I'm graduating from high school in two days, so I figured it'd be a good time to get some information from people who have been there and done that. I won't be 18 until the end of the summer, but I figured I would study for my NSCA certification over the summer so I can get it right off the bat before I even start college. I'd like to work at the gym at the college I'm going to as a physical trainer in my off time. I'm going to study at the University of West Florida in Exercise Science for 2-4 years (depending on how long it takes to get the degree) before heading to a reputable college for physiology or some other field that grasps my interest at the time.
1) Do any text books come recommended for studying for NSCA certification?
2) What colleges are well known for their M.D. Physiology program?
3) Any general tips or do's and don'ts for going into this sort of field.
Obviously learn as much as you can from reputable sources.
Beyond that, volunteer your time to work with the strength coach(es) at your school. If you can make it an internship, even better. You'll learn a ton plus you'll develop relationships that will help you in the future. Access to good jobs has a lot to do with who you know and recommendations. If you get a chance to go to graduate school, do the same thing. I have two friends who interned with a strength coach while in grad school (big time school). One now runs a quality training center and the other is the head basketball strength coach for a pretty successful D1 men's program (if back to back National Championships qualify as "pretty successful").
Take the initiative to develop your knowledge and reputation.
Flow, are you talking about getting you're CSCS or the NSCA-CPT. I have both. I'm sure they don't let you take the CSCS unless you're at least a senior in college. Pretty sure the CPT is the same. Took the CSCS about a month before I graduated, and the CPT about 4 months later. They both have different text books for the exam. Cost about $65 each. A lot of the info in it's the same. All you need is the text book to pass.
Like the other guy said volunteer with other strength programs, and try and get a job in the same field. Personal training is nice, but training a fat out of shape woman in her 40's is kinda of different than training athletes. I also recomend finding someone who's training is different than yours, it will really open your eyes to different methodologies and you'll find that lots of things work, it's just a question of finding what's best for that athlete/team. I volunteered at Louisville and I learned more in 11 months than all my schooling and all the books and artcles I've read.