The short answer is: it depends on what your goals are. You see, most people who work as sports medicine professionals don’t get there because of an advanced degree. Instead, most people who work this field do so because they became interested in the subject through personal experience or by watching a loved one compete in sport.
For example, many athletes will become sports agents after taking part (either as competitors or coaches) in their favorite sport. Even so, an advanced degree in sports medicine can provide you with a variety of benefits.
If you’ve been working as a Certified Athletic Trainer for a while and you’re interested in moving up to a new position or career, an advanced degree will help you get there. You’ll learn more about administrative practices and receive valuable leadership training that will help you in your future career.
Keep in mind that if you’re planning to open a private practice, an advanced degree is not a requirement. In order to become a Certified Athletic Trainer and compete for jobs, all you need is a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college. Obviously you’ll have better opportunities if you have an advanced degree, but it’s not necessary.
In some cases, you can even earn a career certificate from a community college and transfer the credits to another school in order to complete your bachelor’s degree later on. It definitely pays to be educated when it comes to this highly competitive subject. The more education you have, the better your opportunities will be for employment.
You may also want to consider the fact that most states require Certified Athletic Trainers who work for high schools and colleges to hold at least a bachelor’s degree in sports medicine. If you move on to a university or college, you might be required to have completed an advanced degree of some kind in order to get hired.