NCAA Division I Certification Standard for Strength and Conditioning Coaches

On April 24, 2014, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) adopted a standard of certification for Division I strength and conditioning coaches. This article provides information and answers to frequently asked questions about the standard.

On April 24, 2014, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) adopted a standard of certification for Division I strength and conditioning coaches. NSCA first commented on this new standard shortly after its adoption in an article by Jon Jost, then NSCA Board Member and Florida State Director of Strength and Conditioning.

Since the adoption of this standard, the NSCA has worked to assist Division I strength and conditioning coaches needing to certify by providing information, resources and benefits to both coaches and their athletic directors. The effective date of this Division I standard is August 1, 2015. NSCA is committed to assisting Division I strength and conditioning coaches in meeting this standard as a way to both professionalize the role of strength and conditioning coach and to support the health and safety of student athletes.

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For Strength and Conditioning Coaches

What is the first step in getting certified?
To ensure you take full advantage of NSCA’s assistance, please call NSCA’s certification department at 800.815.6826, and identify yourself as a Division I coach. NSCA currently has special offers to assist Division I strength and conditioning coaches in meeting the new certification requirement. 

I was previously certified, but let my CSCS expire. How can I get it back?
Additionally, the NSCA has identified that a number of coaches previously held the CSCS credential but did not submit the appropriate continuing education information to maintain their certification. Coaches in this situation may be able to regain their CSCS through the reinstatement process without retaking the exam. To discuss this option please contact NSCA’s certification department at 800.815.6826.

How should I prepare for the CSCS exam?
Several months ago NSCA published a recommended study plan, specifically tailored for Division I strength and conditioning coaches. This plan includes the recommendation for attendance at an Exam Prep LIVE Clinic. See current dates of upcoming Exam Prep LIVE clinics.

For Compliance Officers and Athletic Directors
What is the language of the new requirement?
“To protect the health of, and provide a safe environment for, each of its student athletes, a strength and conditioning coach shall be certified and maintain current certification through a nationally accredited strength and conditioning certification program.” Source: Division I Proposals adopted April 2014, page 6 

Which NSCA certification will satisfy this new requirement? 
NSCA’s Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) certification will satisfy the NCAA requirement. The NSCA was established in 1978 to serve the needs of strength and conditioning coaches, and the CSCS earned accreditation in 1993. There are currently over 40,000 certified strength and conditioning specialists worldwide. 

How do I maintain my CSCS?
NSCA certifications are more than just exams, they are a commitment to continuous learning and professional excellence. Every three years, certificants must recertify by earning Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to demonstrate that their professional knowledge and skills are up-to-date. CEUs can be earned through a variety of activities including attendance at conferences and clinics, online assessments, and self-study courses. The next CEU reporting deadline is December 31, 2017.

How do I know if my program’s coaches are certified?
You can verify the certification status of your strength coaches using a newly launched online registry, the U.S. Registry of Exercise Professionals (USREPS). NSCA has sponsored this registry as a service to our professionals and their employers. Simply select “NSCA-CSCS-Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist” in the credential field. If an individual you expect to find on the list is not present, please contact NSCA to complete the verification.

Disclaimer: The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) encourages the exchange of diverse opinions. The ideas, comments, and materials presented herein do not necessarily reflect the NSCA’s official position on an issue. The NSCA assumes no responsibility for any statements made by authors, whether as fact, opinion, or otherwise.

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