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

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    Best Strength and Conditioning Certifications

    Hey everyone and welcome to my guide on the best strength and conditioning certifications in 2020. Picking the best certification can be difficult if you don’t know the differences.

    I will be talking about the top four certifications so that you can choose the best one for you. The 4 strength and conditioning certifications I will be comparing are the CSCS vs NASM PES vs SCCC vs ISSA.

    Receiving one of these sports performance certifications and becoming a strength and conditioning specialist can be very rewarding for your career.

    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 as well as the PES certification. I also have a completely free CSCS study guide and practice test you should check out.

    If you have any questions or concerns about SAC certifications, drop me a comment here and I will get back to you within 24 hours.

    Whether you are just graduating from college or have been a personal trainer for some time, these certifications will all expand your knowledge of exercise science and training. I also recommend checking out my article on how to become a strength and conditioning coach as well as my post on the top corrective exercise certifications. Let’s get right into the comparisons!

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      best strength and conditioning certifications

      4 Best Strength and Conditioning certifications for 2020

      Listed below are the top four strength and conditioning certifications. I will be going over important factors such as price, study materials, recognition, prerequisites and more. By the end, you will know which strength and conditioning certification is the best option for you.

      1) NSCA CSCS

      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:

      • live within the United States
      • Hold a minimum of a bachelors degree (Or currently be enrolled as a college senior)
      • Hold a valid CPR/AED certification
      • You do not need a general CPT

      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) NASM PES

      NASM PES

      The performance enhancement specialist certification (PES) from the National Academy of sports medicine is another gold standard in the strength and conditioning space.

      It is created from NASMs popular optimum performance training model (OPT) that they use in their general personal training certification.

      The OPT model is regarded as one of the best ways of progressing clients/athletes very efficiently and safely. As of now, I consider the NASM PES to be equal to or better than the CSCS. Keep reading to find out why.

      The suggested requirements for the NASM PES certification are:

      Europe list of the requirements:

      • Must be CPR/AED certified (this is a requirement)
      • Must be 18 years old
      • Must have graduated high school or the equivalent

      The NASM PES is accredited by the NCCA. This is one of the best sports performance certifications for becoming a strength and conditioning specialist. check out the NASM PES here.

      3) CSCCa SCCC

      SCCCa SCCC

      The strength and conditioning coach certified certification (SCCC) from the collegiate strength and conditioning coaches Association is a very prestigious strength and conditioning certification.

      This certification is by far the most difficult certification to obtain out of all four on this list. In fact, they only have one test date every single year. Approximately 200 people sign up for and take the SCCC test every year.

      The requirements for the SCCC are:

      • you must complete an internship with a CSCCa approved mentor for 640 hours.
      • You must be CPR/AED certified and valid
      • Must hold a bachelors degree
      • Must currently hold a general CPT certification.

      The SCCC is an NCCA accredited certification.

      4) ISSA SSC

      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.

      The recognition of each strength and conditioning certification

      In regards to acceptance and popularity for each of the strength and conditioning certifications, and varies depending on who the employer is.

      If you are going to be working for a collegiate or professional sports team, the CSCS, PES, and SCCC are the three certifications they will be looking for. This is because the ISSA certification is relatively new and unheard of.

      In regards to personal training employment, all four certifications are excepted at mainly any gym or training facility.

      Here is a graph of the popularity of each for the certifications over the last 12 months according to Google trends.

      Best strength and conditioning certifications

      As you can see, the NSCA CSCS certification is the most sought after by people searching Google. The NASM PES and SCCC certifications are tied for second.

      If you can notice the flat green line at the bottom, that is the ISSA certification. This makes sense because the certification was just released more or less.

      Study materials and Test/Program info

      In this section I’ll be giving a rundown of the study materials you will receive with each strength and conditioning program, as well as information on the exam.

      CSCS

      There are a few study materials that can get you ready for the CSCS test. The NSCA is expecting a lot of their candidates to be coming from an exercise science-related college degree. That being said here are all of the exam prep study materials that they offer.

      CSCS textbook
      • Live clinics ( to help people get hands-on experience)
      • The primary textbook: Essentials of strength training and conditioning
      • Online practice quizzes
      • Additional booklets such as (exam content description) and an exercise technique book

      To be honest, CSCS study materials are not the best. My students much prefer the study materials from Trainer Academy when studying for the grueling CSCS exam. Check out my free CSCS practice test and study guide here.

      Overall, the CSCS study materials are fundamental. This is because they assume you are coming from and exercise science background already.

      The CSCS test

      The CSCS test is comprised of two different sections. The scientific foundation’s portion, as well as a practical/, applied part. Let’s break down both of these to see what they are all about.

      Scientific Foundations

      The scientific foundation’s section consists of 95 multiple-choice questions. You will receive 1.5 hours to complete this portion. You will be tested on your knowledge of exercise physiology, anatomy, biomechanics, and nutrition.

      The test is broken down like this.

      • 44 questions related to exercise science
      • 19 sports psychology questions
      • 17 questions related to nutrition
      • 15 questions that are non-scored (research purposes)
      Practical/applied

      The practical and applied section will test your knowledge for program design, evaluation, organization, testing and exercise techniques. Overall there are 125 multiple-choice questions and you are given 2.5 hours to complete this portion.

      • 40 questions of exercise technique
      • 38 questions of program design
      • 12 questions regarding organization and administration
      • 20 questions regarding testing and evaluation
      • 15 questions that are not scored

      Both tests are graded on a scaled score from 1 to 99. You need to score at least 70 in both sections to pass the CSCS. The pass rate for 2017 was 53%. Overall, this is one of the lowest pass rates in the entire industry.

      If you fail to pass the test on your first try, the retest fee is $340 (basically the whole price) for members. If you only failed one section, the retest fee for one part is $250. Don’t risk failing this test, pick up a great study guide instead.

      NASM PES

      The performance enhancement specialist certification, on the other hand, is packed with all kinds of study materials similar to their general CPT certification. Here is what they offer regarding the guided study.

      NASM PES book
      • Their primary textbook
      • To online practice exams
      • A syllabus and study guide
      • Application videos
      • Video lectures (Basically the book in video form)
      • A complete exercise library
      • Mini-quizzes for each chapter
      • Sport specific lecture videos
      • In the option to attend a live workshop for their all-inclusive package

      I like how the PES offers tons of interactive study materials. All of us learn in different fashions in not all of the scanned absorb information just from a boring textbook.

      Make sure to check out the PES study materials over at Trainer Academy that will cut your study time in half.

      The NASM PES Test

      The NASM PES exam will test you on five separate sections. You will be tested on exercise assessment, applied and basic sciences, exercise technique, nutrition, and program design.

      The test will be taken online and contains 100 multiple-choice questions. Similar to the CSCS certification, the PES is graded on a scale, and you need to score 70% to pass. You will be given 90 min. To complete all 100 questions.

      CSCCa-SCCC

      4 Best Strength and Conditioning Certifications (CSCS, PES, SCCC) 55
      The basic study materials you will need for the SCCC certification!

      The SCCC exam is tough to prepare for. This is because they do not have their specific study materials for the tests. Most of your learning will come from the 640 required internship hours with a mentor.

      This makes studying for the SCCC even harder. Here is the list of recommended study materials that they recommend for you:

      • ACSM’s Health/Fitness Facilities Standards and Guidelines
      • Health Fitness Management, 2nd ed.
      • Sports Nutrition Guidebook, 5th ed.
      • Designing Resistance Training Programs, 4th ed.
      • Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, 4th ed.
      • Exercise Physiology: Theory and Application to Fitness and Performance, 9th ed.
      • Principles and Practice of Resistance Training
      • Physiology of Sport and Exercise, 6th ed.

      As you can see, they merely recommend other study materials to prepare for their test. They even include (bolded above) the primary textbook for the CSCS as an approved study material.

      The pure volume of books and pages that they recommend you study is overwhelming. These are all complete textbooks for the most part.

      They also have some recommended manuals, articles and videos that can aid in your study process. Here is the link to their full study resource suggestions.

      The SCCC Test

      There are two separate sections to the SCCC test. There are a written examination and a practical exam. Let’s talk about both of these.

      SCCC Written exam

      The written exam will test you on multiple areas of exercise science such as:

      • muscle physiology
      • cardiorespiratory system
      • biomechanics
      • adaptations to training
      • program design
      • exercise technique
      • speed/plyometric training
      • flexibility training, nutrition
      • weight management
      • goal setting and much more.
      SCCC Practical exam

      The practical exam for the SCCC is a very rigorous process. Before taking the practical exam, one is required to submit a one-week training program for a particular sport as if they were handing this program over to an athletic.

      The practical exam will be performed in front of the handle of SCCC certified professionals. You will have to personally demonstrate:

      • Strength and conditioning techniques and skills
      • Orally demonstrate knowledge of strength and conditioning

      Individuals will also have to defend the one week program they have designed for their imaginary athletic.

      You need to pass both the written and practical exam to pass the SCCC certification. You are only giving a pass or fail grade. The overall passing rate for both sections is 61% as of 2017.

      ISSA SSC

      Similar to the NASM PES, the ISSA SSC certification provides sufficient study materials that are all particular to their program. Here are all the study materials you will receive with the SSC.

      ISSA SSC textbook
      • A hard copy of the primary textbook which is 615 pages
      • A guided study workbook to help you along with the book
      • 250 animated exercises online (3-D animation)
      • Access to an online student forum
      • Practice exams and section quizzes.
      • Access to SSC certified professionals for any questions you have

      The ISSA SSC study materials are fantastic overall. I like the online student forum and the ability to ask experts on concepts I was struggling with.

      The ISSA SSC exam

      The ISSA SSC test is done entirely online. The test is also open book, and you have an unlimited amount of time to answer the questions. You will be asked questions about the following areas.

      • Anatomy
      • Fitness assessment
      • Sport-specific training
      • Sport psychology
      • Physiology
      • Nutrition
      • Injury prevention for athletes

      I could not find pass rates for the ISSA certification, but I am assuming it’s close to 90% similar to their general CPT.

      Strength and conditioning certification Prices

      Let’s see how much each of these certifications cost. The price point of certifications can be the make or break it for lots of personal trainers.

      CSCS

      The CSCS certification depends on how many study materials you purchase as well as whether or not you are a member of the NSCA.

      The flat rates for the exam are $340 for a member and $475 for a nonmember.

      There are two popular membership prices. The first price is $65 a year and is the student price. The next is $120 a year, and that is the professional price.

      Regarding the study materials, the cheapest route that you can do is to purchase their main textbook, the essentials of strength training and conditioning and conditioning. This book costs approximately $70 or $80.

      Overall it will cost you approximately $500 at the minimum to get certified with CSCS. If you want to get all the study materials and not become a member, it will cost you around $900.

      You also required to acquire 6.0 ceus for NSCA CSCS recertification every three years.

      NASM PES

      The performance enhancement specialist has three separate packages that are available on the NASM website. Here are the three prices for packages.

      These certifications usually have about 20% to 30% off, and you can generally get the self-study package for as low as $489.

      SCCC

      Similar to the CSCS certification, the SCCC certification depends on whether or not you are a member of the CSCCa.

      The cost for the certification for members is $360 and for nonmembers is $470.

      The yearly membership with the CSCCa has two options. For students, it cost $55 a year, and for full-time coaches a costs $110 a year.

      Whichever option you go with, it will cost approximately $500 to get the SCCC certification.

      If you end up purchasing each of the recommended study textbooks that the SCCC recommends, you will be spending approximately another $500 on those books along.

      ISSA SCC

      The ISSA strength and conditioning coach certification vary between $499 and $799. They usually have sales going on that bring it down to $499, or you get some gift card which is a debit card with a certain amount of money on it.

      On average, each of the certifications is approximately $500. Check out the current price for the ISSA SCC here.

      Conclusion on the Top Strength and Conditioning Certifications

      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.

      sports performance certification

      Well, that’s about it for my best strength and conditioning certification article everyone. All four of these are legitimate options if you want to get into training athletes for peak performance.

      For collegiate or professional training, the CSCS, PES, and SCCC are the top three certifications. I would personally select the NASM PES or CSCS certifications because you do not need to go through nearly as many hoops to get them. Overall these are my top two choices.

      For regular personal trainers that would like to start working with athletes on sports conditioning, any one of these four certifications will be sufficient. If you are outside the United States or would prefer to do a certification online, ISSA is the way to go. Check out ISSA SCC here.

      Regarding study materials, I think that the PES and ISSA’s SCC certification stand out. I don’t like how the SCCC does not have their study materials for their certification.

      In regards to the examinations, the SCCC is by far the most rigorous. On top of needing 640 hours of internship time, there is only one test time every single year, and you have to take the test in front of the panel of individuals.

      The CSCS is also a problematic exam in regards to pure question difficulty.

      When it comes to pricing, either way, you slice it you will be spending around $500 minimum. After that, it depends on what type of study materials you would like to prepare you for the strength and conditioning certification.

      Let’s pass the torch to you guys. Which certifications do you think are best for strength and conditioning coach? Have you guys gone through any one of these for programs?

      Let’s start a discussion down below so that we can further our knowledge on this topic! Now get out there and start working towards becoming a strength and conditioning specialist!

      4 Best Strength and Conditioning Certifications FAQ

      What is the top strength and conditioning certifications?

      This will be NCSA-CSCS and NASM-PES. The two certification agencies provide an easy process of getting the certification and the complete study materials

      What is Strength and Conditioning?

      Strength and conditioning is basically a form of exercise that is meant to build your skeletal muscles that is administered by experts.

      What are strength and conditioning exercises?

      There are various forms of strength and conditioning exercises. There are Dealift, Squats, Benchpress and many others.

      How difficult is the CSCS test?

      CSCS test is harder than the general personal trainer test, you are required to dedicate more time to studying for the exams.

      Where does a Strength and conditioning specilaist work?

      Strength and Conditioning Specialist works with athletes at every level, so this means that they work at the universities, high schools and at football clubs.

      What is the cost of Strength and Conditioning Certification?

      The cost of strength and conditioning certification depends on the certifying agency that you choose but the most expensive so far is NASM PES at $999 (all-inclusive study package).

      What are the prerequisites to becoming a strength and conditioning coach?

      The prerequisites are that you must be at least 18 years old, have your current CPR/AED certification, your valid ID and a bachelor’s degree.

      Are there study materials and practice tests for the CSC tests?

      Absolutely! There study materials to be purchased like NSCA’S Essentials of Strength and Conditioning 4ed, Exercise Technique Manual,3ed and so much more.

      You can visit my home page for free CSCS study materials and flashcards.

      What is SCCC?

      The SCCC stands for Strength and Conditioning Coach Certified. This certification is issued by Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches association (CSCCa) and it is recognized by the NCCA.

      Which is the toughest CSCS test in the industry?

      Personally, I believe that they are all in the same category. All that is needed is for you to put the effort of studying and get an internship or live workshop for practical experience.

      Do I need a bachelor’s degree to become a Strength and Conditioning coach?

      Yes. You are required to have a bachelor’s degree before attempting to write the CSCS certification test.

      Which is the best online strength and conditioning program?

      ISSA SCC is the best online strength and conditioning program. All your study materials and test can be accessed via the internet

      What is strength training?

      strength training is simply a form of intense physical exercise that builds anaerobic endurance and increases the size of the skeletal muscle of a person.

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      62 thoughts on “4 Best Strength and Conditioning Certifications (CSCS, PES, SCCC)”

      1. Jose Carlos Castaneda

        Would you consider reviewing the certification for the NSPA: National Sports Performance Association?

        1. Hey Arun,

          I cannot speak to every country out there. All I know is that it is widely accepted within the United States. You are going to have to check with your individual country and the individual sports facility/club that you would like to work for to see which certifications they accept. This is the most important thing overall.

      2. Hi there, i went through your information it was very helpful thanks. I got few questions, first i currently hold a fisaf international personal training certificate if i want to apply for nasm pes is it valid? Second, im currently staying in malaysia i wish to take the nasm pes strength and conditioning is It possible? Isn’t it possible since the course is online and doesn’t require partical? Correct me if wrong. Looking forward for your reply

        1. Hello, here are the suggested prerequisites for the PES:
          Suggested prerequisites:

          A current NASM-CPT certification, or
          A current health and fitness certification accredited by NCCA, NBFE or DETC, or
          REPs Level 3 or higher credential (candidates outside of the US only), or
          4-year collegiate degree or
          Be a current Licensed or Certified Massage Therapist

        1. For this I would have to say that the performance enhancement specialist certification from the National Academy of sports medicine is probably the better option between these two in my opinion.

      3. Nicholas Murphy

        I took the quiz it said beep boop bop and then it showed me nothing
        I even tried my Name in the name box 2 different emails of mine
        Could not see my results

        1. Hello Nicholas,
          That is super weird as you are the first person To inform me on this error. I will definitely check it out to make sure that the quiz is running properly and displaying the certifications on all browsers. Thanks again for pointing this out.

        2. Same here. Looks like the floating form doesn’t allow me to scroll down and fill in my name and other info.

      4. Please update information for the CSCS:
        1. The exam is offered internationally (and has been for over 10 years), not to just residents of the US.
        2. The CSCS is not a “personal training” certification and does not cover essential content found on a personal training certification such as health screening, client consultation, assessments for health and fitness, or working with general population as well as those with medical conditions. There is a “NSCA-CPT” – the personal training certification. The CSCS is specific to athletes.

        1. Hey Cathryne,
          I just made updates to those changes Thanks for pointing those out to me! The CSCS certification is one of the best strength and conditioning certifications and I’m glad you stopped by to leave a comment. Have a good day

        1. Hello, yes you must have a CPR/AED certification that is current in order to take the CSCS exam. In fact for all legitimate and accredited certifications, you will need to have a current CPR/AED credential from a reputable provider.

        2. I recently just took the CSCS on August 6, 2019.(and passed!!) My CPR/AED expired last year. I was able to sign up and take the exam without submitting my CPR cert, which I still haven’t updated. You have a year after you pass your test to submit the CPR certificate and your transcripts to become officially certified as a CSCS. Hope this helps!

          1. Hey Catherine,
            Thanks for stopping by to drop off some knowledge about the certified strength and conditioning specialist certification. It is very interesting that you have a whole year to submit your CPR certificate. Great information and don’t hesitate to leave another comment if you’re browsing around my website!

        1. Hey Robert,
          I honestly do not know too much about these certifications. But thanks for pointing these strength and conditioning certifications out to me as I will do some more research and update my site with my findings. Thanks for leaving a comment!

          1. Abhirup Bhowmick

            AS YOU MENTIONED NASM PES IS ACCREDITED BY NCCA. BUT IN NASM WEBSITE THEY WOULDN’T MENTION IT. AND THE NASM PES A ONLINE CERTIFICATION PROGRAM. SO PLEASE TELL ME IS IT NCCA ACCREDITED THEN I WILL GO FOR IT…😊😊

      5. Hello, I am ISSA CPT. And I want to join NASM PES, is it requried that i have nasm CPT? or not? can i still take the course or?

        1. Hey Amal,
          if I believe that the only requirement for the performance enhancement specialist from NASM that you are accredited through general personal training certification so by having the certification from international sports and sciences Association, you should be able to take the PES without any problem.

        1. Hey Steve,
          Yes I have heard of these training certifications before but have never really looked into them too much as most of my information is for residents of the United States. Obviously a lot of these certifications across borders and are widely accepted in other countries, but there are so many certifications to look into. Thanks for the recommendation and I will check these out and try to get a review up and running some point in the near future.

      6. Hi there, I am thinking whether to take the ISSA SSC or NASM PES. I cannot decide which one will suit me better. My intentions are working with professional athletes mainly in the field of ice hockey, potentially football. I have completed a couple of EXOS courses plus am currently enrolled in a BSc Strength and Conditioning in Ireland. Am coming from Slovakia though. Could you please help me decide whether to go for ISSA or NASM.

        1. Hey Oskar,
          All of these are very good questions. If you are planning on doing training outside of the United States, I can’t be of as much help. The best options you have are to ask the potential employers or the places that you would like to work to see which certifications they accept and which ones they prefer. If you were planning on working here in the United States though, either one of these two certifications will be great for working with a wide variety of athletes such as football players as well as ice hockey players.

        2. Hey Tyler
          Thanks so much for this very informative piece. Question 1: do you recommend having a degree in sports science/exercise science/exercise kinesiology before going for these SnC Certs?
          Question 2: I am a certified personal trainer with a passion for strength training and SnC (from playing pro rugby before). Would you recommend I go after these Certs or do the time towards a degree first?
          Question 3: I live in Fiji so my options are very limited. There are no exercise courses of any kind here. I had to go to Australia for PT certification. Is ISSA the way to go?

          1. I recommend getting a kinesiology degree as well as one of these strength and conditioning certifications. In fact, most seniors in college start working towards their certification as they were finishing up college at least in the University of I went to. You can definitely get the certification from the international sports sciences Association online. Out of all of these though, the CSCS certification is definitely the most prestigious and you need to either be a college senior or have a bachelors degree already.

      7. We are looking to get some of our coaches at our school certified in strength and conditioning. What is the typical cost and time to complete this process? Any pointers wld be greatly appreciated.

        1. Hey Misti,
          It depends on how much experience your coaches have with strength and conditioning. Do they have a background in kinesiology or exercise science? I would say between 3 and 6 months should be a good amount of time. It really depends on how much time per day they have to study.

      8. Hi Tyler,

        I believe ISSA ssc has a level 2 certiciation option which requires a bachelor degree. This option is made in order to meet the regulations for NCAA. I also believe most professional sport teams will not accept strength coaches with just a NASM PES because it does not have the 4 year college degree reuqirement. Just my 2 cents. Thank you!

      9. Hey Tyler,

        I don’t think you need to hold a general CPT to sit for the SCCC through the CSCCa (not SCCCa).

        Thoughts?

        1. Hello Connor,
          this is a very good question if you do need a general personal training certification for this particular one. I will look into this for you and thanks for the comment.

      10. Hi tyler,
        Actually i m from india so i want to get certification from NSCA CSCS and i have bachelor (not related any sports field) so,is it possible to me get the certification from nsca cscs becoz i have’nt saw any person from india who is certified strength and conditioning specialist from nsca cscs and also i want to know the scope and the career of cscs in this field..
        Can u please explain me..
        Thank you

        1. Hey Jabbi,
          You do not need a four year degree in exercise science in order to take the CSCS certification. You only need a four year degree in any concentration so you should be okay in terms of the prerequisites. In terms of whether or not the CSCS is accepted or whether or not you can take the exam in India is another question that I cannot answer. You will have to contact NSCA for that information. I hope this helps.

      11. Please clarify me, which is better nasm pes or issa strength and conditioning certification . I am a certified personal trainer from NASM and fitness nutrition specialist from ACE.

      12. Hi Tyler

        Thanks for the post Tyler. I was talking to one of the gym trainers who wants to become S&C certified and so I thought i would look up some info so this was quite helpful. Being from New Zealand I didn’t even know that all these were available.

        I completed the CSCS cert and also have to say that it was one of the hardest tests I have ever done. My brain was “fried” after finishing it.

        From my experience a few things I would recommend
        * buying mock exam papers – as I wasn’t prepared for the type of question in the assessment, I feel this made it more difficult for me. My experience helped me through the questions, though not being prepared contributed to my brain being fried.
        * Familiarising with the sports played in the Northern Hemisphere and measurements (such as lbs and Kg etc this measurement was not a real issue) and some questions referred to players positions e.g. American Football of which I don’t follow.
        * If you are fresh out of College/Uni or near completing a Sports/Exercise type degree and CSCS is not offered, do the assessment then, when the content is still fresh. It will help with all the extra info, the type of info that you don’t use daily and tend to forget once you are in the field.

        Just an aside, I did the assessment in New Zealand and you mention you have to be in the US to do it. You may be right as the ruling may have changed but it wasn’t so in 2014.

        Thanks again for the post

        1. Hey Charlie,
          I definitely know what you are saying. The CSCS Is by far one of the hardest personal training certifications in the industry. And I definitely know what you were talking about when you were saying that your brain is fried from all the studying. That is how I felt as well after going through the material. Thanks for all the tips and tricks you have in terms of the exam papers, familiarizing yourself with the North American Sports and taking the test right after you complete your exercise science °. These are all valid points.

      13. hi tyler, so I have some background in strength and conditioning and have done some internships. If I only wanna train athletes is issa the way to go

        1. Hey Daniel,
          The international sports Sciences Association is definitely a good certifying agency. But, the most recognized strength and conditioning certification is the NSCA CSCS. The only thing is that you are required to have a four-year degree before you can even take the exam. If you do not have this, I highly suggest going with ISSA.

      14. Prerequisites for the PES. Silly question: I have a bachelor in Business Administration, do I need to do any PT course first?

        Many thanks!

      15. How respected is having a Master trainer certification which means one has to be certified as a; personal trainer, nutritionist, sport nutrition, bodybuilding, corrective exercise, exercise therapy and a strength and condition that is a level ll (must have a college degree in related field). This is issued through ISSA.

        1. Hey Kenneth,
          a lot of employers respect their personal trainers to have multiple personal training certifications such as those that are a master trainer. Also, on top of the recognition, you will simply have a lot more knowledge and be a lot more helpful to your clients when they are trying to reach their goals. You will be a much better trainer for this overall. Good luck with your personal training career.

      16. I don’t see any indication that you have to live within the United States to obtain the NSCA-CSCS degree. I also checked their website and there is no indication that you have to live within the US.
        Could it be that your info is outdated?

      17. Linlee I Richardson

        If I get my personal trainer cert through NASM can I take the CSCS for strength and conditioning or do I have to go to a 4-year college to test for the CSCS? I am currently enrolled in a university that had an AT program but they are now closing that degree down. I was supposed to graduate with my M.S. in AT with an emphasis on Strength and Conditioning but because of the program closing, I’m trying to figure out what would be best to do. Should I get my B.S. in S.C. or should I test for the NASM for Personal Trainer and Nutrition and then can I test for the CSCS? Any information would help. Thank you.

        1. In order to take the CSCS you do need to have a four-year degree. They used to be the case that you needed a degree in a health-related field, but currently, you do not. I have heard rumors that they are going to change back to needing a health-related degree in order to take it.

      18. Hello Tyler,
        Thank you for the informative tips. I have been researching a SCC a lot with the down time lately and usually always find myself referencing back to your site as you have answered some questions I have had. Today’s question is this. As I stated before I currently only have an asosciates degree in communications. I spoke with NCSF and I can currently take their course/exam with my current degree. Can you recomend any other strength and conditioning coach cert to look into while only holding an AA?
        Thanks again, Ryan

      19. I am a physical education instructor at a high school. I am looking to revamp the weight training curriculum and just want to make sure I am as knowledgeable as possible. Would the ISSA be suitable for this?

        I only ask as I like the idea of a lot of online materials to prepare for the examination.

        1. I definitely think that the international sports Sciences Association certification is good for what you were trying to do. Especially if you combine it with their strength and conditioning certification.

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