T Nation

Anyone a NCSA -CSCS?


#1

What is the opinion on the NCSA Certified Strength & Conditining Specialist Certification?

I would really like to be a Strength & Conditioning Coach.

I requires a bachelors degree to sit for the exam.

Should I get a Bachelors in Athletic Training or in Health/Fitness?


#2

Federov91,
Pursuing a Bachelor's degree in the Exercise Science/Kinesiology field is a good place to start, if you want to be a strength and conditioning coach.

There is a BIG difference between the curriculum in an Athletic Training program vs. Fitness/Wellness. Either one would be a good place to start, but evaluate the required classes and time commitment in those majors before pursuing them.

Passing the CSCS exam is also a step in the right direction when wanting to be a S&C coach, but it in no way guarantees you a job.

What level S&C coach would you like to be? Self-employed, High School, College, Professional? Wherever you would like to work, it would be a good idea to do some volunteer work or an internship with your University Athletic Program. You probably won't get paid, but the experience and the contacts you make will be invaluable when pursuing future jobs. It also looks good on a resume if you actually have work experience (even volunteer experience) with collegiate athletics.

I hope that helped a little. If you'd like any more information you can PM me.


#3

I have a CSCS and my opinion of the test is this:

It's a fairly difficult test, but if you study their material you should pass both sections on your first try. A lot of people don't pass both at once though. That was apparent because when I took the test there were many people that took one section but not the other, so you could tell that they had already passed one part but needed to make up the other.

I took the test about 8 years ago and even at that time, I thought that some of the material was out of date. I have no idea if they've updated the test or not. Hopefully they have, but in any event you need to take it if you really want to be an S&C coach as many coaches passed that exam.

In regard to your degree, you need a Kinesiology degree or an exercise science degree. An athletic trainer degree will train you for dealing with injuries, while a health/fitness type degree will sometimes be looked down upon by coaches as fitness is really a different field.

The most important things you will need are experience and contacts. So you must volunteer as an intern in your schools strength and conditioning department and do a great job. While you're at it try to go to as many seminars and conferences that you can and make as many contacts as possible. It's a very insular field and even when jobs look like they're open, the people doing the hiring usually have someone in mind to take the job before the position is even advertised.

Hope that helps.


#4

I'm going for the CSCS exam after I finish this BSc Kinesiology at the U of Alberta.


#5

I held a CSCS for about three years after college. Then I let it run out, I couldnt see the point of Paying for it anymore. Having the letters after your name wont make you a good S&C coach (although it may help you land your first job)

I thought the test was fairly simple, at the time I was a senior in college so the info was all fresh. I also agree that much of the info was outdated. This was 7 years ago.

In your situation, go for the Athletic Training and sit for both the ATC and the CSCS. This will give you more oppertunities to get employment, especially at the HS level since most schools will have you pull double duty as both anyway. It's not uncommon in this area for schools to "lease" a trainer from a sports clinic also. This way you will get both clinical and on site experiance.

Good luck.


#6

the NSCA changed the rule a few years ago, any degree with all you to test for the CSCS


#7

Fedorov,

I have my degree in Kinesiology from PSU, with a Movement Science emphasis, which relates a lot better to athletics and training than an Athletic Training emphasis, which spends a ton of time on injury rehab and the such. Also, the athletic training emphasis majors had to use their big internship with a sports team on campus, where pretty much all they did was tape ankles for 6 months, not really that beneficial in my mind.

Either way, the base of a Kinesiology degree is definitely the way to start in my opinion, and CSCS is probably one of the only certifications I deem worthy of possessing. I also have NASM, but find CSCS far more relevant to being a strength coach, if that's the route you're headed...


#8

I've had my CSCS since 1997. the CSCS is the "gold standard" for strength and conditioning certifications. That being said, I consider the CSCS only a starting point as it represents only the minimum requirements for a strength and conditioning coach. There is no substitute for practical experience and continuing education.