A sports medicine physician is a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of injuries and illnesses related to physical activity and exercise.
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In order to become a sports medicine physician, you must first complete an accredited medical degree program.After completing medical school, you will then complete a residency in either internal medicine or family medicine. Following your residency, you will complete a fellowship in sports medicine. The length of each of these programs varies, but most physicians complete all training within 12 years.
The Road to Becoming a Sports Medicine Physician
Becoming a sports medicine physician takes a considerable amount of time and dedication. It typically takes around eight years of undergraduate and graduate level education to become a sports medicine physician. However, the length of time may vary depending on the specific route you take. Let’s dive into the details.
The Educational Path
It generally takes between eight and ten years to become a sports medicine physician. This includes four years of college, four years of medical school, and a three- to five-year residency program in sports medicine. Some physicians may also choose to complete a fellowship in sports medicine, which can add an additional one to two years to the process.
The Training Process
Becoming a sports medicine physician requires completing medical school and a four-year residency in orthopedic surgery or a related field, followed by a one- or two-year fellowship in sports medicine. Many physicians also choose to complete additional training through VOLUNTARY certification programs offered by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) and the American Osteopathic Board of Orthopedic Surgery (AOBOS).
After completing medical school and residency, physicians must obtain a license to practice medicine from the state in which they intend to work. Physicians who want to specialize in sports medicine may also choose to become certified by the ABOS or AOBOS. Certification by either of these boards requires successful completion of written and oral examinations.
The Length of Time It Takes to Become a Sports Medicine Physician
Becoming a sports medicine physician takes a lot of time and dedication. It usually takes about eight years to complete the necessary education and training. During this time, you will complete four years of undergraduate school, four years of medical school, and a three- to five-year residency.
The Shortest Path
The shortest path to becoming a sports medicine physician is to complete a four-year undergraduate degree, followed by a four-year medical degree, and then a one-year sports medicine fellowship. This process can be completed in as little as nine years.
A More Realistic Timeline
In 2015, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) released data that showed the average length of time it took to become a practicing physician was now 26 years. This included 4 years of undergrad, 4 years of medical school, and then an additional 3-8 years in residency and fellowships. The data also showed that the average age of first-year medical students was 24 and the average age of physicians was 33.
It’s important to keep in mind that this is just an average and your individual timeline may be different. Some students may complete their undergraduate degree in 3 years while others may take 5 or more. The same is true for medical school and residency/fellowships. It all depends on your personal situation and goals.
One thing is for sure, becoming a physician is a huge commitment of time and energy. But if you have a passion for helping others and making a difference in the world of medicine, it will all be worth it in the end.
In conclusion, becoming a sports medicine physician takes approximately eight years of education and training. However, the length of time may vary depending on the specific path you take. For example, if you decide to pursue a medical degree and complete a residency in sports medicine, it will take longer than if you attend a four-year college and complete a shorter sports medicine program. The most important thing is that you choose a path that is right for you and that will allow you to reach your career goals.