Become a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS)

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Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists® (CSCS®) are professionals who apply scientific knowledge to train athletes for the primary goal of improving athletic performance. They conduct sport-specific testing sessions, design and implement safe and effective strength training and conditioning programs and provide guidance regarding nutrition and injury prevention. Recognizing that their area of expertise is separate and distinct, CSCSs consult with and refer athletes to other professionals when appropriate.

Exam Registration and Scheduling

Exams are administered at hundreds of Pearson VUE testing centers worldwide. 

When you have finished studying and are ready to take the exam, you will need to register for the exam online. Within 20 minutes after registering, you will receive an Authorization to Test email from Pearson VUE with instructions on how to schedule your exam. At that time, you will be able to select the date, time and location you wish to take your exam. Candidates can view exam appointment availability after registering for the exam. To locate the nearest Pearson VUE testing center click the button below.

Locate Testing Centers

Exams must be taken within 120 days of registering.

  • Exam eligibility start and end dates may differ for exam retakes. After registering for an exam, your eligibility dates will be listed on your Authorization to Test email.

Rescheduling an Exam

  • You must contact Pearson VUE to reschedule an appointment.  You may only reschedule within your eligitiblilty period. 
  • Scheduling changes must be made and confirmed with Pearson VUE.  Leaving a voicemail is not sufficient to reschedule your appointment.
  • If you have successfully rescheduled your test date, you will receive a confirmation email from Pearson VUE within 24 hours.  If you do not receive a confirmation email of your rescheduled exam, you have not successfully rescheduled your appointment.  

For more details on rescheduling exam appointments and the cancellation policy, refer to the NSCA Certification Handbook (PDF). 

CSCS Exam Registration Fees 

    Member Rate*     Non-Member Rate 
Registration Fee   $340     $475
Retake Fee for Both Sections   $340     $475
Retake Fee for One Section   $250     $385

* NSCA Members save money when registering for exams. Interested in becoming an NSCA Member? Learn more about membership and how it can benefit you! 

Exam Description and Content

Candidates must pass an exam that will test their knowledge, skills, and abilities in two areas of professional practice: Scientific Foundations and  Practical/Applied. Click below to learn more.

More Content Details


Candidates must have at least a bachelor's degree or currently be enrolled as a college senior and have a current CPR/AED certification. Click below for more information and details on how to submit the required documentation.

Prerequisite Details

Exam Preparation

Since candidates come from wide and varied backgrounds, we offer several different approaches to studying for the CSCS Exam. Click to learn more.

How to Prepare

Exam Study Materials

We offer a variety of study materials to help candidates prepare for the exam. Click below to see available materials.

View Study Materials

Exam Retake Policies

NSCA policy limits the number of times a candidate may attempt a certification exam within a one-year timeframe and requires a wait period before retaking an exam. 

  • Candidates must wait 30 days to retake an exam from the most recent date the exam was taken. The waiting period is industry standard to ensure adequate preparation.
  • Candidates can register online to retake the exam once the 30 day period has concluded.
  • A candidate may attempt an exam up to three times in a one-year period.  After the third attempt and any subsequent attempts, the candidate must wait one year from the most recent test date before attempting another exam.  This policy is in place for test security purposes.
  • Candidates do not need to resubmit eligibility documentation unless their CPR/AED certification has lapsed.
  • Candidates that failed only one section of the CSCS exam, only need to retake the failed section. However a passing score must be achieved within one-year or both sections will need to be taken again.

Accreditation of NSCA Certifications

The NSCA strongly believes in adhering to industry best practices and established accreditation standards in the administration of its certification programs. The CSCS, NSCA-CPT, and TSAC-F certification programs have earned accreditation by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). The CSCS earned NCCA accreditation in 1993, and was the first nationally accredited strength training and conditioning certification program. In 1996, the NSCA-CPT became the first certified personal trainer program accredited by the NCCA. In 2014, the TSAC-F program was the first of its kind to earn NCCA accreditation. Through the accreditation process, the NSCA has demonstrated that the CSCS, NSCA-CPT, and TSAC-F programs meet or exceed NCCA Standards. The NSCA is currently in the process of earning NCCA accreditation for the CSPS program. For more information about NCCA accreditation please visit:

RSCC Designation

The NSCA’s Registered Strength and Conditioning Coach® (RSCC) designation signifies that CSCSs have demonstrated experience and knowledge in their field.

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CSCS Exam Available in 5 Foreign Languages

NSCA certification exams are provided at any authorized Pearson VUE test center in the world. The CSCS and NSCA-CPT exams are available in Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish

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