How to Become a Strength & Conditioning Coach: 2022 Guide

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    In this article, I’m going to dissect all that’s required to become a strength and conditioning coach.

    You’ll find out:

    what level you can attain as an S and C coach
    the required education
    … and many more

    Let’s set the ball rolling, shall we?

    How to become a S and C coach

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      How To Become A Strength and Conditioning Coach (YouTube)

      How to Become a Strength and Conditioning Coach in 2022 🏋🏻

      How To Become A Strength and Conditioning Coach (Podcast)


      Hey guys and gals and welcome to my ultimate guide on how to become a strength and conditioning coach.

      The sports performance industry has been a very booming field recently.

      From the professional level all the way down to commercial gyms offering sports enhancement classes to their customers.

      Sports teams have now realized the importance that qualified strength and conditioning coaches to bring to their teams.

      Now, more than ever, strength and conditioning coaches are in high demand.

      If you decide to become a strength and conditioning coach after reading this article, make sure to check out Trainer Academy for their awesome study materials and 99% exam pass rate.

      I also have free CSCS study materials here.

      Make sure to take the quiz to get a good idea of which certification is right for you.

      The menu at the top of this page will answer any question related to a personal training program that you have.

      If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave me a comment here (I’ll respond within 24 hours).

      Also, visit the home page for the most recent and popular articles.

      So, how do you become a strength and conditioning coach?

      In this article, you will learn all about the background, education, certifications, and experience that are needed or recommended to become a strength and conditioning coach.

      After the article, I suggest checking out some popular Strength and conditioning certs such as the NASM PES or the ISSA SCC certifications.

      Also, make sure to read my article on the best strength and conditioning certs or my article on the top corrective exercise certifications.

      Let’s stop lollygagging around and get right into it.

      At what level do you want to do S and C coaching?

      S and C coaching

      In this section, I’ll show you the different levels at which you can cater to clients as a strength and conditioning coach.

      The first thing that you need to decide is on what level do you want to be doing strength and conditioning coach.

      Usually, high school strength and conditioning coaches only need to be certified as a strength and conditioning coach through a reputable organization.

      On the other hand, if you are planning on working as a strength and conditioning coach at the collegiate or professional level, you will surely need a bachelor’s degree in the exercise science field.

      If you want to train at this high level, I recommend reading the whole article, including the required education section.

      If you would like to do strength and conditioning coaches at the high school level or with personal training clients with the goal of improving performance, move on to the certification section.

      Recommended/required education

      Required education

      Let’s dig a little deeper as I share detailed information on the requirements for becoming a strength and conditioning coach.

      Strength and conditioning coaches that hold a bachelor’s degree and on average earn a higher strength and conditioning coach salary.

      For those of you who would like to be a strength and conditioning coach at the professional or collegiate level, you will need to receive a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in an exercise science-related field.

      Popular bachelor degrees include exercise science, kinesiology, athletic training, physical education, and exercise physiology.

      Here is an excellent resource if you are in the United States to find one of the thousands of universities that offer an exercise science degree.

      Choose a certification

      Choose a certification

      Below is a step-by-step breakdown of each Strength and Conditioning certification from different accredited bodies.

      Various reputable strength and conditioning certifications are available.

      Let’s talk about the five most popular certifications.

      If you want to earn a decent strength and conditioning coach salary, one of these certifications is necessary.

      CSCS from the NSCA (certified strength and conditioning specialist)

      nsca cscs

      The CSCS certification is seen as the gold standard for strength and conditioning coaches.

      The only requirement for the certification is that you have a bachelor’s degree.

      You do not need a bachelor’s degree in an exercise science-related field though.

      Any bachelor’s degree is sufficient.

      The CSCS salary for coaches is usually slightly higher.

      If you decide this is your certification, Check out the best study guide for it here.

      I also have a free CSCS study getting practice test here.

      Check out: How much do personal trainers make?

      NASM PES (performance enhancement specialist)

      NASM PES (performance enhancement specialist)

      The NASM PES certification has been slowly growing in popularity over the last ten years.

      The base a lot of their training on their OPT (optimum performance training) model.

      In my opinion, this is the most advanced progressive for training any athlete or client of personal training.

      This is a very well recognized certification and in my opinion, is on par with the CSCS certification from NSCA.

      Another beneficial certification for strength and conditioning coaches is the NASM CES (corrective exercise specialist).

      A certified personal trainer can use resistance training methods, corrective exercise to prevent injury through the right movement patterns.

      This certification can help make athletes more efficient and prevent injuries which is just as essential as the athletic performance training itself.

      See my full article on various corrective exercise certifications.

      Check out the NASM PES here. Or check out a fantastic study guide for here.

      SCCC (strength and conditioning coach certified)

      SCCC (strength and conditioning coach certified)

      For the SCCC certification, similar to the CSCS certification, you are required to hold a bachelor’s degree.

      In addition to the bachelor’s degree, you also need to have completed an internship program the needs an approved mentor.

      After all of this, you are eligible to take the SCCC exam.

      USAW (USA Weightlifting)

      USAW (USA Weightlifting)

      Since Olympic weightlifting is a big part of program design for athletic performance enhancement, a lot of strength and conditioning coaches obtain a USAW certification.

      The USA weightlifting certification is the best way to learn proper form on these Olympic lifts and how to coach them effectively.

      ISSA Strength and Conditioning Specialist

      ISSA Strength and Conditioning Specialist

      The strength and conditioning specialist certification from ISSA is a relatively new certification from the international sports sciences Association.

      That being said, I was very impressed with the curriculum and study material provided.

      Check out the ISSA SCC here.

      Get certified

      Get certified

      Do you want to know what to do to become a certified strength and conditioning coach?

      Once you have decided which strength and conditioning certification you would like to go for, the next step is to study for and take the certification exam.

      Purchase a strength and conditioning certification

      Each of the five certifications listed above range between $350 and $800 approximately.

      Check out my article on the top strength and conditioning certifications to see all the prices.

      Study for the exam

      Depending on how much previous knowledge you have about exercise science, will determine how long you need to study for the certification.

      Without any prior knowledge of strength and conditioning training, I recommend studying for approximately 4 to 6 months.

      On the other hand, if you are coming out of a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, you can probably get away with less than one month of study time.

      Depending on which certification you choose, you will receive various forms of study materials.

      Every strength and conditioning program has at least a primary textbook.

      This should be your bread and butter in preparing for the exam.

      You should prepare for the type of examination that you will receive.

      Some certifications have only multiple-choice while others contain a full essay section that you will need to complete.

      I suggest brushing up on your writing skills if this is the case for your certification.

      Trainer Academy have the best study guides for strength and conditioning certifications hands down.

      They even offered in the exam pass guarantee.

      Take the test

      Once you are sure you have the information down, set a test date and take the test.

      Most of the exams for strength and conditioning coaches last between two and three hours and contain approximately 150 questions.

      Don’t worry, if you don’t pass the test for the first time, you can always retake the test usually for a small retake fee.

      Once the test is done, hooray, you’re officially certified as a strength and conditioning coach! But now what should you do? Keep reading to find out the next steps!

      Experience from an Internship or Volunteer Work

      It’s tough to find a strength and conditioning coach that has not done some volunteer work or had an internship.

      Doing one, or both of these options will give you excellent hands-on experience with coaches that have experience.

      Internships also help you to build your network with other coaches and athletes.

      In the end, this will help you to get hired as a strength and conditioning coach.

      The biggest downside about volunteer and internship work is that they are usually unpaid.

      The only thing that you get paid with his experience in the work field, which you should see as invaluable.

      If you are currently in college, the best way to get an internship is through an internship program with your university.

      Most colleges have lots of contacts with strength and conditioning coaches in can usually set up internships or volunteer work for you.

      If you are not going through school, the best way is to directly contact strength and conditioning coaches to see if they have available internship programs.

      There are a few ways you can go about getting contact information for strength and conditioning coaches.

      The first is to go in person.

      You can show up at the place of their work to inquire for volunteer or internship experience.

      Most gymnasiums or sports teams have some websites that you can find e-mail addresses from to contact the coaches.

      Send a thoughtful e-mail merely asking if an internship is available.

      The last option is through LinkedIn.

      Almost every professional coach has a LinkedIn account.

      You can send them a friend request and then message them directly afterward.

      Personal experience with strength and conditioning

      Having an athletic background is extremely helpful when it comes to strength and conditioning work.

      Education and certifications aside, if you have never put in the hard work yourself, it’s usually harsh to coach others to do what you have never done.

      If you are or used to be a recognizable athlete in your area, it will be much easier to land the job as a strength and conditioning coach.

      Practicing what you preach is possibly more important than any education in the realm of personal training and coaching for strength and conditioning.

      This is especially true if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree and only hold a certification.

      Real-life experience is precious to employers.

      If you played at the collegiate or high school level, you would have a leg up on the competition.

      You should also still personally be training.

      Practicing what you preach is possibly more important than any education in the realm of personal training and coaching for strength conditioning.

      Nobody wants to listen to somebody that is completely out of shape and has not lifted a weight in years.

      So you better be getting under the bar frequently and continually striving to better yourself as an athlete/fitness professional.

      Work on your communication and motivational skills

      As a strength and conditioning coach, you will be teaching large groups of people as well as individual athletes one-on-one.

      Your communication skills for both of those scenarios need to be spot on.

      You need to be able to communicate in a manner that is authoritative yet easy to understand.

      It is also the job of the coach to be motivating.

      Some people have motivational skills ingrained in their blood.

      Other people need to work on it to be effective.

      Either way, this is a skill you need to bring to your coaching to be get hired.

      The athletes they will be training are going to be put through rigorous training regimens that can last up to a few hours long.

      Without the additional push from their coach, they won’t see the results that they need to be competitive and thrive in their sport.

      In addition to being motivating and having excellent communication skills, you need to be fiercely competitive.

      If you played a sport at the collegiate or high school level, you would know exactly what it takes to be competitive.

      You need to maintain that competitive fire and be able to transfer that over to your athletes that your coaching.

      Apply for a strength and conditioning job

      After you have met the above requirements for education, certifications, and internships, it is now time to apply for a strength and conditioning job.

      Applying for a job as a strength training coach can be intimidating at first.

      But by this point, you should be very confident in the skills that you possess.

      The first step towards applying for the job is to create a kick-ass resume.

      Without a good resume highlighting your credentials and experience, nobody is going to hire you.

      With your badass resume in your hand, go around to every single sports and conditioning gym and team in your area and hand it out.

      If you don’t hear back from anybody within a couple of days, you should follow up with each place that you submitted your resume.

      The key is to keep on bugging people and to keep on contacting people so that they know you are passionate about the job.

      Eventually, you will hear back from somebody and get the job! Wow, look at that you are now a strength and conditioning coach!


      How to become a strength and conditioning coach conclusion

      By following the tips outlined in this article, you are on your way to entering a new phase of your career as a personal trainer.

      Take action without delay as I wait to hear from you soon.

      If you have not done so yet, Take the quiz to get a better overall idea of which strength and conditioning certification is the best match for you.

      Well, ladies and gentlemen, that’s about it for my article on becoming a strength and conditioning coach.

      I suggest check out the CSCS, NASM PES or the ISSA SCC for more info on those certifications.

      These three are the best certifications in my mind.

      The NSCA CSCS is seen to be the gold standard and a lot of people’s minds.

      In order to make sure you pass your strength and conditioning exam of choice, check out Trainer Academy for fantastic study guides, practice tests, flashcards in more.

      Check out my free CSCS study materials here.

      Although becoming a strength and conditioning coach is demanding, it is ten times more rewarding.

      Working with athletes and watching them thrive in their particular sport is a fantastic process to experience.

      It is a gratifying job overall, and I wouldn’t change it for anything else.

      I hope this article helps people understand the process, education, and certifications required to become a coach.

      Although becoming a strength and conditioning coach is demanding, it is ten times more rewarding.

      This is the complete 0 to 60 guide on the topic.

      Most likely, most of you will have some experience or education in the field.

      If you are currently a personal trainer and would like to switch gears toward strength and conditioning coaching, I recommend getting one of the five certifications above.

      Leave me a comment down below and tell me all about your experience with strength and conditioning coaching or the process of becoming one.

      What hiccups did you run into? Why do you like strength and conditioning coaching?

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      10 thoughts on “How to Become a Strength and Conditioning Coach in 2022”

      1. My son is wanting to become a strength and conditioning coach so bad. He just doesn’t have the finances to go to school. He has a newborn that was born with a ton of health issues and he and his wife work full time to be able to afford his doctor and hospital bills. David has always loved being in shape. He played baseball and football his whole life growing up and could have gone on to football in college with a scholarship, but his ex didn’t want him to go away to an out of state school. So he didn’t follow that dream. And now, since he is married again and just had this baby with all disabilities, he will probably not be able to follow his true dream. His wife doesn’t want him going back to school, so he doesn’t have a partner that will back his dreams. But, I know if he doesn’t he will never be happy. He is having to work in a trailer plant to support his family and this will break him soon. I know, I’ve been there. I am an RN now, so I would love to see him get into the fitness field. Can you come up with any ideas that could help him.

        1. Hey Rwanda,
          I’m so sorry to hear the situation that your son is in. I know it can be difficult and studying for a personal training certification can be even harder on top of that. The biggest suggestion I recommend is to pick up the textbook for one of the strength and conditioning programs and start studying little by little. Maybe just five pages a day. He does not need to shovel out big money in order to pass the exam yet, all he needs to do is get the information in his head. Afterwards, if he decides this is something he really wants to pursue, he he can pay the money to take the exam. But getting the textbook, and getting the knowledge is the first and most important step. Even if he does not end up becoming a strength and conditioning coach, he will have the knowledge to help his friends family, himself and others pursue their strength and conditioning dreams. I hope this helps.

      2. Hello Tyler,
        Very informative article! I have some questions about my personal situation I was wodnering if you could help me out with. I am a recently retired professional MMA fighter that had success in the sport, So I have experience in training under a performance coach, as well as personal training as well. I have even done work in Miami at Bommarito Performance systems as a specialist trainer w/ American football lineman, as well as done a one year internship under our performance coach Phil Daru at American Top Team with the professional fighters. I am a highly regarderd coach and athlete, my only problem is my education. I have an associates degree in communications and am looking to further that into a bachelor’s. It is my goal to be a performance coach at the NFL or MLB level. I am looking to further my education and was wondering if after I received my bachelor’s in communications and got my CSCS, with my experience could would my resume be suited to pursue a position as an assistant at the college or professional level? Thank You, sorry about the long read. Looking forward to your response

        1. Hey Ryan, new Lima thanks for reaching out to me. It sounds like you have a lot of experience in the world of Sports and training in general. It sounds like with your qualifications in the name you have made for yourself that you should definitely be able to coach at a high level. This is true especially if you can couple it with a bachelor’s ° as well as the certified strength and conditioning specialist certification. That is a very well sought-after combination.

      3. Thank you for the feedback, Tyler
        If I get a Bachelor’s of applied Science (BAS) as opposed to a Bachelor’s of Science (BS) can I still take the CSCS certification? I am on LinkedIn under Ryan Quinn if you care to message me privately.

        1. That is a great question, you should definitely contact the NSCA for that particular question. If they are both 4-year degrees though, I would think that either one would do.

      4. Hello Tyler, first thanks for the insight! I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction as far as my current situation. I graduated with a degree in chemistry and have worked in various labs with no experience in exercise science besides my own personal training. I am currently working on my masters in exercise science and looking to make a career change. Would starting out at a gym be a good starting point as I focus on my masters and obtain a personal training credential or would something like a physical therapy office be more ideal on gaining experience? I currently work at a lab that I am struggling to maintain a healthy mental state with so a transition would happen in the near future. Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you!

        1. I definitely think that the gym environment working as a trainer is a fantastic place for one’s mental health. In terms of the difference between a physical therapy office and a gym working with clients. They are totally different from one another. Honestly, the upbeat attitude of a gym and helping people get into better shape is very rewarding. I have worked in a physical therapy office as well and it’s a little bit more gloomy. I hope this helped.

      5. Hae a Kenyan ..32 of age…av done some P.T courses and am a sports Instructor….how can i get started an online course on Streangth and condition….

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