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CPT vs. CSCS

Hey guys,

I’m curious regarding the various certifications available in the field of Sports Medicine. I’ve recently graduated with a degree in Exercise Physiology (Kinesiology) and am looking for a worth-while certification that will provide me with a feasible income through the summer (and maybe into the fall). I may be heading to medical school in the fall but am in the process of deciding whether I should take a year off.

Currently I’m debating between NSCA/ACSM certifications or more specifically, CSCS vs. CPT. I have read about the differences between these two in terms of their scope, however I’m looking for your personal opinions. Is it worth spending the extra time to get the CSCS? Or would it be easier to get some free-lance work with the CPT?

If anyone can provide a side-by-side comparison of the two, I’d really appreciate it. Also, how about ACSM vs. NSCA? Which is more respectable (I’m leaning towards ACSM) and which would it be better to get a certification through?

Thanks!

If you plan on working with athletes the CSCS is the way to go.

If you want to focus on general public then CPT will serve you fine and will get your foot in the door.

ACSM and NSCA are equally accepted in the fitness industry.

I would say either would be fine.

Your average client will not the difference anyways.

They are both NSCA.

The CSCS requires a Bachelors or I think Masters in the field to even qualify for the title, a CPT does not. Also, CSCS is the only recognition you can suffix in the PhysED field. Ex. Joe Schmo, MS., CSCS.

the CSCS or ACSM require a 4 yr degree, but it does not have to be in the health & fitness field.

Great info guys! Having an Exercise Science background, is the CSCS exam something that I can prepare for in 1-2 weeks? Any suggested study materials?

Also, I noticed that the ACSM CPT exam is much cheaper than the NSCA PCT (or CSCS) exams – perhaps this would be a better way to go?

I’m really just trying to think ahead. If I head off to medical school, which would be the more valuable certification to have as a practicing physician (e.g. Sports Medicine)?

Also, which could provide a greater income during the summer (and possibly into the fall )?

Thanks again!

Neither cert will guarantee a greater income, simply because certifications don’t bring in clientelle.

In that case, which is more worthwhile?

The CSCS (one I’m leaning towards) looks like it requires quite a bit more effort than the CPT, but seems to be the more respectable certification.

Alternatively, the CPT through the ACSM is much cheaper and could get me on my feet quicker.

I’m really just looking for some opinions on this matter.

Dude, just get your CSCS. It’s your all access pass to personal training, athletic training, and management jobs. You may as well take advantage of it now before they require a 4 year degree in a fitness related field. Currently, you just need a 4 year degree. I’m going to get mine this summer. It’s hard work, lots to learn, but will pay back for a lifetime.

Jehovasfitness, you certainly can demand higher rates for a CSCS…over an ACE or ISSA cert. You have the credentials to train NFL athletes with your CSCS, so you can bet (if you market yourself properly) that you can get more $ from the average joe. Certs don’t bring in more clientele, but they do give you the right to charge higher rates when you do get clients in your hands.

Training 10-14 clients/week is full time work. It’s not hard to get that many clients. Been there, done that. So the important part is how much you charge per session. 10 x $50 is a lot different than 10 x $100. Your CSCS can provide justification for that difference.

Dude, the CSCS preparation is much more than 1-2 weeks. LOL

[quote]sumgai wrote:
Dude, just get your CSCS. It’s your all access pass to personal training, athletic training, and management jobs. You may as well take advantage of it now before they require a 4 year degree in a fitness related field. Currently, you just need a 4 year degree. I’m going to get mine this summer. It’s hard work, lots to learn, but will pay back for a lifetime.

Jehovasfitness, you certainly can demand higher rates for a CSCS…over an ACE or ISSA cert. You have the credentials to train NFL athletes with your CSCS, so you can bet (if you market yourself properly) that you can get more $ from the average joe. Certs don’t bring in more clientele, but they do give you the right to charge higher rates when you do get clients in your hands.

Training 10-14 clients/week is full time work. It’s not hard to get that many clients. Been there, done that. So the important part is how much you charge per session. 10 x $50 is a lot different than 10 x $100. Your CSCS can provide justification for that difference.

Dude, the CSCS preparation is much more than 1-2 weeks. LOL
[/quote]

You think it’ll take more than 2 weeks to prepare for? I just graduated with a degree in Exercise Science (Kinesiology), so I figured I could just review some CSCS study materials for a week or two and be ready to go. I’ve taken the MCAT before and figure this couldn’t be more difficult. Am I wrong here?

Just because you demand higher rates doesn’t mean people will pay. I don’t think anyone new to the field can get $50 much less $100. I started out charging $30.

It doesn’t matter what letters you have behind your name if the client doesn’t care. If you know your shit and get results, you can charge more.

Another overlooked aspect of pay is location. I guarantee I could charge more if I were in, say, south Florida or Cali.

And yes, I would say prep for the CSCS is closer to 1-2 months.

I agree mahwah, but also to the previous poster.
You can probably train at “higher level” clubs with the CSCS, or be at a higher tier pay wise with it over ACE for example.

But most places will require experience over certification regardless.

Needless to say just get the CSCS and be done with it.

[quote]shred22 wrote:
sumgai wrote:
Dude, just get your CSCS. It’s your all access pass to personal training, athletic training, and management jobs. You may as well take advantage of it now before they require a 4 year degree in a fitness related field. Currently, you just need a 4 year degree. I’m going to get mine this summer. It’s hard work, lots to learn, but will pay back for a lifetime.

Jehovasfitness, you certainly can demand higher rates for a CSCS…over an ACE or ISSA cert. You have the credentials to train NFL athletes with your CSCS, so you can bet (if you market yourself properly) that you can get more $ from the average joe. Certs don’t bring in more clientele, but they do give you the right to charge higher rates when you do get clients in your hands.

Training 10-14 clients/week is full time work. It’s not hard to get that many clients. Been there, done that. So the important part is how much you charge per session. 10 x $50 is a lot different than 10 x $100. Your CSCS can provide justification for that difference.

Dude, the CSCS preparation is much more than 1-2 weeks. LOL

You think it’ll take more than 2 weeks to prepare for? I just graduated with a degree in Exercise Science (Kinesiology), so I figured I could just review some CSCS study materials for a week or two and be ready to go. I’ve taken the MCAT before and figure this couldn’t be more difficult. Am I wrong here?
[/quote]

that depends on a lot of factors.

If you’re a bookworm and remember stuff easily you’ll be fine. if you struggle with stuff this maybe it will be tougher.

I just wish I took it right after I graduated after taking a Class based on the book.

[quote]jehovasfitness wrote:
shred22 wrote:
sumgai wrote:
Dude, just get your CSCS. It’s your all access pass to personal training, athletic training, and management jobs. You may as well take advantage of it now before they require a 4 year degree in a fitness related field. Currently, you just need a 4 year degree. I’m going to get mine this summer. It’s hard work, lots to learn, but will pay back for a lifetime.

Jehovasfitness, you certainly can demand higher rates for a CSCS…over an ACE or ISSA cert. You have the credentials to train NFL athletes with your CSCS, so you can bet (if you market yourself properly) that you can get more $ from the average joe. Certs don’t bring in more clientele, but they do give you the right to charge higher rates when you do get clients in your hands.

Training 10-14 clients/week is full time work. It’s not hard to get that many clients. Been there, done that. So the important part is how much you charge per session. 10 x $50 is a lot different than 10 x $100. Your CSCS can provide justification for that difference.

Dude, the CSCS preparation is much more than 1-2 weeks. LOL

You think it’ll take more than 2 weeks to prepare for? I just graduated with a degree in Exercise Science (Kinesiology), so I figured I could just review some CSCS study materials for a week or two and be ready to go. I’ve taken the MCAT before and figure this couldn’t be more difficult. Am I wrong here?

that depends on a lot of factors.

If you’re a bookworm and remember stuff easily you’ll be fine. if you struggle with stuff this maybe it will be tougher.

I just wish I took it right after I graduated after taking a Class based on the book.
[/quote]

Do you (or do you know of anyone) who has any of the CSCS study materials? They’re pretty expensive, so I’d be looking to buy some used materials if I can find any.

And, anyone have any tips regarding studying for and taking the CSCS exam?

you could always check ebay.

I’ll ask a trainer at work tomorrow if he still has his stuff (and what it consists of), and if he wants to sell it.

[quote]jehovasfitness wrote:
you could always check ebay.

I’ll ask a trainer at work tomorrow if he still has his stuff (and
what it consists of), and if he wants to sell it.[/quote]

Great – thanks a lot man! Any chance you could get me into contact with him? It would be a big help to talk to someone with a CSCS regarding the certification. I’ll PM you my email.

I have all of the materials. It doesn’t cost an arm or a leg. Just buy the Essentials text ($60 or so) and get some exam prep stuff from www.exerciseetc.com (another $50 or so).

[quote]sumgai wrote:
I have all of the materials. It doesn’t cost an arm or a leg. Just buy the Essentials text ($60 or so) and get some exam prep stuff from www.exerciseetc.com (another $50 or so).[/quote]

Would you be willing to sell any of your materials? Also, what are your thoughts on the exam? About how much preparation should it take? Thanks!

[quote]shred22 wrote:
sumgai wrote:
I have all of the materials. It doesn’t cost an arm or a leg. Just buy the Essentials text ($60 or so) and get some exam prep stuff from www.exerciseetc.com (another $50 or so).

Would you be willing to sell any of your materials? Also, what are your thoughts on the exam? About how much preparation should it take? Thanks!

[/quote]

Sorry, my materials aren’t for sale. My gosh, if you can’t afford $150 or so for study materials I don’t know what to say. That’s nothing dude. Borrow the money and train the lender for free for 3 months. Find a way to get it.

Length of study term really depends on where you’re at right now. Buy the exam prep example test questions and that will tell you how much you have to study up. Even if you just graduated in kinesiology, you might be a bad test taker and have to up your skills there. I can’t tell you how much prep you will need.

sumgai, if this guy just graduated, he may have student loans out the wazoo, and maybe no job.
$150 may not sound like much, but when you’re a recent grad, and even considering med school, money can be tight.

Any updates?