In this article, I will dissect everything required to become a strength and conditioning coach.
You’ll find out the following:
- What level can you 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 Strength and Conditioning Coach (YouTube)
How To Become A Strength and Conditioning Coach (Podcast)
Hey guys and gals welcome to my ultimate guide on becoming 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 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 its 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 your personal training program.
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 about the background, education, certifications, and experience needed or recommended to become a strength and conditioning coach.
Let’s stop lollygagging around and get right into it.
At what level do you want to do S and C coaching?
First, you need to decide on what level you want to be doing strength and conditioning coach.
Usually, high school strength and conditioning coaches only need to be certified as strength and conditioning coaches through a reputable organization.
On the other hand, if you plan on working as a strength and conditioning coach at the collegiate or professional level, you will surely need a bachelor’s degree in exercise science.
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 to improve performance, move on to the certification section.
Strength and conditioning coaches that hold a bachelor’s degree and, on average, earn a higher strength and conditioning coach salary.
Those of you who would like to be a strength and conditioning coach at the professional or collegiate level will need to receive a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in an exercise science-related field.
Popular bachelor’s 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
Various reputable strength and conditioning certifications are available.
Let’s talk about the five most popular certifications.
One of these certifications is necessary to earn a decent strength and conditioning coach salary.
CSCS from the NSCA (certified strength and conditioning specialist)
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 a practice test here.
Check out: How much do personal trainers make?
NASM PES (performance enhancement specialist)
The NASM PES certification has grown in popularity over the last ten years.
They base much 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 and corrective exercises 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.
SCCC (strength and conditioning coach certified)
It would be best if you held a bachelor’s degree for the SCCC certification, similar to the CSCS certification.
In addition to the bachelor’s degree, you must have completed an internship program that needs an approved mentor.
After all of this, you are eligible to take the SCCC exam.
USAW (USA Weightlifting)
Since Olympic weightlifting is a big part of the program design for athletic performance enhancement, many 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
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.
Once you have decided which strength and conditioning certification you want, the next step is to study for and take the certification exam.
Purchase a strength and conditioning certification.
Each of the five abovementioned certifications ranges between $350 and $800.
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.
I recommend studying for approximately 4 to 6 months without prior knowledge of strength and conditioning training.
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.
You will receive various study materials depending on which certification you choose.
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 you must complete.
I suggest brushing up on your writing skills if this is the case for your certification.
They even offered an 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 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.
Ultimately, this will help you get hired as a strength and conditioning coach.
The biggest downside of volunteer and internship work is that they are usually unpaid.
The only thing that you get paid with is 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 many contacts with strength and conditioning coaches who 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.
You can get contact information for strength and conditioning coaches in a few ways.
The first is to go in person.
You can show up at the place of their work to inquire about volunteer or internship experience.
Most gymnasiums or sports teams have some websites where you can find e-mail addresses 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 in strength and conditioning work.
Education and certifications aside, if you have never done the hard work yourself, coaching others to do what you have never done is usually harsh.
If you are used to being a recognizable athlete in your area, landing the job as a strength and conditioning coach will be much easier.
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 get under the bar frequently and continually strive to improve 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 and 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 get hired.
The athletes they will be training will 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 must 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 transfer that over to the athletes you are 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 strength training coach job can be intimidating at first.
But by this point, you should be very confident in your skills.
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 few days, you should follow up with each place where you submitted your resume.
The key is to keep bugging people and 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!
If you have not done so yet, Take the quiz to get a better understanding 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.
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.
To ensure you pass your strength and conditioning exam of choice, check out Trainer Academy for fantastic study guides, practice tests, flashcards, and 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.
Overall, it is a gratifying job, 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.
This is the complete 0 to 60 guide on the topic.
Most of you will likely 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 below and tell me 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?