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Has anyone taken either of these courses? If so, what is your opinion? I am considering both of them, trying to narrow it down.

Thanks in advance.


The CSCS is historically the most recognized certification in the strength and conditioning field; although, obtaining it is as simple as passing a rather long multiple choice test (unless they've changed it since I took it over a decade ago). The thing to consider is that you must have at least a bachelor's degree to obtain this certification. The NSCA will let you sit for the exam in your last year of college, but you will not become CSCS until you pass the exam and provide proof of graduation.

What is your career goal?

Overall, I would recommend that you obtain the CSCS if you desire to be a strength coach at the collegiate level or above, as this is generally considered a requirement to even apply for these types of jobs. However, previous experience is as important, if not more important, than a certification.

I'm not familiar with the NASM-PES as this organization was not in existence when I obtained my certs.


Gatordoc, thanks for the info.

The main goal - long term - is to open a sports performance facility here in Denver focusing on high school and college athletes looking to improve their performance. We've got a general game plan in place, and I'm thinking the CSCS certification would be the best bet for my goals, and as you said, the key is to understand that learning never stops - i.e. experience is more important than a certification.

Moving forward, I'm going to do some more research on the PES and decide if it would be a worthwhile investment that would benefit my athletes, so I will for sure post my findings for anyone that happens to stumble across this forum.

How long have you been in the fitness industry?


CSCS is considered the gold standard in the industry. Though it has a strength and conditioning focus, CSCS pros are adept to work with all populations. The NSCA also does a great job providing cutting edge research based training publications and a worldwide lecture/forum schedule with top fitness and medical professionals. Their exam consists of two sections, theoretical multiple choice and a practical section, consisting of macronutrients calculations, and exercise video critiques. A bachelors degree in any field is required. Would be nice if it was limited to exercise science. I believe it has a 60% pass rate. Whether you get certified or not, ,their Strength and Conditioning Journal, included with membeship, is an awesome resource. Many of the lectures i attend seem to cater towards NSCA in terms of CEU credits.

NASM is recognized for its corrective exercise focus. You do not need a bachelors degree. I am not familiar with their publications.


Great info, thank you.


In my previous life, I ran a strength and conditioning program similar to what it sounds like you are developing. We primarily trained high school/collegiate athletes and occasionally worked with professional athletes. We had the benefit of teaming with a professional sports organization, so name recognition was easy for us to develop; although, the CSCS was also a strong selling point. It was a rewarding and fun career for the several years that I was involved, I wish you the best of luck.

Now, I focus solely on university teaching and research related to the augmentation of skeletal muscle mass and bone mineral density.


Sort of old thread, but I figured this would be the best place to ask instead of creating a new post. So I'm thinking about getting first NSCA-CPT, while I'm working on my bachelor's for Exercise Science, then after go for the CSCS one. I'm just looking through the website's material and wondering what would be the most helpful? I rather not buy extra stuff and save the money if I can, any recommendation's would be great, recent or old is fine. /hijack thread lol sorry dude.


I'm in the process of studying for the CSCS, so I can only speak from my experience, but really I guess it would depend on what your end goal is. If you'd rather worth with athletes, the CSCS is the way to go. If you would rather be a personal trainer, the CPT will do you just fine. But keep in mind that a certification is a piece of paper that says you spent a shit ton of money to get a piece of paper :slight_smile: The learning never stops there. Good luck.


Yeah, I keep hearing experience > where you got certified from. For now I'll get the CPT, I need to start earning that experience before I can start working with athletes. Was just wondering what material will suffice for the CPT, I'm working part-time/full time student (read: cheap bastard atm) seeing as how there's a crapload of material on the nsca website for sale.