Strength and Conditioning Coaches


Education and Training Requirements

High School

To prepare for this career, take courses in human physiology, exercise science, biology, psychology, and health in high school. Courses in English and speech will help develop communication skills.

Postsecondary Training

Strength and conditioning coaches have a variety of educational backgrounds. Most earn a bachelor's degree in physical education, kinesiology, exercise physiology, or a related area. The National Strength and Conditioning Association recognizes collegiate strength and conditioning or sport performance programs that have met educational guidelines established by the association. Visit for a list of recognized programs. Some top employers may require strength and conditioning coaches to have a master's degree.

Other Education or Training

Participating in continuing education (CE) classes is a great way to keep skills up to date and learn about new developments in the field; CE credits are also required to renew one’s certification. The Collegiate Strength & Conditioning Coaches Association offers CE clinics and workshops at its annual conference. Past offerings included "Secrets to Success in Strength Training," "Protecting the Health & Safety of the Athlete," and "Empowering, Developing, and Advancing a Successful Career in Athletics." The National Strength and Conditioning Association also provides professional development opportunities.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

The National Strength and Conditioning Association offers the certified strength and conditioning specialist, certified personal trainer, certified special populations specialist, and tactical strength and conditioning-facilitators designations to applicants who pass a rigorous examination.

The Collegiate Strength & Conditioning Coaches Association offers two levels of voluntary certification. Coaches who have a bachelor's degree, pass an examination, have certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and satisfy other requirements are eligible for the strength and conditioning coach certified designation. Those who have worked as full-time, collegiate and/or professional strength and conditioning coaches for a minimum of 12 years, have earned the strength and conditioning coach certified designation, and satisfy other requirements may receive the master strength and conditioning coach designation.

Some employers may require that strength and conditioning coaches be certified in CPR.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Several years' experience as an intern, volunteer, or part-time employee with a collegiate or professional sports program, or with a self-employed strength and conditioning coach, is recommended.

Coaches must be experts regarding weight training, conditioning, nutrition, and exercise. They must also be strong communicators in order to effectively educate athletes regarding the benefits of weight training and conditioning, as well as communicate with other coaching professionals regarding the performance and conditioning of athletes. Coaches must be willing to work long hours when their teams compete, and be willing to learn about new strength and conditioning techniques throughout their careers.