Sports medicine is a diverse field for individuals who are passionate about athletics, physical performance, and physical fitness for people from all walks of life. As with any occupation, it is important to maintain a standard for all sports medicine practitioners, whether they be physicians or athletic trainers. Certification is a crucial process when becoming a qualified sports medicine practitioner-- it ensures the public that you are skilled at your job, and it prevents those who are not from assuming a false title.
There are many different certifications that you may choose from; your choice will depend on your career goals, the environment you want to work in, and the people you want to work with.
- Certified Personal Trainer: A personal trainer helps people in their daily lives achieve the level of fitness they desire. Not only do they provide motivation, but personal trainers also design and implement their own fitness plans.
- Certified Health Fitness Specialist: Those who have already been working in the sports medicine field -- perhaps as a personal trainer -- but who would like to rise in their career may choose to become a certified health fitness specialist. As a health fitness specialist you can help not only healthy individuals, but also those with diseases as they learn how to reach their peak fitness.
- Clinical Exercise Specialist: These individuals must already have a bachelor's degree and be interested in helping clients at risk for cardiovascular, metabolic, and pulmonary disease. Typically these professionals work alongside physicians at physicians' or other medical fitness offices.
- Clinical Exercise Physiologist: To be a clinical exercise physiologist you must be a graduate student or have a master's degree and be interested in working with patients with cardiovascular, metabolic, orthopaedic, or pulmonary disease. As someone with higher education within a specialty, you will be able to have a lot of autonomy as you treat and monitor patients' rehabilitation.
There are also many accredited bodies through whom you may receive your certification:
While there are other accrediting bodies, the NCCA is recognized to be the most trusted. Therefore, no matter where you receive your certification and in what, make sure that your program is accredited by a trustworthy board like the NCCA.