: Athletic Administration, Health Promotion, Physical Education Pedagogy, and Exercise Science. This is a practical-based graduate degree that is built for students with prior work and educational experience in the field. As a hybrid program, students will complete their asynchronous coursework online and receive hands-on training in a variety of areas on campus. The program also requires that students complete an internship within the state of Texas for graduation; students are tasked with finding a suitable work environment and gaining approval by the department. Other requirements include 36 credit hours of coursework, a thesis or capstone project, and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Critiquing and Conducting Research, Fitness Testing and Exercise Prescriptions, and Nutrition and Optimal Performance.
1. Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi, Texas
Online Master of Science in Kinesiology, Emphasis in Sport and Exercise Science
Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi offers a cheap sports medicine master's degree that is offered entirely through the school's virtual portal. The program focuses on the multi-faceted disciplines of the field, including biomechanics, sport performance assessments, and exercise physiology. This program is delivered entirely online or as a hybrid degree, enabling students to make the decision about how and when they choose to study. The curriculum leaves plenty of room for students to choose areas of the field that interest them within their emphasis area. Students will also get to choose their final project; choices include thesis, applied electives, capstone project, or research project. Other requirements include at least 36 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Assessment and Evaluation of Athletic Performance, Principles of Strength and Conditioning, and Program Design for Resistance Training.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Career Options for an Online Master's in Sports Medicine Degree?
An online sports medicine degree offers a variety of choices for professionals. The name of the field may seem quite specific, but in reality, several career options can be found here. Some of these include:
- Occupational Therapy Assistant
- Athletic Trainer
- Sports Psychologist
- Sports Nutritionist
- Exercise Physiologist
- Occupational Therapist
- Massage Therapist
- Wellness Director
How Much Can You Earn in This Field?
Sports medicine is a wide-ranging field that encompasses doctors, physiatrists, surgeons, trainers, therapists, and more. For this reason, it can be difficult to pinpoint how much can actually be earned in this field. A good rule of thumb, however, is a salary range of between $28,000 to $125,000, depending on an individual's career path.
It's important to note here that in sports medicine, proximity to major sports cities, Olympic training centers, and competition areas is key. The closer a professional is to these important spaces, the higher their salary will be. It also means that job competition will also be high, as there will be many professionals with similar qualifications vying for the same jobs.
Another thing to consider is that licensed or credentialed professionals in sports medicine make more money than those that do not have any sort of endorsement or license to their name. Work experience and reputation also play a role in how much a professional is paid; if they have worked with teams or athletes in the past, they may be able to command a higher salary.
What are the Various Disciplines of Sports Medicine?
Sports medicine was once a discipline that could only be overseen by a team doctor. This has to do with the fact that sports medicine is a sub-discipline of medicine. But as the view of sports medicine has evolved over the years and technology has advanced to the point where career paths have appeared that do not require a medical license, so too have the disciplines that are associated with this field.
Sports medicine is, first and foremost, the domain of medicine. However, because this subfield focuses directly on sports performance, there are a variety of other disciplines. Some of these include biomechanics, nutrition, kinesiology, exercise physiology, performance psychology, teamwork, and leadership.
The disciplines are so varied in sports medicine that it is common to find professionals in the field that specialize in just one discipline. This is evidenced by the rise of exercise psychologists, sports nutritionists, and biomechanists. Students will often find that once they enter into a graduate program that they will have the ability to choose one field to specialize in, which will be their primary discipline.
What are the Admission Requirements for an Online Master's in Sports Science?
Like many advanced professional degrees, this graduate degree does have requirements. The requirements tend to be the same for both online and traditional programs, and that's because most schools confer the exact same curriculum, taught by the same professors, for their degrees. Below are the most common application requirements that a student will need to fulfill in order to be accepted into these programs.
The first is perhaps the most important, and that is an undergraduate degree in kinesiology or a health-related major. This degree must also be regionally accredited and students will need to provide proof of graduation as well as their college transcripts. This is required because graduate degrees build on the foundation of undergraduate degrees, making it difficult for students from other disciplines to find their footing at the graduate level.
The second requirement is the submission of a GRE or MAT score. Schools vary on which test score they will take, but most will accept either. These are considered important for online students especially because it provides evidence of the commitment towards a graduate degree. Some students may be able to waive this requirement, but this is at the sole discretion of the school.
The third and final common requirement is a resume. While this may come as a shock to pre-service professionals, it is indeed mandatory for these programs. The resume provides the school with an understanding of a student's previous work, education, and volunteer experience. It can help the admissions office make an educated call on whether or not a student would thrive in the graduate program.
These requirements are not set in stone; many schools note on their admissions pages that should a student provide strong proof in other areas of their application, one requirement may be waived. However, students should not expect this to be the case for them. It is advised that students research requirements and see if they meet the needs of the application process prior to committing to a school.
Why are Internships Necessary for Graduate Programs in Sports Medicine?
An online Master's in Sports Medicine is an advanced professional degree. This means that the degree is designed for students who are already in the field and who are pursuing advanced positions. It also means that students who are elevating their career positions will need to have some real-world experience prior to leaving school.
Most graduate programs require, or at least strongly encourage, all students to partake in a practicum or internship. These experiences are for the student's own edification; they will learn what exactly their new career will entail prior to moving into the workforce. This, in turn, provides them with an actual understanding of what their workload and responsibilities will look like once they enter the workforce so that they may plan accordingly.
Sports medicine is a field that generally only grants entry to professionals who have a master's degree. Because of this, it's considered an advanced professional degree, one in which students will have had little to no previous work experience in the field. A work experience like an internship will provide students with at least one experience they can put on their resume; it may also lead to employment with the company that they interned for.
Internships are no longer mandatory for many online programs in this field, including some that have made this ranking. However, they are always listed as options because even though some professionals choose to earn their degree online does not mean that they will be ready to head into the workforce without any experience. Students should take internships into consideration because of this and afford themselves the opportunity to experience the world of sports medicine prior to leaving graduate school.
Sports medicine is not a field that is generally reported widely in the news unless a major issue happens at the highest levels of any sport. However, it is the first line of defense to protect athletes from serious injury and aid in recovery, making it an indispensable part of the sports world. For any student who is considering a career in the world of sports, an online Master's in Sports Medicine can be their ticket forward.