Last updated on November 29th, 2023.
Like all other types of coaches you’ve probably heard about, strength and conditioning coaches have their place in the industry. These days, a regular team coach realizes the need for a strength and conditioning coach to help their athletes achieve the strength and agility they need for a specific sport. Strength and conditioning coaches are great at realizing the needs of particular athletes depending on their sports and helping them prosper in that aspect. Every sport needs certain conditioning in an athlete to become better, stronger, and faster.
Considering the rise in the need for strength and conditioning coaches in the industry, there are even online courses one can pursue to help them learn how to be such a coach. Getting your strength and conditioning coach certification online is the easiest way to learn more, acquire knowledge, and even get a certification to show for your studies and achievements. Even though the practice is another part of the practice, having a good certification as a strength and sonditioning coach is great for getting started in the industry. Sometimes, even with lots of practice, employers want to see specific credentials to ensure that their athletes are in the best hands.
What is strength and conditioning coaching?
Strength and conditioning coaches are similar to fitness coaches in one aspect, which is that they help athletes improve their fitness. However, these vary in one aspect, which is that they focus on improving an athlete’s performance in a specific sport, that’s why they mostly work closely with athletes. A strength and conditioning coach has two roles. The first one is to ensure that they improve an athlete’s power, strength, and speed. These goals vary depending on the kind of sport an athlete is performing. strength and conditioning coaches work hard to develop a training program for individual athletes or even teams.
They work closely with the team or athletes’ coach too. They teach proper lifting techniques and supervise the athletes as they work out, encouraging them and giving them pointers. They assess their progress before and after the said programs. During off-seasons, their programs are rigorous as they work to build more strength and endurance, depending on the sport. But when it’s their performing season, the coach works on creating a program to maintain the athletes’ conditioning rather than improving it.
Strength and conditioning coaches have different programs for athletes depending on their sport and position. The second role is to reduce an athlete’s susceptibility to injury. To do this, a strength and conditioning coach often builds a regimen that will help an athlete strengthen body parts prone to injury depending on the sport they play. Even though building strength and conditioning are great, having an athlete prone to injury isn’t the best deal. To prevent athletes from getting injured easily, a strength and conditioning coach builds a program that contains exercise and lifting techniques to help athletes strengthen those body parts that they could easily injure when playing. They also monitor an athlete’s general health and give them nutritional advice to help them. They can sometimes even get help from a dietician to help them provide excellent advice to their athletes and ensure they are in their best health.
How hard is it to get strength and conditioning certified?
How hard it is to become Strength and Conditioning certified solely depends on you. Depending on the institution you choose, it takes between three to nine months of study to become certified in strength and conditioning. The exam you’ll be required to partake in will mostly cover these two topics, scientific foundations (exercise science, nutrition, and psychology) and practical/applied content (exercise technique, programming, testing, and administration). Also, to get certified by NCSA, you must either be enrolled to earn your bachelor’s degree or already have one. If enrolled in college, you must at least be a senior. You must also have a current CPR/AED certification if you want an NCSA certification.
It is if you’re looking for the answer to whether the exam is challenging. The Strength and Conditioning coach exam is harder than most other coaching or personal training exams. The pass rate for these exams was 58% in 2018, but it rose to 63% in 2019. The pass rate for this exam was 78% in 2018. So, to pass the exam and become a Strength and Conditioning coach, you must study hard to pass, at least on the first try.
What certifications does a strength and conditioning coach need?
Before you even get your Strength and Conditioning coach certification, you must first have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. It could be in something relevant like Kinesiology and Exercise Science or something similar that will help you in this career path. To become a strength and conditioning coach, your CSCS certification must be certified by the NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association) or CSCCa (Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association). Having certification from either helps you get a job easily. If you would like to add more, getting certifications like the USA Weightlifting Coach (USAW) certification may help boost your certification.
Even though getting these seems easy, coaches are advised to further their experience through an internship or a graduate assistant program. If you choose to take up a graduate assistant program, you can typically receive paid tuition for their master’s program and even a stipend to cover your food and housing.
The 5 Best Strength and Conditioning Coach Certifications Online
1. ISSA Strength & Conditioning Certification
This ISSA training gives coaches tools to help ensure their clients reach peak performance. You will learn body composition, anatomy, and how moving affects your energy and performance. You will gain tools to help your clients build unbelievable strength, endurance, power, and speed. You will learn how to apply the principles of body mechanics, metabolism, and anatomy to help athletes reach their optimal performance. You will learn how to communicate exercise instructions to benefit your clients properly. This program will also enable you to develop tools to build your client’s fitness program that will help them increase endurance, power, strength, and speed.
As you learn the principles of nutrition and supplementation, you will also know how to apply this to individual clients. This program also ensures that you learn about body mechanics and structure and how they influence each other when it comes to performance. It will also help you notice when you’re overtraining and stop to prevent injury. With the purchase of this program comes a Strength and Conditioning book containing everything you need to learn. ISSA offers NCCPT exams that are NCCA accredited. This ISSA certification is 100% online and provides a suitable payment method where you can pay monthly for 12 months. This payment plan allows everyone to join the program and earn certification while paying at a favorable rate.
2. Certified Strength And Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by NSCA
NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association) offers the CSCS exam in five foreign languages, which are Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish, benefiting more individuals who would love to become coaches. What makes NSCA stand out from the crowd is the fact that they’re the longest-standing certifying agency. The entire entity bases itself on furthering research and education in fitness, sport science, and health. This non-profit organization was founded in 1978.
To sign up for a CSCS course by NSCA, you must have a bachelor’s degree in sport science or any related program. Having a bachelor’s degree determines your entry into this course.
3. Certified Strength Coach by NCSF
This NSCF program will help you develop the knowledge and skills to enhance human performance effectively. This certification you’ll earn is also NATA-BOC approved, which means you’ll gain 80 CEUs if you’re a Certified Athletics Trainer. This program also meets all the NCAA recommendations for strength and training coaches. You can pursue bundle certifications like strength, coach, and sports nutrition or personal trainer and strength coach. Choosing such programs adds benefits because you get two certifications that will help boost each other.
NCSF certified strength coach program exceeds all other certifications in developing relevant competencies for promoting human performance. The institution brings together proven practice-based instruction and cutting-edge research to prepare learners to be experts in the field of strength and conditioning. By earning this certification from NCSF, you’ll meet the NCAA’s recommended standard to work in universities, colleges, and other environments.
4. Strength and Conditioning Bundle by NASM
NASM has been certifying and educating fitness professionals for over 30 years, making them among the best in the industry. This certification will equip you with tools to help coach athletes, whether professional or amateur. This program will give you the tools to build a solid fitness foundation for your clients and prevent injuries. You will have tools to create corrective exercises for faulty movement. With such a stable base, you’ll be able to work with any athlete, regardless of athletic ability or fitness.
NASM offers this course by itself and even as a bundle. Taking this bundle of courses instead of one will save you lots of money and time. They both work hand in hand to boost the other.
5. Strength and Conditioning Certification by AFPA
AFPA offers this strength and conditioning certification that leads to education and resistance training. You will learn how to design custom programs and conditioning systems and teach proper performance to maximize results. The course is designed using science-based resistance training. Purchasing the course, all the workbooks, ebooks, and course materials will be included for your benefit.
AFPA has payment plans for three, six, and twelve months. You don’t have to break the bank to earn a certification. The institution also highly recommends having a personal training certification to join the course. To pass the exams, you need to get at least 85% to pass.
What degree is best for a strength and conditioning coach?
The above certifications are the best for strength and conditioning coaching. You can choose whichever one of the above that you feel suits your needs and pursue it. The five best strength conditioning coach certifications online are listed above and explained in detail to your benefit. If you’re interested in weightlifting and/or fitness and in becoming a strength and conditioning coach, then you’ll benefit from studying any of these.