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Advice: Want to Get My CSCS

Here’s the deal. I did the college thing and got my bachelor’s degree in journalism (focus on public relations).

After some bad experiences I’ve realized that field isn’t for me and I want to go back to school for something exercise related. I was particularly interested in a CSCS degree because I want to get into the athletic performance field, maybe some personal training.

For people that have this degree, how long does it usually take and what advice would you give to someone not coming from a kinesiolgy or exercise science field on how to prepare for this?

[quote]Dre Cappa wrote:
Here’s the deal. I did the college thing and got my bachelor’s degree in journalism (focus on public relations).

After some bad experiences I’ve realized that field isn’t for me and I want to go back to school for something exercise related. I was particularly interested in a CSCS degree because I want to get into the athletic performance field, maybe some personal training.

For people that have this degree, how long does it usually take and what advice would you give to someone not coming from a kinesiolgy or exercise science field on how to prepare for this?[/quote]

Dre,
The Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) is not a degree, but rather an advanced - likely, the most advanced - strength coach certification available. In fact, it was the 1st certification to receive national accredidation, and still remains, in my somewhat bias opinion, the best certification to obtain. For more information, go to www.nsca-lift.org. The NSCA (National Strength & Conditioning Association) is the parent association of the CSCS, though the organization established what they call the Certification Commission as a seperate entity, currently headed-up by Thomas Baechle, EdD, though in his forthcoming retirement, Roger Earle will soon take over.

Is an Awesome organization to get involved in if you’re seriously interested in the field of strength training and conditioning. Granted, I’m sure others would say the same about NASM, ACE, etc, etc, but really there is no comparison.

Yes, you do need an undergraduate degree in a related field to sit for the CSCS exam, thus, if you’re solely interested in personal training, the NSCA has an equally nationally accredited NSCA-CPT (Certified Personal Trainer) that, if I recall, requires only that you hold a bachelors degree. Is an excellent exam - I’m a bit biased; I helped w/ the redesign of the test criteria in 2001-2002.

Go to the NSCA website to get more information. If you’re still looking some extra advice, don’t hesitate to send me a PM. - Chris Lockwood,MS,CSCS,PhD Candidate-University of Oklahoma

[quote]Lockwood wrote:

Yes, you do need an undergraduate degree in a related field to sit for the CSCS exam, thus, if you’re solely interested in personal training, the NSCA has an equally nationally accredited NSCA-CPT (Certified Personal Trainer) that, if I recall, requires only that you hold a bachelors degree. Is an excellent exam - I’m a bit biased; I helped w/ the redesign of the test criteria in 2001-2002.

[/quote]

Just checked out the site, and you just need any type of BA/BS for CSCS and a high school diploma for the NSCA-PT. So, you don’t necessarily need to go back to school.

If anything, you could bring a different and perhaps valuable mindset compared to the many job applicants with kinesiology degrees, and you could play up your hunger for any position (i.e. risked a steady job in your field for the nagging feeling that you should pursue the job that you’re passionate about).

I’ve looked at the CSCS requirements, and I don’t think you need a degree in an exercise related field:

Prerequisites
Registrants must submit an original, official transcript of their academic work, showing attainment of at least a bachelor?s degree (BS/BA) or chiropractic medicine degree granted by an accredited institution. College seniors can also take the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist exam; however, they must be currently enrolled in an accredited institution.* For college seniors, the NSCA Certification Commission will not release exam scores until transcripts verifying graduation and noting the degree earned have been received.**

  • Within the United States: To be eligible to take the CSCS examination, candidates must hold at a bachelor’s degree or currently be enrolled as a college senior from an institution that is accredited by one of the six regional accrediting associations (e.g., North Central Association of Colleges and Schools).

If you want to work in the fitness industry as a strength coach/performance enhancement coach, the bst thing to do is do your research, train people ( and yourself) and produce results.

In the real world, years f experience and producing results will weigh more than any certification out there. Though I have nothing against certifications, It pisses the hell out of me when people who have these certifications develop a god-like complex even if they have never produced any results whatsoever.

In fact, the Head of the NCSA had a sociology degree and a lot of experience in training people when he founded the org. Louie Simmons and Dan John are two other coaches that aren’t certified by ny organization yet they are on the top of the list when it comes to having a good coach.

Further, the gym where you apply for will determine or not whether they would recognize the certification or not. Eastern Europe desn’t have any certification, yet thier coaches are always being taken by foreign countires namely the US for their training experience and knowledge.

[quote]Konstantine wrote:
In the real world, years f experience and producing results will weigh more than any certification out there.
[/quote]

While that IS true, a lot of times people still need to see that piece of paper. This is especially true if you work with kids; some parents are impressed by just about everything BESIDES your results and experience.

Dre Cappa wrote:

For people that have this degree, how long does it usually take and what advice would you give to someone not coming from a kinesiolgy or exercise science field on how to prepare for this?

Hey Dre,

I took CSCS last summer at one of the international exams in London, England.

You don’t need to have a degree in related field - My degree was in Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

I went from “nothing” to sitting (and passing) the exam in about 8 weeks - For that I did a couple of hours study a day.

Now, when I say “nothing” for my knowledge, it wasn’t exactly a cold start. I’ve been fascinated with all aspects of strength, coditioning nutrition etc. all my life, have spent a lot of time in the company of sports coaches and physios, and have avidly read T-Nation since early 2000.

Please also bear in mind that also I have a very good ability to memorise passages of text, which helps me in written exams :slight_smile:

Having taken it, I think CSCS is a great “overview” of a lot of topics. I found it to be too shallow in some areas, but looking back on it - that’s not what it’s for. It gives you just enough to stand our ground and figure out what’s going on.

I found the audio CDs to be excellent, the anecdotes from the speakers really ties the material back into the real world - makes you realise what it is that you’re doing it for.

Finally, a memorisation and good understanding of Flloyd’s “Manual of Structural Kinesiology” will make you the most intuative trainer. Once you understand how everything is connected you can understand how to fix it. (Make sure you get the latest edition though as it’s been updated.)

I hope that helps?

[quote]jtrinsey wrote:
Konstantine wrote:
In the real world, years f experience and producing results will weigh more than any certification out there.

While that IS true, a lot of times people still need to see that piece of paper. This is especially true if you work with kids; some parents are impressed by just about everything BESIDES your results and experience.
[/quote]

You also have to consider that more often than not, we are talking about strength coaches and not a teacher for kids…

First thing that a person looks for in a strength coach is client portfolio and years of experience more than any certification. From the people I’ve met, they show their client portfolio and talk about their years of experience first, and if ever they are certified, they briefly state which certificates they took…

But as mentioned previously, it is still the gym that would determine if they would recognize the certification or not . In some countries, an ACE certification is looked on in high regard, and a CSCS or even a master’s degree in physiology or kinesiology is not given that much regard.