The Certified Performance and Sport Scientist (CPSS) is the NSCA's most advanced certification. Eligibility depends on your level of formal education along with certain professional experience. Registration for the CPSS exam requires qualifying candidates to first apply for and then receive approval to test.
To apply for the CPSS, you must first choose one of the following routes:
Bachelor’s degree in Sport Science or a closely related field
Three years of documented full-time professional experience beyond the internship level.
Master’s degree in Sport Science or a closely related field
Twelve weeks of applied experience (480 hours), including internships, fellowships, graduate assistantships, or full-time professional roles.
Doctoral degree in Sport Science or a closely related field.
No additional professional
experience is required.
Accepted sport science related degrees include the following academic majors and underpinning major fields from regionally accredited institutions. If you do not see your degree listed, you may still be able to receive eligibility for a non-qualifying degree.
Non-qualifying degrees are degrees in field areas not listed as qualifying CPSS disciplines. Applicants with such degrees must submit additional documentation for approval. The submitted degree coursework must include an underlying sport science theory or practice in specific areas including four of the following course areas. Example course names are included to help expand on each course area but are not a comprehensive or exclusive list of acceptable coursework.
Acceptable Coursework Areas:
For example: Biomechanics, Functional Anatomy, Human Motor Learning and Control, or Lifespan Motor Development
For example: Anatomy and Physiology, Endocrinology, Exercise Physiology, or Neuroscience
For example: Athlete Counseling, Child and Adolescent Psychology, Coaching Theory, Philosophy, Principles, or Ethics of Sport Coaching, Philosophical or Sociological Perspectives of Sport, Psychology of the College-Aged Adult, or Performance Psychology
For example: General Nutrition and Health, Nutritional Biochemistry, or Sport and Performance Nutrition
For example: Exercise Programming, Exercise Testing and Prescription, Graded Exercise Testing, Program Design for Injury Prevention, or Strength and Conditioning
For example: Research Methods, Research Design, Understanding Sport or Performance Research, Data Collection and Analysis, Statistics, Quantitative or Qualitative Research, Data Science and Analytics, or Sport Technology
Candidates must have a current CPR/AED certification at the time of their application. Refer to Certification Handbook for acceptable CPR/AED certifications.