CPSS Eligibility Requirements

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.​

ELIGIBILITY ROUTES

To apply for the CPSS, you must first choose one of the following routes:

Bachelor’s Degree Route

Bachelor’s degree in Sport Science or a closely related field 

AND

Three years of documented full-time professional experience beyond the internship level. 

Master’s Degree Route

Master’s degree in Sport Science or a closely related field 

AND

Twelve weeks of applied experience (480 hours), including internships, fellowships, graduate assistantships, or full-time professional roles.   

Doctoral Degree Route

Doctoral degree in Sport Science or a closely related field. 

​—

No additional professional 
experience is required.

QUALIFYING DEGREES

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.

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Majors:

•  Allied Health Sciences

•  Athletic Training 

•  Bioengineering Sciences

•  Biomedical Sciences

•  Chiropractic

•  Exercise Science

•  Health Education and Promotion

•  Sport and Performance Analytics

•  Strength and Conditioning

•  Therapeutic Exercise and Fitness

 

Underpinning Major Fields:

•  Bioenergetics

•  Biology 

•  Chemistry (General, Molecular, Biochemistry)

•  Neuroscience

•  Physics

•  Physiology

•  Psychology

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Required Documentation for Qualifying Degrees

 

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  Candidate Application Academic Transcripts Proof of CPR/AED 12 Weeks (480 Hours) Experience 3 Years Full-time Experience Verification of Qualifying Academic Courses
Qualifying Doctoral Degree (e.g., PhD, EdD, DPT) Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark      
Qualifying Master's Degree (e.g., MS, MSc, MA, MEd) Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Also Accepted  
Qualifying Bachelor's Degree (e.g., BS, BSc, BA) Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark   Checkmark  

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NON-QUALIFYING DEGREES 

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:

  • BIOMECHANICS AND HUMAN MOVEMENT

​For example: Biomechanics, Functional Anatomy, Human Motor Learning and Control, or Lifespan Motor Development

  • PHYSIOLOGICAL DISCIPLINES  ​

For example: Anatomy and Physiology, Endocrinology, Exercise Physiology, or Neuroscience

  • COACHING, PSYCHOLOGY, AND SOCIOCULTURAL ELEMENTS OF SPORT

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

  • NUTRITION

For example: General Nutrition and Health, Nutritional Biochemistry, or Sport and Performance Nutrition

  • STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING AND TRAINING THEORY

For example: Exercise Programming, Exercise Testing and Prescription, Graded Exercise Testing, Program Design for Injury Prevention, or Strength and Conditioning

  • RESEARCH METHODS AND STATISTICS

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

Required Documentation for Non-qualifying Degrees

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  Candidate Application Academic Transcripts Proof of CPR/AED 12 Weeks (480 Hours) Experience 3 Years Full-time Experience Verification of Qualifying Academic Courses 
Other Graduate Degree (e.g., Master's or Doctoral) Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Also Accepted Checkmark
Other Bachelor's Degree (e.g., BS, BSc, BA) Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark

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CPR/AED CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENT

Candidates must have a current CPR/AED certification at the time of their application. Refer to Certification Handbook for acceptable CPR/AED certifications.


 

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How to Apply

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