Want To Be A Strength & Conditioning Specialist?

Written by Joe Cicchetto

In our last discussion, we talked about the many career opportunities available to someone with a bachelor’s of science degree in Sports Performance, Health and Fitness (also called Exercise Science or Health and Human Performance at some institutions).   Let’s spend some time looking more closely at a very popular career choice for many of our students:  Strength and Conditioning Specialist/Coach.

Where do these positions exist?:  Many sports teams ranging from the collegiate level to the professional level will employ Strength and Conditioning Specialists/Coaches to help improve technique, maximize strength performance and reduce the risk of injuries for their athletes.  Some organizations have many of these positions, which allows the professional to focus on either a specific aspect of strength and conditioning or a specific sport.

Education:  Someone who is working as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist/Coach needs to possess knowledge in human anatomy and physiology, movement evaluation, spotting techniques and proper nutrition for athletes.  These are all things learned in a bachelor’s degree in Sports Performance, Health and Fitness.  Our program is designed to build foundational knowledge in your first two years so you are prepared to apply that knowledge in your last two years.  The practical aspects of our program include our field experience class, an internship and a national certification review class.  Each of these classes is designed to prepare you to apply the knowledge you’ve learned to “real world” settings.   The faculty that teach in the Sports Performance, Health and Fitness major possess a wide variety of experience and knowledge to help you succeed in this field!

Certifications: In addition to sound knowledge of strength and conditioning, it is wise for someone seeking these positions to obtain a professional certification.  Certifications do exactly what the name suggests:  they certify that you are knowledgeable about the subject you are testing on.  Certifications significantly increase your marketability for potential employers!  For a Strength and Conditioning Specialist/Coach, the most reputable certification is the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).  This exam is the top tier certification in this field and will set you apart as a competent exercise professional.

Career Outlook:  Strength and Conditioning Specialists/Coaches are gaining in popularity with athletic programs across this country.  These positions are a valuable asset as they help maximize the potential of athletes and keep them on the playing field/court.  Large athletic programs will pay top dollar for these professionals.  For example, the Ohio State University’s Strength and Conditioning Specialist/Coach drew a salary of $735,000 in 2019.  This career has many growth opportunities!

If you are interested in a strength and conditioning career, then Sports Performance, Health and Fitness at St. Andrews University is a great option for your major!

About the author:

Professor Candace Langston

Professor Candace Langston is an Assistant Professor of Sports Performance, Health, and Fitness at St. Andrews University.  Additionally, she holds multiple health and exercise certifications including the Certified Exercise Physiologist (ACSM-CEP) and Exercise is Medicine credentials from the American College of Sports Medicine.  Prior to arriving at St. Andrews University, Professor Langston managed the cardiopulmonary rehabilitation program at UNC Health Southeastern and is a past president of the North Carolina Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Association.