Most rewarding career in Sports Medicine?

I am a freshman Athletic Training Student. I have a 3.8 GPA and have hopes to go to some sort of medical/graduate school after my undergrad. I am also a first generation college student, so i cant go to my family for most of my questions.

Between the careers of Athletic Trainer, Physician Assistant, Physical Therapist, Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.), Podiatrist, Nurse Anethesist, and M.D.; which would be the best and most rewarding for me?

1. I do not want to work ridiculous hours, I want to have a family life and not have to be on call. I want to be involved with my children lives and dont want work to be "my life"

2. I want a salary that allows me to take care of my family and make a substantial amount doing so. I dont have to be rich, but I want to have money.

3. I want to be in a position to help people. i want to have a career where I am making a difference by making people's lives easier and helping them stay healthy or if they are not, then regain their health.

4. I am a leader, not a follower. Not saying that I couldn't work under someone, but that's just a personality trait of mine.

Saying all of this, which way should I go with my career path?

3 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    If having rather normal hours is important to you, I would automatically forget being an osteopath or physician. You will be required to be on call and the pressure to perform is really high...especially if you want to go into orthopedic surgery. However, if you feel confident in your ability to set boundries, you can become a physician without a completely ridiculous lifestyle. You won't make oodles of money, but you can have a comfortable might have to go into private practice as partnerships are generally high pressure performance settings. Physician salaries can vary widely...from the low $100 K to well over a half million a year.

    As far as being a physician assistant, I think this is a rather good compromise. Although you WILL have to be on call and will often be the one picked to do rounds on the weekends and holidays, it's not quite as hectic as being a physician. Salary, of course, is not as much as a physician, but they make a comfortable living with a salary generally between $68-97,000. It's a rewarding career and you could certainly keep your interest in sports med by working with an orthopedic group. However, you definitely will work under a physician.

    Nurse anesthetists can make very comfortable livings as well...generally around the high 80-90K, sometimes more. As far as your goals about "making people's lives easier and helping them stay healthy", I think you might find some dissatisfaction in this. Being an nurse anesthetist is certainly a very, very important job and you have to have the ability to pay particular attention to detail, however, your actual interaction with people and influence on their health decisions will be very minimal. If having that interaction for you is important, I would not recommend being a CRNA. Hours could certainly vary...if working in a general surgical setting, you are likely to work normal day time hours. However, if you work with a group who is often prone to emergencies, such as cardiothoracic surgery, your schedule will be more unpredictable. You also are not likely to work in a sport med setting.

    Podiatry: certainly some room to work with sport med patients...however, you are also likely to deal with a lot of overweight people with diabetes. You'll surely see patients for problems like plantar fascitis, tendon ruptures, etc, but this will be a minimal part of your day. As far as schedules, you'll find this career less hectic than a physician or orthopedic surgery. Again, salary is less (generally low $100K), but still rather comfortable. You might have to do round on occasional weekends and holidays, but not likely in massive amounts.

    Physical therapist: involves a lot of what you are looking for: sports medicine, deep interaction with patients, focus on health and wellness. You can also function as an independent...whereas a PA has to work directly under a physician, a PT can practice independently. However, most of your referrals will come from physicians. If you want to work in a sports med setting, you are likely to work some evenings and possibly some weekends, but it's a generally a 40 hours work week and rarely more than that. Salary is no where near that of a physician, but it's a comfortable living...generally in the $70-90K range....sometimes more if you want to go into private practice (but expect to work a lot harder) or management.

    Athletic training, to me, sounds a lot cooler than it really is. The market is flooded with ATCs and very few ATCs actually work as ATCs...often times they go into sales or wind up working for a physical therapist. When employed in an actual ATC setting, it is pretty are a first responder to athletic accidents. However, you will find that your lifestyle is pretty much spent at sporting events. Good if you like sports, not good if you want a'll work your normal 40 hours week, but then spend your Friday evenings and Saturday/sunday afternoons at events. Salary is also the lowest of all the careers you mentioned...about $40K.

    Based on your desired job descriptions, I'd lean towards being a physician assistant, a physical therapist or possibly a podiatrist. depends on what elements are the most important to you...

    Source(s): I am a PT
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  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    Physical Therapist - Least amount of work for the most amount of pay.

    (out of the ones you listed)

    Heres the deal- You have to have a 3.0 + (3.5+ perferred) GPA when taking the pre physical therapy classes (See your adviser about these classes), and then PT school is another 3 years,depending on whether you get accepted or not.

    About physical therapy - basically, you use your brains, and the physical therapy assistant does all the manual therapy. You just instruct the assistant what to do.

    You would kinda be like a doctor telling the nurses what to do...cept in a physical therapy setting

    EDIT: BTW, PT's make at LEAST 80k a year .. could be up to 100k depending on your job.

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  • 4 years ago

    How about ER Nurse? or EMT?

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