What is the Annual Sports Medicine Doctor Salary?|2023

Sports Medicine Physician Salary: It’s likely that you are a sports medicine specialist who wants to know how much doctors can make as a salary from jobs in this career.

Or let’s say you’re a student who wants to Become A Sports Medicine Surgeon but doesn’t know if the salary is worth the academic investment.

Either way, this is an ideal guide that brings answers to your questions. 


But first, a sports medicine physician is a professional trained to focus on treating and ensuring that athletes stay healthy and fit. 

Because sports is one of the highest-paying entertainment jobs, the need to keep the athletes in good working condition is paramount.

And to that regard, there is an increasing need for more sports medicine physicians who will help athletes stay on course and deliver outstanding results in their sports careers.

With this special specialization, many often wonder how much sports medicine doctors make by keeping athletes healthy and fit.

The salary structure or how much sport medicine doctors make is dependent on a lot of factors such as the jobs done, and the location of the practice.

So in this guide, we have put together sports medicine salaries from different specialties in the line of work.

Also, if you’re wondering if being a sports medicine physician is a good career then you have your answers in a few minutes.


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What is Sports Medicine?

Sports medicine is a medical practice that focuses on helping athletes prevent injuries, keep fit and healthy, as well as treat injuries sustained during athletic training.

Because athletes are prone to injuries and muscular stress, there is a need for them to be properly taken care of to ensure they are fit to carry out their tasks and responsibilities during games and such exercises.

Most doctors specialize in this field and as such referred to as Sports Medicine physicians, doctors, or specialists.

Who is A Sports Medicine Specialist?

If you’ve been injured playing a sport, exercising, or any other physical activity, chances are that you know who a sports medicine doctor is.  

A sports medicine specialist as we have described earlier is responsible for the prevention and treatment of injuries sustained by athletes alongside their athletic training.

Basically, they are primary care doctors who are specially trained to diagnose and treat injuries sustained while playing sports and any other type of musculoskeletal injury.

Beyond these, sports medicine physicians also see to it that athletes are healthy through their nutritional advice.

Depending on what you do as a sports medicine physician, your salary or how much you make will differ.

What Do Sports Medicine Doctors Do?

Sports medicine is vast. 

And that affects the range and scope of the duties and responsibilities of sports medicine physicians.

If you’re planning to become a sports medicine physician who wants to earn quite a high salary, you need to know what you’re possibly going to be doing.

Here are some descriptions of what a Sports Medicine Physician does;

  • Provides medication to athletes in their care.
  • A sports medicine specialist diagnoses and manages the musculoskeletal conditions of their patients.
  • Develops physical therapy plans and gives nutritional advice that suits the highly active lifestyle of athletes.
  • Performs physical examinations and records athletes’ medical histories. 
  • Supervises the rehabilitation of injured athletes.
  • Examines injured athletes to advise treatment plans and determine readiness for competition. 
  • They prevent, diagnose and treat injuries associated with physical activity e.g osteoarthritis to tendinitis. 
  • Sports Medicine Doctors take care of acute, and chronic injuries and conditions that do not require surgery.
  • Also, Sports medicine doctors also explain to their patients how to properly care for an injury while remaining in shape.
  • Working along with a Fitness Instructor or a physical therapist to create exercise regimens for Athletes and rehabilitation plans for recovering athletes.
  • Specialists in sports medicine understand and carry out the tests and imaging that surgeons will need before surgery.

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Is Sports Medicine A Good Career?

Besides the sports medicine salaries, many intending applicants often wonder, Is Getting A Sports Medicine Degree Worth It?

In fact, most people don’t seem to understand why a professional doctor will choose to specialize in sports medicine.

Well, what is good for the goose may not be good for the gander.

Basically, sports medicine will be ideal for someone who likes sports and exercise training.

Also, if you have an interest in or love helping others improve their health and wellness, then this may be the ideal profession for you.

Besides passion and interest, sports medicine is a fast-rising specialty with a high-paying salary structure in different cities of the world with the average being $90,000 per year.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a growth of 18% between 2019 and 2029 for sports medicine specialists.

However, a career such as sports medicine is an intentional choice because you will have to work in a physically demanding environment.

If you find any of the stress in this field interesting, then sports medicine is an ideal career for you. 

Very importantly, you will need an academic degree to certify you are eligible to practice the sports medicine profession. 

In that regard, you will need to get a bachelor’s degree in courses such as;

  • Kinesiology
  • Sports medicine
  • Exercise science

Are Sports Medicine Doctors the Same As Sports Medicine Orthopaedic Surgeons?

Both orthopedic surgeons and sports medicine physicians specialize in the treatment of the musculoskeletal system. Although these two professions are often mistaken just like Dentist Vs Dental Hygienist, they are not the same.

Although Sports medicine doctors can work in orthopedic practices, their major aim is to avoid surgery if possible. 

A Sports Medicine Physician’s expertise lies in the non-operative treatments of sports injuries..

But on the other hand, an orthopedic sports medicine surgeon performs the surgery if there is a need for that.

For instance, some orthopedic surgeons specialize in knee replacements, shoulder surgeries, etc.

While a sports medicine physician trains athletes on the sports field and in the training room.

In other words, you can say that a sports medicine physician is the stepping stone between primary care and an orthopedic surgeon.

You can get more clarity on Orthopedic Sports Medicine Surgeons.

How Are Sports Medicine Doctors Trained?

Sports medicine is not a medical specialty, rather it is an extension of a medical specialty.

After medical school, sports medicine physicians do a primary care residency.

This residency program often specializes in either of the following;

  • Pediatrics 
  • Family medicine
  • Internal medicine
  • Emergency medicine

Once they complete their residency program, sports medicine physicians complete a one-year fellowship program in sports medicine that is accredited.

Upon completion, they receive certification as primary care sports medicine physicians.

In other words, to become a sports medicine physician who earns a high salary in Florida or other states, here are the steps to follow!

  • Get a bachelor’s degree in a pre-med course such as biology, nursing, biochemistry, or a related field. 
  • Attend medical school and complete the necessary clinical rotations. 
  • Carry out a one-year fellowship in sports medicine such as research opportunities and instruction in internal medicine, pediatrics, and surgical techniques. 
  • Hey Certified.

What Are The Required Skills And Qualifications To Become A Sports Medicine Physician Who Earns A High Salary?

Without a doubt, the skills and qualifications of sports medicine physicians or doctors determine how much they make. 

To earn a high salary as a sports medicine physician or specialist, you need to lace yourself with the following prerequisite skills and qualifications:

  • Ability to give good counsel.
  • Top-notch problem-solving skills
  • Can carry out non-surgical treatment
  • Knowledge of sports culture and practices
  • Understands pharmacology and medications
  • Great oral and written communication skills
  • Knowledge of disease and injury diagnostics.
  • Understands physical medicine and medical biology. 

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What Are The Experience Requirements To Land High-Paying Salary Jobs in Sports Medicine?

The higher the level of experience, the higher the salary.

This same principle applies to sports medicine physicians too.

An experienced Sports Medicine Physician should have at least 2 years of experience in the field. 

Also, they should know how to work with active athletes at all levels.

In addition, sports medicine physicians are expected to know how to identify, diagnose, and treat sports injuries.

Furthermore, sports medicine specialists who want to earn high salaries must also have experience creating strategies that will help athletes improve their performance on the field and prevent serious injury.

What is the Salary Structure of Sports Medicine Physician Jobs?

Sports medicine physicians who have launched a career will often wonder how much doctors make in this profession.

The fact is the salary of a sports medicine physician in Florida is not the same as that of other states.

There is no central data or fixed salary structure for sport medicine jobs.

Factors such as geographical location, the type of athletes cared for by the sports medicine physician and the experience level of the physician will impact how much he or she will make in this career. 

On average, the base salary for a sports medicine physician is $244,461 but the figure ranges from $208,659 to $310,941.

On the other hand, the average annual pay for an International Sports Medicine Physician in the United States is $161,300 year.

What Are the Highest Salary Paying Jobs In Sports Medicine?

As we earlier pointed out, sports medicine is very vast. 

Some of the focus areas in the profession will require much attention and a level of experience.

This factor is also a determining factor that impacts what the physician makes as a salary in sports medicine.

Here are the top 10 Sports Medicine Jobs that have a high-paying salary;

#1. Athletic Trainer

  • Average Salary: $21.34 per hour

Athletic trainers are not sports medicine specialists but a sports medicine physician can take on athletic trainer Jobs because of the high salary structure.

The focus of athletic trainers is to work with athletes who got injured in athletic activities.

The athletic trainer devices and implements safe, rehabilitative exercises to help the athletes build muscle and strength. 

Also, they educate patients on how to prevent future injuries.

Because athletic trainers are not medical professionals, they may have to work in collaboration with other health professionals.

#2. Personal Trainer

  • Average Salary: $21.34 per hour

The personal trainer is a sports medicine specialist on an individual level. 

They focus on training individuals in fitness exercises and conduct workout classes for groups. 

Personal trainers focus more on cardiovascular and strength training during their exercises to help people to stay healthy and become fit. 

To achieve this, they use fitness and exercise equipment like fitness ropes, dumbbells, kettlebells, elliptical machines, and treadmills.

sport medicine physician salary
sports medicine physician salary

#3. Nutritionist

  • Average Salary: $52,534 per year

Nutritionists are among the Sports Medicine Doctors who make high salaries. 

By virtue of their job description, nutritionists advise athletes on the nutrition and proper diet they require and must follow to stay in shape for sporting activities. 

It’s the sports medicine nutritionist who created meal plans that contain all the right foods for athletes to get the right balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats for building their strength and endurance.

#4. Occupational Therapy Assistant

  • Average Salary: $29.23 per hour

Occupational therapy assistant helps occupational therapists to rehabilitate injured athletes and other people.

They focus more on helping patients regain physical mobility and provide support for coping with the emotional issues arising from their injuries.

#5. Physical Therapist

  • Average Salary: $1,492 per week

Another high-paying job with a good salary for a sports medicine specialist or physician is the physical therapy job.

As physical therapists, physicians provide hands-on treatment to people with injuries, chronic debilitating conditions, and disabilities. 

They help patients follow up on exercise routines that are aimed at restoring their body’s motor functions and improving their quality of life. 

Keep in mind that the physical therapist will have to work in collaboration and consultation with surgeons and physicians.

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#6. Occupational Therapist

  • Average Salary: $44.78 per hour

Just like we discussed the occupational therapist assistant, the occupational therapist in himself develops the treatment plans that will help patients with disabilities and injuries gain strength and mobility for independent daily activities. 

Each treatment is individualized to suit the patient’s needs.

Also, they suggest ways to improve their environments and monitor their progress.

#7. Sports Psychologist

  • Average Salary: $86,476 per year

Another high-paying sports medicine physician job is to work as a psychologist in the field.

According to PsychologySchoolGuide, as a sports psychologist, you will be concerned with addressing and treating the underlying psychological factors that can affect athletic performances and help them perform at their best.”

Also, sports psychologists help athletes find ways in which they can improve their performance and get better results. 

You can find them working in consultation with the athletes’ coaches, managers, and families.

#8. Sports Medicine Physician

  • Average Salary: $164,077 per year

The sports medicine physician focuses on providing primary and preventive care on health issues to athletes.

They ensure that athletes stay fit and also avoid debilitating injuries. 

Once they have examined a patient or athlete, they diagnose and prescribe the necessary treatments and medications. 

They go further to monitor the athletes’ rehabilitation and recovery.

This is one of the sports medicine physician professions that pay a high salary.

#9. Medical Doctor

  • Average Salary: $202,065 per year

Doctors that work as Sports medicine physicians often make a lot of money as a salary.

They examine, diagnose ailments, prescribe medications, and provide other appropriate treatments for injuries, illnesses, and diseases. 

Also, they provide routine check-ups to athletes, detect possible health issues and find ways to treat or manage their diagnoses. 

Just like most other specializations, they work in consultation with other healthcare professionals to provide the necessary care.

#10. Orthopedic Surgeon

  • Average Salary: $229,557 per year

The orthopedic surgeon focuses on diagnosing and treating injuries related to bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, and muscles. 

Also, they may carry out restorative surgeries to repair the injury damage and recommend physiotherapy exercises to restore functionalities.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sports Medicine Doctor’s Salary

How Much Do Sports Physicians Make in Australia?

Australia is one of the countries where sports medicine is thriving.

A physician working as a Sports Medicine specialist in Australia earns around 256,000 AUD per year. 

However, the salary range is between 123,000 AUD to 402,000 AUD.

This salary structure covers housing, transport, and other benefits of a sports medicine physician in Australia.

Does A Sports Medicine Physician Do Surgery?

No, a sports medicine physician does not do surgery. 

In fact, this is an intrinsic factor that differentiates the sports medicine profession from that of orthopedic sports medicine.

Although sports medicine physicians can work in orthopedic practices, their focus is to avoid surgery if possible.

They perform procedures that can help patients or athletes avoid surgery.

While orthopedic surgeons take care of patients whose clinical condition will require surgery such as knee replacements, shoulder surgeries, etc.

What Are 5 Essential Personal Attributes Required For A Career In Sports Medicine?

Sports medicine is a good career.

However, to thrive as a professional in this field and earn a high salary, the sports medicine physician has to have the skills and personal attributes that will single him out.

According to research, the qualities that were deemed the most desirable by head athletic trainers are

  • Honesty 
  • Visionary 
  • Dependability 
  • Trustworthiness
  • Risk-taking ability
  • High ethical standards.

What Cities Pay A High Salary For Sports Medicine Jobs?

Depending on where you are practicing as a sports medicine specialist, the salary structure will slightly differ from the average stated above.

To earn a high salary as sports medicine doctors, intending or entry-level professionals should consider cities such as;

  • Miami, FL
  • Dallas, TX
  • Chicago, IL
  • Boston, MA
  • New York, NY
  • Sunnyvale, CA
  • Santa Rosa, CA
  • Cambridge, MA
  • Washington, DC
  • San Francisco, CA

Are Sports Medicine Specialists Just For Athletes?

Absolutely not.

Sports medicine physicians do not just focus on athletes.

Although the name may be misleading, sports doctors aren’t just for athletes.

Other clients who want to maintain physical fitness, nutritional balance, etc need the services of a sports medicine physician.

Who Reports To A Sports Medicine Physician?

Although sports medicine physicians can work independently, they are best operational if they work with a team of other medical professionals.

In this team, the Athletic Trainers, Physical Therapists, Sports Psychologists, Sports Medicine Nurses, and Orthopedic Nurses all report to a Sports Medicine Physician.

They give updates about the progress made by a patient so far.

Their collaborative efforts help to give the athletes a holistic health rehab than when only the sports medicine specialist handles it.

What Is The Difference Between A Sports Medicine Physician and an Athletic Trainer?

They are not the same.

While Athletic Trainers focus more on the day-to-day activities of Athletes, games, and training, onsite care, tape injuries, and application of braces, they are not specialists or doctors.

So, sports medicine physicians are certified by education and degree to have medical degrees that address such issues professionally. 

Although sports medicine physicians do not interact as closely with athletes as Athletic Trainers daily, they ensure the athletes are fit medically.

Both healthcare professionals play an instrumental role in an athlete’s ability to compete while staying healthy and safe.

We hope this article was able to answer your questions on how good a career as a sports medicine physician is and also how much the doctors in the field make in a year.

Also, keep in mind that the sports medicine physician’s salary will vary in Florida as it will in any other relocation in the world.

Also, depending on the sports medicine jobs you find, the salary may be higher or lesser than the average we stated.

We wish you luck in your job search.

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