NSCA Certification Exams | A Year In Review

The purpose of this article is to provide information about the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) certification exams that were administered during 2020.

Providing this annual summary is one of the requirements stipulated by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), the organization that accredits three of the NSCA certification exam programs—the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®), the NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer® (NSCA-CPT®), and the Tactical Strength and Conditioning Facilitator® (TSAC-F®). The Certified Special Population Specialist® (CSPS®) certification program will undergo application for NCCA accreditation in the future.

CSCS Exam

In 2020, the CSCS exam was administered to 7,105 candidates (international and domestic). The average number of first-time exam candidates who passed both sections of the CSCS exam and thus became certified was 63%. The average number of first-time candidates passing the Scientific Foundations section and the Practical/Applied section were (respectively) 69% and 53%. The mean reliability values for the Scientific Foundations section and the Practical/Applied section were (respectively) 0.84 and 0.84. As of December 31, 2020, there were 44,178 professionals who held the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist credential.

NSCA-CPT Exam

In 2020, the NSCA-CPT exam was administered to 1,216 candidates. The average number of candidates who became certified was 71%. The mean reliability value was 0.88. As of December 31, 2020, there were 15,793 professionals who held the NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer credential. 

TSAC-F Exam

In 2020, the TSAC-F exam was administered to 436 candidates. The average number of candidates who became certified was 80%. The mean reliability value was 0.89.  As of December 31, 2020, there were 1,560 professionals who held the Tactical Strength and Conditioning Facilitator credential.  

CSPS Exam

In 2020, the CSPS exam was administered to 57 candidates. The average number of candidates who became certified was 75%. The mean reliability value was 0.64. As of December 31, 2020, there were 187 professionals who held the Certified Special Population Specialist credential. 

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