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5 Best Strength & Conditioning Certifications [Updated 2021]

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    In this review, I’m going to compare the top five strength and conditioning certs that are the most sought-after in the fitness industry based on:

    Study Materials
    Certification Focus
    Industry Recognition

    I’ll unleash all my knowledge from 10+ years of experience in the industry to guide you.

    Here are the 5 Best Strength and Conditioning Certifications!

    5 Best Strength and Conditioning Certifications (CSCS, PES, SCCC) 4

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      Best Strength and Conditioning Certs (YouTube)

      Best Strength and Conditioning Certs (Podcast)


      I highly recommend that you Take the quiz to get an estimate on which strength and conditioning certification is the best fit for you overall.

      This is just an estimation, read the article to get the full understanding.

      Make sure to check out Trainer Academy as well.

      The team over there creates epic study materials for training, will dramatically reduce your overall study time, and boast a 99% exam pass rate.

      They have study materials for the CSCS certification exams, as well as the PES certification.

      I also have a completely free CSCS study guide and practice test and free NASM PES study materials here.

      Here are the best 5 strength and conditioning certifications.

      1) NSCA CSCS


      In this section, you’ll discover all you need to have before having a certification with NSCA CSCS.


      The Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) is a certification from the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

      The certification is viewed by many to be the gold standard for strength and conditioning/sports performance training.

      This is one of the harder strength and conditioning certifications that I have ever studied.

      To be eligible to take the CSCS certification you need to:

      In regards to the bachelor’s degree, it does not need to be in an exercise science related field. The CSCS certification is accredited by the NCCA.

      If you discover that the CSCS is something you want to pursue, you will want to check out Trainer Academy and the helpful study materials that they have there.

      Also, check out my free CSCS study materials here.

      2) ISSA SSC

      ISSA SCC

      Come along and find out why ISSA SSC is a better option if you are looking for a strictly online certification.

      ISSA SSC

      The ISSA Strength and Conditioning Coach (SSC) is a relatively new certification from the International Sports Sciences Association.

      This is one of the only certifications that can be done entirely online which makes it very attractive to some.

      The standards of how rigorous it is to get the certification are much more relaxed.

      That being said, the information that you will learn from the strength and conditioning certification is legit.

      To obtain the ISSA strength and conditioning certification you need to:

      • Be at least 18 years old
      • Would be a high school graduate or equivalent
      • Have a valid CPR/AED certification

      The ISSA SSC is DEAC accredited.

      Check out the ISSA SSC here.

      3) NCSF CSC

      NCSF CSC

      Below is a detailed brief on the NCSF CSC certification and its eligibility requirements.

      NCSF CSC

      The NCSF CSC (certified strength coach) is one of the three pillars of the NCSF’s curriculum, with the other being Nutrition.

      With the ever-increasing recognition and need for S&C methodology, even with the general public, it’s a cert to have when entering the industry.

      The area of public health advocacy is the hill NCSF stands proudly on, so you might find that this is one of the best S&C certs relevant to a general population setting.

      That’s because the NCSF is big on public health advocacy through the increased recognition of fitness practitioners.

      It is their core mission t have fitness trainers regarded as medical practitioners through a legislative process.

      Good strength and conditioning are the bedrock of fitness since you would need to have a robust biomechanical foundation to address problems and progress to new levels.

      To be eligible for the NCSF CSC you will need:

      • To be at least 18 years old.
      • Have a high school diploma or equivalent
      • Hold a current NCCA accredited CPT certification.

      If you haven’t qualified or recertified with an NCCA accredited personal trainer credential, the alternative is if you hold a higher learning certificate. 

      This includes an undergrad or postgrad degree in the health and fitness field.

      4) NASM PES