trainer evaluating players knee

Sports Medicine

Love sports and want to help people? Create a career helping treat and prevent injuries with a Sports Medicine certificate!

Sports Medicine is a fast-growing industry where you can help athletes and other physically active people improve movement, increase performance, enhance recovery, and prevent injury. The career combines your love of sports with healthcare. This in-demand and fast-growing industry leads to many career opportunities including working in sports medicine, athletic training, chiropractic, physical therapy, strength & conditioning, or nutrition.

The Sports Medicine Certificate can help someone gain employment in an entry level position, such as a Physical Therapy Aide or an office assistant in a sports medicine clinic. A background in sports medicine will also help those becoming a personal trainer.

The Sports Medicine certificate will lay the foundation and start you on your path toward a rewarding career in sports medicine. The majority of sports medicine career paths require further education to gain employment in the field you desire, such as Athletic Training or Physical Therapy. Completing this certificate will help build your resume and give you the experience you need to be a quality candidate when applying for programs such as an accredited Masters in Athletic Training program or a Doctorate in Physical Therapy program.

Jobs in the field are fast-paced, time-intensive, and often mean working in a wide variety of environments. Working directly with athletes involves compassion and care. The National Athletic Trainers Association is a good resource for learning about the field and if it’s right for you.

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Sports Management, graphic of a runner
trainer with client
Sports Med Doc with patient
athletic trainer

The Program

As you work toward your Sports Medicine Athletic Training Certificate of Achievement, you will learn from passionate, well-educated teachers. In less than four semesters you’ll be on a rewarding career path . You'll study the basics of evaluation, rehab, anatomy from professors passionate about the field of sports medicine. Importantly, you will get hands-on experience, working with certified athletic trainers.

This certificate requires 30-34 units.

We are proud of our program and the students who complete their certificate with the abilities to

  • Perform techniques of evaluation and care of athletic injuries with an increasing degree of proficiency under the supervision of a certified athletic trainer.

  • Develop and apply treatment and rehabilitation protocols.

Many of our students continue their education and become an Athletic Trainer. After you earn your certificate, you will be prepared to continue your education with a bachelor’s or master’s degree and obtain your certification. Participating in the program will help build your resume for when you apply to an accredited Masters in Athletic Training program. These programs will be heavily impacted, and all the education and experience you obtain will be important as part of your application.

See Program Map

athletic trainer with a client

Certified Athletic Trainer

Athletic trainers evaluate and treat musculoskeletal injuries or illnesses. They provide preventive, therapeutic, emergency, and rehabilitative care.

Median Salary: $63,611

Physical Therapist working with a patient

Physical Therapist

Physical therapists assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that improve mobility, relieve pain, increase strength, and improve or correct disabling conditions resulting from disease or injury.

Median Salary: $120,563

Female Physical Therapist Assistant applying therapy to a patients knee

Physical Therapy Assistant

Physical therapist Assistants assist physical therapists in providing physical therapy treatments and procedures. They may, in accordance with state laws, assist in the development of treatment plans, carry out routine functions, document the progress of treatment, and modify specific treatments in accordance with patient status and within the scope of treatment plans established by a physical therapist.

Median Salary: $83,604

Male Chiropractor adjusting a patients back


Chiropractors assess, treat, and care for patients by manipulation of the spine and musculoskeletal system. They may provide spinal adjustment or address sacral or pelvic misalignment.

Median Salary: $68,205

sports medicine physician evaluating an injury

Sports Medicine Physician

Sports medicine physicians diagnose, treat, and help prevent injuries that occur during sporting events, athletic training, and physical activities.

Median Salary: $241,415

orhtopedic surgeon evaluating an injury

Orthopedic Surgeon

Orthopedic surgeons diagnose and perform surgery to treat and prevent rheumatic and other diseases in the musculoskeletal system.

Median Salary: $292,945

Sports Medicine Staff Bios

Michael Cutler

As Head Athletic Trainer, Michael feels he’s come full circle. He started his career by taking the two athletic training classes and the lab class at Cabrillo College, before moving on to get a 4-year degree.

“The hands-on experience was incredible, and I was able to use the observation hours when applying to Long Beach State,” says Michael.

Michael graduated with a degree in Athletic Training and sat for the BOC Exam. The day before he got his exam results, Michael heard from Cabrillo College Athletic, who was looking for some help. Michael was happy to start working with Mark once he was certified.

He eventually became Assistant Athletic Trainer and then Head Athletic Trainer and now Manager, Athletic Training.

Michael loves his position, saying “It’s great. I work with all sports teams on campus, every day is different, and it keeps me on my toes.”

His advice for those thinking of going into athletic training is to get hands-on experience before working toward your degree to find out if you like it. The experience will also give you a step up when you go into a 4-year program.

Michael Cutler
Rebecca N

Rebecca N

Rebecca Northon has been certified and working as an Athletic Trainer since 2011. Her career path started during her years as a student-athlete at a California community college where she played softball for two years. Through her experience as an athlete and the work she did with her athletic trainer, Rebecca found her passion for the profession. She finished her A.A. degree and then transferred to San Diego State University where she achieved a B.S. in Kinesiology in Athletic Training. She then went on to complete her Masters of Science: Research in Rehabilitation from California University of Pennsylvania and became a Corrective Exercise Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

Rebecca has never once looked back since becoming a Certified Athletic Trainer. Her passion and joy for athletic training comes from the challenges and successes that come with working for her students and student-athletes. She strives every day to be a positive example and to make meaningful connections with the people with whom she interacts.

During her time away from work, you will most likely find her with her husband and two boys enjoying the outdoors. They love going to lakes to swim, hanging out on the shoreline, and spending time together in their backyard playing with their dogs and barbecuing with friends.

Student Success Stories

Jose E

Jose E

Not knowing exactly what he wanted to do after high school, Jose took general ed courses and considered becoming an EMT. Jose knew he was interested in the health care system but not clear where. He had always played sports since he was kid, specifically soccer.

Jose says, “I was trying to figure out how to combine my interest in health care with my love of sports. With my childhood best friend, we found the sports medicine program and signed up. The instructor for the program invited us to an information day held at the athletic training room, showing us around and talking about the program. We both completed the program.”

Jose took a risk and moved down south before applying to the athletic training program at Cal State Fullerton – and he was accepted, while his friend transferred to Sacramento State. He graduated, saying he had a great experience there. He has since moved back to Santa Cruz County where he is now working toward a master’s degree at UC Santa Cruz in education and getting a teaching credential.

“I want to give a huge thank you to the Cabrillo’s Sports Medicine program staff who taught me a lot and helped me out.”

Andrew G

Andrew G

While attending Cabrillo, Andrew picked up tennis as a hobby. This led to shoulder pain, and he was directed to meet Mark Ramsey in the Athletic Training room. He asked Mark about the room, what he does, and what athletic training was all about. Mark suggested that Andrew join his class.
"I took the class, and everything took off from there,” says Andrew.

Andrew spent his time at Cabrillo helping Mark in the training room and taking classes. He had the opportunity to work as an intern with the Santa Cruz Warriors while at Cabrillo, and then later applied to Boise State University where he did his undergraduate work in Athletic Training.

After finishing his undergraduate work, Andrew returned home and worked at Cabrillo before taking on a seasonal contract with the Santa Cruz Warriors.

“Then I got a call from Boise State asking me to return to work with their tennis teams. Since I didn’t have my master’s degree yet, they offered their master’s of Athletic Leadership program. I’m in the program now and working as a graduate assistant athletic trainer. My future plans are to continue toward Physical Therapy and work in the professional tennis world.”

Andrew stresses the importance of networking, “I was provided a chance to work for the Nigerian National Basketball team before they went to the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. I got the call because a person who worked with the team knew me from my past work experiences. I took the opportunity and ran with it.”

If you have questions, please reach out by completing this interest form or register today!