The NSCA had long discussed the merits of requiring accreditation and college degrees as a prerequisite to earn the CSCS certification. In early 2000, the NSCA’s Education Recognition Program (ERP) was formed as a first step toward higher educational standards. To date, there have been more than 345 programs recognized as ERP schools including both graduate, undergraduate, and personal training programs. But the organization sought a more formalized process. In July of 2018, at the NSCA National Conference, the NSCA Board of Directors announced their decision to pursue accreditation. The NSCA Certification Committee also announced that:
Effective 2030, all CSCS exam candidates must hold at least a bachelor’s degree in a strength and conditioning related field or be enrolled in their last semester in such a program. In addition, candidates will need to obtain those degrees from a college or university that has a program accredited by an NSCA-approved accrediting agency.
After the announcement, the NSCA Education Committee tasked a subcommittee to draft standards and guidelines. The subcommittee released the draft for public comment in February and March of 2019 and compiled the community’s comments in May of 2019. Meanwhile, applications and nominations for a Special Committee on Accreditation were accepted, and the NSCA Board of Directors appointed the final committee members in March of 2019 with its first face-to-face meeting in June of 2019.
By the Fall of 2019, the Standards were revised after consideration of the public comments and were approved by the Special Committee on Accreditation as well as the NSCA Board of Directors.
With standards in place, the original NSCA Special Committee on Accreditation was renamed to the Council on Accreditation of Strength and Conditioning Education (CASCE) and the process of separate incorporation and branding begun. In the short-term, CASCE will operate under the umbrella of the NSCA.
It is the intention of the Council that the first self-studies will be available to schedule beginning in October of 2020 and will be due October 1 of 2021. We anticipate that the very first CASCE accredited programs will receive their stamp of approval by the Spring of 2022.