Tactical Strength and Conditioning Facilitator Exam Description

The Tactical Strength and Conditioning Facilitator® (TSAC-F®) exam is comprised of 130 scored and 20 non-scored* multiple-choice questions that tests candidate's knowledge in the following domains:

  1. Exercise Sciences
  2. Nutrition
  3. Exercise Technique
  4. Program Design
  5. Organization, Administration, Testing, Evaluation

The pass rate was 92% for candidates attempting the exam for the first time in 2017.

New Exam and Detailed Content Outline | Effective January 1, 2019

On behalf of the NSCA, Pearson Vue conducted a job task analysis (JTA) for the Tactical Strength and Conditioning Facilitator (TSAC-F) certification. The meeting contained eleven subject-matter experts (SMEs) from various disciplines across the tactical community (i.e. fire, police, military, EMT). The outcome of this process was a new detailed content outline (DCO) for the TSAC-F exam that reflects the current and relevant practices in the field.

  • Exams taken before January 1, 2019 will follow the existing DCO (Pages 2-11).
  • Exams taken on or after January 1, 2019 will follow the new DCO (Pages 12-19).
  • It is possible to register for the TSAC-F examination and be studying from the old DCO, but take the exam when the new DCO becomes active. Please be conscious and aware of this if you register for the exam in the Fall 2018. 


Domain Percent of Exam Number of Questions
Exercise Sciences 20% 26
Nutrition 10% 13
Exercise Technique 20% 26
Program Design 35% 46
Organization, Administration, Testing, Evaluation 15% 19
Non-scored Questions*      - 20
Total 100% 150
Length of exam   3 hours

Exercise Sciences
Anatomy and physiology (muscular, neuromuscular, bone and connective tissue, cardiopulmonary); Biomechanics, Bioenergetics and metabolism; Physiological adaptations; Detraining and retraining; Anatomical, physiological, and biomechanical differences of tactical athletes; Phases of rehab; Environmental concerns.

Nutritional factors affecting health and performance; Strategies for optimizing body composition and maximizing physical performance and recovery; Signs, symptoms, behaviors, and performance variations associated with obesity, and altered eating habits and disorders; Effects, risks, and alternatives of common performance-enhancing substances, supplements, and methods of use.

Exercise Technique
Warming up; Resistance training; Alternative modes; Plyometric exercise; Speed/sprint technique; Agility technique; Flexibility technique.

Program Design
Programs that maximize performance, reduce injury risk, and increase long-term wellness; Programs for an injured trainee; Population specific considerations.

Organization, Administration, Testing, Evaluation 
Design, layout, and organization; Duties and responsibilities; Policies and procedures; Safe training environment; Selecting and administering tests; Testing protocols and procedures; Evaluate and interpret test results.

The information above is only a summary of the information on the exam. The detailed content outline is available in the NSCA Certification Handbook (PDF).

Explanation of Non-Scored Exam Questions

The TSAC-F exam contains non-scored questions that are being evaluated for future use. Including this type of question allows the TSAC-F Exam Development Committee to collect meaningful information about new questions that may appear as real scored questions on future exams.

Pretesting is accomplished by interspersing new ("untried") questions throughout the exam (20 nonscored questions appear in the TSAC-F exam). Only this small number is included so that additional testing time will not be needed by exam candidates. These questions are not scored as part of a candidate’s certification exam, and they do not affect an individual’s pass/fail status. The non-scored questions are scattered throughout the exam so candidates will answer them with the same effort that they give to the actual scored questions.

To keep the TSAC-F exam reflective of current job-related duties, new questions must continuously be introduced and evaluated. Pretesting is an accepted testing practice that creates a statistically sound standardized exam and allows candidates to receive scores that are based only on previously used (“tried”) questions.

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